Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Scoutbook Online Unit Advancement Software

I'm always looking for a better way to keep our scouting advancements and merit badges up to date and accessible.  We've been using a spreadsheet for quite a while, but this year I started using Scoutbook. ( I love it!

It's all available online, accessible from a computer, tablet, or smart phone.  I can invite parents and give them access to their son's progress and info so they can be up to date on what their kid has done and what he needs to do.  They can also log information for a leader to then approve when he logs into the site.

I use it to keep track of camping nights, service hours, and leadership tenure.  It's easy to keep updated and now has individual scout printout that gives all the advancement and merit badges a scout has earned in one page.

It does cost, but it has a 30 day trial.  I used it for the trial, and then paid the $ to keep using it.  I still need to get all the other adults and parents involved and converted, but it's coming.

Oh, and you can import from some of the other scouting software packages out there to make it easier to switch over!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friends of Scouting and Rechartering

Why does Friends of Scouting and Rechartering have to come on the same month?  I am in charge of both this year and have been scrambling to get it all done!

I am glad the Friends of Scouting is available online this year though.  I was able to create routes and route leaders from past years donors to get all organized, which was very nice!  Unfortunately when you go to print the donation slips, they all come out in alphabetical order, not grouped by route!  I would think whoever is making their web pages and stuff should be able to fix that!

Rechartering is good because it gives us the chance to make sure our records are up to date and everyone has the trainings they all need.  It is also online this year and it's nice to be able to move scouts from the scout troop to the Varsity Team without having to enter their info all over again!

I just wish they both didn't come in the same month! They're both due this week in fact!  It looks like I'll be able to get it done, but I wouldn't have been able without the help of my sweet wife!

Lumberjack Campout 2014

We went on our annual Lumberjack Campout this month to cut firewood for people in the neighborhood that need firewood to heat their homes this winter.  Our troop is constantly changing, and this year we only had 2 older boys, and a bunch of 12-year old boys.
The Adults did the chain sawing to cut down dead trees and saw them up into lengths for splitting, then the 12-year old boys (and some of the adults) carried the logs over by the trailers where the older boys split them with mauls.  Unfortunately with only 2 boys splitting, we were only able to split about 1/3 of the logs, the rest we loaded up to be split later.
The younger boys kept asking if they could build a shelter to sleep in and I had to keep reminding them that they can as soon as all the wood is cut and gathered.  Once that was done, we built a frame out of logs, stacked in a way I learned when I was a boy at scout camp to make a bridge without ropes or nails, just friction.

The "bridge" frame that was then used to make their shelter

The "finished" product - luckily there wasn't any snow or rain cause they didn't
take the time to make it more weather tight
This is the basic design for the friction bridge (shown from the side):
Of course you'll need two sets of the the two diagonal logs and the horizontal log to make it all work.  The circles in the drawing are the ends of logs.  Try it out with your scouts!  It's actually a pretty sturdy bridge that can be climbed upon and played on!