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recording software for cub scouts

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Hello All:

 

I'm new to the Form, but not to scouting. Can someone tell me what type of software does your pack use for recording Advancements and belt loops through the cub ranks?

I have 3 packs that still do the advancements by hand the old fashion way. Can I ask, would you know about prices for that software? I have 2 packs with 33 - 38 scouts and one with 22 scouts

 

Thanks

 

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Welcome to the forums USAF Vet! (And thank you for your service to our country as indicated in your user name.)

 

Other than that, I will let others answer, as (despite MY user name) I have not been involved with Cub Scouting for more than 10 years.

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For a unit that has been doing advancement by hand, there are many options out there all with various pros and cons.

 

​I have been using ScoutBook.com to track troop advancement, and my younger son's webelos advancement.  The big disadvantage to ScoutBook.com, it is online, the big advantage to ScoutBook.com, it is online!

 

I find that it generally works and is kept up to date with the latest advancment changes.  Parents can be involved in the process, which is important for cub scouts, but of course, they have to be online.  It can do calendar too, e-mails, some simple financial tracking, and so on, but it is really best at advancement tracking. 

 

ScoutBook.com is about $1 per scout per year, in multiples of 5.  It is not the least expensive solution over time, but it is one that is easy to budget for.  Explaining to parents that registration fee is going up $1 to improve the advancement recordkeeping shouldn't be a hard sell.

 

My wife is a Pack CC - they use packmaster.  I liked packmaster and troopmaster, but I don't think they really handled the move to online very well and still seems to rely heavily on a complex software package to be installed on your computer.  I had no problem with the software, but often times explaining the intricacies of the installation and configuration to a new den leader just wasn't successful.  The good thing about packmaster was that it was feature rich, it did a lot of things and did them well.  I've forgotten how much it costs, but IIRC, it was still a yearly thing, or every 3 years, or something like that. 

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Welcome and thank you for your service.

 

It's been 20+ years since I was advancement committee person of a pack of 120 Cubs.  I can assure you I understand the pain involved.  1992, 120 Cubs, 12 Dens, $800+ worth of awards, Blue & Gold in less than a week.  Sort it out and be ready with the way the CM wants it on the awards table.  Remember one can't put the cards in the ziplock bags before the CM has a chance to sign them, which he has no intention of doing until he gets to the B&G.

 

ANYTHING that would make that job easier is better than doing it on paper.  Back then I did it on spreadsheets, but then I tend to do well with Lotus 123 and Excel.  I had it all laid out so that if an "x" went in a box, I knew what badge to order kind of thing.  It produced a shopping list for me when I went to the Scout Shop to buy this stuff. 

 

Hopefully there are better things now available that are better for the less computer inclined out there.

 

In Boy Scouts I used TroopMaster.  It worked well for what we needed it to do.  My current troop uses TroopMaster now too, but is also set up in ScoutBook.  It's easier to work around a couple of computer glitches in software than it is to reinvent the wheel for your troop.  I would stick to either of those too and learn to work around the problems.

 

Again, Welcome!

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Well, I spent a lot of time and effort looking into various options and really trying different ways of chasing this cat

.... but this was a couple years back now, and on the old program...

Regardless, I don't think the new program or the time really changes things with regards to my thoughts anyway.

 

I came to the conclusion that ALL of these tracking things are basically work-makers for anyone at the Cub level.  Probably a bit more useful at the troop level in some cases, but at the cub level I just don't think it matters.

 

Let the scouts and parents let the appropriate person know when an award is achieved so that it can e purchased.  It's as easy as that.

 

A den leader will have a feel for what needs to be done in meetings as a general rule for their planning

but if a scout misses or falls behind that scout and his parent can do the catching up.

 

Furthermore, in my pack i found that the scouts didn't really care all that much about all that stuff anyway.  Getting rank, wanting bling that another boy had, wearing it the uniform.... ever really saw all that much desire or excitement for it.

 

.... and I worked hard for a couple years to encourage it, track it, make sure we practiced instant recognition....etc...

 

The only exception I can think of, and this is a big maybe, and only for huge mega-packs.... is perhaps some sort of online shareable shopping list for the person buying awards... and making it known that on say Xday before each pack meeting is shopping day, if its not n the list by then it won't make it till next month.... I'm thinking like Google "Keep" perhaps, or one of those sign-up services....

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I love Scoutbook! It is not perfect, but last year our awards chair struggled mightily getting the den leaders to report scout achievements. They were a good group of guys, but not good with paperwork and documentation.

 

With Scoutbook, parents can enter things themselves, and the Awards chair at least knows that something is out there needing to be signed off by leadership. Our CM tends to stroll around during meetings chatting up the parents, so we gave him the job of verifying requirements for the den leaders. No, it's not ideal, but it keeps things moving forward, allows us to have less than perfect den leaders, and the Awards chair stays sane! Plus it looks good and I find myself looking for ways to do electives while out and about. If we take a family trip to a museum, I pop on there to see if there is anything we could do. I hate it when we miss out on something because we took the trip but forgot to "ask a scientist a question" or "look at a collection." 

 

Plus as Treasurer, I know what the Awards Chair expects to spend and can give her a check at committee meetings to put in our Scout Account! When you run the report of what you need to buy, you can create a PO that estimates that total of all awards. I like that feature!

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It's been a couple of years but we used Scouttrack.com. About $50 a year. The interface was not great but it had everything you needed. The parents NEVER entered requirements but some DLs found it very helpful.

 

I would take a look at the current Scoutbook as others have recommended as well.

 

When you get to Troop level take a good look at Troopwebhost.com. It is great and more importantly under active development with a very responsive and helpful developer.

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I'll add another vote for Scoutbook.  When the BSA acquired it about a year ago, our Pack decided to give it a try.  Now, we all love it and can't imagine going back to paper.  No more flipping through handbooks to see what was done outside of den meetings - I just login to Scoutbook and I can see what requirements need to be approved.  Once all requirements for an Adventure are approved, the Advancement Chair can see what needs to be purchased.  Once purchased, he can track what was awarded (and who wasn't at the Pack Meeting and hence wasn't awarded)... it's just a great system and being owned by the BSA is the most likely to stay in synch with future changes.

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I'll add another vote for Scoutbook.  When the BSA acquired it about a year ago, our Pack decided to give it a try.  Now, we all love it and can't imagine going back to paper.  No more flipping through handbooks to see what was done outside of den meetings - I just login to Scoutbook and I can see what requirements need to be approved.  Once all requirements for an Adventure are approved, the Advancement Chair can see what needs to be purchased.  Once purchased, he can track what was awarded (and who wasn't at the Pack Meeting and hence wasn't awarded)... it's just a great system and being owned by the BSA is the most likely to stay in synch with future changes.

But if BSA IT ever gets their grubby hands on it......

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Pick a softest that has a backup. Some do. Some don't.

 

Ask before your buy. Make sure your data is backed up to more than one location.

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But if BSA IT ever gets their grubby hands on it......

 

I have noticed that progress has slowed since the BSA acquisition.  It could also be that it corresponded with major program changes that would have required a lot of software work. 

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I will place another vote for Scoutbook.  For the last year I recorded items for both the pack level and the troop level.  It was a great, easy way to communicate with the other leaders too.  And very helpful when someone was making a run to the scout shop.  They could log-on and see what needed to be picked up.

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But if BSA IT ever gets their grubby hands on it......

 

Scoutbook does not have an offsite back up yet. If the primary site goes down you have no access to your data.

 

We find the TroopMaster/PackMaster environment easier to deal with. There is a copy on your local drive, a back-up that the administrator can make (which we keep in the cloud) and the TroopMaster cloud-based main database which has a secondary copy at a geographically separate location.

 

Expect to lose your data if you don't have AT LEAST two good back up copies of the original data.

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