TroopWebHost vs. Scoutbook

I helped a Cub Scout pack transition from Packmaster to ScoutBook a few years ago. It was the right thing to do. No regrets.

I am in a troop that uses TroopWebHost (TWH). My prior transition to Scoutbook makes me feel optimistic it would benefit the troop, too, but will it?

Some thing about TWH are a pain. Its UI is terrible and fidgety. The requirement to manually sync in information from BSA systems is a pain. E.g., YPT dates. Also, as TWH’s own site says, “it’s hard to compete with free”.

Is there an objective list on what features TWH has that are either absent or weak in Scoutbook (SB)? TWH’s own site is vague on this.

Some examples I can think of (not a comprehensive list!):

  • Accounting A few years ago, I found SB’s accounting features to be weak. I am generally aware of improvements in SB, but I am unclear how they stand up to TWH.
  • Event registration SB’s event-registration features also felt weak last I used them. TWH has the ability to limit registrations if account balances are too low, an ability to do online permission forms, and more.
  • Whole-troop view. Scoutbook strictly separates B and G troops. TroopWebHost lets us view both troops as one unit. Since our linked troops collaborate closely, this is much better for us than Scoutbook’s strict separation, which would wall off people from each other and require a lot of double entry. (Yes, I know BSA’s guidelines on how troops relate. I am not contravening that.)
  • Ability to store files. While missing from SB, I think this is a worthless feature. Scout units really should be linking documents straight from an official BSA site or using modern tools like Google Drive.

I don’t think we need a feature-by-feature match between SB and TWH. However, we need an eyes-wide-open view on what we leave behind if we move to SB, so that we can craft alternatives.

Well, you will have to find someone who used to use TWH that switched to do the writeup.

What I can say is that in all areas it is adequate. Some areas it is great, some it is far from great, and some are getting better every week. In all, it gets the job done.

Accounting SB can’t do all of your accounting, but it can manage Scout accounts, including adults, and a “checkbook” like total for the unit. It has improved. It can also do PayPal integration
Event Registration It works for our unit. It can’t limit registration due to your account balance, but again, works for us. You can RSVP, Scouts can print their own permission slip, but doesn’t allow electronic permission slips as the BSA doesn’t recommend them. I’m not sure if the ER would accept one either.
Whole-Troop View You can add an event to both units and get RSVPs on one screen. That works well enough for us. Since they are 2 separate troops, it does not let you see them as one (since they aren’t one). You do not need to do double entry for events, RSVPs, and calendars. Everyone that edits these, though, will need admin permissions in both units.
Ability to share files You can deep link to a file in an event entry. So, that works for us. Families can’t tell the difference.

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What other accounting do we need to handle? :grin: Wait, you’re saying it can handle accounting as it relates to individuals but not handle unit-level expenses? E.g., paying for trailer insurance or the reservation fee for the state park?

That’s good to know. Do you have a reference for this?

ER will never turn away someone needing service due to a form issue. That would be negligence.

Really? I’ll check that out.

That’s all I want. I am aware of the bbcode markup functionality and where I can make links. It’s kind of silly to manually upload documents to TWH. Just link to a public link in Google Drive is usually best.

Yes. They may not let you know the state of a minor or get to see the minor. That may be against the parent’s wishes since you don’t have any proof the minor should be with you.

I said for the unit, it can act like a checkbook register.

Got it. Can you clarify what you mean by “SB can’t do all of your accounting”? Seems like it can?

It only has one unit account. So, we also have a savings account and an account we have at the council office. We can keep money in the council account for things like reservations or the Scout Shop. There is no way to manage these balances. We can track money out to the accounts, but not their balances.

The change, though, to tracking a main account and adult payment logs is about 95% of what we need. Thus, I can declare it adequate. Perfect? No.

Does TWH have more accounting features? One I know of is that any unit emails can show a Scout’s balance and their health form dates. Nice, but no necessary.

Scoutbook, with the browser extension, can send reports to families with their balances with just a few clicks. So that is close to what is needed.

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