The first advice to me about ScoutsTracker was that if you use it only to track badges earned, it’s still worth it. I agree, but my Group relies on it also for event scheduling and sending emails. And the integration among these features makes the tool even more powerful and helpful.
Youth and parents see what badges are done and what to do for the Top Section Award. They see requirements for each badge, and mark some requirements “ready to demonstrate”. Then Scouters look at reports of badges achieved, ready to demonstrate, ready to award, and remaining for the Top Section Award.
The schedule is my most-used tool in ScoutsTracker because I am in the Group Committee, no longer a Section Scouter. It is our reference tool for parents and Scouters who want to know what’s coming up and what we did in the past. We push news to our families by both email and a Facebook closed group, but that information is hard to find later on. It’s easier to look at the ScoutsTracker event and get the same information. Then we can make the email short and sweet with a link to the ScoutsTracker event for full details. Scouter-only notes help to plan events. Section Scouters usually record payments here for events like camps.
A new feature with ScoutsTracker events is the online Adventure Application Form. I have no personal experience with it, but my Group Commissioner likes it, and I think it will be a major time-saver. ScoutsTracker copies the event information and attendance list into an online form and notifies the Group Commissioner, who approves it online. ScoutsTracker then shares the form with Scouts Canada, so we no longer need to mail paper forms.
Events help youth to achieve badges when you add “badge requirements” to an event and record attendance for the event. Then Scouters have a quick way to grant those requirements to each youth who attended the event and did the activity.
I like sharing events across different schedules, so everyone sees the same information. I create a Group-wide event in the Group account, then push it to the schedule for each Section. Or (for example) one Pack creates a White Tail linking event, and the other Pack and both Colonies copy that event into their schedules. Collaboration links make it easier for our Sections to view the schedules for other Sections, the Group as a whole and even the Council, and then optionally import events from the other schedules.
We send all regular emails to families and Scouters via ScoutsTracker because it is a consistent distribution list. Then we can email every youth and Scouter, and include parents in the bcc list, as well as a second Scouter and the Group Commissioner in the cc list. Any Scouter who can send emails can see the bcc list to know who was included. And ScoutsTracker shows who opened each email!
Prepare to send emails by loading your member list from MyScouts into ScoutsTracker at the start of each Scouting Year and as new members join. Use the Member Details report from MyScouts in an Excel file. Load a file for one Section in that ScoutsTracker account. Or pull the file for the whole Group and load it in the Group ScoutsTracker account, which will update each individual Section’s account.
The RSVP email is a great new feature to support events. It gives the event information, the question “Will [youth name] attend [this event]?”, and reply buttons for Yes, No and Maybe. Then the parent just clicks a button and does not need to login to ScoutsTracker. That creates the sign-up list on the event to help Scouters better support planning.
I found ScoutsTracker easy to learn by a combination of just reading the choices on each page to start, the Help screens, some pop-up hint messages, and even by hovering the mouse over various choices in the menus or descriptive labels. More help is available from firstname.lastname@example.org and the Facebook closed group “ScoutsTracker Discussion Group” (general how-do-you ideas).
I’ve hit the major features that we use and how they work together. But there are more ways that ScoutsTracker can make your volunteer experience a little easier. You might think at first that the work to update it is too much, but we have found it to be very worthwhile for badges, events and emails.
I encourage you to take a look around ScoutsTracker’s menus and discover more ways it can help you manage the your program.