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Merit Badge Counselors


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#61 Col. Flagg

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 09:58 AM

I had to register on SCOUTBOOK as an MBC this year.  SCOUTBOOK also has my YPT information, and if my troop ever decides to start using SCOUTBOOK, I think I can initial bluecards on line?  Maybe, haven't looked at it much.

 

Is your council using it? 


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#62 Eagledad

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:31 AM

 

This is a very, very basic type of customer management system. If the current BSA software does not allow such functionality then their CIO and systems division should be fired. This could be done quite easily and would provide a huge benefit to their members.

 

I'd rather they focus on this than more adult award ceremonies to hand out more knots and WB scarves.

Good suggestions up to this point. Imagine doing 12 hours of work a day in 8 hours. And imagine the software developer with mediocre skills doing advanced development. I know this because I spent a lot of time asking the BSA software developers to develop software for making our lives easier. I can't remember all my request because I approached them with a lot of ideas. But I found that it's not like these folks are waiting around for Col. Flaggs to approach them with great wonderful new ideas. They are overwhelmed with the development already at hand. 

 

Not that you shouldn't try to push the ideas, I sure did. Who knows, the software you guys are using now might have some of my ideas as we speak. But I did learn how to work with them instead of over them or at them.

 

This discussion keeps turning into a grip session at the enemy of the everybody outside of our units. Trust me, there are a lot of reasons why District, Council and National aren't performing to our personal standards, but in most cases they are trying. And it's not like I'm a company man defending their every action. I give National full credit for the mess we have now. But lets be reasonable. I spent several hours working with the BSA software developers and I found them to very patient and polite while listening to some yahoo from Oklahoma who thinks his idea will save scouting, and yet is overwhelmed with the task he was hired to perform in the first place. 

 

Another idea is you could try and develop your own software on your own computer and donate it to District for proof of concept. Of course then you find that once you leave the program, there is nobody willing to step in and maintain the software or hardware. Hmm, how do I know this!

 

A lot of good ideas and I think many worth pursuing, but my experience of pushing new ideas in a volunteer organization is approach those you are asking for help, or to help, as your friends, because even the worst of us sense condescension and contentment.

 

I do have one story on the subject. One of our parents was a hard working prestigious lawyer and Eagle. He once approached us complaining about the difficulty of his son finding qualified MB counselors outside the troop. He came from the more traditional days of looking for an expert in the specific field and developing life long memories and relationships from the experience. That is what he wanted for his son. The irony is that his specialty of law was the reason the BSA was having to clamp down tighter on MB counselors. Maybe NJ can help me here, but this father also liked to threaten our troop with litigation when he wanted something changed in the program that he felt was not appropriate. In many cases he was right, we were a young troop learning to mature. But he never just asked, he threatened with litigation. And we never saw him accept when he wanted something, so we cringed every time he walked through the door. Now he was asking for a policy that was changed in recent years because of the style litigation that was making him rich and prestigious. I've learned a lot about people from my scouting experiences.

 

Sorry to get on a soap box. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm and idea person and the more the better. Keep bringing them.

 

Barry


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"Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first, then the lesson."


#63 Col. Flagg

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:40 AM

This discussion keeps turning into a grip session at the enemy of the everybody outside of our units. Trust me, there are a lot of reasons why District, Council and National aren't performing to our personal standards, but in most cases they are trying. And it's not like I'm a company man defending their every action. I give National full credit for the mess we have now. But lets be reasonable. I spent several hours working with the BSA software developers and I found them to very patient and polite while listening to some yahoo from Oklahoma who thinks his idea will save scouting, and yet is overwhelmed with the task he was hired to perform in the first place. 

 

This is where good IT management and a solid, realistic technology road map is key. We are not talking a sophisticated application here. We are talking pulling data out of a database, writing a few batch routines and porting these reports via a reporting and email mgmt software. This not not rocket science, this is high school Comp Sci 101.

 

Its a matter of prioritization. I have had contact with council and national in this area, as well as with their IT guys. You are right, they are capable. It's the lack of organization, direction and prioritization inherent in their leadership which keeps good ideas from seeing the light of day. They are more interested in things that have little impact, than others which would have greater.


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#64 RememberSchiff

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 11:06 AM

http://itroadmap.scouting.org/

 

according to their roadmap, Councils can expect

Ability to update the most recent approved merit badge counselor list

 

bsalegal.org appears gone.


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#65 qwazse

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 11:46 AM

http://itroadmap.scouting.org/

 

according to their roadmap, Councils can expect

Ability to update the most recent approved merit badge counselor list

 

bsalegal.org appears gone.

Yes. They checked that box. At least our district gets that list and in a sense, it does save them time. No more checking if an MBC quit or died ... if they haven't completed YPT, they might as well have ... then off the list they go.

 

But, the list we've been provided is still not sortable or filterable by badge or zip code. Essentials for a list that serves units in geographically diverse councils with lots of MBCs. That is, if the goal is to get back to something as user friendly as what we had in the 70s ...

 

So we have a map of the on-ramp ... just no exits or intersections.


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#66 qwazse

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:05 PM

....

Another idea is you could try and develop your own software on your own computer and donate it to District for proof of concept. Of course then you find that once you leave the program, there is nobody willing to step in and maintain the software or hardware. Hmm, how do I know this!

 

A lot of good ideas and I think many worth pursuing, but my experience of pushing new ideas in a volunteer organization is approach those you are asking for help, or to help, as your friends, because even the worst of us sense condescension and contentment.

...

What you are describing is an open-source development platform.

 

It's not all roses, but it does set up this "buffer" between clashing personalities, so that work can get done if there are problems that can be solved.


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#67 Col. Flagg

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:15 PM

What you are describing is an open-source development platform.

 

It's not all roses, but it does set up this "buffer" between clashing personalities, so that work can get done if there are problems that can be solved.

 

Not necessarily. Data is data. How it is processed, ported and presented does not have to rely on open source platforms. You could have a proprietary system which ports this data for the councils. The problem lies in getting all councils on one platform for the data. In this day and age of cloud computing, this should not be a big deal.


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#68 TAHAWK

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:08 PM

We can get lists by Merit Badge in my newer Council.  Not sure about the other council.


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