BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

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Pack Communication Medium: Further Forum Expansion Possibility?

Hello all!
Curious if the forums could be expanded so that specific packs and troops could have their own forums. These forums would require permissions to view, and participate in.

It is difficult to communicate among parents in a pack. Email is a VERY limited medium. Curious how other packs communicate between leaders.
Thanks!
Bill,
Den Leader
Pack 3015
Grand Rapids, MI

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@WilliamDay,

Eventually all units will be able to enable a unit forum. At this time we do not know when it will be ready for release.

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I noticed that there is already a unit forum at the bottom of the Scouting Forums home. I asked about this under separate thread Unit level discussions in New forums

Only units that had activity from about October, 2017 to April 22, 2019 currently have a unit forum. The ability to add unit forums for other units is coming soon.

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Our pack uses One Call Now (robo call) to send phone calls to all parents in the pack. We use pack funds to load the account for the year. It works very well in letting parents know each week what activities and meetings we have going on. I feel online forum wouldn’t be used well with our unit. Phone calls seem to work the best.

My Troop has started using Team App - it is very flexible and free.

What we like about it is the Access Groups. We can setup a group for each of the various campouts or events (ex. Summer Camp, World Scout Jambo, Philmont 2020, PLC, Z’s Eagle Project, July Campout, etc.) Then scouts/parents can join these groups themself (without me having to do it) and be in on the conversation if they wish, and it only goes to those who are signed up for the access group not everyone, so it can be much more directed.

Our Pack has set up a Slack workspace for the committee / leadership to have discussions. There’s a free version of it, and you can set up multiple channels for different topics. We’ve had a lot of success in getting participation from some of our volunteers who are less regular about responding to e-mail. It’s good for conversations short notice when we can’t have an in-person meeting.

A caveat is that it’s not a replacement for in-person meetings. It’s impossible to read tone, and there’s been at least one contentious discussion that got heated. So we’ve decided to never use that format for taking votes or for making decisions that don’t have immediate consensus.

Our pack uses Group Me. Free SMS app. We can post pics and events. It’s a group chat. Invite only. Multiple chats with “need to view” access.

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J-Rob, Slack sounds promising. We’re currently evaluating options for our pack and was wondering if Slack has a space to store files. Thanks!

You can post files right there in the chat, but that’s inefficient for searching or archiving. However, there are a number of apps that can be linked in. What our Pack has done is to link in a Google Drive and a Trello board for storing documents and assigning tasks respectively.

A co-worker also mentioned the “Band” app - I’ve seen it advertised on Facebook, but haven’t tried it. I’ve found that some of my parents just don’t read their e-mails. I have to send out the e-mail & follow it with a text & I really hate group texts. I have tried using the Pack Forum to post committee meeting information, but only a couple of parents looked at it. I think Scoutbook can send texts instead of e-mails - but haven’t tried it yet

My wife uses the Band app for her after-school club. It seems to work pretty well, for those who both to set it up. Other things we’ve looked at: Shutterfly Share Sites, the Team App, TeamSnap, and Remind.

Really, any communication tool you pick will work, for the parents and leaders that bother to set it up. That’s where we run into all of the problems. At least with the SB email, you’re pushing the info out to what should be good email addresses that were provided by your unit members.

You can do the text thing from Scoutbook, but only for people that have set up their account and verified their mobile number. Also, it only works from the Messaging part of Scoutbook. The Calendar does not send reminders via text.

Yep - “for those who bother to set it up”. Some of my parents have still not activated their Scoutbook accounts. I tried the text thing. I received the text as an e-mail & a text with attachment. I like the reminder feature of the calendar & will most likely continue with the group text.

Yep. If you can’t get those parents to turn on their SB account, you probably won’t have any better success with getting them to install yet another app and create yet another account. That’s the problem I have with Band and the other messaging apps.

Now, I just have to figure out how to communicate with the one mom in our troop that “doesn’t do email” and told us not to text her…

@SteveCagigas Smoke signals could work.

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I’m open to any suggestions. I’m just tired of a mom that won’t read emails, won’t accept texts, blocked leaders that did text her, won’t go to parent meetings, yet still complains that we aren’t communicating…

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Steve - watch out for smoke signals near the boarder of Washington Crossing Council as that is the council wide communication tool.

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Have you asked her how she would like you to communicate?

I would, if she ever actually showed up at a troop event.

I’ve asked her son what’s the best way to contact her. He’s the one that told us she doesn’t “do email” and that she doesn’t want us texting her. He doesn’t really know what to recommend, and he’s bothered that she doesn’t go to the meetings ever, either…

If she is complaining about not being in the loop but doesn’t show up to meetings, I would call her. It may be her son is telling you not to contact her because HE does not want her to get the information.