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bilgerat

Troop Email and Calendar

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We need a good online email and calendar service to use for our Troop.

 

Troopmaster has both functionalities, but they are klunky, buggy, and had to use.

 

Scouttrack.com has a great calendar feature and their email is pretty good, but they have no ability to create distribution lists or add "ad hoc" email addresses to an email - which are critical for our Troop.

 

Google products are OK, but we've run into security blocks on some corporate email accounts.

 

Also would like the ability to tie in cell phones for SMS texts.

 

Anyone got any ideas?

 

Thanks!

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Soar's myTroop has good email integration with Troopmaster, including email aliases for your leaders. The Calender isn't quite as seamless, but is functional and allows online event registration.

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SOAR is the best match I've found so far. They lack a few key features such as a printable calendar, but I've written google app scripts to get around that shortcoming.

 

- Generic Google or Yahoo solutions lack the benefit of scouting specific features. Such as multiple automatic mailing lists generated off the roster for patrol/den specific emailings, leader specific, everyone, etc.

 

- ScoutTrack.com is great for managing advancement. But it means not using TroopMaster anymore. Good and bad. We've used it for years to manage the cub scout pack.

 

- The one I'm watching with interest is TroopTrack.com. Love the interface. But, I need to figure out if the feature set and usability are better than SOAR.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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We use SOAR as well. While it's more money than I'd like to spend it offers a few great things...

 

1) Weekly Email Blast

2) Calendar and Event Registration Capabilities

3) The ability for leaders to send out email blasts on their own

 

If you're looking for the ability for a site to send out text messages, if you do a facebook organization page, people can sign up for text message updates.

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I'm checking out TroopTrack. Impressed so far. Looks like a higher-end version of Scouttrack.com.

 

Will check out "SOAR" too

 

Thanks for the steers!

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Troopmaster is EASY to export a calendar to GOOGLE calendar. Go to:

File>Export>ActivityList(vCalendarFormat)

This creates and .ics file which can be uploaded to a Google Calendar. We post our Google Calendar on our website, but this is especially beneficial for the members (and scouts) with smart phones with a Google Calendar app (free). When I am out somewhere, and need to verify a scheduled activity, I just pull out my phone. The calendar is prominently on my "home" page, and of course my app overlays my personal calendar and the OA calendar as well.

 

Hope that helps.

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The coming change to the privacy agreement with google concerns me. I know more than a few people outside Scouting who are planning to close their various google accounts.

 

Appropriate privacy should be an important matter to Scouters with responsibility for minors.

 

I'm not saying bail out of google, I'm saying make your own decision in the light of day.

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We're a SOAR/myTroop user too. Universally, everyone in the troop loves the EBlast. The reality is that I go in at least once a week, just prior to the EBlast, and change up the announcements on the front page of the site so they are re-sent with the weekly EBlast. I might add an announcement or two of something that is upcoming. In other words, the EBlast content is constantly being freshened.

 

So I typically do three things w.r.t. a new or changed event...I'll send out email to "announce@..." for immediate email, I'll enter the announcement on the site, and then I'll make the calendar entry.

 

Also, since announcements on the site are typically truncated to a couple of lines, I'll edit them to make sure that most of the content is displayed on the front page (in other words, I judiciously use the "break" directive). I find that most account owners on the site either forget their account names or passwords, or rarely ever click beyond the front page -- they only seem to want to know what is going on now or in the next few days.

 

Another thing I really like about SOAR -- it was trivial to map in our own domain name, and create email lists and email aliases.

 

About half the troop seems to use the event registration feature. I'd like to be able to use the online payment feature, but I think you're limited to linking it to a PayPal account. Our CO has a policy against that, so we can't use the feature.

 

Guy

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TroopTrack.com and ScoutTrack.com are not related at all. ScoutTrack.com is an old fashioned interface once you start using it. Think IBM mainframe. TroopTrack.com is a new company. The confusion is because the two companies bought their graphics from the same person. ScoutTrack.com only uses the graphics for their marketing pages.

 

I feel very bad for TroopTrack.com as they are the new product and have been burned by it.

 

-----------------------

 

SOAR is very good. If anyone wants a google app script to print out their SOAR calendar in a nice usable layout, message me. I've tried to get SOAR guy to implement such a page but he's blown off my requests for four years now. Not the nicest experience at all with that. But SOAR is still by far the best product.

 

-----------------------

 

Advancement .... SOAR does not do advancement. We combine TroopMaster.Net and SOAR for advancement. SOAR & TroopMaster is a very good solution. If you want an integrated solution use, try TroopTrack.com. TroopTrack.com is a newer product. I'd be interested to watch how it develops. I had a chat with the owner and he sounds very supportive.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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John.....guess I don't see what is wrong with google stream lining their privacy policies?????

 

I am not doing anything illegal or immoral on the web so I don't have anything to worry about...... It has been my experience that folks that worried are behaving baddly on the web.

 

 

My understanding is they are taking their various services, picass, youtube, gmail and others, and making a unified privacy policy. As a result all of the services under the google umbrella will share information.....

 

 

So am I missing something???? what is the down side?

 

 

My life is pretty boring, if they want to watch me.....have at it.

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Well, being a den leader my group is small. But I set up a shutterfly share site.

 

It allows us to share all the photos we take with each other. (this was the initial reason I wanted the site)

I can set up my den roster with all the parent contact info.

It has a calender on which I can set events.

I can set up events to automatically send a reminder e-mail to all the parents on the roster.

If I make a change to an event on the calender it asks if I would like to send a change notice e-mail.

I can set up additional members that do not automatically get reminders, but can be added to e-mails.

I can post documents for the parents, like PDF files of forms or PWD rules.

On the front page I have a feed from the council website of upcoming council activites.

Only members can access the site.

I can set up multiple "owners" who can modify the site.

 

Minuses based on my needs:

 

I can't attach documents to e-mails.

It's another calender to maintain.

No advancement tracking.

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We use Scoutlander, and I really like the capability to attach things in the calendar posts, maintain and populate the calendar months ahead of time. I like that I can send email blasts to the entire Pack, to individual dens, or only to leaders. I like that signups and registrations to events can be staged to the calendar. And I like that the calendar automatically sends reminders two deays before events (though I wish that were adjustable). though they are now asking for donations to support it, it is still free to use. Our Pack is considering making a donation each year to support the site since it has made a huge difference in communication for us.

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