Given the fact that there are so many Johns, Bobs, Dans, Marys, Sues, etc in the world, it is not surprising that our governmental/on line/public individuality boils down to a number or numerous numbers.  You have a social security number, a voter's registration number, a driver's license number, an employee number; a number that makes you "unique" in the eyes of a bureaucracy.  To those agencies or institutions that lack the concept of customer service, that is all you will ever be.....a number.

I have to keep a list that has over thirty lines of information that contains the combinations of my various numbers, my various "user IDs", my various accounts along with all of their respective passwords.  I need them for my e-mail (both personal and work), bank account(s), a variety of personal accounts (Visa/Amex), frequent flyer accounts, rental car/hotel(s) accounts.....I could go on and on.  "Oh, make it easy" you may say...."use the same one across all accounts."  Well, that certainly is a thought but dismissed quickly because of my OCD when it comes to security issues.  However, it wouldn't work even if I bought into the idea of keeping it the same.  When I set up a new account and use a familiar user name it is usually already taken by someone else, so I have to go through a variety of different permutations until I get one that the computer will accept.  Then comes the password; some allow just letters, some just allow numbers, some require the use of both letters and numbers, some require that one of the letters be capitalized, some require at least thirty characters in combination, some require a DNA sample..retinal scan and a paragraph of why I want to log on.  Numbers.  If that is not bad enough you quickly find that some of these accounts want you to change your password every sixty days.  Why can't we just get a bar code tattooed to ourselves and scan ourselves into the system every time we need access an account (though that is very Orwellian and an ugly reminisce of humanity's evilness in this past century).  I get that there is a need for a "unique" identifier particularly if we continue on this path of accessibility to online shopping/banking/payment and information.  However, you can only keep a certain amount of combinations without forgetting what goes with what.

Then there is the BSA where I have a user name and a password (letters and numbers) and I also have a membership ID number.  If I want to look at my training record I have to look at both.....if I look up my user name it lists only a certain amount of the training I have done; when I look up my BSA number, there are other training programs listed there.  Why are there two different sources of information with different information on the same website?  I am sure there is a data base that would pull up my Eagle Scout rank date, I know there is one for the OA that has my vigil date.  I have yet to see a data base that has my basic leader training, wood badge and multiple (and I mean MULTIPLE) NCS trainings and certifications though I am sure there is a data base for that as well.  Why can't this be combined all into one single profile which I can access with just one user name and password?  As we are tasked to assure that adult leaders have complied with youth training requirements, we are going to need more than just their word that they have done it.  If they cannot produce a certificate of training then I suppose we would have to accept that they have had the training if they are a current registered adult.....but how do we check that if they don't have their card?  I cannot offer my staff a contract until they prove to me that they are members of the Boy Scouts of America.  For me, this is an easy obstacle as we can register them a members of our Varsity team and if they are over 18 they will sit in my office and complete the online youth protection course.....done and done.  There has been a lot of talk about on-line merit badge registrations and although that may be appealing to scout leaders I can tell you after decades of experience at CP, it will not matter as things change once you arrive to camp.  You are dealing with is inevitable that they will want to change merit badge classes once they arrive.  I would rather have online scout/scouter registration for summer camp so that we can assure that all the adult leaders who come to camp are truly members of the BSA.......wasn't that the reason we have lost all the past lawsuits.......we didn't take our own policies serious enough?  Let's put these numbers to good use.

It is important to remember; although you may be a number.....we will always treat you as a person.