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#21 5yearscouter

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:13 PM

I thought I replied to this. why would I check out an app that allows a tiger to earn boy scout merit badges?
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#22 Faith

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 08:11 PM

Right now I use paper and pencil. Not sure what the pack uses, we haven't ever discussed it. Definitely need to look at my options (but for now, I'm OK with paper :) ) @ 5yearscouter, looking closer at the images above, they are two different ones. Maybe its two screenshots of two different areas? I may check it out to see (since we are currently Tigers.)
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#23 Deaf Scouter

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 08:44 PM

Has anyone checked out Scout Connect? Its still in the beginning stages but I like their user friendly features especially in recording MB work. Troop used TroopMaster but I find it complex. Which they could revamp it and simplify it.
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#24 Basementdweller

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 06:33 AM

Reccord merit badge work????? Let me see from my understanding of the merit badge program Bobby tenderfoot wants to earn the Rat Rodeo merit badge. He goes to his SM and asks for a Unit Leader signed Merit Badge card and a councilors name. Bobby meets with Rat Rodeo merit badge councilor completes the badge and then turns the Councilor signed card back into the Advancement Chair or SM. So exactly what is there to record far as merit badge work other than Start, completed and awarded???????????
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#25 Gone

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:34 AM

Reccord merit badge work?????


Let me see from my understanding of the merit badge program

Bobby tenderfoot wants to earn the Rat Rodeo merit badge. He goes to his SM and asks for a Unit Leader signed Merit Badge card and a councilors name. Bobby meets with Rat Rodeo merit badge councilor completes the badge and then turns the Councilor signed card back into the Advancement Chair or SM.

So exactly what is there to record far as merit badge work other than Start, completed and awarded???????????

- Tracking what requirements Bobby doesn't finish should he get a partial
- Keeping a permanent record (not paper) that has a back-up in case Bobby loses his Blue Card
- Being able to run a report on how many MBs were earned or ranks were award to qualify for JTE or other unit honors
- Being able to give group credit if you have 20 guys taking Basketry and not having to fill out the same spreadsheet 20 times for the same thing
- Having a file that can be imported into Internet Advancement so that National has a record of the Scout's work (and for free rank patches)
- Tracking when badges have been awarded or not in case Bobby does not attend the COH
- Being able to provide online or printed reports for Bobby when he asks for them so he can make sure his Handbook matches the Troop database (seen way too many Scouts find surprises in their records when going for Eagle without these periodic checks)
- Allows Scoutmasters to view every Scout's status on how many completed and partial MBs he has to help them manage their Scout careers and determine what each Scout's interest is to better tailor their SMC discussions
- Use the software to match counselors with Scouts or to identify where a troop might need a counselor
- To reduce the amount of time we as volunteers spend managing out program

These are a few of the reasons we use software and have an ASM assigned as MB advisor. He manages the whole process and is the contact point for all things MB. I can tell you if I had to do all of this manually (70+ boys) I would spend four time the amount of time I currently spend just managing that aspect of the program. For a medium-sized troop (for my area) Troopmaster is a God send.
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#26 Basementdweller

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:02 AM

Fair enough. I view it as the boys responsibility. In our troop once you give the boy a merit badge card I do nothing with it till he gives it back to me with his. councilors signature as completed. I don't track partials. I track start date, completion and award dates. If the boy loses it it teaches responsibility.....he can redo it or ask the MBC for another signature. The boys can be responsible if you make them ..
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#27 perdidochas

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:07 AM

Fair enough. I view it as the boys responsibility. In our troop once you give the boy a merit badge card I do nothing with it till he gives it back to me with his. councilors signature as completed. I don't track partials. I track start date, completion and award dates. If the boy loses it it teaches responsibility.....he can redo it or ask the MBC for another signature. The boys can be responsible if you make them ..


The only partials we track are summer camp. If the summer camps would do blue cards, we would stop doing that.
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#28 Basementdweller

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:34 AM

Reccord merit badge work?????


Let me see from my understanding of the merit badge program

Bobby tenderfoot wants to earn the Rat Rodeo merit badge. He goes to his SM and asks for a Unit Leader signed Merit Badge card and a councilors name. Bobby meets with Rat Rodeo merit badge councilor completes the badge and then turns the Councilor signed card back into the Advancement Chair or SM.

So exactly what is there to record far as merit badge work other than Start, completed and awarded???????????

What an incredible waste of time... Tracking merit badge partials????? I think a volunteers time is better spent on anything other than managing merit badge partials.

Mercifully the camp we attend uses blue cards....I hand the partials to the boys in the CO's Parking lot upon our return. Some run right out and finish them....I have a couple of boys who held them to the next summer and then finished them....

I award rank advancement immediately after the BOR and Bobby can get his merit badges the next time I see him if he misses the court of honor.

We do not do Internal Troop merit badge councilors, I am a firm believer in how the program was intended to work. The call an adult they don't know and manage the badge on their own. We do not hold merit badge classes during troop meetings.

JTE.....laughing out loud here....Who cares other than the DE whose bonus depends on it. Lets just say I don't like it or see the need.
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#29 Gone

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:02 PM

Fair enough.

I view it as the boys responsibility. In our troop once you give the boy a merit badge card I do nothing with it till he gives it back to me with his. councilors signature as completed.

I don't track partials. I track start date, completion and award dates. If the boy loses it it teaches responsibility.....he can redo it or ask the MBC for another signature.

The boys can be responsible if you make them

..

There is nothing in what I posted that does not put the onus on the boy in out troop. Merely, we have a large troop with 70+ boys. Every COH we have roughtly 200+ MBs to hand out. We don't do MBs at meeting. Our troop is blessed enough to have professionals from many walks of life who have medical, dental, military or other specialized training that allows us to offer classes to our Scouts (outside of regular meetings) where the boys can learn something new. Classes are kept small so the boys learn something. This is no differerent than a boy going out and getting an MB counselor on his own. We post the class openings and the boys have to sign up and manage their class work on their own. If a parent sneaks online durng the day (dead give away is during school hours) and signs their son up we kick it right back out and tell them to let the Scout manage their work.

As a troop we have a responsibility to know what our boys are doing which is why we track partials and completions. If a record is lost, National will accept the troop's record as a back up PLUS it makes it easier for us to enter the data into the national DB so that they have the record too. I would hate to tell ANY kid "tough luck" if his house burnt down or tornado hit his house that he's SOL because he did not have his records in a strong box and it's his fault. Troops keep records -- especially larger troops -- so we can be there to support our Scouts should they need us. The boys are plenty responsbile...in fact, perhaps even more so.

BTW, we track partials as a way of 1) knowing if a boy is working on too much already, or 2) identifying a Scout who may start something and not finish it. With the software in place, tracking partials is no harder than tracking camping nights, service hours or anything else. Doing it in software allows us to run reports and know fast who our Lifeguards are, who needs canoe training before our float trip, who can plan our Philmont training hikes, who does/doesn't need climbing or firearms certification, etc. So I would argue the software and tracking we do SAVES us time. Trust me, I've done it manually AND with software and the latter is by far less time consuming and allows me to focus on other things.
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#30 Basementdweller

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 04:14 PM

Fair enough.

I view it as the boys responsibility. In our troop once you give the boy a merit badge card I do nothing with it till he gives it back to me with his. councilors signature as completed.

I don't track partials. I track start date, completion and award dates. If the boy loses it it teaches responsibility.....he can redo it or ask the MBC for another signature.

The boys can be responsible if you make them

..

Guess my guys are under achievers....Generally they get one at a time and complete em.....except summer camp......

I don't have much in the way of parents or adults with any skills, Think the folks you see walking wide eyed at walmart.
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#31 5yearscouter

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:45 PM

National doesn't care about partials and national doesn't care about the boy or the troops copy of the blue card. some councils I guess collect copies of completed blue cards but I'm not really sure why they would go to that much trouble. programs like troopmaster care about partials, but it doesn't really do much good unless the mb couselors can use it to see what they haven't covered with the scout yet, but a blue card does that just as well or not better. We track completed merit badges in internet advancement which goes to national and that program will provide a copy for any scout that needs one due to his house burning down, and if required for his eagle we would recreate all merit badge cards marking them with the correct date they were earned but really that is adding to the requirements IMHO. I don't like dealig with tracking partials on ranks either, although I can see the merit in using that info to help decide what the direction the troop needs to head in order to ensure the scouts can earn their next ranks. but I see that as info the youth leaders should have for planning patrol meetings, troop meetings and outings--and we very rarely allow the youth to see the programs such as troopmaster for anyone's records except maybe their own. So then it's just adults entering things in the computer in order to enter things in the computer. partials for summer camp are valid to keep track of, but why is it my job as an adult leader to keep track of them rather than the youth? should a merit badge counselor accept a print out from troopmaster of what things the boy has already completed in the badge, knowing that the print out from troopmaster doesn't have a mb counselor's signature on it so who knows how accurate it is since it's passed thru several hands being entered into the system. the scout should just keep his blue card showing the partials, shouldn't he?
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#32 Gone

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 10:39 AM

National doesn't care about partials and national doesn't care about the boy or the troops copy of the blue card.
some councils I guess collect copies of completed blue cards but I'm not really sure why they would go to that much trouble.
programs like troopmaster care about partials, but it doesn't really do much good unless the mb couselors can use it to see what they haven't covered with the scout yet, but a blue card does that just as well or not better.
We track completed merit badges in internet advancement which goes to national
and that program will provide a copy for any scout that needs one due to his house burning down,
and if required for his eagle we would recreate all merit badge cards marking them with the correct date they were earned but really that is adding to the requirements IMHO.

I don't like dealig with tracking partials on ranks either, although I can see the merit in using that info to help decide what the direction the troop needs to head in order to ensure the scouts can earn their next ranks. but I see that as info the youth leaders should have for planning patrol meetings, troop meetings and outings--and we very rarely allow the youth to see the programs such as troopmaster for anyone's records except maybe their own. So then it's just adults entering things in the computer in order to enter things in the computer.

partials for summer camp are valid to keep track of, but why is it my job as an adult leader to keep track of them rather than the youth? should a merit badge counselor accept a print out from troopmaster of what things the boy has already completed in the badge, knowing that the print out from troopmaster doesn't have a mb counselor's signature on it so who knows how accurate it is since it's passed thru several hands being entered into the system. the scout should just keep his blue card showing the partials, shouldn't he?

If a Scout loses a blue card in a house fire and we happen to have his partial info in TM, we can reissue his blue card and send a note to the next counselor noting what happened. Never had a Scout turned away yet.

On the other hand, we HAVE had counselors turn away Scouts for losing their blue card essentially saying "tough luck, start over". Ergo, we keep records.
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#33 5yearscouter

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 12:57 PM

If a counselor says tough luck, you lost your blue card and have to start over, having the info in TM doesn't do any good, since that's not a blue card.... how can you reissue a blue card from the info in TM? You aren't the mb counselor so you can't sign off on partials even if you have it written down in TM.
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#34 blw2

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 01:13 PM

My CM and I evaluated a bunch of these options + some more..... We ended up using a group email solution (emaildodo.com) tied to our own pack domain. We have email addresses set up for the parents, the committee, and each den. I have even set up temporary groups for all of those going on a particular trip. and for my den I have been using the free trax spreadsheet templates. The group email is helpful, but honestly I can't say that the spreadsheet is all that valuable. It's hard to get the data from the parents (even for the leader's kid) to enter it, and even then there is little to now value in having it. It would be just as good to have a parent give you a list of what the boy has earned at the appropriate time before a pack meeting..... make a shopping list...... and just buy the stuff. half the time all I can get is "he completed his wolf".... but I cant enter which of the optional achievements he did. They wont answer it..... If they wont do something as easy as tell me so I can enter it, there's no way they would enter it themselves! We don't currently do any sort of attendance award, so there hasn't proven to be much value even in the attendance I strive to take. I think I'm going to stop all tracking for my den for the Bear year, and then pick it back up for WEBLOS when it is no longer up to the parents' sign off.
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#35 Gone

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:58 PM

If a counselor says tough luck, you lost your blue card and have to start over, having the info in TM doesn't do any good, since that's not a blue card.... how can you reissue a blue card from the info in TM? You aren't the mb counselor so you can't sign off on partials even if you have it written down in TM.


If he has a partial in Woodwork from summer camp, we have his partial in TM, we most certainly can issue him an updated blue card. Already checked with Council on that point and they backed us up. If he was signed off on requirements 1-5 and was not on 6-10, we either a) get our troop Woodwork counselor to sign off after talking to the boy, or b) get a counselor within the District to do it. Council was just fine with that.
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#36 Deaf Scouter

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:23 PM

Anyone tried Connecting Scouts website??
[URL="https://www.connectingscouts.com/"]https://www.connectingscouts.com/[/URL="https://www.connectingscouts.com/"]
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#37 BobWhiteVA

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:07 PM

has anyone found anything capable of sending SMS alerts out to Scouts? Scouts, as most of you know, don't read e-mail but they will look at texts. We also want something that parents can use to import into their personal calendars (e.g. Google).
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#38 King Ding Dong

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 09:22 AM

Troopwebhost will do this. Not sure about SOAR.
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#39 Fehler

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 09:41 AM

Some carriers use e-mail to SMS, like and address of phonenumber@carrier.com. So if you blast simple e-mail reminders in text format, it works.
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#40 King Ding Dong

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:46 PM

Some carriers use e-mail to SMS, like and address of phonenumber@carrier.com. So if you blast simple e-mail reminders in text format, it works.

I forgot all about that. Used to do that for some reason.

Here is a link

http://www.thegeekst...ms-using-email/
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