Technology

Required Unit Reporting of District Service Hours

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On behalf of North Star Program Chair Mark Pishon:

ISSUE:  Two separate reporting databases

The national website, accessible through my.scouting.org, reports directly to National Council and is used for your unit’s national statistics such as contribution to the World Movement of Scouting’s billion service-hour challenge, but not Journey to Excellence scoring.

We know this is a problem because many of our largest and most successful troops have reported zero service hours on one or both of these websites. At the same time, these units have had Eagle Scouts reporting hundreds if not thousands of service hours. The scouts are getting proper credit, but it is not passing on to the units.

Journey to Excellence has a separate scoring for service hours which can receive a separate gold-level recognition.


ACTION ITEM:

Make sure your unit secretary or registrar is reporting the same service hours to both National BSA on my.scouting.org as well as to the Crossroads BSA website (service hours form found here).


 

To prevent this being a problem in the future, our District will be reviewing these statistics quarterly.  For troops, we will be looking at Eagle project reports against unit reports.  Discrepancies will be pointed out to units.

For Cub Scout Packs, we will be looking at zero-hour reports as needing updating.

Remember, we are part of a world-wide effort to demonstrate the value of scouting to our communities. Your reports help that marketing effort.

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Youth Protection Training v2 and Deadlines!

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To reemphasize –

The BSA published training deadline for YPT2 training is Oct. 1, however our Crossroads of America Council goal is to have 100% of registered adults complete this training by April 30, 2018.  One more short month left!YPT Logo

We want to continue to be a Pacesetter Council for the nation and set the leadership tone by having our training completed well in advance of the deadline.

Please read through our front page post (<== linked here) which gives step by step instructions on getting started and tips for navigating this training.

Also it is recommended that you use Safari (if on a Mac) or Google Chrome (if on a PC).

 

THANKS for all you do for Scouting!

Roundtable Thursday (CORRECTED)

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Just a quick reminder that we will hold the first Roundtable of the year on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 7:00 pm at Luke’s Lodge, the outbuilding on the campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

The Scout Roundtable will focus on different advancement softwares including Scoutbook.com, TroopWebHost, and TroopMaster (PackMaster). These three will have specific presentations and opportunities to see the software live. Others will be discussed. If your unit uses a different software that you like, please contact Jeff Heck to provide more information for presentation purposes. This open to all packs, troops, and crews. Please suggest that your unit chair and advancement chair attend.

The Cub Scout Roundtable, led by Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter, will focus on Blue and Gold Banquet planning and preparation for use in the next 30-90 days. Come learn how to make this memorable and valuable to your Cubs and Webelos!Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Patch

Correction h/t on date to Mark Pishon.

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.

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.