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Advice on migrating from SOAR and Troopmaster to Scoutbook

Hi All,

Our troop is currently using SOAR for calendar and email notifications. We are also using Troopmaster for Advancement. I want to simplify things and move everything to Scoutbook. There are two features we currently use quite often in SOAR…

  1. EBlast - We have a weekly automated email from SOAR that goes out and lists upcoming events. This is how most parents are kept notified of upcoming events.

  2. Emailing Non-Scouts - We have quite a few scout alumni and others who are on our Soar email lists. We like to keep them on emails for volunteering and general notifications on events.

Are there any ways to do these two things in ScoutBook? If not, what have others here done to accomplish these things?

(Any other tips would be welcomed too.)

thanks
Charlie

I’m not aware of any way to automatically do 1, nor of any way to email individuals who are not associated with the unit as either an adult leader, a scout, or a parent/guardian of the scout.

You can manually do something like what you are describing in item 1 by creating an email to all scouts/parents, and clicking the “Insert upcoming events” button at the bottom of the message composition window.

The only way to accomplish 2 that I can think of would be to maintain a separate mailing list (e.g. Google group). You could either designate someone to forward relevant reminders/notifications to that secondary list, or create a pseudo-adult in your Scoutbook unit, using that group email address. Then, you would include that adult on any mailings. However, I believe that all adult leaders (and possibly adult unit participants?) are required to use their credentials from my.scouting.org to sign-in to Scoutbook. As a result, the “pseudo-adult-leader” method might not work.

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Thanks. The “Insert upcoming events” button at least looks helpful. I wasn’t aware of this.

I think we may just need to remember to do a weekly email. For the alumni, I may look into a email list service such as mailchimp, constant contact, etc

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Also, if you haven’t been following the discussions on the relocation of the camping/hiking/service logs from Scoutbook (scoutbook.com) to IA2 (scoutbook.scouting.org), it’s probably worth a look through. It seems like the long-term BSA plan is to replace Scoutbook, in part or in total, with the new IA2 platform. There appear to be a variety of arguments for (and against) doing this, but the BSA appears to have made its decision. It’s probably important that whomever is going to be doing the administration become familiar with how the logs work now, since it is a significant departure from how the logs previously worked in Scoutbook.

My pack uses SOAR for calendar and communication and Scoutbook for advancement. We use the SOAR feature to imbed Scoutbook in a SOAR window. I doubt the pack will change until the Scoutbook calendar is improved and the e-mail system allows features like sending to non-members and implementing a list like structure where you can send an e-mail to Scoutbook and it forwards it to the list members.

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Charles:

Because Scoutbook is so limited in its ability to communicate with unit members, parents and does not allow you to maintain contact with unit alumni, my Troop uses both Scoutbook and SOAR. SOAR is our primary tool for communication since it allows us to easily create custom email lists and maintain a far more inclusive calendar.

ok, thanks. I guess I need to take a closer look at Soar. I didn’t realize it had any options to integrate with SB. We do like SOAR, just don’t like manually maintaining two lists. Good to see this can be integrated.

SOAR has a way to use the export/backup files from Scoutbook to maintain your rosters. It has been several years since I looked into it. It might be a way to avoid manual maintenance.

If you can, please define your terms.

Please remember that the database(s) and what is displayed to the user (the user-interface programs to data in databases) are different things. Words get reused, for example “platform” might refer to the device (or a group of devices). At this time I have no idea what “IA2 platform” means. when used in Scouting Forum discussions.

Fair point, @Bill_W.

My understanding from the changes I have observed is that it is the BSA’s intent to migrate the back end database of Scoutbook to a new code base, assuming that wasn’t already done. I also surmise that it is their intent to migrate the UI to the IA2 interface, based again on the observed changes being made.

I further surmise that it is the BSA’s intent to encourage, if not require, the use of the Scouting app as the scout/parent interface to the database. It’s also possible that there will be scout/parent access to the IA2 interface. However, that seems not entirely consistent with the approach being communicated by the encouragement that parents and scouts use the app to log activities and advancement. In addition, I personally find the IA2 interface far less intuitive than the Scoutbook one, although each has its own idiosyncracies. The app also has what seem like off decisions to me. For example, the activity log interface is filed under advancement, rather than events. To me, activities are events, not advancement. Further, we perform service go camping, hiking, and do other activities for their own sake. Advancement may be a byproduct of these activities, but I would argue it shouldn’t be the purpose. That’s more a philosophical argument, though.

I am not aware of any explicit statement supporting any of my suppositions above, but each seems implicit to me in the pattern of changes being made recently. Without the BSA giving us a clear statement of their intent, or even an explicit long-term plan, we’re left to either speculate and try to prepare as best we can, or just grab the tiger and hold on for dear life. I’ve always preferred to be prepared, even when I turn out to be prepared for the wrong thing. :^)

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