Scout Tracking

Some discussions just don't fit into a well defined box. Use this forum to discuss general topics and issues revolving around the Church and the technology offerings we use and share.
andrewserff
New Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:32 pm

Scout Tracking

Postby andrewserff » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:43 pm

I only see one topic about Scout Tracking on the forums here form 2011, so I thought I would start a new one.

Is there a reason why the Church has not built their own Scout Progress Tracking tool? The amount of time wasted by leaders who don't have clear direction on how to track scout progress, and the usual gaps between releases/calls of leaders it seems like it would benefit all in the scouting program for the Church to build a Scout Tracking tool. I don't know why BSA has not built one, but in lieu of a BSA built tool, I feel the Church, or the LDS Tech community could build one.

I'm new to getting involved in LDS Tech, so is there an official way to request a new project like this? Is there interest from others? Is there some direction from Church leaders that prevent it being built? I have the skills to build one, just don't know if I have the time. I'm currently the Cub Master in our Ward, so I'm definitely willing to spend some time on it.

Let me know. Thanks!
Andrew

jdlessley
Community Moderators
Posts: 6526
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:30 pm
Location: USA, TX

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby jdlessley » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:22 pm

The Church has not put any effort into creating a Scout tracking program because the BSA already has one. It is called Troopmaster. It is a fee based program that is available as desktop software, online software, or both with syncing between the desktop and web data. You can also track using the BSA Internet Advancement. The BSA online system requires you to register to use. It is at no additional cost other than being a registered Scout Leader.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

Gary_Miller
Senior Member
Posts: 1218
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:42 am
Location: Emmett, Idaho

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby Gary_Miller » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:44 pm

jdlessley wrote:The Church has not put any effort into creating a Scout tracking program because the BSA already has one. It is called Troopmaster. It is a fee based program that is available as desktop software, online software, or both with syncing between the desktop and web data.

JD, Troopmaster is not put out by BSA it is a third party software.

Gary_Miller
Senior Member
Posts: 1218
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:42 am
Location: Emmett, Idaho

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby Gary_Miller » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:51 pm

andrewserff wrote:Is there a reason why the Church has not built their own Scout Progress Tracking tool?

The church does not write BSA program material it is all done by BSA for BSA.

andrewserff wrote:The amount of time wasted by leaders who don't have clear direction on how to track scout progress,....

Scouting provides in-depth training on how to track scouts progress, all a leader needs to do is magnify their calling by taking the training, reading the material, and attending their monthly round tables. Also if the Advancement member on the Scout Committee gets to know their council counterpart there is nothing they can't get on where the youth are now

andrewserff wrote:...the usual gaps between releases/calls of leaders it seems like it would benefit all in the scouting program for the Church to build a Scout Tracking tool. I don't know why BSA has not built one, but in lieu of a BSA built tool, I feel the Church, or the LDS Tech community could build one.

BSA does have an advancement tool it can be access at "myscouting.org". As a Cub Master you should already be familiar with this site as this is the site you would have gone to for training in your position.

BSA also has a hard copy of books for both pack and troops to keep track of record keeping, you can get them at the local scout shop.

There are also many third party programs out there that work well.

robertlk70
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:42 pm

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby robertlk70 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:48 pm

Good info Gary. Im gonna check the link provided. Im in the same boat as andrewserff, I just became a cub scout leader for Webelos. We just got back from Little Philmont in Laie, HI. One of the concerns about tracking is the we and other wards have a lot of turn over due to Military PCSing etc., When new scouts come in we don't have any information to see what has been accomplished or what is in progress other than their word which in essence should be good enough; a way to transfer scout records like we do with church records would be pretty nifty.

Gary_Miller
Senior Member
Posts: 1218
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:42 am
Location: Emmett, Idaho

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby Gary_Miller » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:02 pm

robertlk70 wrote:One of the concerns about tracking is the we and other wards have a lot of turn over due to Military PCSing etc., When new scouts come in we don't have any information to see what has been accomplished or what is in progress other than their word which in essence should be good enough; a way to transfer scout records like we do with church records would be pretty nifty.

Having been a scout leader in a military ward I understand the problems you can have. However they are quite simple to overcome.

I would have to check with the scout office but I think in the current BSA Advancement System the information follows the scout by membership number. So when you transfer the the new scout to your unit the information will transfer with them and be available on myscouting.org once the transfer has happen. You can contact your local scout council office to see if this is accurate and how it works.

There is also a form that scouts can get from their old unit when they move that shows their status, the problem is sometimes they don't get the form. If this is the case you can contact the old unit or council office and have them send an official record. This is much easier within the church as we can look at the church membership record to see what the previous unit was and then look that unit up in CDOL and call the Bishop to get the current Cub Master or Committee chairman information to get the scout advancement information. The should be something you scout committee should do with help from the ward clerks office.

robertlk70
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:42 pm

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby robertlk70 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:35 am

Having been a scout leader in a military ward I understand the problems you can have. However they are quite simple to overcome.

I would have to check with the scout office but I think in the current BSA Advancement System the information follows the scout by membership number. So when you transfer the the new scout to your unit the information will transfer with them and be available on myscouting.org once the transfer has happen. You can contact your local scout council office to see if this is accurate and how it works.

There is also a form that scouts can get from their old unit when they move that shows their status, the problem is sometimes they don't get the form. If this is the case you can contact the old unit or council office and have them send an official record. This is much easier within the church as we can look at the church membership record to see what the previous unit was and then look that unit up in CDOL and call the Bishop to get the current Cub Master or Committee chairman information to get the scout advancement information. The should be something you scout committee should do with help from the ward clerks office.


Great info Gary, I will check that out and share the info with the people who brought up the question at the Little Philmont training.

Aloha!

andrewserff
New Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:32 pm

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby andrewserff » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:57 pm

Gary,

Thank you for your info. Let me just say I was just called as Cub Master, so I'm learning as quickly as I can. I have been to myscouting.org before for training, but had never seen the Internet Advancement section. I just clicked on it and it says it requires Internet Explorer which is a problem for us Mac users (they don't make IE for Mac any more). I know that isn't your problem, but just compounds the lack of easy to use tools for this purpose...

I'm going to rant for a moment, and please don't take any of this as personal. These are just observations I've had in my involvement in Scouting. Like I said, I'm a new Cub Master, but I've been a Bear Leader for almost a year, was Scout Committee Chair for about a month as well. I'm also a convert to the Church, so not everything policy wise comes naturally to me.

I understand your points about magnifying our callings, however, there is still a problem with way I've seen the Scouting program run in the Wards I've been in. I don't believe we can blame the individuals for not magnifying their calling when there really should be dead simple way of tracking of the boys progress within the Church. Like Robert said, it should be as easy (if not easier) as membership records. The Church is 100% engrained in Scouting and has been for 100 years, so it's not like the policies and practices are unknown, yet when new leaders are called, they often are told what you just said: "Go to Roundtable, do the trainings that BSA puts out, etc" While those are good, they are not Church specific. I have been to Roundtables and they have been mostly useless to me because the way the Church does Scouting and the way BSA does Scouting are not the same. Sure the achievements are the same, but we don't, and are not allowed to do, everything they do (take Venturing for example).

As a Cub Master or Leader, I would have hoped when I got called, that I could log into a site (lds.org would be a good one I can think of) where I am marked as a Scout leader. I can then see:
1) What boys are in what Dens, 11 yo Scouts, Scouts, etc
2) What achievements each boy in a Den has earned. How many achievements a boy needs to get their next badge.
3) What belt loops/pins have they earned
4) What achievements to buy (and what have the boys already received). I just went to the scout shop and bought a bunch of awards for the boys for my first pack meeting. Come to find out, the boys already had received some of them. How was I supposed to know? Budget wasted right there.

Let me contrast that to what really happens (at least in my Wards...maybe it's better elsewhere?):
1) Get Called, Bishopric member doesn't really know what you are supposed to do. Maybe they give you the application to fill out and tell you to take the trainings.
2) You talk to the previous person in your calling for a hand off. Each person gets a varying amount of data from the previous person. Some people might get a lot, some people get nothing in the case of people moving, PCSing as you guys raised, etc.
3) I want to know the progress of the boys, I have to go ask all the leaders, they go and look at a spreadsheet or something else to figure out where everyone is.
4) No one knows what each boy has earned in the past unless they have been that boys leader for the entire year. This is troubling from the belt loop/pin standpoint as they cross all 3 years of Cubs, so its even harder to track.

Because of these experiences, many Wards go out and sign up for something like ScoutManage, Troopmaster, ScoutTrack or the many other tools out there that cost money. Sometime the Ward pays for that, some times the leaders pay for it, either way, it's money that is being spent on something that should be provided.

Anyway, I could go on, but I think you get/fell my frustrations. Yes I know it can all be learned from knowledgeable people like yourself, but if the system did a lot of the knowledge keeping for us, we wouldn't have to rely on the few knowledge keepers when everyone is released, wards are split, new branches are created, etc. My hope was that the Church saw this deficiency as well or that I can at least point it out to help make it better.

Thanks again for your info and I'll keep looking into that. Hopefully myscouting.org does what I want and that I can use it and all my frustrations are resolved shortly!

Gary_Miller
Senior Member
Posts: 1218
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:42 am
Location: Emmett, Idaho

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby Gary_Miller » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:31 pm

andrewserff wrote:I just clicked on it and it says it requires Internet Explorer which is a problem for us Mac users (they don't make IE for Mac any more). I know that isn't your problem, but just compounds the lack of easy to use tools for this purpose...

If you get with the ward clerk he could help you get on the clerks machine.

andrewserff wrote:I'm going to rant for a moment, and please don't take any of this as personal. These are just observations I've had in my involvement in Scouting.

Nothing personal I have felt your pain. I have been involved with the scouting program for 30 years on both LDS scouting units and the non-LDS scouting units.

I will do my best to give you some pointers that may help you better understand the scouting program as it pertains to LDS units.

andrewserff wrote:Like I said, I'm a new Cub Master, but I've been a Bear Leader for almost a year, was Scout Committee Chair for about a month as well.

Since you are now the Cub Master your primary job is to conduct pack meetings and be a best friend to the boys. Pack Meeting is your meeting you plan it along with the help of the den leaders. You should not have to worry about tracking advancement that is the Den Leaders and Pack Committee member over advancements responsibility. You job is to hand out the award and make sure there is a nice ceremony for rank advancement. Being a Cub Master was one of the best jobs I have had in scouting.

Attend you monthly round tables this is where you will get lots of good ideas for pack meetings and round-tables are geared toward the next months theme.

andrewserff wrote: I'm also a convert to the Church, so not everything policy wise comes naturally to me.

All the policy you need to know for Cub Scouts is on LDS.ORG under Primary.

Here is a quick link.
https://www.lds.org/callings/primary/leader-resources/scouting-in-primary?lang=eng

Make sure you down load and read "The Scouting Handbook for church units in the United States" You will see it on the right of the page at the above link.

Everything else is in the Leader Handbooks the BSA has. If you don't have the handbooks talk to the Primary President about purchasing them. As you work through magnifying your calling you will find lots of good material to help you at the Scout Office. The person who conducts your Cub Scout Round-table will be able to give you lots of help in this area, also find out who your Unit Commissioner is and make them your best friend their whole purpose in life it to help you have a successful Pack.

Also get familiar with BSAs "Journey to Excellence" program it help you to have a quality program. Here is a link.
http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Awards/JourneyToExcellence.aspx


andrewserff wrote:I understand your points about magnifying our callings, however, there is still a problem with way I've seen the Scouting program run in the Wards I've been in.

Yes there is. However the biggest problem is leaders not going to training, not using the program materials, and not attending round tables.

andrewserff wrote:I don't believe we can blame the individuals for not magnifying their calling when there really should be dead simple way of tracking of the boys progress within the Church.

BSA has all the materials necessary for tracking advancement its in all the leaders handbooks. There is also a large wall chart one can use to display all the boys advancement progress.

andrewserff wrote:Like Robert said, it should be as easy (if not easier) as membership records. The Church is 100% engrained in Scouting and has been for 100 years, so it's not like the policies and practices are unknown,

It is easy if the Pack Committee does their job. For example on the pack committee you have an advancement person if that person is doing their job correctly when a boy is moving they would give them a transfer form to carry to their next scout unit. Everything is on the form that the new unit needs.

andrewserff wrote:yet when new leaders are called, they often are told what you just said: "Go to Roundtable, do the trainings that BSA puts out, etc" While those are good, they are not Church specific. I have been to Roundtables and they have been mostly useless to me because the way the Church does Scouting and the way BSA does Scouting are not the same.

The Scouting Program is the scouting program in and out of the church there is no difference on the program is to be carried out. There are some slight differences on what the church will allow the boys to do. But every chartered organization are allowed to set some policies that may conform to their organization standards.

andrewserff wrote: Sure the achievements are the same, but we don't, and are not allowed to do, everything they do (take Venturing for example).

True. But its really no big deal.
Here are some of the differences I know right of the top of my head.

In Cub Scouts the churches program is Base on Age starting at 8 and there is not tiger cubs. In community units the program is usually base on Grade in school and there is a tiger cub den.
Cubs in the church do not do overnight camping, in other units they do family camping and the Webelos will do some camping.

There is some difference in how we conduct our new scout patrol, 11 yr old scouts.

The only difference in the Venture program is the church is not coed.

There are not many more differences that i know of.

andrewserff wrote:1) What boys are in what Dens, 11 yo Scouts, Scouts, etc

See your ward clerk he can give you this information. In our ward well made custom classes for Cub Scouts.

andrewserff wrote:2) What achievements each boy in a Den has earned. How many achievements a boy needs to get their next badge.

There is a form Den Leaders use to track achievements for each boy int the Den the form should be passed to the new den leader when they move to the next Den. The Committee member over advancement should have a book with everyone's achievements in.

andrewserff wrote:3) What belt loops/pins have they earned

While lots of units keep track of belt loops and pins there is really no need to a boy can earn the same belt loop and pin as many times as he whats. Belt loops and pins are not considered advancement awards. They are just recognition awards.

andrewserff wrote:4) What achievements to buy (and what have the boys already received). I just went to the scout shop and bought a bunch of awards for the boys for my first pack meeting. Come to find out, the boys already had received some of them. How was I supposed to know? Budget wasted right there.

The only awards for cubs I know of they they can only earn once is Advancement Awards, everything else can be earned as many times as the boy wants to earn it. As Cub Master you should not have to worry about keeping track of achievements as the Pack Committee Member over advancement should be doing this.

andrewserff wrote:Because of these experiences, many Wards go out and sign up for something like ScoutManage, Troopmaster, ScoutTrack or the many other tools out there that cost money. Sometime the Ward pays for that, some times the leaders pay for it, either way, it's money that is being spent on something that should be provided.

Talk the Cub Committee chair and the primary president (She hold the purse strings for CS) about purchasing something like this if you think it will help then the ward will have it and all the information will be there for the next leaders. Leaders should never have to pay for any materials out of their own pocket.

User avatar
sbradshaw
Senior Member
Posts: 2486
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:42 pm
Location: Provo, UT
Contact:

Re: Scout Tracking

Postby sbradshaw » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:53 pm

I don't know too much about Boy Scouts, but I know that there are more than 100 different merit badges and recognition awards to keep track of. And, the system changes or is added to sometimes. It's hard for a different organization such as the church to keep up with those changes and implement them fast enough, and it would take a lot of time to enter them all in. Also, because scouting isn't BSA in other countries, they couldn't use the same system across the church. They may run into copyright or trademark restrictions and fees, too.


Return to “General Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest