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  • Pack tracking software

    Our license for Scouttrack up soon. Adoption by the 3 tiger dens has been great, less so by the other dens. Not many parents use it for tracking advancement, it ends up falling on the DLs. If the information is entered it is a big help for the advancement chair (me) Certainly more an issue for Webelos as the DLs take care of the beads. The UI certainly is crummy, but it does have advantages. Just not sure it is worth the $50. Any opinions on other Pack software ?

  • #2
    So you are hanging around, nothing for the outdoor activity award????

    So next year your wolves will use it and the incoming tigers......Then the next year the bears, wolves and new tigers......

    Patience.....$50 is worth it.

    Comment


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes BD I am here, you got a response from national. Thanks for clearing it up.

    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      So BD you are hanging around, nothing on the med form issues ?????

  • #3
    I spent quite a lot of time and effort last year reviewing and studying this matter.... scouttrack and others..... as did my CM.
    We ended up not buying into any of the programs.
    I have used cubtrax spreadsheets for two years now, trying to get the data from the parents and boys to enter myself. Free, but I do not think I will continue even with that.
    Getting the data is nearly impossible, and I don't think the data compiled is really all that valuable. It just doesn't seem to be worth the effort..... at least in my den.
    I'll probably continue with it only for attendance, because that has been slightly useful.
    Personally, I don't think those programs are worth it. Maybe for WEBELOS and Scouts, but not for the younger boys.
    We use emaildodo.com for our email groups, and I think some of the other dens might also use the cubtrax free spreadsheets..... but that's all.

    Comment


    • #4


      for dens we recommend the summary page of the excel spreadsheets -- not filling it in for each individual part of every thing for each scout on their own page, but a den-wide sheet showing the names of all scouts at the top and a place to mark next to each part when done based on attendance. something that could be printed and stuck in the front of the den leader book and checked off with monthly or every othermonth the boys turning in their books to be recorded. some den leaders do that, some just seem to wait for the parent to tel them that their so is done with the rank requirements ad they call it good enough.

      I really believe that the individual tracking of each part of an achievement for a boy's rank is not something you should worry about at the pack level. there is not enough time in the day to track all the teeny parts in a reasonably sized pack.

      So for the pack, I handed out an advancement sheet to the den leaders at the leader mtg, suggested that they check thigs like LNT and World conservation or OAA when I thought they needed that reminder. Then at the pack level we used a scout trax kind of excel spreadsheet--I edited it to include just the main stuff, ranks, belt loops, and the bigger awards (LNT, OAA etc). I enter the dates earned and then transfer it to internet advancement buy the awards and write out the cards and call it done.


      We tried packmaster and we spent so much time trying to make sure everyone's info was right down to the little parts that it made it near on impossible to get someone to take over advancement chair. They saw it as a huge undertaking and we HAD to simplify it.

      Comment


      • #5
        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?

        Comment


        • AKdenldr
          AKdenldr commented
          Editing a comment
          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

      • #6
        IMO Scoutrack works great and its cheap. The calendar email reminders are handy too. Like BD said, the non-adopters will age out.

        You can provide incentive to use it though.

        Starting in September, announce that you will no longer be ordering advancement items unless its been entered in Scouttrack. period. Then (and this is really important) offer to train everyone in the pack how to use it at two different times. They'll start coming on board pretty quick.

        Comment


        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          I suggested your approach last year. The problem a few pointed out to me was the principle of "never punish a scout for the failure of an adult". So as AC I would send email reminders a week before the pack meeting and accept the awards list from email. I guess I could also be accused of being an enabler.

        • koolaidman
          koolaidman commented
          Editing a comment
          Who's punishing the scout? You or the parent/DL that didn't do something as requested? You've told them what they need to do and they need to do it. If they don't like it, they can be Advancement Chair. Do you run out and get a badge when someone only tells you 5 minutes before the pack meeting that Johnny earned his bear?
          Give them a valid reason: You don't want to punish a scout because of an errant email, or one you just missed. You don't want to punish a scout because it takes too long to tally up a badge/loop order manually. Seems to me a much better chance to punish the scout using 3 different ways to communicate advancement.

        • blw2
          blw2 commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, KDD.... I too am an enabler I suppose. That's funny, but true I guess.....
          Our pack handles the awards on the den level.... den leadership takes care of awards for their boys.....
          Wearing my ADL hat, I have tried every angle I can think of.....
          ask at meetings - they forgot the book or "oh, I've been meaning to go through the book"
          regular emails asking for them to send to me at their own pace - only one or two dads out of our ten boys responds occasionally. Not even the DL (& I know what you're probably thing...."there's your problem!")
          I've sent emails out as you suggest leading up to the pack meetings.... get me your list by next Friday.... no response

          I'm really trying to push our DL to make it a more serious part of the meetings. I think getting the boys interested and actively participating in advancement is the only way.

          I still don't think there's much value in tracking the details though..... The only help I can see from it at this point is helping us to come up with applicable den meetings based on which requirements or belt loops are needed

      • #7
        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.

        Comment


        • #8
          Originally posted by blw2 View Post
          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?

          we give each boy a handful of sticky notes in the front of their book. when the parents signs something, we ask them to put the sticky note on that page. then we collect the books once a month and look for sticky notes to record those things. towards blue and gold we might go thru a book and see if there is something we know the boy did but the parents forgot to sign. for webelos we TRY to get the boy to sticky note the book, and bring it to the den leader to be signed, sort of like they might need to do in boy scouting, but sometimes that works better than other times.

          we track rank advancemets at the pack level because otherwise we can't get the rank badges at the scout shop. we have a small excel spreadsheet and we write the date earned, we highlight the field if we haven't bought the award yet.
          we track the belt loops and the other scout awards at the pack level because the pack will pay for them one time, so it's just a track of yes, we bought this scout LNT, and we don't have to budget to pay for that badge ever again. we probably could just use internet advancement for this and get rid of the excel spreadsheet except we do track a couple of council/district/unit things that aren't listed on internet advancement yet like service stars.

          We have never had good luck with any den using the instant recognition fobs and beads very effectively. In 8 years of doing cub scouts now, it has always been hit and miss, with boys getting beads at first, then no beads, then close to blue and gold we get a chunk of beads being handed out. I would prefer to just get rid of the beads personally. we end up chasing them around on the floor more than doing anything else.

          Comment


          • #9
            Oh and for communication and roster we just use Gmail, add in all the email addresses. make clicky sign up forms for events, type up short newsletter updates, add in the calendar, and use gmail documents to keep an excel-like roster with all the main leaders having access. We also have a free website that we can sync the gmail calendar if we want to, and create custom pages, store documents for everyone to see, but nobody wants to update the website, so there it sits....

            Comment


            • #10
              We just started with ScoutTrack last fall. Our renewal is coming up soon, also. As CC and unofficial Webelos leader again for youngest son, I have a love/hate relationship with it. Could be interested in something else or maybe the grass is just greener over there............. We primarily purchased the software for a simplified Awards database. One location instead of multiple DL emails. Yes, there have been growing pains--DL not putting them in at all or incorrectly--i.e. Religious Emblem instead of Faith Requirement. Our Awards Chair does send out an email of awards for everyone to check prior heading over to the Scout Shop.

              We did not hold leader, parent training last year. We need to this year. And, I need some training.

              Pros:
              Love the calendar feature with the ability to add location and event details. I can also set up email reminders for events.
              Entering parent and scout data was easy.
              Setting up dens was easy.
              Advancing dens to the next rank was simple.
              24/7 access by all is easy especially over mobile phones/tablets.
              I like the ability to see who is logging in and how often. I can tell if the DL has been in the system or not.
              Den Progess advancement report is good. I can check and invite Webelos from the other den to our den meeting if they haven't earned a particular Activity Pin.
              The price is reasonable.
              Quick Entry feature is nice.

              Cons:
              There is no way to 'inactivate" or "hide" scouts that have quit as you would hide an inactivated account in Quicken. I was told by ScoutTrack owners to create a separate "Inactivated" den for these scouts. Once you delete a scout, all rank advancement is gone forever. The "Inactivated" den maintains the data which is important for the 18 mo. Webelos program--just in case scout returns.

              My son's and his friend's belt is ridiculously full of belt loops. I don't want anymore and neither does his parent--scouts OK with this, too. For Webelos year, scouts need to re-earn some belt loops so they need to be entered in the system for rank advancement. Since I don't have access like the Awards Chair, I can't mark them as distributed. (Unless I add myself as an Awards Chair.) Therefore, I am sending the Awards Chair a separate email to tell him not to purchase belt loops for these 2 scouts.

              The parents aren't logging in on a routine basis. In fact, most haven't logged in at all. I get several requests over the year for so-and-so's phone number and I have to remind folks to check ScoutTrack for the info.

              I just entered summer camp belt loops, asked the Awards Chair to double check my work and he couldn't find them as entered. Right after I entered them and ran a report, the belt loops were all there on my end. His fault or mine??? So, I am using Webelos Trax as a back up. (IMHO, I like Webelos Trax better.)

              I am not using it for Charter Renewal especially since the scout numbers are off with the Inactivated Webelos. I have my own spreadsheet with equations for that purpose. Double work, I know.

              Comment


              • sasha
                sasha commented
                Editing a comment
                ScoutManage has an "Archive' feature that is very nice for parking records for scouts who have left. I also like that you can enter your own awards to track and the reports for the Advancement chair are more robust IMO. On the other hand, the calendar in ScoutTrack has more options and communication is much more straightforward.

              • Polaris
                Polaris commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes. ScoutTrack needs the Archive feature. Perhaps I will zip tech support an email as a suggested update.

                Hopefully the developers are reading the thread and are already thinking about it............

            • #11
              Originally posted by sasha View Post
              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?

              Comment


              • sasha
                sasha commented
                Editing a comment
                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.

            • #12
              5yearscouter, I like the sticky notes idea. I've actually been thinking forward to WEBELOS year and making the boys more responsible for this. I really want to start in that direction in this, our Bear year.
              I'm not really sure I want to continue with logging the partial achievement stuff though, as I've previously written.... I really just want to keep the boys (and to a lesser degree the parents) on top of progress. I'm in total agreement with you about the beads, but I'm thinking if we switch up our focus with them they might be the tool to use to encourage the boys. If my DL buys into the idea, I'm planning to try and pick up some cool animal, pirate, or indian beads in place of the boring BSA ones.

              Comment


              • #13
                Anyone using ScoutJourney web based tracking for $99/yr? https://www.scoutjourney.com/?gclid=...FapDMgod3xAAjw It looks new with more features to be added later.

                Comment

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