By Darryl Alder
Dec 21, 2015

LDS/BSA Summit: Technology

This is part 6 of an 8-part report. You can read the other posts here:

Early in December, Council Key 3s and professional staff gathered on Temple Square in the Joseph Smith Building in Salt Lake City to discuss ways to better meet needs within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through Scouting. The Chief Scout Executive joined others from throughout BSA’s Western Region.

In our last posted report, we explained how those participating were divided into five discussion groups to consider ways to deliver leadership training that provides Scouting to LDS wards and stakes in ways they would accept. Today we report on:

The Impact of Technology

In his opening remarks, Chief Scout Executive Mike SurbaughCSE address Summit reflected on visits with LDS Church leaders. He combined this together with his own hiring interviews earlier this year and then listed several technology concerns for BSA.

He said that our “technology is a disaster and must be straightened out to enhance service to the church and meet their and others needs.” He went on to explain that we need honest transparency regarding our IT capabilities. For example, he said that in the Summit’s construction and our IT launches, we have promised too much. We should have used off-the-shelf software and apps rather than creating our own unique applications that have not worked well. Then he explain that with BSA’s limited resources we “attacked needs and made a lot of one-offs,” but were unable to support them well as we moved on to the next software/IT crisis.

On the bright side, he said that the chief techs from AT&T and Pinkas have audited the BSA to help us find one consistent architecture. They are also working to limit our delivered offerings in the future so that we can actually support them.

Prior to this gathering, Area 2 Scouters and professionals developed this discussion list:

  • Scouting should provide online tools that are readily available and easy to use.
  • Wards should be able to re-charter units, register new youth, and record advancement online using well-functioning programs that they can access from any electronic device.
  • To better serve stakes and wards, the BSA should make use of all available technology to simplify and streamline Scouting information and processes. This should include a series of online articles and videos that, once completed by volunteers, qualifies them as trained Scout leaders.

After several hours for discussion on the above and in light of the Chief’s remarks, the technology discussion table listed these top actions for back home:

  1. The National Council needs to define and publish a road map with the experts from AT&T and Pinkas to offer consistency and confidence in the user experience.
  2. Enable public and partners add value through an open interface
  3. BSA needs to make the LDS Church’s similar migration a case study so that Scouting can get it done too.

Visit this blog site again Wednesday for a report on the next part of the meeting where they considered the cost of Scouting in church service and 50 more Scouters joined the group via the internet for a one hour Q&A session.

Darryl head BW

Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Strategic Initiatives, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.


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One thought on “LDS/BSA Summit: Technology

  1. AvatarJenny

    I would say the same for the books, like Wolf, Bears, etc. Why can’t we just access online/electronic/digital? Why are we “required” to buy the book to get the information??


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