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Scoutbook Acquired By Bsa


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#21 Gone

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 01:05 PM

Bad Wolf, yes, Council has asked us to use it. It helps the council because all the advancement, service hours, and JTE numbers are automatically uploaded. TroopMaster already loads the advancement info.

 

 

Thanks.

 

My reply to council would be, we will use what works for us thank you. We will use what makes sense for our unit.

 

Just looking at SB's website leaves me scratching my head. The layout is very 1998. Not promising. Took a while to find their pricing info.


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#22 fred johnson

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 01:36 PM

Combined with other media we are able to direct scouts and parents to the website to get all the information they need. Our standard answer to most questions is, "Have you checked the website?"

 

Simple is good...and works.

 

Agreed.  Simple is good.  Many find TroopMaster and detailed advancement tracking is important.  I don't and it actually scares me as it gets the adults too involved with scout advancement.  I really really like using the paper handbooks for as much as possible. 


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#23 fred johnson

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 01:39 PM

Bad Wolf, yes, Council has asked us to use it. It helps the council because all the advancement, service hours, and JTE numbers are automatically uploaded. TroopMaster already loads the advancement info.

 

Yeah, I work with many units in our local area.  I really can't recommend ScoutBook.com until I see the benefit.  


Edited by fred johnson, 30 May 2015 - 01:44 PM.

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#24 fred johnson

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 01:44 PM

fred, well, okay, SOAR isn't exactly archaic but the fact that it's tied to TroopMaster makes it rather clunky compared to what could be done. Their email solution to the yahoo mess makes searching through emails a nuisance. Scouts can't update their contact info because info can't flow back to troopmaster, where that info all comes from. It would be really nice to create email aliases based on who is signed up for an event, but there's the troopmaster event and the soar event. That's the kind of thing I'm whining about. It's not horrible and it is the best we can find, but, well, you get what you pay for.

 

SOAR isn't tied to TroopMaster except that it can import TroopMaster data same as many other systems including ScoutBook.  

 

I'ved tried the SOAR / TroopMaster integration and I would not recommend it.  It's too easy to get out of sync, lose data or create duplicate membership records.  If you use the two, keep the contact information in SOAR and the advancement details in TroopMaster.  Use the TroopMaster import to initially load SOAR.  But after that, never never import again.  Just have an agreement on what is kept where.  


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#25 MattR

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 03:27 PM

SOAR isn't tied to TroopMaster except that it can import TroopMaster data same as many other systems including ScoutBook.  

 

I'ved tried the SOAR / TroopMaster integration and I would not recommend it.  It's too easy to get out of sync, lose data or create duplicate membership records.  If you use the two, keep the contact information in SOAR and the advancement details in TroopMaster.  Use the TroopMaster import to initially load SOAR.  But after that, never never import again.  Just have an agreement on what is kept where.  

I didn't think SOAR would upload advancement reports to Internet Advancement like TroopMaster will. Am I wrong? Otherwise we'd have to manually do that and that would be a duplication. For us troopmaster is a database we can print reports from and upload advancement to council while SOAR is used for communication. So the integration works for us. Again, it's okay but....


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#26 Gone

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:15 PM

@fred johnson, you can easily use TM as your primary data source and then sync with SOAR. Works great. Been doing it for over five years. Even does med forms, driver info, mailing lists, etc.

I didn't think SOAR would upload advancement reports to Internet Advancement like TroopMaster will. Am I wrong? Otherwise we'd have to manually do that and that would be a duplication. For us troopmaster is a database we can print reports from and upload advancement to council while SOAR is used for communication. So the integration works for us. Again, it's okay but....

Spot on. SOAR will not do that. You need TM. It's a simple upload to Internet Advancment.
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#27 Chisos

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:44 PM

I know this thread has been mainly about the Boy Scout side of things, but I'll throw out our experience on the Cub Scout side...Our pack has used Scoutbook for the past year.  My impressions would be:

1.  The advancement tracking works well.  We've liked how it works across multiple platforms (PC, Android/ iOS as a mobile web app, etc.)

2.  Scheduling/calendar tools work fine.  Easy iCal import into most calendar programs.

3.  Email tool works fine, but  you just have to hope the parents bother to check/read their email...had some initial issues with emails from SB going to spam.

4.  The RSVP feature doesn't work as we need it to--on the cub scout side, for a campout for example, need to know not just who's coming but also how many family members (since CS campout are family campouts).

 

I did find it interesting that BSA went with Scoutbook, since it's so new compared to Troop/PackMaster and some others...but I do think the visual interface will work well for most users.  In general it's worked for us and we'll continue to use it.  It's got some bug and quirks, but I also think it's got some potential.


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#28 fred johnson

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 11:31 PM

@fred johnson, you can easily use TM as your primary data source and then sync with SOAR. Works great. Been doing it for over five years. Even does med forms, driver info, mailing lists, etc.
 

 

Our experience is it gets out of sync when parents go in and edit data.  Update phones.  Update emails.  Update names.  etc.  We have not done it for a few years.  At this point, we just keep the data in SOAR and we're happy.


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#29 Gone

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 05:25 AM

Our experience is it gets out of sync when parents go in and edit data.  Update phones.  Update emails.  Update names.  etc.  We have not done it for a few years.  At this point, we just keep the data in SOAR and we're happy.


Yes if parents send edit their data in SOAR/mytroop instead of sending it in for someone to edit in TM you will get out of sync. We have an adult and scout webmaster who keep that data current.

Ideally SOAR and TM would sync bidirectional.
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#30 Hueymungus

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 08:45 AM

We switched to Scoutbook and dropped Troopmaster.  So much easier.  Plus, the BSA will be stopping the feed to any other application and only use Scoutbook.


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#31 Gone

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 10:44 AM

We switched to Scoutbook and dropped Troopmaster.  So much easier.  Plus, the BSA will be stopping the feed to any other application and only use Scoutbook.

 

Source?

 

I have heard the complete opposite...and from someone on the group working on SB at national.


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#32 perdidochas

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 10:41 AM

Agreed.  Simple is good.  Many find TroopMaster and detailed advancement tracking is important.  I don't and it actually scares me as it gets the adults too involved with scout advancement.  I really really like using the paper handbooks for as much as possible. 

Paper handbooks are good, but they can be lost and they can be accidentally destroyed (and due to the cutrate binding), pages can easily be lost. Recording it in a different area just makes sense. 


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#33 Gone

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 11:12 AM

Paper handbooks are good, but they can be lost and they can be accidentally destroyed (and due to the cutrate binding), pages can easily be lost. Recording it in a different area just makes sense. 

 

We advise all out kids to take photos of the rank pages frequently. If the book gets lost they have that as backup...unless they lose their phone and don't sync to the cloud often.

 

Our last SPL held a session on cloud-syncing. Got nearly every kid (and some adults) set up. ;)


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#34 fred johnson

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 11:31 AM

Paper handbooks are good, but they can be lost and they can be accidentally destroyed (and due to the cutrate binding), pages can easily be lost. Recording it in a different area just makes sense. 

 

I very much disagree.  ScoutNet is authoritative and can be taken for proof.  Paper scoutbook can be taken as proof.  If you loose a scoutbook, you can re-create major advancements (rank and meritbadge) from BSA ScoutNet.  If ScoutNet is wrong, you can use the book to prove.

 

Really what's going on is the detailed individual advancements.  When we've had a lost or destroyed book, the scoutmaster sits down with the scout and his new book.  Then they review the in-progress rank and discuss the status of each requirement.  If the scout can answer where or when it was done and convince the scoutmaster, then the scoutmaster initializes the requirement as done.  It doesn't take long.  It's a very personal, one-on-one situation that is based on trust and building a relationship.  I'd take that any day over having to maintain a large database of individual requirements that after the rank or merit badge is earned ... just don't matter.  

 

The people who really use those detailed advancement reports are the adults and the parents.  And, IMHO, it perverts the program into adult controlled advancement.  

 

The best way to track individual requirements is in the scout handbook the scout caries and the merit badge paper blue card.  


Edited by fred johnson, 04 June 2015 - 11:33 AM.

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#35 Gone

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 11:41 AM

Hmmmm...not sure I agree @fred johnson. Our unit uses one of those "big databases". It is the only way to keep track of all the things in play. The boys are responsible for reporting their status. The boys are responsible for keeping their book and MB cards up to date. The boys are responsible for checking their "report" to make sure their book matches what is on the report. If not, then the boy is responsible for arranging an SMC to discuss the discrepancies.

If done correctly, the scout's book should match the database which is what gets reported in to ScoutNet. Not everything gets in to ScoutNet. Camping, service projects, training, OA, special awards, etc., all are not reported in to ScoutNet. There's limited room to record all the camping, service projects and other "notes" in a handbook.

In our unit the scout keeps his book and a record of his book. That gets reported into out DB which goes to ScoutNet. This way the unit DB has back ups of the scouts ENTIRE career, not just what the handbook or ScoutNet records.
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#36 fred johnson

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 02:31 PM

Our troop (youth and adult leaders) focus on program (camping, activities and basic skills).  Advancement is encouraged, but an individual scout basis.  

 

Our advancement chair deals with recording rank and merit badge completion.  That's it.  Nothing else goes into ScoutNet.  Just ranks and merit badges.  He has an "advancement" box.  The box is at every meeting.  At any time, a scout or leader can drop a completed blue card in it.  It also has a little journal.  When someone completes a board of review, the BOR or advancement chairs logs the scouts name, new rank and date.  Once every week or so, the advancement chair opens the box and logs into ScoutNet and enters the merit badges and ranks.  ScoutNet provides PDF reports formatted for the scout shop.  It provides advancement summary reports to email the scoutmaster and his assistants.  We can even email parents pages from it. 

 

There is no need to discuss or resolve "discrepancies" in a non-authoritative / duplicate tracking database.  The book contains the authorized signers signature and is proof.  BSA ScoutNet is the official database.  Everything else is just duplicate.  And we just don't want to record 100 individual small requirements for each scout.  It serves no purpose.  Period.  

 

In our unit, the scout uses his book to track advancement.  Troop leaders track ranks and MBs.  We just don't see much use for tracking every moment of every camp out of every event.  We have calendars.  We have excel files of summer camp.  If we have to find something, we can.  But ya know what, it's the scouts job to manage his career.  We don't need to create extra infrastructure to compensate for the scout's organization.


Edited by fred johnson, 04 June 2015 - 02:35 PM.

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#37 Gone

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 03:06 PM

There is no need to discuss or resolve "discrepancies" in a non-authoritative / duplicate tracking database.  The book contains the authorized signers signature and is proof.  BSA ScoutNet is the official database.  Everything else is just duplicate.  And we just don't want to record 100 individual small requirements for each scout.  It serves no purpose.  Period.


Scenario #1: Scout keeps rank, camp out and service info in his handbook. Your advancement chair enters ranks and MBs in to ScoutNet. Scout loses handbook. Is he OA eligible? How many nights camping does he have? How does the scout rebuild his camping record?

You Way: Scout sits down for a rather lengthy session to rebuild his entire book including rank, camping and service log.

My Way: Scout requests a copy of his TroopMaster report which has all of his camping, service projects, MBs, rank dates, OA status, special awards, etc.

Looks like it serves a purpose to me. You may not like it, but it is faster, easier and avoids less problems for the scout.

 

In our unit, the scout uses his book to track advancement.  Troop leaders track ranks and MBs.  We just don't see much use for tracking every moment of every camp out of every event.  We have calendars.  We have excel files of summer camp.  If we have to find something, we can.  But ya know what, it's the scouts job to manage his career.  We don't need to create extra infrastructure to compensate for the scout's organization.


If you have Excel files you have a secondary system...just like TroopMaster. You just admit to having "extra infrastructure"....it is just Excel and not TroopMaster.

We also make the scout responsible for backing up and reporting his scout work. We have a back-up system in case ScoutNet goes down or the scout loses his handbook and does not have a back up. The information has to get in to ScoutNet anyway. Rather than "fat fingering" all that data directly in to ScoutNet we have it in our DB where we can punch a button, get a report and upload to ScoutNet.

I've done it your way before. This method we find faster, more efficient and give an added layer of protection in case data gets lost.

Edited by Bad Wolf, 04 June 2015 - 03:07 PM.

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#38 JasonG172

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 08:00 AM

I enjoy using it to keep up with what my son does SO I can stay on the people putting it in YouthManage ( use to be Scout Manage) 


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#39 fred johnson

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 08:32 AM

If you have Excel files you have a secondary system...just like TroopMaster. You just admit to having "extra infrastructure"....it is just Excel and not TroopMaster.

 
The excel files and other are for camp planning and mainly updating the treasurer's records.  (deposit records, etc).  We use Quicken for that and it works well.  Heck, you can effectively tell who attended what by just looking at the scout accounts.  There are many different sources.

But mainly to tell who is OA eligible, etc, we pretty much know immediately.  There are always a few we have to figure out.  But it's quick and easy.  But we are also between 30 and 45 members.  Not that large of a troop.  
 

 

I've done it your way before. This method we find faster, more efficient and give an added layer of protection in case data gets lost.

 

To each their own.  I personally find the tone / attitude of the scouting troop / environment when we just let the scouts manage it.  No reports.  No scouts having to audit their "troop record".  But to each their own.


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#40 Gone

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 09:36 AM

@fred johnson this method works until you have a records problem.
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