Submitted by Chris Rogers, Scoutmaster, Troop 507, Winchester
I have been adult leader in Scouting for around 22 years. Finding better ways to stay organized has always been important to me, as there is only so much time in the day to balance family, work, church and Scouts.
In Scouting, it is important to NOT reinvent the wheel, but to talk to other leaders by attending Roundtables, taking advantage of adult training opportunities and being present at Council gatherings. Find out who else is doing something better… and do that, is my motto! We are always better off when we share ideas and experiences, right?
When I first heard about ScoutBook, at the 2013 National Jamboree, it only took one quick demo and I knew that having this program would make my life as a Scoutmaster so much easier. Why?… because advancement and personal information records would be stored all in one place, in a secure place, but viewable by the whole Troop. Last October, when I found out that BSA National had bought the program, I signed up our Troop.
Some of the neat features of ScoutBook, are as follows:
- Youth are empowered to take control of their own advancement. Parents know where their sons are in terms of their advancement as well. No longer do they have to search for the Scout Handbook. Wherever and whomever is allowed electronic devices, this information is available.
- Each Unit sets the parameters of what is viewable and able to be entered.
- Nobody needs a list of emails or phone #’s of anyone in the Unit. Youth protection exists, as the parents linked to the Scout are copied on communications.
- Youth and adult leadership positions are recorded.
- Merit badge counselors are listed for quick reference (for Boy Scouts).
- Keeps track of the dates of your medical record, swim test classifications, and adult training… which is important to trip planners.
- Calendars, with reminders and attendance is all part of ScoutBook records.
- Can create reports by patrol of who is working on what requirement to help patrol leaders and for planning activities.
We can have discussions regarding: does ScoutBook do this or does ScoutBook do that? But, the bottom line is, ScoutBook is here to stay and will improve with time. Persons like myself, across the country are helping to make suggestions and prioritize future enhancements to ScoutBook. There is NO perfect program, for any organization. I recommend you embrace ScoutBook for what it can do for US now!