By Stan Lockhart
Jun 07, 2016

Have you tried ScoutBook yet?

I recently attended a training on Scoutbook by Ben Reece. What a great way to track Scout advancement, find merit badge requirements, plan and track activities, and keep parents, Scouts, and leaders on the same page.

ScoutbookYour Scoutbook dashboard gives you relevant data for your unit(s). Those who use the tool spend most of their time creating and monitoring their dashboard. You can get information based on individual boys or in aggregate. It is easy to read and easily accessible.

Many forums exist discussing a variety of Scout issues, containing tens of thousands of posts. You can find answers to almost any Scout question.

You can track leader training, which can come in handy when you are committed to leaders being trained (read my article about the state of the Council adult leaders).

Not only can leaders stay abreast of their unit progress, but parents can track their Scout’s progress as well. Scoutbook allows parents and leaders to remain on the same page, maximizing cooperation and coordination.

Upcoming events can be displayed so everyone knows what is happening in Scouts and when.

There is a cost to use this program. They charge by boy, but any adult leader can register to use Scoutbook free of charge. The cost is $2 per year per boy, though depending on the number of registering boys it can be as low as $1 per boy.

Scoutbook can automatically sync with data from the National BSA Council. For example, a leader that takes youth protection training can then get Scoutbook to verify that he completed it. The program is designed to be mobile as well. You can pull it up on your smart phone and use it. Scoutbook can be a valuable part of your Scouting experience. I highly recommend it.

If you have questions, concerns, or feedback, feel free to contact me at stanlockhartutah@gmail.com or 8013682166.

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Author: Stan Lockhart | President, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

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2 thoughts on “Have you tried ScoutBook yet?

  1. Stephen M Faber

    Our Cub Scout Pack and Scout/Varsity/Venturing units were some of the early adopters of Scoutbook in 2013 before the BSA acquired it. At the time it was exciting to see new feature development progress quickly. Customer service was excellent. The ability to check off activities while we were doing them (within cell/wifi range) was amazing. The ability for our committee to run basic reports on leader training was fantastic. Our board of review members loved being able to update scout advancement progress on the fly was extremely valuable. The UI appeared attractive and easy enough for parents and scouts to use. Scoutbook looked like a promising alternative to PackMaster and TroopMaster, so we made the switch.

    At that time, Scoutbook did not have the ability to track Varsity or Venturing advancement, but they promised it would come “soon”. Then the Cub Scout program was re-written, and Scoutbook had to put all of their efforts on keeping up with the new Cub Scout Adventures. Then the BSA bought Scoutbook in April 2015. When the BSA came into the Scoutbook picture, almost everything came to a halt, with the exception of “low hanging fruit” bug fixes, and the features deemed most worthy by BSA management, including epics worth of back-end integration with other BSA systems. The tidal wave of new BSA user input seemed to cause Scoutbook to try to “be the everything to everyone” software system to not only track BSA advancement, but be a fully featured calendaring, notification and finance tracking system.

    The BSA buying Scoutbook was the main reason why I advocated our units to let our Scoutbook subscription expire this spring.

    Several other things contributed to our discontinuation of Scoutbook, including the challenge of getting parents and boys to actually use Scoutbook. The ability to follow up with Scoutbook invitations to parents was difficult using the software. If the parents were not using the software to monitor their son’s progress, it did not make sense to continue with Scoutbook, or any advancement tracking system. Then scouting as a whole was put on hold for the first three months of 2016 to focus on the Provo City Center Temple Celebration (which by the way was a whole lot of work, and a whole lot of fun, our youth really enjoyed it). With parents and adult scouting leaders still trying to figure out how they feel about the BSA membership policy changes last summer, scouting momentum in our unit took a hit.

    So, for now, we don’t use Scoutbook, but parents can still create their own Scoutbook account and track their own son for free if they wish.

    I’m still an advocate of the idea behind Scoutbook advancement, but I don’t think we’ll renew until Scoutbook gets it act together.

    Reply
  2. Annaleis SmithAnnaleis Smith

    Stan, I too am excited about where Scoutbook is heading and have loved using it for the past year. We just renewed our subscription for another year.

    PS – I wrote an article here back in Feb in The Boy Scout about Why I love Scoutbook.

    Reply

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