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Tracking Programs - Do you use them?

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Chasing down Den Leaders 2 days before the Pack meeting to get award lists is getting real old!


The Pack has decided to go with one of the Unit tracking programs out there. The problem, of course, is deciding which one to use.


I have found 4 that seem to be well thought out & versatile. There are 2 database centered, & 2 online centered. This is what I have discovered about them :


The 2 database centered are Packmaster & Scoutmate. Both of these also have an FTP site for storing your database online and are compatible with BSA ScoutNet. Packmaster seems to be the oldest, with strong ties to BSA, and additional products to utilize (ie-sheets for printing out your own rank cards). Scoutmate looks like it is starting to put some of its updating ability online, as opposed to only on the database. For both of these, a CD with the program must be sent around to all of the unit's adults who will be using it, to have it downloaded on their computer.


The 2 online centered are ScoutTrack & ScoutManage. Neither of these, as far as I can tell, are compatible with ScoutNet. Both of these have no CD to send around & no program to download. They are online programs that can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. Both allow accessibility to be restricted to specific areas for different users. Both allow parents to "sign-off" online on any work done at home. ScoutTrack allows den leaders to mark, online, which achievements have/will be done in den meetings so parents can see what is planned. ScoutManage has a home page for each family with all of their info (youth & adult) in one place. ScoutManage also has the ability to have it's database downloaded to a computer and then uploaded again. I assume this is for portability so you can take the data with you and manage things like attendance and fees on the spot.


All 4 programs have e-mail, calendar, event, permission slip, & financial (on 1 it is an added purchase) capability. I believe all also have the capability to include medical info.


I must admit to rather liking the idea of the online services. No CD to schlep around & parents can sign in a virtual handbook with out running around town to drop off a book.


Now, my questions to all of you are, do you use one of these programs? Do they deliver what they promise? How easy are they to use? What are any pluses and/or minuses you have found? Do they update their databases regularly and, more important, correctly, to reflect BSA changes? How is their customer service? Are there any other programs out there, besides one of these, that your unit uses?


Any thoughts, comments, ideas, etc are VERY welcome!

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I use the Boy Scout version, Troopmaster.


It's very easy to use! The database is as good as the inputs given it!


From reading your challenge, though, if I read you correctly, the challenge your Pack has is the discipline of getting the Den Leaders to turn in info.


That's not a SW issue, that's a leader discipline issue. Will a new toy solve the discipline issue? Really?


If it would not hurt the Cubs (and we know it will :( ), I'd say letting the DL see the hurt in a boys' face when he doesn't get that big new patch he knows he earned would be a mighty incentive... to never again delay getting the word up.



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I'm working an evaluation of ScoutTrack for use on the Palm computing platform.


So far I really like it, but I have to line up in complete and utter agreement with John-in-KC in asking the question about whether a new program methodology of turning in the reports will actually result in you getting timely and complete updates.

My experience is that it won't. At least not over time - you may see a one or two month enthusiasm for "playing " with the new system, but the underlying fundamental is "doing the report". And if your DL's aren't turning them in, it's not likely that the new program will be either the carrot or the stick that gets them to do so.


What else have you tried? :)


How about a reminder on Your calendar to send them each an e-mail an appropriate number of days in advance - requesting that they reply to the e-mail with a report by such and such a date? If you need it in a specific format you could even send the form as an attachment. If they won't reply to that - they won't utilize your new software anyway, IMHO.

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It's not only a Leader discipline issue, although that is part of it. It would be nice to have all of our info in one place, organized, sorted & accurate. Accurate shopping list's and filled in advancement forms. Event, attendance, & training management. Easier communication with the entire Pack or just segments of it.


I would like to know if these programs REALLY do help, or are we just as well off doing it the way we are now, with Excel spreadsheets, snail-mail fliers, e-mails & handwritten stuff.


If they DO help, which ones work better, & do more.


It also helps to hear about the Troop-side programs (thanks!) because, if whichever one we choose works well for the Pack, the Troop might be interested in getting it also.


Please keep the comments coming!


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If there truly was a one size fits all answer we'd all already be doing it. So always do a trial of the new plan while maintaining the old one. And see if the new system actually works for you and your team.


But ONE THING you must remember is that in the electronic world you MUST have a backup of your records, I prefer two backups kept on different machines for anything important. And if that backup is intended to be useful it should be done every (insert meaningful period of time to you here, i.e; every time you add data, weekly, monthly, etc.)


Really what happens if your paper records were lost, stolen or burned. It's just that much more likely in the digital world.


That said, in an organization I was previously affiliated with I was fine with electronic record keeping, but I always kept a paper copy of things I HAD to have.

And I knew that if someone who owed me a report wouldn't give it to me on paper that I wasn't likely to see it in any other format either. At least not without a little "intervention" time. ;)

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We use ScoutTrack for our pack. Most of the parents have computer access and are very good about entering acheivements, particularly if we send a reminder the week before the pack meeting :). However, ScoutTrack makes it very easy to do that. We send an e-mail using the interface on the web site, and it does the trick.


The centralization of records, the ease of communication, and the reports are the features we find most attractive about this system.


In the dens where record keeping, or submission of advancements has been an issue, our solution has been for the den leader to delegate that job to a parent with that skill set. It's worked very well, particularly with ScoutTrack. We just give the den "advancement" person the rights to change all the den's records, and that usually takes care of the issue.

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Troopmaster does provide an Advancement Report including a ScoutNet compatible floppy. Of course, floppies are becoming rarer, and a one shot use CD is not the cheapest way. My council IT person is a pedant, and rightly so: Memory sticks can be used internally, but not externally (as in my stick as a volunteer does not touch the Registrar's PC).


It also provides a shopping list!


I see the issue: Since Mom and Dad are Akela for much of Cub advancement, there needs to be some training and orientation of parents: When they finish Achievement Six or Elective 12, they need to email the Den Leader and CC you.


I agree with Gunny about redundancy of the database.


I'm also a tad paranoid in the information privacy era: All these databases have information that could affect parents and children alike. I'm beginning to think if I ever am a COR again, I will want the unit Treasurer and membership/advancement people to be bonded.


May no Scout unit ever have a case of data piracy!

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Another issue I am wondering about with Scoutmate & Pack/Troopmaster is, are they compatable with both Mac computers and the new Vista OS?


I do not think there should be a problem with the online based programs in these areas.



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From the TM corporate site:


Requirements: Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT/XP/Vista, 800x600 screen resolution, and 20 MB Hard Drive space.


No Mac.


I'd be careful about internet related stuff. IT director at a place I know said "no java, no-how." Went and removed java related interfaces from PCs. There are work-related websites I visit which are java driven. They are now useless to me at the office.


All it takes is an IT manager such as the B###### Operator from H###...

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The thing I like most(at this point) about the ScoutTrack program is the ability to use it in the field and update records "on-the-fly" using a "Palm" rather than having to get the handbooks together or a separate piece of paper and take them to the computer. And then when I sync my Tungsten the info is backed up on my PC, and I can have multiple backups on more than one PC.


The Tungsten E I am currently using is much easier and less costly to replace if there were a catastrophic loss than losing a laptop. And when you consider taking the Computers to the field I don't think very many of us want; the weight, the risk of loss/breakage, the limited battery life. Actually if I implement this I may try to get one of the older Palm III units and see if it will run on that platform because I can use AAA batteries and have less worry about running out of Power.

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We use Packmaster (Cub version of Troopmaster). It's easy to use and comprehensive for all of your recordkeeping needs. Records are updated on a centralized server (FTP site) that is available for all Den Leaders to update Packmaster from their home.


I have never used the others. I have heard about them, but do not see any advantage to switch.



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  • 1 year later...

I was wondering if anyone had looked at these options recently? We are looking into this as well. It looks like Scoutmate is no longer making updates.


We would prefer an online option, rather than something that requires installs on individual PCs. We are probably looking at either Scouttrack, Scoutmanage or Scoutingplanner. Any feedback from those who have used them recently would be appreciated.

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I am using scouttrack for my son's den. I like it, but there are some things that are not intuitive, or are cumbersome. Also, I never seem to get any response when I have questions.


The rest of the pack played a little with it last year, but without clear cut training documentation they did not get to the point they were comfortable with it. My goal is to put together enough documentation to get some of the other dens up and going.


Most of my parents update their son's achievements etc for the individual work which makes sending my award list simple.


I love you can see all the requirements. It's great for the boys with two homes. One handbook can be purchased, but the other parent can still access the information if the handbook isn't sent with the boy.

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