Homepage Forums General Scouting Scout Management Software

This topic contains 18 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  oddball 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • #26332 Reply

    Nutmegger

    There are now a ton of competing scout management software solutions for units to use to track membership, advancement, etc.

    What do you use? Do you love it? Hate it?

    Our pack currently uses Packmaster, the troopmaster variant for cubs. It’s serviceable but also very much stuck in 1993 and does little to help get parents involved. It’s also comparatively expensive by the time you add up all the licenses you need to make it web friendly. We’re currently looking around to see how things have progressed in the couple of years it’s been since we last looked.

    Any tips or reviews?

  • #26342 Reply

    Dan Kurtenbach

    My view on this is to understand BSA’s own Internet Advancement system and other Unit Tools and what they can and cannot do; use them as your primary Scout management software. Then, if you feel you need something more (like calendar and event management and email, find an app or online service that does those things that BSA is not providing.

  • #26343 Reply

    Nutmegger

    It literally take five to ten minutes for IA to load my roster. That’s unacceptable and a recipe for incomplete data entry.

    It also fails to allow parents or den leaders the ability to enter advancement information.

    Using just IA may work for a small troop but it’s poorly suited for large units or cub packs.

  • #26349 Reply

    Scouter

    We use CubTrails.com there is an annual fee, or monthly if you like. The cost is well worth it though.

    I like it as a den leader as I can plan my den meetings and others can see what is being worked on. At the end of the meeting, I put in the attendance and the achievements are automatically applied to the scouts. If you need to make a revision, the changes will apply. Parents can also mark off achievements and as a den leader, you then get to approve the awards.

    It also has a calendaring program that can track who is coming to events. You can also send e-mail from it and it will show you who has read their e-mail.

    A report can be run for purchasing awards and that is real nice compared to what we use to have to do to get awards.

    There are a few limitations, but over all it is great. Since it is a website, updates can be applied and the developer also has forums for suggestions and enhancements.

  • #26418 Reply

    Brian Zollweg

    Our Troop uses Troopmaster. It’s pretty clunky and annoying, but will get the job done. Our Pack uses Scoutmanage. It’s slightly more up-to-date. IA doesn’t track everything that needs tracking which necessitates a paper, spreadsheet, or 3rd party product.

    BSA needs to get up to date by providing their own end-to-end solution from registration and payment through advancement with Unit, Council, and National access.

  • #26688 Reply

    Charlie Stiegler

    I’ve used Troopmaster for over 10 years… tried a couple of others but went back. I find the have/needs and MB requirements remaining reports useful for planning. The data can be exported to Excel for analysis.

    I heard at Summer Camp this year that new BSA internet advancement software is in development for 2015+ that will change everything. Maybe someone on this board can give us some hints of the “wish list” capabilities.

  • #30064 Reply

    Doug Moore

    We’ve been using PackMaster, and I went to renew the license but thought I’d see what else was out there. I found CubTrails (mentioned above) and ScoutTrack (used by a couple of our adult leaders). CubTrails is very slick but is also *very* limited in its adult management capabilities. ScoutTrack contains all the tracking info you could ever need, but it needs a facelift to get it beyond the mid-80’s.

    Today, I found ScoutBook. I’m smitten. I’m signing up for the free trial for the pack, but 1 scout & parent can use it for free. Best experience so far? I put in my BSA ID# and it went and retrieved all my training. I’m supposed to be able to import our pack info from BSA as well.

    I think I can get a credit with ScoutBook if I refer folks, so if you use it based on this, please let me know!

    Doug

  • #42601 Reply

    craig

    I think that this is a definite topic to be revisited.

    Our pack has no legacy system so we’re starting from scratch. We found 12 different software packages, but there is no comprehensive comparison site. There are different strokes for different folks, but I’d like to see a forum where actual users could weigh in on what they liked or disliked about a particular product. I’m not even sure that the features we think are the most important will actually be the most important in practice.

    I read the article a few weeks back about ScoutBook and the comments were enlightening. Perhaps the powers that be at Scouting Magazine can call attention to this issue and see if we can get alot of feedback in one place this summer.

    Thanks.

  • #45253 Reply

    Travis Lundy

    I started as a den leader 2 years ago and tried the spreadsheet version of advancement tracking for about 2 months and realized that there had to be a better way. I started using Scoutbook not being able to find anything much better out there and have pretty successfully used it since then. If there was a bug or a concern, a quick post in the forum or an email and the response was nearly immediate.

    That was then and this is now…

    I think Scoutbook tried to bite off more than it could chew. It started when they were trying to add a calendaring system. Sounds good in theory and there is a basic calendar system, but it is horribly cumbersome to use. I believe this distracted them from fixing all the other bugs of using the advancement system. More than once, the system would allow you to complete all sub-requirements but would not automatically check off the higher level item and I would have a scout ask me where his award was. The parent said they checked off all the requirements and sure enough, the actual award would show 100% complete but would not be marked as complete for den leader sign off and therefore would not make it on to the shopping list. This is just one of many frustrations in trying to use their system.

    I agree, I was smitten with it at first as someone else said and I was also hopeful when the BSA bought it, there would be even more effort in making it usable and feature rich. I have since started looking at other alternatives after seeing an ad in Scouting magazine for TroopTrack. It appears to have all the missing features Scoutbook does not. I am also looking at CubTrails, PackMaster/TroopMaster, Scout Manager, TroopWebhostCS, Cubscouttracker.com, etc. but they all seem to fall a little short in the user interface department.

    I have looked at the ScoutWiki Comparison of Boy Scout Troop Management Software page, but this also does not seem to tell the whole story of all the features available and how functional they are for the least common denominator of the tech un-savvy to use.

    In fact, we are considering not even renewing Scoutbook and not telling new parents about internet tracking until we can find a suitable solution in the next few weeks. The founder of TroopTrack stated he thinks Scoutbook was “bought” because of the unlicensed use of BSA trademarked images. That may or may not be, but I can honestly say that the problems did not start with BSA acquiring Scoutbook, I don’t see them getting better anytime soon, and with the school year starting, I don’t have time to wait around.

    • #53350 Reply

      D Sopkovich

      I’d echo Alicia’s question. I’d especially love to hear from any Scoutbook customers, to see what if any effects BSA ownership has had on the their experience – I’d expect both pros and cons. Thanks in advance for your time and thoughts!

  • #45288 Reply

    Jared Honda

    Travis-

    Thank you for your detailed and well thought-out response! I have been scouring the web for the last week and a half in search of current information regarding troop management software to no avail. I am inheriting a scout troop/program that suffers from incredible disorganization, leader burnout and lack of parent/Scout interest and consistent involvement. Right off the bat, I know that organization needs to happen so people can “catch the vision” and work towards their goals.

    I came across TroopTrack last week but skipped over it because of the subscription fee associated with the service. After your comment, I’m taking a second look.

    In your experience, do you feel that TroopTrack is the best tool currently available?

    I also came across ScoutTrax (https://scouttrax.org/home.html) which isn’t as feature-rich but it is free, which is an important consideration for our troop (we have youth in all kinds of financial situations, and the Troop’s budget has been cannibalized by other competing programs, so we have unusable, outdated equipment that needs urgent replacement as a matter of priority). The dated look of the user interface concerned me until I realized that it was deliberately done this way to make it more graphic-intensive and therefore intuitive for people of all age groups, even if I personally prefer newer tools like Scoutbook.

    Anyone experience or feedback on what would be most effective?

  • #46920 Reply

    Mike Hess

    Thanks for these replies. I’m involved with a troop that brought troopwebhost on last year, and we have found it to be very comprebensive. It’s a bit cumbersome thought and lots of different user permissions have created confusion when one adult can see something and another adult cannot.

    In my prior cub pack we used ScoutTrack. It too was very comprehensive and as stated here the UI was very dated and it didn’t have any mobile support really so trying to pull a families phone number up while at a den meeting with your phone was tough.

    I’m now starting a new cub scout pack from scratch (6 boys so far!) and since our troop is using TWH I’m leaning torward TWHCS but appreciate the feedback here, I’d rather something simple to use but less featured so as not to scare off parents many of whom are totally new to scouting.

  • #46921 Reply

    Mike Hess

    Thanks for these replies. I’m involved with a troop that brought troopwebhost on last year, and we have found it to be very comprebensive. It’s a bit cumbersome thought and lots of different user permissions have created confusion when one adult can see something and another adult cannot.

    In my prior cub pack we used ScoutTrack. It too was very comprehensive and as stated here the UI was very dated and it didn’t have any mobile support really so trying to pull a families phone number up while at a den meeting with your phone was tough.

    I’m now starting a new cub scout pack from scratch (6 boys so far!) and since our troop is using TWH I’m leaning torward TWHCS but appreciate the feedback here, I’d rather something simple to use but less featured so as not to scare off parents many of whom are totally new to scouting.

  • #48073 Reply

    John D

    I Committee Chair for a troop in SW Michigan. We’ve been a troop master user for years but have a desire to bring the accounting inside the troop management system. We’re pausing to look things over. There are things we like and dislike about troop master. As said earlier, it’d be right at home in the mid 90’s.

    To me, this is all about finding ways to be better stewards of our volunteer time. We are seeking the package that’s easiest for the widest range of people to use. If we can’t save time and be more productive what’s the point?

    Thus far, I think Trooptrack has the most info available for us to look over prior to trying. After picking through the user manual it looks like to does have time saving features that are worth the time to run the free demo they offer to see if it works as presented.

    It looks as if, from a single login, one can create an event, assign a cost, send an invitation, and set up multiple reminder emails to automatically send themselves. Then the invitation has an RSVP feature that preloads outing costs for the treasurer to review and punch a button to charge to the participant. If this works as I understand it to then it will save us tons of time on this feature alone. Trooptrack also says that it sends an automated monthly newsletter which is personalized for each scout and could include scout account and advancement info as well as upcoming events. Automated? Cool!

    So, it looks very integrated and smooth. But, the proof is in the way it really works. We’re very likely to take them up on their free 30 day trial and their help to import our troop master data.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  • #53326 Reply

    Alicia Casilli

    Just wondering if anyone has any updates to their original posts. Our pack is looking at Scoutbook, but some first hand experience would be appreciated.

  • #53595 Reply

    Meyer Z.

    Hello,

    I’m the SPL for a medium sized troop in Dallas, Texas (we have 89 boys). We have been using Troopmaster (for advancement) and SOAR’s myTroop (for the website) for years and years, but recently I started a small group to test new alternatives. We tried Scoutbook first; it looked solid from a developer’s view (like the relations system), but it’s overall clunky and unfriendly to a desktop computer. It’s a web-app with no website alternative, and it took me and my father about 3 hours to figure out how to set him as my dad. It has promise (when BSA starts integrating it to IA), but for now it’s a really bad solution to a big problem.

    Then I stumbled upon TroopTrack. It had everything we needed—a beautiful Bootstrap-based website builder, a great calendar function, campout attendance, a library, quartermaster’s corner (for equipment), a merit badge counselor directory (for the troop), great advancement tracking, an intuitive interface, email lists, automatic dues handling (and other money-related stuff), granular permissions, etc. It looks sleek and modern while maintaining a powerful backend. Did I mention the 117-page User Guide? The whole thing is a beauty, and they charge a flat-rate fee as opposed to the per-person charge of Scoutbook. The trial has gone very well so far; the only main feature it lacks is embedded contact forms, but that can be resolved by adding the HTML code for a Google form to the page. The email blasts also could use a bit of styling, but all-in-all it’s a solid system. In addition, there have been two updates in the past 30 days and the developers maintain an active community base.

    In conclusion, I highly recommend giving TroopTrack a serious look. I’m going to be pushing to move our troop there and will follow up with anything that comes up.

    Thanks,
    Meyer

  • #57657 Reply

    Jeff

    Our pack moved over to ScoutManager from Scoutbook. We had looked at them last year and skipped on it because of some missing features and we felt like we might get better ScoutNet integration with SB. This year they’ve filled in the gaps and the performance is amazing. The transition was pretty easy and our den leaders, awards coordinator and treasurer are super happy with it. There’s no reason to continue suffering with slow, clunky software — we’re all volunteers so anything that can make our jobs easier is definitely worth looking into.

  • #57663 Reply

    oddball

    We’re a TroopWebHost troop. It’s very nice, and permissions are pretty granular as noted previously.

    The bottom line with any system is whether or not the troop will use it. It can have the best calendar in the world, but if ignored, then it’s no better than anything else.

  • #78601 Reply

    Christine

    Hi! Thanks for the thoughts here. When I logged into Internet Advancement on the BSA website, it offered to upload info from any of three Boy Scout software systems. Are those the only three that will interface automatically with BSA over the next few years? How were they selected? We currently use a membership management program that is not Boy Scout specific but it would be nice to switch over to something user-friendly for record keeping and outward facing communications. Are there any other software systems angling to get approved by BSA that we should consider?

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