BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

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Youth email

And now my reply is to a deleted post, and the context is different. Not sure I like the forum ability to remove content…

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That’s no different from the old forums. There’s not anything that prevented a user from deleting their own posts there…

Think about it from this perspective… YPT requires a second adult be copied on any communications from an adult to a youth, right? How could the BSA assert they take that seriously if the communication tools they provide let you break their rules?

If I were one of the ambulance chasers currently sharpening my knives to go after the BSA, the first thing I’d do is say “Look! They don’t even enforce their rules within their own systems!”

Literally every other possible way to use electronic communications lets one violate the rule.

The rule defines how people must act. It’s not about digital system design.

Literally every other possible way to use electronic communications isn’t owned by the BSA. Scoutbook is.

Just my opinion – and maybe worth what you paid for it – but it seems like we have areas of agreement and areas of disagreement, and we’re not likely to resolve the latter in this forum.

We all agree that the YPT requirements specify that adults may not interact with youth in person or remotely (digital, phone, text, etc) in a one-on-one fashion. We all agree that the adult leaders should be enforcing, and that everyone should be adhering to, the requirements.

There seems to be disagreement about whether or not the BSA is appropriately enforcing those requirements via Scoutbook’s messaging system. Issues that seem to be in disagreement are:

  1. Ease of use regarding adding/correcting.managing email addresses for both parents and youth, and whether or not the BSA is correctly weighting this factor in relation to the goals of preventing one-on-one contact.
  2. Ease by which the system’s restrictions can be circumvented within the system, and whether or not this is something that BSA should/can consider in the development of their system.
  3. Ease by which the YPT requirements can be circumvented outside of the BSA’s system, and whether or not this is something that BSA should/can consider in the development of their system.

Honestly, I doubt that anyone is going to effect a change to the Scoutbook messaging system restrictions on access to/management of youth and parent emails via these fora. If I were a betting man, I’d wager nobody on the fora has the authority to approve such a change, given that the directives ultimately came from BSA’s national YPT group. I can almost guarantee that the developer group doesn’t have the authority to make such a change absent a clear directive from the relevant national personnel.

It seems like the productive method for folks wishing to advocate for such a change would likely come through agitating directly either at the council level, at the national level or both. Personally, I would be surprised if any relaxation of the currently-implemented system restrictions results at all. Many of the decisions at National related to implementation of YPT (as distinguished from the overarching mission of protecting youth) appear to be driven, for better or worse, by concerns about minimizing legal liability. The YPT mission itself, I believe, is driven by honest concern about our youth. It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where litigation seems to be necessary to prevent some bad actors from causing trouble (or at least to punish them for doing so). Sadly, not everyone lives by the Oath and Law. If they did, we wouldn’t need YPT at all.

Parents trusting you is irrelevant. The BSA has lots of pending lawsuits because leaders broke the trust they were given decades ago. There need to be safeguards in place.

If any change is possible, the most likely would be a process that involves the unit leader adding the email and a parent approving their access. I don’t know if even that is likely to be approved by the YP folks.

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I’m going to have to invoke Princess Leia here: “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”
iu-1

I see this all the time with regard to HIPAA. Again, I do not condone it, but the process needs to improve or units will find another method.

Curious questions: What did units use before Scoutbook was even a thing? How were safeguards handled with those solutions?

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Before Scoutbook, the BSA did not own the communication system. It just put the requirements on the leaders and they had to follow.

Now that the BSA owns A communication system, they are able to set the policies for using it. One reason the BSA requires parents to enter the Scout’s e-mail address is that it validates they have a good address for the parents.

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Followup question: Are there current policies requiring the use of Scoutbook for communications?

The BSA does not and as far as we have been told will not require the use of Scoutbook. Leaders that communicate with Scouts electronically must follow the no one-on-one contact policy. Scoutbook e-mail makes this easier to to because the leader does not have to remember to copy the parent or another leader. Scoutbook e-mail automatically copies the parents.

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@jacobfetzer I like the idea of at least presenting this issue to the National YP team so they are aware of it. What is the best way to do that? I think they run the risk of implementing a system which people just work around, but would use if it were easier to work with, which could also come back to haunt them.

I personally have no issues whatsoever keeping the parents in the loop, but judging by the large number of unverified accounts for our unit, the scout email verification process needs to become as unobtrusive as possible. Perhaps just emailing the parent a link to click on, which validates their email, and redirects them a form on which they enter their child’s email address and gives the unit approval to contact them on it. This is much simpler then making them “learn” SB in order to invite their 17-year old child and forcing them to maintain his or her contact info. Do you really think all of the “dump and run” parents are up for that?

In addition, I feel that SB will be bypassed due to other ease of use issues. For example, it does not lend itself to intrapatrols emails initiated by scouts. First of all, very few of our scouts emails are in our SB due to the aforementioned need for parental involvement. Secondly, even if they were, the patrol members must be individually selected for every communication.

@MattSchultz We use Google groups which have their own email address. This works out rather well for us because they cannot be spammed since we do not allow non-members to send to them. (And yes, we include the parents emails in the patrol groups :slight_smile:)

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@PaulSuchko Same here. Our pack uses Google Groups too, while our troop uses Yahoo (which was in use before Scoutbook was a thing). Yahoo has been failing on email delivery as of late, so the troop is looking for alternatives. Discussions.scouting.org is an appealing option, aside from the inability to register everyone immediately, hence my jumping onto the original topic - adding youth email addresses.

Discussions.scouting.org still has some issues we as a pack and troop would like to see addressed, but it is much better than the previous Scoutbook forums. Coupled with the fact that @edavignon and his crew have been very receptive on some changes to this system in under a week, I sought to voice some issues regarding Scoutbook and email delivery.

Communicating to the unit is critical in my view, and email seems the lowest common denominator here. So let’s try to make these tools easier to use, not throw up additional barriers for the parents and scouts, and deliver a better message about the BSA through e-scouting.

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I have no information to share.

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Scouts frequently need to be reminded to copy a parent. When I get an e-mail from a Scout without a parent on copy, I immediately reply to the Scout and parent, even if I am not yet prepared to answer any question that may have been asked.

A leader is not in violation of YPT if the Scout initiates the e-mail without copying a parent or other leader. The leader is only in violation if any contact from leader to Scout does not include a parent or other leader.

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I have no information to share.

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The BSA has stated they are not concerned with Scout e-mail addresses being exposed in a sent e-mail. Yes, I realize this seems to conflict with not showing a Scout e-mail address in the Scoutbook UI or on Print Roster but it is what it is.

If the BSA is not concerned with the exposure of scout email addresses in a sent email, would they possibly consider adding them to the scout export data which is only accessible by Troop Admins. This would enable them to use this information to keep the Google patrol level groups in sync with SB (which we would love to use as the single source of truth since makes the scouts and parents responsible for maintaining their own contact information.)

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I find the same thing happen with our Troop, maybe 3 parents out of the 48 we have have ever logged into Scoutbook. It’s too complex for them and let the Scouts use the book.

Good explanation of why this is a function. Unfortunately we can’t get anyone to use it Scoutbook because of these restrictions. We we still default to old fashion google groups email to cc parent and scout.