Every unit has a method of tracking their Scouts. Advancement, activities, special awards etc. There are software programs and online resources for tracking, even an Excel spreadsheet can be used. But I want to introduce you to a real cool way of tracking your unit. Scoutbook.com.
Before I go any further, I should say in full disclosure that my unit does not use Scoutbook.com…. yet. I was made aware of Scoutbook.com recently and thought I would review it and let you all know about some of the great features it has. I should also say that as a Scoutmaster, I rarely get involved in any of this, but with Scoutbook.com your committee will be very happy to have such an awesome tool at their finger tips.
At first look I love the interface. The ease of the program. It is clean and requires no hunting to find what you are looking for. Second thing that you notice right away is that the Scout has some responsibility for his advancement in this program. Just like their Scout handbook, the Scout himself now has the ability to track and maintain parts of his record keeping. Yes, he still needs to get the work done and Yes, he still needs to see the Scoutmaster or who ever signs the book. But with Scoutbook.com, he has everything at his fingertips electronically.
I remember Former Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzucca reminding us to take Scouting where the Scouts are. Well, 78% of our teens have cell phones, and not just cell phones, but smart phones. So put this tool in their hands and see if they get excited about this part of Scouting.
I love that Scoutbook.com is on “The Cloud”. Pretty much the world that we live in. The ability to have data on your tablet, phone, computer or other device is critical these days.
Ok, So the Committee has a role in this, the Scout has a role in this, and the leaders all have roles in this. It is a total package deal. Constantly updated to meet all of the BSA requirements, linked to ScoutNet, and easy to use.
As a leader, you can track and maintain your training records. I am sure that the Training chair on your committee would love for your help on that.
Printing Blue cards is a snap also.. right from your device.
Merit Badge counselors can track the Scout and report percentages of complete to the committee in real-time.
For the leader, you can track multiple Scouts with just a few clicks. Monitoring those first year Scouts sometimes can be chore. But using the tools in Scoutbook.com they have been made easy and right at your finger tips.
Troop Committees can print beautiful reports and even the 34403 form to purchasing awards and advancement for your next Court of Honor.
Scoutbook.com is 100% secure and allows the unit to decide who gets what access. The Scout, the Leaders, Merit Badge Counselors, and the Committee all have functions suited to them.
There are many features of Scoutbook.com that I can’t write about here, it would take pages on the blog.
If you are currently using other tracking software or online programs you may be able to transfer your data, but before you do, check out Scoutbook.com and see all of this for yourself. It is worth a look.
And here is something cool about Scoutbook.com… You can have it for a year free because you read my blog. The first 3 readers that send me an email (email@example.com) and ask for the subscription will get an annual subscription to Scoutbook.com. You need to check out the website to see all of the benefits that come with this cool program.
I think it is a resource that you and your unit need to look into. Have a Great Scouting Day!
Every Saturday, we are going to add a “Tip of the Week” to the Blog. A tip that will be focused on Backpacking, camping, hiking, cooking, or other skills associated with the great outdoors.
This weeks tip is a simple one that will save wear and tear on your pack and keep your gear organized and clean.
Let me know if you have a tip you want to share. Also, if you have ideas or tips that you have questions about or want to see. Please let me know and I will do my best to put them up here.
In this tip I use a Marlin Spike hitch.. to learn how to tie the Marlin Spike, check this site out. Animated Knots by Grog
One of my goals for this year and in particular in working on the blog is to use tools to be more successful. There is nothing worse than a goal that is not attainable because of lack of want to or know how and sometimes tools can assist in making a goal more attainable.
A new years resolution to go to the gym only works while the motivation to work out is there. Going to the gym and not working out because you don’ t know how only discourages you and you don’t go back.
I am one of “those people” that needs constant motivation to stay on track. I do that by motivating myself and finding tools and resources that keep me focused and on task.
For example. I am working on doing more to lift some of the burden of household chores from my wife. She does and has done a fantastic job over the past 22 years and I know this is an area that I can do better at. So I have picked up the responsibility to doing the grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping, but it is a task that I can do so I had to find motivation (other than just being more helpful). So I dove into the task to find tools that would make grocery shopping more interesting for me and make me want to do it. Enter an app for my phone. I downloaded the Out of Milk app and started using it. We make the grocery list on the computer and sync it with my phone. Bingo.. we have a winner. I am actually finding grocery shopping fun, walking up and down the isles scanning products and adding them to the shopping cart.
Apps and software have made much of what we do these days more tolerable. They have also made managing tasks, lists, notes, and resources more accessible. A few years back I started using an app called Evernote ™. It was a cool way to take notes and have them available across different platforms. My computer, phone, tablet etc. Then I started using for Scouting.
Some of the cool things about Evernote ™ that I really like are the note taking and sharing of information I gather. With Evernote ™ I can clip and save things right from the internet. I can save PDF files for retrieval later and I can record voice notes.
Evernote ™ has all of this in one nice bundle. I have many notebooks within Evernote ™. This is nice to I stay organized and have everything right at the tip of my fingers. Our Troop uses Troopmaster ™ to manage the Troop’s administrative functions. But Troopmaster ™ does not have a corresponding app for my phone or a mobile way of accessing information from Troopmaster ™. So I save the reports and most frequently used items from Troopmaster ™ as PDF files and drop them into Evernote ™. I can’t tell you many times we have been at a Scout property and they need a roster with phone numbers, ages, etc. I just open up Evernote ™ and there it is. I can even print the roster from Evernote ™ if they have wireless printing available. I had to do this last summer at summer camp.
Scoutmaster conferences are easily tracked and noted using Evernotes voice memo feature. It is nice to talk with a Scout and then capture some of my thoughts right after we are finished without sitting a writing it all down. Then once I get home I can transcribe the voice memo into a note for future reference.
Project planning is another great use for Evernote ™. In 2012 I used Evernote ™ to plan and track our Philmont trek. Everything from setting reminders to making checklists to ultimately making notes along the journey. Adding pictures to remind me of tasks, people, places, and things we needed to do.
As most everything we get now electronically from the BSA comes in PDF format, dropping our reservations and other correspondence from Philmont was easy to save and retrieve.
I am still learning of new features and ways to use Evernote ™, but so far it is a great tool to make my Scouting life and my personal life more organized. It is a way that I stay focused and on task and therefore more productive.
Some of the other ways in which I use Evernote ™: Building Packing list for Backpacking. It is a nice way to make checklists and track weight and gear.
Lists for places I want to go. Using the clip it feature on the web I can save maps, brochures, and information about places I want to go, in particular backpacking.
Saving ideas for future planning with the Patrol Leaders Council.
Recipes for Dutch oven or backpacking meals.
Using Evernote ™ Hello I save business card and meeting information. That is really a neat feature and a fast and easy way to build and maintain contact lists.
That’s just a few. I follow the Evernote Blog also. It is amazing all of the different ideas shared there for use cases, tips, and what’s happening with Evernote ™.
Finding a good way to stay motivated and on task is important. It is critical if you are like me and have many irons in the fire and want to stay focused. But like everything else if you don’t commit to using the tools then you as good as that new years resolution to go to the gym.
I hope that helps you find a tool that will help you manage your irons in whatever fire you place them.
Let me know what you use. Have a Great Scouting Day!
I recently talked about my gloves and layering system for keeping my hands warm.
Here is a closer look and review at the Mountain Hardwear Bandito finger-less gloves that I wear.
The body of the gloves are made of Deflection ™ Soft shell which is 100% Polyester.
The mitt portion of the glove is made from windblock and stretch materials pulls over fingers for added warmth.
The Palm is Synthetic leather, although it feels like fleece, very comfortable.
Weight: 3.6 oz or 103 g
They are windproof and breathable.
These gloves are Unisex and it is important to try of for accurate fit and sizing.
The Bandito glove is marked as a “Climbing glove”, but I find them great for backpacking, especially while hiking and doing camp chores.
The Mountain Hardwear Bandito glove retails for $45.
Was this review helpful? Let me know what you wear. Leave a comment and share. Have a Great Scouting Day!
Again with the reset subject.
Yesterday, I did some major work on the YouTube channel. I am phasing out the old channel, which became a real pain switching back and forth between accounts… so it’s all in one nice bundle now.
Like I said before, most of the videos will post here on the blog also, but not all.
So here is the trailer for the new and improved channel… same old me.. but new focus for 2014!
Stay tuned friends… I have a great give away coming up! Just wrapped up the details yesterday… Look for details this weekend! Have a Great Scouting Day!
Well, as promised.. there are going to be changes coming to the blog and the You Tube channel. Yes, I am going to fully launch the You Tube channel as an extension of the blog. Sort of like the podcast was. I am liking the format of video and it is going to allow me to express the spirit of the blog via video.
I am still working out the details, but the videos from the channel will be in the blog as well as subscriptions on You Tube. Yes, I am going to ask for everyone to subscribe.
Reason for the subscription. I have been doing some homework on this and looking at what one would consider a good You Tube channel. Read.. lots of subscriptions and good content. What happens is that they start bubbling up to the top of the You Tube world. I am not being narcissistic here.. My goal is to get Scouting and related topics on top. Just like when we had the podcast, the more downloads and subscriptions one had the closer to the top of the list the podcast got. In order for us to keep Scouting on top.. we need to promote it. I have said it many times, I think it is up to us to deliver the promise of Scouting and do it using multiple media.
The format for the channel will not just be me reading the blog. It will be an outdoor related channel. Gear, Tips, Trip reports etc. And thrown in there will be Scoutmaster musings and minutes. Character, Leadership, and tips on Scoutmastership.
The Blog will be enhanced with this addition and I am excited.
So why has there been a delay and gap in blog entries?
My computer crashed and crashed hard.. blue screen of death kind of crash. It was toast. A friend of mine rebuilt it adding a super huge hard drive and some computer things that make it go faster. I am not a computer guy.. a good user, but do not ask my how it works or whats inside. Anyway, now that I have everything reloaded and set up.. it’s time to get going again.. and here we go! No more delays and hopefully no more crashes.
If there is anyone that can recommend some cool video editing software.. please let me know. I am currently using Windows Movie Maker, but know that there is some neat stuff out there. Rule #1. It needs to be easy to use.
Drop me an email, or leave a message in the comments section.
Stay tuned.. the Re launch and all the details are coming soon.
Ready for RE LAUNCH.. in 10, 9, 8, 7….
<Insert tongue in cheek>
If you have 4:06 now is the time to sit and watch beautiful burn patterns on alcohol stoves. Yes, we are getting back into the swing of real pressing issues. Gear!
I picked up the Trangia stove recently and other than taking it out of the box have not really messed with it.
The Trangia stove looks, feels, and measures exactly like the Esbit stove that has become my favorite.
So I threw 1 fl. oz of denatured alcohol in each of them and sat and watched for 8 plus minutes as they burned. I wanted to see which would go out first. Maybe there is a jet pattern difference that would cause a difference in burn rate. Maybe there was a material design internally that would cause one to burn faster than the other. Really though… oh… no… you almost got me… you have to watch to see who wins.
Enjoy the video. Have a Great Scouting Day!