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Need a quicker way to get Scouts into Scoutbook

Du to the forced payment using online registration and no way to include the unit portions we have stopped using online registration. We had 6 new scouts sign up in October, it took a month for them to get set up ins Scoutbook, then 5 of the 6 had incorrect or no emails. This took another month to get corrected by local council. Two still have incorrect emails in scoutbook.

We have always been a more successful unit at recruiting in our council, even during COVID-19. But we obviously can not depend on local council to create the new accounts quickly and correctly. Our unit communicates solely through Scoutbook for email and calendar and advancements. Our rule is that a scout can not participate until they are in scoutbook. So since local council is not able to handle this, and online registration no longer works for us, how do we get new scouts in. Of the 6 new scouts we have definitely lost 4, due to the lack of communication. We have suspended recruiting until we have a reliable and usable method to board new scouts

You can add any Scout to your unit as soon as you wish. Go to your unit roster page and click +Add Scout. You will not be able to approve any advancements until the Scout is on the official roster, but you will be able to mark requirements complete. Since you have chosen not to use online registrations, you are at the mercy of your Council manually entering the Scout.

When you enter the Scout in Scoutbook, make sure the full name, date of birth and zip code match exactly what is on the application. Do not, for example, leave off the Scout’s middle name or use Joe instead of Joseph.

I would recommend that instead of rejecting online applications that you explain to the families that the portion they will pay online is only the national and council portion of the fees but that there is an additional fee due to the unit. Allow families that want to register online do so with the understanding that they will need to write a check to the unit as well. Online registration is the fastest way to get Scouts onto the official roster.

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Can you just say to the person “there are 2 payments required, one online and one offline”? That is how we are handling it. We have a “dues schedule” by month. One is for paper forms and one is for those who register online.

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John,

My experience has been that online applications, once approved by the unit, are the fastest way to get a scout connected. Sending a piece of paper to the council office lets multiple hands touch it and induces the opportunity for error.

As Ed Avignon notes below, you can add the new Scout as soon as you are ready in Scoutbook. As long as you get EXACTLY the same details as on the application, once it has been processed the Scout will be connected for advancement approvals. You can anticipate this a little bit by watching the roster in my.scouting, which will add the new Scout a day before making the connection in Scoutbook. Until that happens, you’ll be able to enter advancements but not approve them at the unit level.

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We have shied away from using online registration as well in part because of the split payment and also because it complicates our pack’s on-boarding process which works best in-person (plus our council has a commitment to have apps processed in 1 business day and their office is near our community). But this year because of the pandemic we ended up doing 100% of our recruitment advertisement online and about 50% of our applications online. Because we knew we’d be getting more online apps we did our best to make it work. One (or 2) of the options you have is in Organization Manager (in my.scouting) where you can set-up an email that goes out to the family. There are 2 email options. One is specifically for a specified fee. The other is more open ended for your unit, but you can include fee language if you want. We chose that one because our joining fee includes registration and since that’s pro-rated by national the portion we retain changes each month as well. Pick the one that works for you. The trickiest follow-up part is obtaining the payment. I would suspect it wouldn’t normally be too difficult, but as a large pack we have not been able to have a pack meeting since February. One solution we’ve come to is to use our PayPal account to send an invoice for the balance.

From supporting users who run into problems when they add their Scouts manually to Scoutbook (misspelled names, wrong birthdates, etc. causing duplicate accounts,) I would strongly recommend using either online registration or waiting for the manual registration to process.

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As someone who is very gung-ho about getting scouts into Scoutbook and have entered many manually, I completely agree. After doing it my 5th or 6th time, and 3 or 4 times with adults, I learned my lesson. It took that many times, but at this point, I just don’t do it.

I understand, we use it for all communication, calendaring, reminders, RSVP, and permission slips. They need to be in there fast. I just can’t take the 11th round of punishment. I am done at 10. I will wait until they are auto entered.

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