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King Ding Dong

Pack tracking software

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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.

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

 

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............

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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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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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