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Scoutbook Integration advice

All,

I am in the process of trying to find ways to simplify communication with our leaders and parents. We have not had great success in getting adoption in Scoutbook from our parents and we are forced to communicate in a number of different methods with our parents. I was wondering what others utilize and how you are driving integration to create a one stop shop.

My thoughts at this point - were that I was going to utilize our Pack Gmail’s (Scoutbook’s email functionality cannot even be added to an outlook calendar or a phone/device which makes it very unweildy AND there is no inbox) calendar to subscribe to the calendars, then utilize Slack to drive automated updates of sorts in GroupMe, Facebook Events, Email and Text blasting. For Council communication I was thinking of using slack channels (or discord I guess) to try to manage some of the planning and communication so that our committee can communicate effectively when something needs to be discussed between monthly council meetings. I’ll be honest - I would really love it if we were able to get some API integrations for external tools so that we/our parents did not have to log into Scoutbook to do things

The complaints I receive from our den leaders and scoutmasters etc…

It is so slow.
Too many layers of clicking to get to anything on the website.
It is not clearly laid out where/how to get to things
The calendar function is so difficult to use it is prohibitive and auto corrects to dates back in 2010 when it gets confused.

#slack #discord #Integration #API #Communication

Scoutbook, Box, and text messages cover 99.9% of our communication needs. We’ve played around with other tools, but they all required more overhead to get the same benefit – if you think it’s hard getting an adult to use Scoutbook, try getting them to use Scoutbook plus another app or two!

Specifics:

  • Email blasts: These are done via Scoutbook’s email client. All leaders and parents and some Scouts have access to this. It’s a few more steps (but not many) than sending an email blast out via Gmail.
  • Shared Communication: We do this with the Scoutbook unit forum. There’s a thread in our forum for each committee meeting and round-table, and ones for planning bigger events like summer camp. We’ve instructed (not to mention cajoled, brow-beat, and threatened) all the leaders and parents to subscribe to the forum so they can get notifications on the smartphone app. You can also cut and paste thread URLs into email blasts easily to make sure people don’t miss anything. And… the Scoutbook forums support attachments (not sure how large, though) and let you embed links to documents in Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box easily.
  • Calendar: We’re using the Scoutbook calendar. It isn’t pretty, but it’s accessible to everyone in the unit, and they can subscribe to the unit calendar or any sub-unit calendar easily, so it shows up in their phone or on their desktop without having to open up Scoutbook.

I need to point out that the Scouting app has really upped its game over the past couple of months for Scouts and parents (if not for non-parent leaders). Now, even if you don’t subscribe to the unit calendar in Scoutbook, the Scouting app puts the Scoutbook calendar right in front of you, filtering out only the events that you or your Scout is invited to.

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I have to agree with Steve. We use Scoutbook for nearly all of the communication with Scouts and families. We use texts about 1% of the time for last minute changes. We do those manually since families haven’t “hooked up” their phones to Scoutbook.

I will use a phrase I use at work where we have standardized on a industrial automation package: Scoutbook is adequate. I don’t mean this as a slam, I use it more lock Spock from Star Trek. In many many ways, I think Scoutbook is awesome. In some areas, it is clunky and literally just adequate. But! It works as a platform, sometimes with work arrounds, but it works. It, to me, is more than adequate, but for those that say “it doesn’t work”, I would say “show me where it can’t get the job done”. We use OneDrive to store some spreadsheets for finance tracking and a few other things. Between that and Scoutbook, it gets the job done.

For coordination between the adult leaders, we use a cobo of Scoutbook, normal email, and OneDrive.

This meets the need of a Troop with 18 Scouts and adults. This meets the need of a pack with 51 Cubs and adults.

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To echo Matt and Steve… you can make this work. In the end it is up to your leadership to decide. There are a few providers still in the unit management market and all of them have options that satisfy the needs of their customers. You have to go with what works for your unit and leaders.

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Our troop is relying on it increasingly for E-mails and sign-ups. I offered the possibility of unit forums, but the CC prefers regular E-mail to everyone. Works for her, and she’s great. So, we don’t tamper with success.

Monday nights are rough as our CO’s wireless can only handle so much … plus I suspect half the units in the country meet then. It’s not working on Chrome for my iPad 2.0, so there’s that, and I’m keeping my flip phone, so most of what I do is from workstations. But, others have a suitable device, and log in early in the meeting, so we’re able to get scouts’ questions answered reasonably well.

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