Simplify Messaging to Contact Scouts

When sending messages, there’s three columns of users-
Leaders, parents, and Scouts.

Scouts only show up in the “send message column” if they have an email address associated with their account, and their parent has approved their request.

If I send a message directly to a scout, it’s my understanding that the parent is cc’d on that email.

With that in mind- is there a reason that there can’t be a way to simply display all of the scouts under the scout column? Or maybe make this another view, if we feel that it could be cluttered? Maybe there could be a little Icon like the sms and green check to indicate that the scout may not have a direct email, but it’s going to only go to the parent.

If I want to send a message to 10 scouts, I have to do multiple passes- first I search through the scout list to see if they’re in there- if so, I select them. If they’re not, then I have to go through the parent list and select all of their parents. Sometimes I’ll forget to include both parents, especially if the family has multiple last names.

It’d be great to just be able to pick the 10 scouts I want to communicate with, and then have scoutbook simply send it to all of the parents (like it was going to do anyways) and then send it to the scout directly, if available.


No. Scoutbook doesn’t have any email info for a Scout until a parent invites them to activate their youth account.

Additionally, as a unit leader, you are not permitted (per COPPA – the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) to create accounts for youth members that are not your children. That is restricted to parents/guardians.

TL;DR there’s no way to do this now, and it’s unlikely that will change.

I want to make sure I’m being clear:
This is just “intent” based- I’m not trying to put email in for the scouts.

If the scout has an email address, they show up in the scout column. Any email we send to those scouts gets cc’d to the parents.

If the scout does not have an email address, and you want to send a message to the scout, you send a message to the parent directly.

If you have a troop of 50 scouts, and 20 of the scouts have emails, and you want to only send an email to 10 of the scouts- you have to know which of the scouts have emails, which don’t, and which parents line up to them. It’s a multiple-pass process.

Could there be a view that is indicative of : “want to get information to a scout”

IF the scout has an email- send it directly to them, and cc all their connected parents
If the scout doesn’t have an email: Send it to all the connected parents.

Just have a red icon in their profile indicating “by selecting this scout, you’re recognizing that you’re not actually going to their email inbox, it’s only going to their Parent Inbox, which by the way, it’s going to go to anyways.”

So I understand that scoutbook doesn’t have email for scouts until parents register there. But scoutbook should understand that there’s a need to communicate information to scouts, and that involves going through parents- so simplify the intent for our users. If I want to get email to a first year scout without an email, don’t make me remember that there’s some scouts that have one parent, some that have two parents with matching last names, and some that have two parents with different last names, etc etc etc.

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A couple of suggestions to work within the system as it exists right now. Hopefully it makes your life easier.

Are these scouts who are all in a patrol? Scoutbook already does that natively. Just navigate to the patrol and select “Send Message” and it auto-selects all scouts/parents who are associated with that patrol.

If the scouts are all associated with an event, I sometimes “change” the event text to send a message, issue a Send Now reminder, then replace the original text in the event after the reminder sends.

If the scouts are “distributed” through various patrols, but affiliated in some other way (e.g. all part of a Philmont crew or members of the PLC), you can use the Scoutbook Feature Assistant Extension for Firefox and Chrome (Feature Assistant - What is it?) to create and save email groups (locally only, I believe, although they can be exported and copied to other machines). Each group can be named. I use these to send emails to our PLC, our OA arrowmen, and various other groups within the troop which don’t align with traditional patrol boundaries.

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If you are trying to send an e-mail to all Scouts in your troop, select all parents and all Scouts. This will have the effect of sending 1 e-mail to each parent and each Scout. Parents will not get duplicate e-mail.

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I’m specifically trying to not send something to every email in the group- I know how to do that.

But if I want to send an email to 10 of 50 scouts (and save all of their inboxes) then there’s not a great way to just send it to the scouts and their parents that I intend to, other than first figuring out which scouts have emails, and then which parents to connect to for the scouts that don’t.


You don’t have to do that. Just pick the Scouts you want to send it to. If they have connected, they will get it along with their parents. If they have not, just their parents will get it.


Only Scouts that have been invited appear in Send Message.


That actually doesn’t work except in event invitations. I only see in Send Message (in native Scoutbook) the scouts who have connected to their accounts in the list of scouts. That’s why I value the Extension so highly for sending messages. It fills this gaping performance hole of having to track down which parents belong to which scouts for repetitive groups. I am forever forgetting one parent or another if I don’t save the group.

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You are correct. I stand corrected. I agree with the change request. These should be consistent as the one that lists all Scouts is a better approach.

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You’ve gotten right to the heart of it- it’s things like a Philmont crew I’m sending messages to- or people involved in a merit badge, or people confirmed to be doing the script for the CoH planning… things that are outside the concept of an RSVP or invite list on an event, not a patrol, etc.

The question came up this morning because I was making my local saved group like I have historically done. This means going forward I have a nice quick button- but setting that up means I still have to know which scouts do and don’t an email address, and then hit the parents up for those that don’t.

For the audience- I’m on board with not sending email directly to a scout, and I always want to cc their parents. But just remove the requirement for me to know if a scout has an email or not.

Create a fourth column of “all scouts” and just sort out who gets linked on the backend- parents, and scouts if available. Put it on a different page. Something.

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I want it to work like that in the messaging page, somehow!

We are working on a proposal to add to the backlog.

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If there’s concern, I know that there’s some flags that appear in the email page-
The SMS Phone, to indicate they’re SMS linked
The “This user has elected to not receive emails” tag

Maybe just put in another icon to indicate either:
Something to indicate if the scout has a linked address, ( an envelope?)
or a parent/child icon that indicates that the scout does NOT have their own email, and it’s only going to the parent

if it really matters for a differentiation standpoint. It might be helpful to know if the scout has their own email address, but I don’t know if I care.


There’s utility to many of us for knowing which scouts are actually connected and which are not. First and foremost, it allows us to not keep bugging parents about connecting their scouts who have already done so. Secondly, it allows us to know which scouts are getting information directly and which are only getting it through their parents. I want to talk to parents about not relaying messages or scouts about not reading their messages, assuming that information isn’t getting through.

I could certainly get behind the idea of a flag (e.g. the envelope you suggested) that identifies which scouts are connected to their accounts with an email address versus which scouts have not.

The solution needs to maintain the differentiation between “not connected to Scoutbook account with email” (currently via absence from list, proposed via new flag) and “has declined to receive emails” (i.e. the existing “No Emails” tag in the Send Message interface). We need to know who is rejecting emails vs who just isn’t connected to receive them, if for no other reason than to allow Scoutbook unit admins to check that there is no accidental “rejection” of the Scoutbook emails.

I agree. You’ve captured the use cases on it very well, too.
The “more nuclear” option is just to have a different view altogether that is “send messages to scouts”, which shows all scouts- but the current view could still exist.

I feel like an icon tag would be the cleanest way to show the distinction, but I’m only a user- User Experience and design are well out of my wheelhouse.


This may have been the case when Scoutbook was private, but as I understand it, COPPA doesn’t really apply to non-profits. Check out this FAQ, section B question 5. Which isn’t to say non-profits shouldn’t try to follow the rule, so the process of requiring parents to invite their kids is probably for the best.

That said, I can see the use case here.

As a pack leader, it’s kinda moot, because none of my scouts have accounts, and I’m generally contacting the entire unit or just the leaders. And a lot of the communication can take place outside of Scoutbook.

But for a troop, contacting a group of scouts (either directly or through their parents), seems like a common task. That said, I almost feel like we need to remind parents to pass on the message, if their scout doesn’t get a copy directly, and even then…

Truth be told, it’s a big struggle in our Troop to get the parents to invite the Scouts. Since we launched with Scoutbook a few years ago, there have been maybe 5 or 6 Scouts with activated accounts.

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