Technology

Watch Facebook feed for more

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Over the last several weeks, I have increased the use of Facebook for interesting snippets of information. A perfect example is this article on positions of responsibility. You can find more examples of highlighted articles like this by following the district commissioner feed on Facebook. Look in the right column (on your desktop) or the bottom (on your mobile device) of this page to access it.

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Unit listings updated

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I have been working to make sure the unit listings on this site are up to date.

Each unit chair should assign someone to provide me udpated information or contact me directly to confirm the accuracy of the information posted.

Many Cub Packs and Venturing Crews do not have websites. This is very damaging to your ability to look credible and inviting. Please seriously investigate having a website hosted on a service like WordPress (which I use for this website), a FaceBook page with multiple administratiors, or using a built-in web service for advancement like TroopWebHost.

The Cub Packs are listed here.

The Scout Troops are listed here.

The Venturing Crews are listed here.

Other Rumored Changes

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I cannot independently verify these yet, but Bobwhite Blather is a reputable site about scouting. He reports that in addition to the fee increase one change that is moot to the Crossroads of America Council (i.e., YPT before initial registration, a long-standing CAC practice) two other changes are coming in 2018:

  • All adults at summer camp must be registered. In the past, a parent of a Scout could camp with the troop, subject to local requirements such as completing YPT or being cleared by the state’s human services central registry. Beginning in 2018, however, any adult who accompanies a troop to a long-term (over 72 hours) resident camp or other activity (such as high adventure) must be registered with the BSA, even if they are the parent of a Scout on the trip. This is to allow the BSA to conduct the criminal background check and for the chartered organization to explicitly approve of the adult. They can be registered with the unit in any of the positions available, including Assistant Scoutmaster, committee member or Unit Scouter Reserve. The latter is preferred if the adult has no other responsibilities with the troop – but if you have vacancies on your committee, this might be a good way to bolster it.

  • Internet Rechartering is improved. I haven’t seen too many specifics, but the new rechartering process is more in line with the tools available at my.scouting.org. Most of us have suffered with the previous Internet rechartering system, including its reliance on a specific browser to complete some of the steps. If the new system is like the other current tools, it’ll work with a variety of modern browsers including Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It’ll also include many convenience improvements such as allowing electronic authorization and online payment.

Any time the BSA says that they are “improving technology,” I start having heart palpatations. If past experience is any indication of future performance (since this is not an SEC compliant website), we could be in for a bumpy rechartering year.

Does your Unit know if it has new-members-in-waiting?

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The BSA has a recruiting website called http://www.BeAScout.org. Prospective new members are driven there to express interest in your unit.

Right now we have had nearly 200 prospects grow through the system throughout the district. We currently have 32 invitations hanging out there. If you have already reviewed the Inviation Manager as the Chartered Org Rep, Committee Chair, or Cubmaster/Scoutmaster, you know your status. If you have not, log in to my.scouting.org. If a red number appears in the upper right-hand corner, you have invitations to send.

If you have one done on paper, then you can mark it complete. This purges it.

If you have sent the invitation, you can then move to the Application Manager to watch to see if the family has done the paperwork. We have two applications that are awaiting approval right now.

Please make sure that you have reviewed your settings. This allows you to set your dues, decide who can approve the application, and communicate stock information to new members such as website and calendar information.

If you use it, you may find problems, but your prospects are already using it. Are you closing the deal for low-hanging fruit?

National Jamboree Preparations

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How many of your scouts or venturers are participating in the quadrennial National Jamboree at the Summit, Bechtel Scout Reservation, West Virginia?

One item to add to the scout’s toolkit is the Jamboree App. The Summit is a Wi-Fi friendly zone. Scouts are encouraged to use the system for many purposes.

BSAJamboree_May2015_headerMake sure you download the app before you go, so you can use it at arrival!

Wifi at Camp and Unit Tech Policies

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As I have noted in the past, technology is changing the experience of scouting.

A constant debate among scouters is how to manage this change. This is decided at the unit level.

Some of troops forbid technology on outings. Some allow technology.

Which is the correct answer?

Only your PLC and troop committee can answer that question.

My recommendation is that this question should be reviewed annually by the PLC.

More and more troops are looking at technology as a good way to teach the Scout Law in practice.

One unit only allows technology to be used at camp for scouting related purposes.

Another allows it if it obeys the Scout Law: helpful, kind, etc.

Other units outright prohibit it. What do you think? Come comment on Facebook @CACNorthStarCommissioner.

My.scouting Tools in iOS

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Did you know that you can access my.scouting.org through an iOS app?

There is a YouTube video to give you a preview.

You can. How good is it? Well, it is BSA tech.

Give it a whirl, and let’s know your thoughts in the comments below.

The functions available vary based on how you are registered with BSA.

Online Registration Roll Out Continues

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Previously, we posted about a training video for online registration.

Now BSA National has rolled out a dedicated webpage for training on the new online registration system. Take a look. Make sure your unit’s ready for the new system.

This will be extremely handy in preparing for rechartering.

Remember all new application that have completed processing prior to October 1, 2016 will be automatically entered into the Internet Rechartering system. That cuts down on a lot of risks of error in the rechartering process. The electronic registration means that the October 1, 2016 deadline is easier to meet with less paper-flow management.

New Facebook Page

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In an effort to make the District current in its social media, posts from this website will now post to a Facebook page, too.

We realize that many individuals and units rely on Facebook as their primary communication method. For those units, families, and scouts, distributing valuable information easily through Facebook is highly desirable.

If you find an article timely or interesting, please “Like” the post. This will increase the number of people who can receive the same value.

As we enter the Fall Recruiting season, we will be using social media to push information to prospective families and scouts to learn more about what we offer. Sharing good posts for those audiences will allow us as a district to leverage information shared to persons who would not normally see our posts.

For example, a mother may have a new Tiger Cub in Pike Township also on a new soccer team. She joins a Facebook group for the soccer team. As a result, the new friends on Facebook may see a link to a photo of her son in a scout uniform. The next week, the new friends may see that the Tiger Cub mom liked an article about an upcoming hayride for scouts. The next month, they see an article about how scouting improves a boy’s cheerfulness and trustworthiness.

All of these examples are useful marketing for us. Very few took more than a few “Like” clicks for the young mom.

So, please have your unit’s Facebook page “Like” our new page. We would love it!

Social Media Roundtable

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At last week’s Roundtable, I had scheduled outgoing Unit Commissioner Andrew Linden to speak about using Social Media in Units. I was also scheduled to leave town at the same time. Due to a miscommunication, Andrew went to the wrong church. My apologies to Andrew for not confirming the locations. Thank you to Andrew for preparing his notes and forwarding them to me so that you can still receive the benefit of his efforts.

Here for download is what Andrew sent me.

Thanks again to Andrew for his effort. After the presentation, Andrew is leaving his position as a Unit Commissioner to help start a new veteran-support chapter in the local area, while he and his wife are expecting a baby. Good luck to Andrew and his new family. We hope to see him back in North Star soon!