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Add District and Council events automatically to Calendar

We miss so many cool district and council events because collecting them from the various newsletters and Facebook posts and then adding them to the Scout Book Calendar takes a lot of time and effort.

It would be great if we could just subscribe to a district and council and camp calendar so those things would just be there and parents and leaders could see them automatically. It would have a big impact on our ability to participate in these things.

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Callie,

This was attempted several years ago. What was discovered is that Councils and Districts used so many different calendar systems, it was not practical to implement. Even within a single Council, Districts used different calendars. Councils and Districts have no interest in changing their calendar systems to make import to the Scoutbook calendar practical.

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That’s too bad.

Because at the unit level we have the same problem- they all use so many different systems that we can’t onboard their activities into our program.

I am totally with you. I have to comb Facebook, council emails, council newsletter, council calendar, district newsletter, district Facebook, and district emails. Now that we have Scouts in the OA, I have had to do the same with the OA. It takes a lot of effort and if something is missed, we have to choose to jump through schedule hoops to attend. Our boy troop seems to chose to “not play that game” as it is hard to keep up.

It is funny that at times “national” comes down like a ton of bricks on something. Then on this type of organizational simplification, they choose to back off. Odd. It will take things like this effort to reduce effort and organizational overhead. It could reduce both professional and volunteer time, while more opportunities available to more Scouts.

It would take a clear leader in the org to drive such changes. This, and other changes, would be a drive to “digitization” using current lame corporate speak.

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I realize that I’m wandering a bit OT, but on the OA front, in principle it should be part of the OA Unit Rep’s billet to communicate those items to the unit via the PLC. I won’t pretend it’s a panacea for the overall problem, but it is one small area of responsibility that can help alleviate the issue. As an OA chapter adviser, I try to remind everyone at chapter meetings to check the lodge calendar for updates. Fortunately, both our recent lodge chiefs and lodge advisers have been pretty organized and gotten the lodge calendar updated very early in the season, and kept the chapter chiefs and advisers in the loop about changes with as much warning as they can muster.

I wonder if someone like the Scribe (or another youth POR) and an associated advisory ASM/MC could be delegated the task of chasing these resources and getting them to whomever maintains the unit calendar.

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@CallieFulmer - with councils being their own entity each has made their own choice of product that delivers the website and e-commerce portion. Not to mention the registered domains. There are design guidelines based on marketing standards from national but beyond that they were left to their own devices.

We’re a Pack. And I think it would be so great for the Cubs to interact more with the wider world of Scouting, and see this isn’t just something in our town.

However, all those calendars make it extremely difficult to track down the activities, and when they add them with short notice I don’t see them. Then typing it all into Scoutbook to send to the parents takes additional time I could be organizing a Pack event.

It really shouldn’t be that much to ask people who are already posting in Facebook and sending out 3 different email newsletters to just copy paste it to Scout Book, too.

Or have scout book scrape the events from their pages into Scoutbook.

Even if they get them all into scoutbook somehow, we’d still need a mechanism to decide whether to present that to your pack. My district and council have a lot of events on the calendar that don’t even apply to scouts. It’s not insurmountable, but it adds to the development time.

Yeah, when I was with a pack, we had adult leaders (and parents) scraping the council and district calendars, but we didn’t always catch everything. Generally, the “larger” things got plenty of advance press, but not always. A lot of the short notice was addressed by being proactive on our part. “Isn’t Webelos Woods coming up in a couple of months? Has anybody seen anything about that yet?” Someone would eventually reach out to council to find out what’s going on, then get the update out to the unit committee to circulate to the families. I have to admit that anything that’s on Facebook or other social media sites I’m unlikely to ever see, since these forums are generally the closest I get to “social media”, besides my professional page at LinkedIn.

Unfortunately, there is not (as far as I know) a “council” Scoutbook calendar module, since Scoutbook was conceived as a unit-level management tool. For a long time, there was a “calendar” module in my.scouting to which, in theory, council and district events could be posted. I don’t believe that I ever saw it used in the years I’ve been involved as an adult leader. Many leaders I talked to had never even heard of it when I asked. There are just too many different permutations for Scoutbook to really “crawl” the calendars and capture the data.

One thing that our unit does is having a Google calendar that is subscribed to our Scoutbook calendar. Our council also uses Google calendar, so we could (in theory) subscribe to that as well, and get that updated more-or-less as soon as council updates theirs. Our district largely uses email newsletters and a static calendar at the district website. Knowing first hand how overworked out district volunteers already are, I’m loathe to suggest that they maintain yet another calendar form, although I can see the advantages personally.

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Not everything is a software fix.

GO TO ROUNDTABLE to get this info, and put the things you want into your unit planning calendar.

We have (at least one) adult leader at every Roundtable; they gather all the info, and share the stuff that would be relevant to Scouts with the PLC during their monthly planning meetings. The things the PLC are interested in get put on the planning calendar.

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I go to round table. Only about 1/2 of council and district activities are covered there. They don’t want it to be “announcement night” and I don’t want to go to a meeting that could be an email. Not everyone can make round table, nor should I have to take tons of notes. If it is announced, it should be supplied on a calendar for future reference.

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All too true. Our district always has a hand-out with all the events on the calendar at Roundtable, and we talk the big ones – Scouting for Food, Camporees, etc.

Our Council published a really nice bound calendar for 2020 events at the end of 2019 – they made a big push to get all of the major events down on paper so that units could effectively plan. It was a great tool, until the coronapocalypse hit…

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Sure, it would be nice to have all “relevant” events automatically added to your unit’s Scoutbook calendar. (The same could be said of each of our personal calendars.) The technology is just not there yet. It should be easier, but meanwhile,…

  1. Is it easier to find an event planned and irganized by council/district etc. or to plan and carry out an event on your own for your unit?
  2. Scanning known other relevant calendars (council, district, OA lodge and chapter, etc.) and adding events that might be of interest to the unit calendar (as “tentative/suggested/proposed” events) might be a relatively low effort for a committee member, or an otherwise uninvolved parent, or a scout.
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Regarding Social Media- Many have dropped Facebook. I have.

I would personally not want anything automatically added to our calendar. Our Council’s calendar includes hundreds of events that has nothing to do with us. They have over 20 Districts, dozens of Council committee stuff, program specific stuff for other programs outside of ours, that we will be keeping ourselves busy deleting stuff all day long.

Plus, some stuff is for some, but not for all Scouts in a Troop. I would be inundated with hundreds of emails a day asking about stuff.

I comb through the Council calendar, really not that hard, to pick the stuff that will interest our Scouts. OA items are sent to just OA members in our Troop. Specific training classes like Den Chief or Outdoor Ethics Guide or IOLS are sent directly to those who need it (and to the parents of said Scouts). Works well and saves me a lot of time and headaches answering parents and Scouts questions on stuff that doesn’t pertains to them.

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A separate “district/council” calendar wouldn’t be on the Packs calendar.

I made us a separate “den” and added all the leaders. Leadership meetings, trainings, round table, advancement reminders, that sort of thing all go there and the emails don’t go to everyone.

But if I want it on the pack calendar, I just go in and switch the calendar pull down. The Council/district version could be the same.

I would settle for having the council and districts do a better job of updating the calendars on their websites. I attend round tables, but many events are not discussed or listed because there just is not the time to go through all of them.

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100% Agree! I don’t have much problem with having one of our leaders go to Roundtable to get the news, but before the COVID shutdown, the biggest problem I saw was poor communication between the different district committees… it was routine to have two or three – or even more! – Council and District events scheduled on the same weekend at different locations, trying to draw in the same people.

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Yah know, this might be the root cause. It would be great if the district, council, and OA each had their own calendar, like they do today. They don’t need a new system. They just need to commit to timely and full updates of those calendars. This would make the job about 75% easier.

Every time I see an Facebook only post 5 days before some activity, I always lean over and tell my wife “they are going to say that no one ever comes to their events and they maybe shouldn’t have them anymore.”

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