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KenD500

Scoutbook

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Have used Troopmaster for years; the TM Mobile application all the Scouts, Scouters, and Parents love.  I just got the beta version of the new Troopmaster Web that is coming out next month.  Outstanding upgrade over the Troopmaster desktop version and current web version.  Just into it for a week now but 50 units apparently have it w/o issue.  I understand ready to release; just creating more instructional videos for YouTube before they launch it.

 

I personally have used Internet Advancement, Internet Rechartering, Do A Good Turn Daily, and other BSA websites for years.  They are SO outmoded and out of date I personally will never switch to ScoutBooks.  Outside 3rd party software companies have to make us, the end users, happy or they are out of business.  I have proposed modifications/upgrades to Troopmaster in the past and both times new maintenance releases were issued less than two weeks later - that is service with a smile! 

 

The day I am told or "encouraged" to switch to ScoutBooks my volunteer days are over.  Competition is a wonderful thing and monopolies are not.

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Have used Troopmaster for years; the TM Mobile application all the Scouts, Scouters, and Parents love.  I just got the beta version of the new Troopmaster Web that is coming out next month.  Outstanding upgrade over the Troopmaster desktop version and current web version.  Just into it for a week now but 50 units apparently have it w/o issue.  I understand ready to release; just creating more instructional videos for YouTube before they launch it.

 

I just visited the Troopmaster web site to look at their mobile app.  It sort of hits the sweet spot between too basic and too much of an app.  I like it.  ... but then again ...  I swore years ago that I'd never get caught updating a TroopMaster database again.  Been there.  Done it.  Moved on.   :)   Tempting though.   I like the idea of having the troop roster at the push of a button and then a push a button to dial the phone from the roster.  Nice feature. 

 

  

 

I personally have used Internet Advancement, Internet Rechartering, Do A Good Turn Daily, and other BSA websites for years.  They are SO outmoded and out of date I personally will never switch to ScoutBooks.  Outside 3rd party software companies have to make us, the end users, happy or they are out of business.  I have proposed modifications/upgrades to Troopmaster in the past and both times new maintenance releases were issued less than two weeks later - that is service with a smile! 

 

The day I am told or "encouraged" to switch to ScoutBooks my volunteer days are over.  Competition is a wonderful thing and monopolies are not.

 

It really seems like we are stuck.  

 

ScoutBook has a huge opportunity because they can tap directly into BSA ScoutNet data.  That's huge.  The graphical presentation is "cute" too.  So I could honestly see using ScoutBook to manage advancement.  But scoutbook lacks many key features like good summary reports to help run the troop.  ScoutBook lacks key tools for communication, calendar management, event management and financial mgmt.  It also lacks easy data entry.  There are dozens of apps that can deal with those issues really well such as Soar, TroopMaster, TroopWebHost, Quicken and many more.  

 

So it seems like for years to come we are committed to using multiple solutions.  Argh.  

Edited by fred johnson

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We're using troopwebhost.  It seems a little dated in both form and function, and honestly I'm not convinced the scouts use it at all...

but as treasurer it has pretty decent tools for the money stuff

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"Tempting though.   I like the idea of having the troop roster at the push of a button and then a push a button to dial the phone from the roster.  Nice feature."

 

The best part is the data stays local on the phone so a leader can access medical records even out on the trail out of Internet service.  Yes, the "one touch" dialing for anyone, or texting, is very very nice.  The whole "Did you credit me for those service hours yet?" is now always answered with a "I can't remember, did you look it up on your smart phone?" reply.  The TM Mobile is a free application, unlike their Dot.Net add on.   

 

Still playing around with the new beta version web product.  One great add one was a link to a Pay Pal account.  Yes, Scouts should be responsible for bringing in checks for payment for outings but there are some family functions that the Troop has where opening up to easy electronic payment to the Troop's bank account would be wonderful.  I just can't imagine ScoutBook having functionality like that anytime soon. 
 

Edited by DadScouts

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"Tempting though.   I like the idea of having the troop roster at the push of a button and then a push a button to dial the phone from the roster.  Nice feature."

 

The best part is the data stays local on the phone so a leader can access medical records even out on the trail out of Internet service.  Yes, the "one touch" dialing for anyone, or texting, is very very nice.  The whole "Did you credit me for those service hours yet?" is now always answered with a "I can't remember, did you look it up on your smart phone?" reply.  The TM Mobile is a free application, unlike their Dot.Net add on.   

 

Still playing around with the new beta version web product.  One great add one was a link to a Pay Pal account.  Yes, Scouts should be responsible for bringing in checks for payment for outings but there are some family functions that the Troop has where opening up to easy electronic payment to the Troop's bank account would be wonderful.  I just can't imagine ScoutBook having functionality like that anytime soon. 

 

You have med forms electronically? BSA says we shouldn't do that with med forms...

 

I received an email about scoutbook that it's incredibly slow and timing out and went down etc because they have now 1 million users and have 20% of units and that's bogging them down.  This does not bode well for being able to keep up if the useage continues to grow as BSA pushes us all to use scoutbook.

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I used Packmaster when I did advancement for the pack and use Troopmaster now for the troop.

We use it for communication, advancement and award tracking.  I find it very easy to use and I am not computer savvy.

The desktop version is on my computer only and everyone else has access to the web version.  I am a bit worried about database safety when everyone has access to change it etc.  Right now I am the only one who can add or archive scouts but I suspect they will have different settings for various users.  troopmaster has served us well and I honestly am not in a rush to move to Scoutbook.

The mobile version is a bonus!

Edited by andysmom

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 ScoutBook lacks key tools for communication, calendar management, event management and financial mgmt.  It also lacks easy data entry.  

 

 

How so?  There is a Den Forum, Calling Features, texting Features and emailing features.  What else can be done to a calendar to make theirs better?  I see nothing more I need from their calendar.

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Communications 

- Scoutbook communication is internal focused as it requires using the scoutbook web pages to communicate.  People need to be able to communicate from their native tools.  Outlook.  Android phone texting and email.  As such, scoutbook needs automatically maintained distribution lists and unique addresses for the troops to communicate.  

- Need place to post announcements that are part of the troop home page.  

- Need ability to automatically group and send announcements, ideally weekly.  

 

Calendar mgmt

- Listing it as "Beta" might be a reason I have not looked at it much.

- We often update from computer web pages and the user interface from a web page looks overly cutsey and clumsy as it's laid out for a phone interface.  

- I mention the look and feel as it took away my confidence and did not investigate it as much as I needed to do.

- Need ability automatically email calendar.  

- Need ability to print out a nice formatted calendar to hand to prospective members to show them our plans.

 

Event mgmt

- Features - Lacking reports.  Need clean concise report that I can print and hand to trip leaders.

- Features - Lacking reports.  Can't emphasize this enough.  

  • Report useful for treasurer to archive with financial records.  
  • Report useful for trip leader to take with that has phone numbers and names.  
  • Even if the phone app workds well, trip coordinators will still want paper as the fall back.  I would never leave on a trip without the attendee roster.
  • Report useful to hand into camp or council as the roster of our attendees

- Features - Need ability to record COMMENTS PER PERSON.  Many people when signing up for event have comments related to when they arrive or special needs.  Our current system we also use to record check numbers of payment

- Features - Need ability to explain COST(scout cost, adult cost, guest cost, etc)

- Features - Need ability to record GUESTS that are attending.

- Features - Need ability to have an sign-up CLOSED date.

- Features - Need ability to LOCK attendee list to only be updated by assigned maintainer.

 

Easy data entry

- I tried to pull up and enter data Monday night at troop meeting.  It suffered from spinner of death.  Seems like every click requires the spinner to come up and a full refresh.

  • I had a parent waiting right next to me and all we wanted to do is see her training record.  She said she completed training and we were stuck just viewing.  I wanted to re-sync, but I could not get that far.  It would not ever bring up the summary page for training.  She left.  It cost me credibility when I said I could pull that right up and ScoutBook just sat and spun.  

- My experience Monday re-emphasized that I need paper copies ideally or downloaded copies of everything minimum.  

- Advancement often occurs as a group.  Everyone completed brown sea.  Everyone did ...  So low level requirements need to be able to be entered as a group.  I have not found the ability yet to set low level rank or MB requirements for a set of people.  We were able to do that in TroopTrack.  

 

 

 

ScoutBook looks really nice from my phone, but it's not as nice to use on a 24" computer screen.  

Edited by fred johnson

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The WORST thing about the scoutbook calendar is that it does not automatically add new families to event notifications (even scoutbook does that). That was almost a deal break for us. 

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The WORST thing about the scoutbook calendar is that it does not automatically add new families to event notifications (even scoutbook does that). That was almost a deal break for us. 

 

I found this out after our signups.  From an IT perspective I get it, but it is something that needs correcting.

 

Basically that event was created before the addition, you will have to take 2 minutes to fix it yourself.  It took me 2 minutes to add the new kids to the events. 

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Our pack uses it, but what I find at least for the tigers, is the excitement they get when I sign off in their handbook.  It's a physical representation of their accomplishment they can see.  I hope the BSA doesn't go fully away from paper books.  So I'll sign off on their requirements in the book and then do double booking on the site.  If it keeps the boys excited and engaged, its worth the extra book keeping, imo.

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Our pack uses it, but what I find at least for the tigers, is the excitement they get when I sign off in their handbook.  It's a physical representation of their accomplishment they can see.  I hope the BSA doesn't go fully away from paper books.  So I'll sign off on their requirements in the book and then do double booking on the site.  If it keeps the boys excited and engaged, its worth the extra book keeping, imo.

that's interesting.  I didn't experience that at all.  I tried really hard different ways of bringing that excitement that you are writing about, in advancement to our den.  It seems the boys really just didn't care.  I tried encouraging the books and sign off, I tried wall charts, beads, instant recognition, etc..... Played around with some totem ideas too.  Even tried to encourage regular uniform wear so they would have more opportunity to wear the patches.  Nothing worked. They only got excited when fun things happened and could care less about progress, uniforms, patches, or any of it....

I was only the Assistant DL, so it may have been some subtle things the DL &/or  parents were doing that countered the efforts, I don't know.

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that's interesting.  I didn't experience that at all.  ....

 

There's a magical mix.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes not.  Depends on mix of boys, parents, den leader and much else.

 

BUT ... Boys like seeing and touching.  Being able to open their book and see their advancement is important.   I also hope scouts never goes 100% away from paper tracking of advancements.   ... though I am becoming more fond of ScoutBook (shivering even as I say it)

Edited by fred johnson

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