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Pack tracking software


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#21 AKdenldr

AKdenldr

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 05:45 PM

We were only looking at it at the pack level as a tool for communication, roster tracking, etc....
We don't go as far as you do 5yearscouter at the pack level, we track nothing. We put on a program, arrange meetings, arrange camping trips and other pack level outings, but do not keep attendance or log anything.
On a Den level, my first task from our then Tiger leader was to keep track of the "paperwork".... so I started to log attendance. I also started filling out the achievements for the boys, but we just don't get enough boys/parents that are signing things off in their books until the end of the year. I'm trying to work with our DL to make the instant recognition beads a formal part of the program with a few minutes at each meeting encouraging book sign offs, recording progress, uniform wear, etc...
I like your idea of asking the boys to turn in their books for recording, but I don't want to sit at the back of the room each meeting flipping through books trying to decode what new has been signed off on. How do you make that work?

BLW2, when I was a DL I would often give awards (bubble gum) to boys who had on their shirt and book. Popcycles on "golden meeting days" when all the boys had shirts and books.

I had my own tracking system (trax) and would keep attendance in that so I knew who was at what.
Every once in a while I would announce an upcoming book check. Then at the next meeting I would take them all home, sign anything that needed signing. (on the side for the tiger-bear books, on the line for Webelos). I would update any advancement reports -- put sticky notes on any pages for parents to do. And update the den advancement poster. And return handbook to the boys at school. (in the inside cover I would mark what date I did a book check.) Once we got to Webelos I did more signoffs in the den meetings -- with boys one on one. Or "turn to page xxx and I'll sign you off for what we just did".

Perhaps that will work for you, AK
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#22 kari_cardi

kari_cardi

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:29 PM

We've used ScoutTrack, we've used ScoutManage. Looking at something new for this year. Anyone try Scout Spirit?

I like using a program to manage advancements and awards. I do most of the pack recordkeeping and am AC it helps me be more organized. I also like it as a scout parent, as I can see very easily and clearly what my scout needs to accomplish for awards. My den leaders also find that it is a source of ideas for new activities. We don't use a program for the troop and it's a constant question of who has earned what, whether it has been awarded,etc. I like online programs that everyone can access so there are no mysteries or surprises.

Getting everyone to use a program is a different issue. I've offered to teach the other leaders and for the leaders who are not at all computer-literate or who do not have computer access, I offer to enter the data for them. When they realize that their scouts are earning fewer awards than the other scouts, they generally come around. I also enter data for pack events, like achievements completed at family camp. I send out reminders of when data needs to be submitted, but I don't go chasing after it. It takes time to change a culture, I suggest patience.


I've not seen scoutspirit. I'll plan on taking a look today.

In the spirit of this thread, why are you getting away form scoutrack and scoutmanage?

ScoutTrack, at least when we used it, lacked the ability to add your own unit and local awards, didn't track well from year to year, and wasn't parent-friendly. We are fine with parents entering awards for Tiger-Bear years with understood limits on how many the pack will pay for. If I remember correctly, sending emails wasn't the easiest task either.

ScoutManage looked promising. It looks good. It has tutorials for the most common functions. Parents/leaders can sign in using Facebook, Google, Twitter or OpenID. Admins can add their own awards, easy peasy. It's easy to look at a rank badge or belt loop and see what the requirements are and what requirements are still needed. Achievements can be added in bulk or individually. Records are kept year to year, including belt loops. Scouts who leave can be archived and records retrieved if they return. There are functions for the treasurer and unit event planning. Lots of stuff done right.

BUT...from a function point of view, it requires parents and leaders to be defined as 'users' as well as parents and leaders. The admin sets up a user for everyone who needs access or emails from the unit, setting permissions for each. This duplicates the data entry already completed when the scout is added to the system, because the admin has to enter the email address for each parent in the scout's record and the 'user' records. The system sends an automated email to the user at setup requesting that the user create an account at ScoutManage. The vast majority of our parents did not do this even with encouragement. For those parents who did, I have no idea what email address they used. I cannot export the email addresses for the users, just for the scout records. If a parent updated their own email address, they naturally assume that I can see the update when I cannot. Archive a scout? Wait, you didn't delete the parents as users, they are still getting emails. The whole 'user' thing is clunky and confusing to parents and leaders. My leaders can use the program but it doesn't help them. They hate it. And while I think the advancement reports are good and there are other reports that are nice, the report macros have two limitations. First, I can't make a list of scouts without including dens, parents, emails, and phone numbers. And second, I can't get a total number of scouts in my unit without counting them one by one on my screen or a printed report. Kind of lame.

Furthermore, after we signed with ScoutManage, the support/help guy disappeared behind ANOTHER forum that we were all suppose to use for support that required registration complete with login and password, barely answered questions and basically left all the clients high and dry. He started a FB page and seldoms appears on it, either. Add to this the sudden appearance of merchandise ads from Amazon with a kickback to the site, and I'm not impressed.
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