YPT: No BCC of Adults on email to or from youth

If a youth sends a message via Scoutbook to me, all other adults on that email are BCC by default. The end result is, I receive an email with that youth’s email as the reply address, and there are no other adults on it if I reply. I have to add adults myself (outside of Scoutbook). For YPT purposes, I feel like any email from a youth should not 1) not default to BCC for the adults and 2) BCCing adults should not even be an opt-in option

The opposite is also true. If I send a message and some of the recipients are youth, the system should CC all of the adults (at least the leaders if not leaders and parents) and not BCC. Otherwise, the youth receiving it have little option but replying directly to me, the sender.

We can train the youth to use the Reply All feature on their email responses, but if there aren’t other adults CCed on it, they now have to add their parents or another leader manually. We should be making it easier to follow YPT, not having default options that make it easier to violate it


The BSA has determined Scoutbook’s process meets the YPT requirements since the parents of the Scout received the e-mail sent to you. A Scout cannot violate YPT by sending a one-on-one e-mail to an adult, only an adult can violate YPT.

It is up to the adult to make sure a 2nd adult is copied on any reply to the Scout. Simply using reply all is not sufficient. If you are sending an e-mail from your personal e-mail client, you need to make sure you copy the Scout’s parents or another adult.

If I receive an e-mail directly from a Scout (not via Scoutbook) I immediately copy the Scout’s parents with the original attached with a reminder to always copy the parents.

The BSA has no plans to change the working of Scoutbook e-mail.


I’m sorry, but this answer is a cop-out. I receive emails daily from scouts via Scoutbook. I have no idea what other leaders have been copied on that email. I don’t have the scout’s parent’s email address. I actually care enough about not violating YPT to do something about it and go find them every single time, but a simple change to the system would make it more likely that every leader does the same and reduce work on already overworked volunteers!

You also did not address the flip-side of my request, when the scout receives the email. 9 times out of 10 they reply and only to me, thus violating YPT right off the bat. making even more work for us leaders.

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The system may “meet YPT” for the messages FROM Scoutbook, but it is enabling YPT violations on every reply to those emails by not making this simple change.


My answer is what the volunteers that monitor the forums has been told. To get any other answer, you will need to speak with your Council professional staff and convince them to escalate the issue to BSA National. There is nothing more we as volunteers can do with regards to this issue.

I did address your issue of the Scout sending an e-mail to an adult without copying a 2nd adult. The BSA has said that this is not a violation of YPT because Scouts are not required to follow the same guidelines. A Scout cannot get in trouble for sending an e-mail to a single adult while an adult can get in trouble for sending an e-mail to a single Scout.

If you receive an e-mail from a Scout without another adult on copy, immediately reply to the Scout and the parents with a message that Parents should always be copied. Be sure to include the original e-mail from the Scout in your reply.

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If I understand you correctly, you’re arguing that the system should CC rather than BCC the initial email so that so that youth and leaders can continue the conversation outside the system while still complying with the two-deep conversation rule. That is, the initial email will be generated within Scoutbook but you are assuming that the rest of the conversation will be sent in and recorded only in regular, unmanaged emailboxes.

That assumption that the rest of the conversation must be ‘in the wild’ is the root cause of the problem (and which, in fairness, is a mistake that Scoutbook encourages you to make). What we should be doing is to reply still within the system where all the controls exist. We should be communicating with youth inside a ‘gated community’ where all our communications are preserved and open for review by other members of the community. Scoutbook has nothing like that, though some of the other scouting-support programs do.

To be blunt, the weaknesses in Scoutbook’s communication capabilities are the primary reason my unit abandoned it and went back to our prior tool. Scoutbook’s approach to communications makes a lot of sense for Cub Packs but has some serious gaps for Troops and is flatly unworkable for Venture Crews.

If you really want to stick with Scoutbook, my recommended workaround is to let the youth reply however he/she is able, then remediate the problem by copy-pasting that reply in as message history in the reply you compose in Scoutbook. That puts the scout’s communication with you back under supervision and review. Yes, there will be a small time-delay but that’s true of email communications regardless. And yes, it’s clumsy - which is why I’m not a fan of Scoutbook.


Yes, the better solution would be a full communication suite inside the system, but I don’t see that happening. I was just trying to ask for a simple change that would help keep outside emails continuing quickly and properly, since that is what we’re stuck with

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How am I supposed to know if another leader/adult was copied on an email if the default is CC?

Agreed - BSA does not have the resources to integrate a full communication suite within Scoutbook. But they’re not going to simply change from BCC to CC either. They can’t because it would violate too many privacy rules.

Consider the divorced parents with a restraining order. We’re trying to do what’s best for the youth (and staying out of custody disputes as much as possible) but a mandatory CC would expose the abused spouse’s email address to the abuser. (Again, remember that we don’t know which is which and we don’t want to know. Our focus is supporting the youth.) Or consider the adult who is feeling paranoid because their identity has been stolen - again. Or the parent who got burned by someone who used a club membership list to make sales calls. Or when there’s bad blood between two families in the same unit. Default BCC is the better answer for an awful lot of situations even though it makes our compliance with the YPT communication rule a little harder.

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I’m sorry, but YPT trumps all of those concerns. For the spousal one, the concerned parent can use a different email address for Scouting purposes if that is a concern. At the end of the day, I STILL have to have their address to communicate with them, or to continue the conversation outside of Scoutbook, which is what we have to do today

If you ignore those concerns, parents will simply refuse to give you the email address in the first place. (Or if you already have it, revoke your permission to use it by opting out - an option which we and Scoutbook MUST give them under the CAN-SPAM laws.) YPT is important but your convenience does not trump a parent’s privacy concerns.

By the way, a scouting-specific email address does NOT solve the restraining order problem. Abusers send their abuse to whatever address they have. The fact that the abuse is not co-mingled with my main account is no protection when I still have to wade through the abuse to find the legitimate scouting-related messages. The only viable answer is to honor the privacy request. BCC makes that easy. Mandatory CC makes that impossible.

I suggested mandatory CC for leaders, not all parents. If one of my leaders opts out of receiving email, they won’t be able to effectively be a leader in this day and age. Being a leader is optional. Being a parent isn’t.

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The answer is simple. If I get an email from a Scout, and it isn’t obvious a parent or other leader got a copy, I simply send a reply and put a copy to any other Scouter, more than likely one of my Advancement team, or other unit adult. My message to the Scout states why I’ve added an outside person and requesting that future emails from him show a copy has been made. The only exception might be a Scout who i know is using their parent’s email, because i know that the parent has access to the email.
Let’s not make this more complicated than it needs to be.


I would like to add to this request. Since email is the primary means of communication, it would be great if it was easier for both Scouts and Scouters to use, and open copies would make a much easier workflow, while enhancing Scout and Scouter safety along the way.

Yes, there are edge situations, like the hostile guardianship arrangement that was described in this thread. There are also problems with bad addresses making us think people are included when they aren’t. In both cases, blind copy hides what is going on, and open copy gives it sunlight.

If Scoutbook doesn’t want to be in the email business, then this feature should be removed entirely.


Scoutbook’s process meets the YPT requirements

BSA Social Media Guidelines “at a bare minimum, electronic communication between adults and youth should always include one or more authorized adults openly “copied” (included) on the message or message thread.”

A Scout cannot violate YPT by sending a one-on-one e-mail to an adult, only an adult can violate YPT.

Guide to Advancement “always copy one or more authorized adults on email messages between counselors and Scouts.”

“Blind copy” does not satisfy either of these, IMHO. It makes it more difficult for youth to comply with their Cyber Chip contract, and tougher for their parents to monitor the whole conversation.


Scoutbook ALWAYS copies a Scout’s parents. As we have said multiple times before, the BSA has stated what Scoutbook is doing is sufficient.

Any author of a message can turn off BCC if you want the e-mail addresses to be exposed.

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While scoutbook may perform a CYA for emails through scoutbook, scouts - and scouters - oftentimes respond to school or private emails and I have been frustrated by the bcc aspect when I want to keep the correspondence moving along. Every scouter in our pack and in my son’s troop is fair game for the 2 deep leadership copy - even if the parent or parents are inserted bcc (when I use scoutbook). I think the conundrum of restraining orders is a confounder, a bumsteer. All we need to do is make sure we have one recognized adult copied on any emails to scouts be it merit badge work or cub scout messages to the scouts’ contact email(s).

When responding to a scout’s email, I attempt to tag an individual parent. Scoutbook will tag whoever is listed as parent and that is good enough for me when emailing through scoutbook, when replying - even “to all” I add a relevant scouter - den leader or assistant scoutmaster associated with that scout’s patrol. It means there are more emails in my inbox - other adults tag me for 2-deep as well - but we cover our bases.

In regards to restraining orders, whoever administers scoutbook needs to remove the protected email address from the account and suggest to that parent who has the restraining order that they create a new email address for their scout communication that can be public on scoutbook. Further, if such measures need to be taken, I’m sure Council and the Council registrar need to be aware of the situation so they do not exacerbate the issue.
It isn’t a perfect world, but communication via email is a 2-deep leadership communcation with scouts.

@MichaelRossander already made a relevant observation on this suggestion earlier in the discussion. It’s not just one protected email that’s the issue.

Not every edge case can be covered, and I’m not personally sure if “defaulting to bcc” or “defaulting to cc” is the right solution. Personally, I lean toward defaulting to bcc since (at least in principle) non-scouter adults on a wide-band email (e.g. patrol/den-wide or unit-wide) haven’t been background checked by the BSA and typically aren’t tracked regarding their YPT status (at least not in a systematic way). They shouldn’t really be getting hold of individual scouts’ email addresses from the unit scouters. Broad-band emails tend to be a lot more common than narrow-band (e.g. focused to an individual scout and their parents) in my experience, and are less likely to get particular consideration as to implications of having/not having everyone’s email on public display. Based on that, I would lean toward manually setting from defaulted-bcc to cc when I email a scout and their parent(s), plus any registered scouter I include. If I’m emailing more than one scout/family, I’d probably default to bcc unless I got clearance from the parents first to expose both their scout’s and their own email addresses.


I am closing this thread because as I have stated multiple times, the BSA had deemed what Scoutbook does acceptable from a YPT standpoint.

If you disagree with this decision, your only course of action is to convince your Council professionals to discuss the situation with BSA National. There is nothing the SUAC can do with respect to Scoutbook’s behavior and no one form BSA National monitors these forums.

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