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Troop Tracking Software

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Our Troop currently uses Troopmaster which has done a great job for us for years (tracking 55-80 boys). Some leaders and parent question the fact that because it is a desktop application with troop data downloaded to a desktop, that after someone leaves the troop they still have access to addresses, phone numbers etc.


Looking at some alternatives and your ideas/thoughts on the following:


- TroopMaster Web

- eTrailToEagle

- ScoutManage

- ScoutSoft

- ScoutRoom

- TroopTrack


A couple of additional notes, besides advancement we like to track activity participation (ie campouts, service projects etc) and have a separate website for the troop.


Looking for your thought...



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WEB PRESENCE - For an online web presence... I partially agree with basement dweller. Custom web sites are obsolete and to be avoided. But critical features are lost if you go with a totally generic provider (i.e. Google or Facebook). Roster mgmt (patrol, parent/child association, rank, other advancement info). From roster, automatic mailing lists based on patrol and other info. Automatic newsletters. Security (parent level, leader, web admin). Most provide picture and file hosting. But there's still alot to be said for a site targeting scouting.


Our unit uses SOAR. Calendar integrates nicely with Google, Apple and Microsoft calendars. http://www.soarol.com


Another option is ScoutLander.com. They are okay but the SOAR has more very useful features.



ADVANCEMENT - As for tracking progress and other details, TroopMaster is showing it's age. we use it only because we have many scouts that have 6+ years of advancement history in it. It's a big commitment to switch to another tool and the tools are evolving quickly. We use ScoutTrack.com for cubs. It works great and it's new TroopTrack.com looks sharp. BUT ... do we want to put six years of data in it? Or are we content to stay with TroopMaster.



(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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Our troop uses troopmaster on a dedicated laptop owned by the troop. Since everyone in the troop has access to rosters anyway, I think the concern about information lingering on desktops is somewhat overblown.


Anyway, the laptop is a more ideal solution and laptops are not nearly as expensive as they used to be. It is the care and custody of the advancement coordinator who brings it to all troop meetings. Boys can report their work regularly and it is input into the files immediately.(This message has been edited by eisely)

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Our Troop currently uses Troopmaster which has done a great job for us for years (tracking 55-80 boys). Some leaders and parent question the fact that because it is a desktop application with troop data downloaded to a desktop, that after someone leaves the troop they still have access to addresses, phone numbers etc.


Good thing nobody ever published a directory or wrote down phone numbers back in the old pre-computer days. They might have had access to them after they left the troop.


I'm sure the leaders and parents are well-intentioned, but they are being silly. If you make your phone number or address available to someone, it's available to them. They can write it down, memorize it, etc. Privacy is an issue, sure, but people leaving the Troop having access to the Troop roster such as it was when they left is not a reason to change software. Frankly, putting all that on a website is at least equally risky (so says the former Internet Security guy...). Websites get hacked, and then the information is available to the (by definition criminal) hacker rather than just the Scout who used to be in the Troop (and who promised to be Trustworthy, Loyal, etc). If your folks are really worried about addresses, I'd suggest not including them with the (published) roster. Phone numbers are another story - we expect Scouts to communicate with each other, and phones are important communcation tools.


All that said, SOAR is a fine product. The calendar sync feature is very nice.





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It's not the product; it's being dedicated to serving the youth by keeping up with the things they do!


As far as BSA is concerned, the only database that matters is ScoutNet. Making sure that what you input to ScoutNet, by paper advancement reports, by internet advancement, by internet recharter ... that's where the Advancement and Membership coordinators on a troop committee earn their volunteer smiles and thank yous. Been there and done that, and done well, you have few problems year to year with youth member management.


CAUTION: Audit your unit on ScoutNet at least annually! Your DE can help you get a data dump. If a paper advancement report goes in, and the staff secretary keys in the wrong member number, your Scout doesn't have Lifesaving MB, and Bobby Smith in Troop 141 does!


Your unit database is the first secondary source. These days, it helps provide the info for tour plans, advancement, and membership. You could choose to use an OpenSource spreadsheet ... as long as you keep up with the information.


My thoughts. BTW, I used TM2000. It was a non-distributed product. I pulled data, formatted reports as they dumped off in text files, and got them to the SM/CC/trip planner. I'm personally a TM fan.



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If anyone's concerned about public information, tell them to try Googling their own name, address or telephone number...that should pretty much shut them up.


TM is usually pretty good software...I've had to come up with ingenious ways at times to get it to resync.


There have been a couple on instances where the wifey (Adv. Chair) has let loose a string of colorful metaphors when she's lost an evening of work.


Doing the summer camp scheduling is far more gruesome. Weeks of prior planning, up at 5 AM to get MB slots, weeks of organizing and changes after... I'm very happy that she's pawned that off to someone else in the Troop.

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Why are parents worried about having their contact information retained? It seems kinda paranoid, especially since units shouldn't contact Scouts after leaving the troop. Also, we use Troopmaster and only the admin can view information after a Scout is "archived."

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  • 2 months later...

I'm curious about this topic, and would like to revive this thread to hear from those using social media such as facebook.


To the original poster - where did you end up?


I researched this a few months back when I volunteered to be assistant den leader and was asked to take care of "the paperwork", tracking awards, etc.. for my son's tiger den.


I researched this and was bouncing between packmaster, scouttrack, and scoutmanage. I ended up using the cub trax spreadsheet templates. This is what some of our den leaders use. These seem pretty good, although labor intesive. I have sent multiple emails asking for info., and asked those that make it to the den meetings since for the info. What I'm finding out though, is;

a) it really isn't all that important to track this for cub scouts. In the end all that matters is if the scout's adult partner sign him off for everything or not. Short of that, why do we care where he is along the way?

b) It's like pulling teeth to get people to feed me the info to fill in the spreadsheets. I'm finding that most parents aren't really reading the book and doing the program.


I'm really new at this, but my thoughts are that the most important tools that our whole pack could use are:

contact management, (email lists, etc.)

Some sort of calendar tool that would be easy to check.


How well has facebook worked as compared to the way I'm doing it, or compared to those store bought software packages.

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The issue with Facebook (Google+ and the other social sites) is that Scouts under 13 can't legally use them (see here for Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=210644045634222). This is to deal with COPPA, which restricts what websites can do with information for youth under 13. Out of our troop of 110 boys, we have a fairly large number of boys who wouldn't be able to use the public sites. This makes it a non-starter for us.


As I understand it, you can allow registration on a private website for your unit and not run afoul of the COPPA requirements.


As someone who maintains district and unit websites, this is painful but it is the law and we are Scouters, so we follow the law.



As for the earlier comments about custom web sites, I would agree unless you are using a content management system to keep information up to date. If you have someone hand-coding a site or using tools like Dreamweaver to make a site, it won't stay up to date and in the end isn't worth it. I've converted several to a content management system and integrated calendars from Google, embed videos from Youtube, tweets from Twitter and photos from SmugMug. We get the benefit from leveraging the other sites but have it all consolidated in one place.

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A website's Terms of Service are not "the law."


COPPA applies to what information a website may collect about a minor without a parent's consent. Public or private site - it doesn't matter.


Facebook doesn't get to make the law, regardless of what they put on an FAQ page.

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My point is, Facebook doesn't allow minors under 13 to register. You're right - those are their terms of service, which are likely based on COPPA (guessing that FB doesn't want to deal with the hassle of the requirements).


Regardless, since Facebook doesn't allow it, we should not allow or encourage Scouts to violate those terms of service (a Scout is trustworthy and obedient, after all). So, if we are living by the Scout Law, then Facebook isn't an option for 10 1/2 through 12 year olds in a Troop. That was all I was trying to point out.

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I ended up on this discussion specifically because of ScoutRoom.net. I just heard about it, took a look around its website, and wondered what others thought who have used both TM and SR.


We currently use TM, with its DotNet backup option, and its TMWeb option. TM to TMWeb requires a sync process of its own. That allows the Adv. Chr. to have the main application on her laptop, but other adults can access the database to record service hours, training, etc. via a web portal.


THEN we sync TM to SOAR for the troop's website. Yes, it's a bit of a pain to have to sync twice, but it works and gives us most of the results of what we want. (Although, I have to admit... I'm in fear of corrupted files because of all the syncing... hasn't happened, but I've been in computers since the 80s, and know too much to be completely confident.) SOAR has been very responsive to suggestions I've posted.


We're paying for four products, tho. TM, TM dotnet, TMWeb, and SOAR. Altogether it's slightly under $200/yr.


So... anyone out there using ScoutRoom.net? Like it? Hate it? Their cost is $49/yr, or $2/scout. Feature wise, it looks like it does everything my combination of TM & Soar together do, although I'm not crazy about the web interface design -- that could certainly use a bit of improvement, imho.(This message has been edited by coppercarla)

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