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YPT for virtual Scoutmaster Conference

I just read todays update from National regarding advancement while we are dealing with Covid19. It states that virtual Scoutmaster Conferences will be allowed as long as YPT is followed. Anyone have insight as to how to do this? Normally the conference would be between just the scout and the leader, in view of others. Are we supposed to add another leader you the conference, or maybe a parent? Or is it something else?

Here is the relevant info: " An option to complete Scoutmaster conferences via videoconferencing. (Section of the Guide to Advancement says Scoutmasters “should not” conduct Scoutmaster conferences online; it doesn’t say “must not.” The new COVID-19 guidance clarifies that this practice is OK, as long as Youth Protection rules are followed.)"

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have a ASM on it too just watching


As long as the Scout uses a speaker phone an a parent can hear both sides of the conversation, YPT is followed.

You can also use an online meeting system such as Webex and have a parent or another leader listen in.


We’ve discussed the issue and what our unit will most likely do if this separation continues is have the SM and ASM conduct the meeting online with the Scout and have the Parent on the other side acknowledge the meeting is okay to proceed. We don’t want this to feel like a BOR but we also need to make sure YPT is adhered to.

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I would have two leaders, rather than a leader and a parent, for the same reasons that G2A advises against having parents at SMCs and BoRs in regular situations. If the parent insists, however, I would obviously permit them to be “present”, again as per normal procedure.


But then, this isn’t really a “regular” situation. Any method that meets the intent and the letter of 2-deep leadership should be facilitated. All of the suggestions above could work.

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Fair point, although if we’re going by the letter, the Barriers to Abuse only permit a non-leader parent to stand in for a second leader for fundraising or merit badge counseling, and then only with a single scout. I’m not arguing it’s reasonable, per se, just pointing out that’s what the rules say. It doesn’t seem materially difficult (at least to me) to get a second leader on the call/conference.

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I see this situation was being covered by the “letter of the law” in the G2SS’s online chat and phone calls. This is from page 1 of the current pdf version.

  • Private online communications (texting, phone calls, chat, IM, etc.) must include another registered leader or parent…

As always, this is the min. Anything more restricting or safer is welcome.

I can see that argument. I guess the distinction hinges on whether the Scoutmaster Conference is a “Scouting activity”, that would trigger the more restrictive 2 leaders 21+ requirement, or a “private online communication”, which permits for the relaxed standard of including at least one other leader (no age specified) or parent included on the communication. I think of it more as a Scouting activity, but I could see the argument going either way in the online context.

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I just texted the committee with the same question. I am doing one tonight on speaker with mom present. I’m just not sure it is fair to the scout. I mean, I never had to do it in front of my mom or dad; I know I would not have been “my true self” if they were there.

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For me - it will all depend on the scout. Then again, I have enough conversations with my scouts this will only matter for those who might hit two BOR before we are out of the sheltering.

I have conducted three scoutmaster conferences since social distancing came into play. We use Zoom and I have an ASM on the call. I would include the parent as an absolute last resort as having the parent there and able to hear the conversation definitely changes the dynamic.
We have also conducted 4 BOR as well. I have created the meeting using Zoom. Once the three committee members are on the call we allow the scout in from the waiting room so there is never any one-on-one contact. After the scout joins, I drop off the call. A committee member who is host sends the scout back to the waiting area while they discuss the scout and whether or not the rank is approved. Bring the scout back in and give them result. Scout logs out of call first and then the adults. All boxes for YPT checked. It has worked out really well.


We are hoping to start using Zoom soon as our Council has said no meetings, activities, etc. until May 9. I may have two scouts rank up before then. How do you handle the signatures for the BOR?
Thank you -stay safe.

What about Scout Rank Requirement 6 being completed or renewed prior to a virtual SM conference?

We used digital signatures. I have attached the blank advancement report we use that has the ability to be signed digitally by each person conducting the board. Just email the form to each person in succession in order to get all the signatures. 34403.pdf (58.2 KB) Our council has accepted digital signatures in the past for non-Eagle BORs and a FAQ statement from national recently said that electronic signatures would be accepted until Sept 30, 2020 for Eagle as well.
If your council won’t accept digital signatures, then you could sign the form, scan it (or fax) it to the next person, etc until all the signatures are completed. I realize this might not work depending on technology capabilities of your members.
You could always use the US Postal Service. First person fills out the form, prints it and places it in the mail to the next board member, who signs and mails to the third person. This is slow, but generally time is not a issue right now.
None of this really matters much for us at this point as our service center is closed and can’t process the paperwork anyway. If this is your situation, you can just create a folder of items to be signed when you can meet again and take care of all the paperwork later. As long as everything is recorded in Scoutbook/Internet Advancement the paperwork can catch up when things calm down.

Check with your Council to see if they require BOR signatures at all. My Council has not required them for years because they recognized long ago that multiple Scouts could be put on one advancement form but they probably had different BOR participants. They decided not to waste paper with BOR signatures.

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My council actually requires the advancement form twice. Once with the BOR signatures and then on another copy which is being submitted normally with other awards to purchase the patches from the scout shop.

I enter the rank into the software. I print the paperwork out and take it and get the badges. I only bother to print the paperwork because the cost of the original badge is covered by FOS and it is better than lying to the people saying that these are replacements. I may one day simply start ordering them online and be done with that.

What do you do with the signed papers?

The signed papers get put in a 3 ring binder. This is a result from several years ago when our Council lost all the advancement records of several units including our troop.

For our troop, we have set up an account on the zoom video conference site. You can get a free ID By going to zoom.us and signing up for it. This will allow you to have a video conference one on one of unlimited length and a conference of up to 100 for a maximum of 40 minutes. This is all at no charge. Their software runs on IBM and Mac PCs and also hon all smart phones like iPhone android etc. it’s very easy to learn how to do this as there are lots of online tutorials. We are using it for a scoutmaster conferences, for troop committee meetings, for merit badge classes, patrol meetings, etc. You just need to make sure that YPT is honored on the calls.