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fred johnson

Scoutbook Acquired By Bsa

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I took a look at the user forums and wish reports and report of errors yesterday.

From what I see the biggest hang up is that you can't enter anyone in your roster unless they have a unique email address.  we have whole families that use one email address, and no I do not want to make dummy email addresses for the other 4 people in the family in order to have the whole family on the roster of 3 scouts and 2 adult leaders.  So many people are moving away from email except as stuff to get and read and then delete.  if they even read it.  And it appears that parents have to do most of everything to enter and track their scouts, and we have difficulty getting parents to actually log into anything, but they really like to receive an email or txt notification of events.  We made the parents all log into troop web host to verify their email, phone number for themselves and their scouts for recharter last fall and it was like pulling teeth. 

 

I like the idea of submitting to scoutnet and receiving reports out of scout net, two way communication would be great.  I figure it won't get to be that great for another year or two though when they get kinks worked out. and if it's like myscouting, or my.scouting the kinks will be worked out in about a dozen years.

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We use TroopMaster and SOAR. They're both a hack using archaic technology. However, the reason we've been asked to use scoutbook is because it will help the council. That doesn't seem to imply it will help us, so we're not interested.

 

Scoutbook doesn't have a website part, costs twice as much as TroopMaster (for us), and doesn't integrate with SOAR. So we have no reason to use it.

Who has asked you to use it? Council? How does a unit using it help council? I'm curious as I have not heard anything from my council on this and they are very tech friendly. Thanks!

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We use TroopMaster and SOAR. They're both a hack using archaic technology. However, the reason we've been asked to use scoutbook is because it will help the council. That doesn't seem to imply it will help us, so we're not interested.

 

Scoutbook doesn't have a website part, costs twice as much as TroopMaster (for us), and doesn't integrate with SOAR. So we have no reason to use it.

 

TroopMaster is archaic, fully agreed.  

 

SOAR is not archaic at all.  It's more a minimalist web interface ... which turns out to be faster and more flexible when moving between many different platforms.  

Edited by fred johnson

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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.

 

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.

 

On the other hand, from what I saw about scoutbook, it is very glitzy with cute graphics, but I'm not sure it has the functionality of troopmaster. I kind of cringe when I read about how parents can find out about "schedule advancement and home assignments"

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TroopMaster is archaic, fully agreed.  

 

SOAR is not archaic at all.  It's more a minimalist web interface ... which turns out to be faster and more flexible when moving between many different platforms.  

 

The TM web platform overcomes many data sharing issues. You can assign numerous access roles for your adult leaders. Makes checking and confirming things like attendance, sign offs, etc., much easier and does not require the client software. Replicates with the master DB via a merge performed by the DBA...essentially a few clicks and you are done.

 

SOAR is pretty simple but very robust. When used in concert with TM it GREATLY alleviates a great many communication and information sharing processes we used to do manually. The PLs can send out emails and announcements to their patrols, target communications and events the same way. Troop roster, patrol roster, scout advancement status is all online. We update weekly so that scouts can take charge and manage their own scout careers.

 

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.

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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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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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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

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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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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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@@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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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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@@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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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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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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