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Release 7.0 - Key Features

Email Support

You can now use ScoutsTracker to send/manage email communications with your youth/parents. You can send messages your entire section, or just to targeted groups relating to a specific event (e.g., the kids who signed up for CJ'13 but haven't paid). The main features include:

  • You can quick pick lists of recipients based on signup, payment and/or attendance,
  • Your emails are automatically archived so you and youth/parents can easily see what was in the email they deleted from their own Inbox.
  • You can control who receives an email any time you want to contact a particular youth
  • You can specify outing contacts, so youth/parents can quickly ask questions
  • Attention paid to child and youth safety

Quick Picking the recipients

You can now send quickly send emails to your entire Pack, or just a specify Patrol or Six. And, if you are sending an email pertaining to a particular event, you can even send out the email based on the youths' signup, payment or attendance. This means with the click of a button (or two) you can send

  • a note about troop gear to only those youth who will be going to CJ'13, or
  • a reminder message to all the Cubs who haven't yet signed up for the Spring Camp, or
  • a nag email to the Venturers who participated in the Winter Adventure but still owe money.

Archiving

Emails that you send from ScoutsTracker are archived, so that you (and parents) can can go back an read the emails even if they've deleted them from their own inbox.

From the sidebar, you can access the entire archive; and from any individual event, you can view that event's email history. So now all of your emails are logically collected in the appropriate places. And of course, you can follow up on one of your previous emails which will open the email composer with all the previous email addresses included by default.

If you want, you can permanently delete emails from the archive. Deleting an event also deletes the associated emails from the archive.

Asking Questions about Events

When youth/parents sign in to look at an event, they can quickly send an email to the event's organizers by clicking a new “Ask Question” button. This email will then be delivered to the event's contacts. By default, you can assign one or more leaders as the default contacts for all events (under “Account” | “Logins” | “Leaders”), but you can also add different individuals for specific events… for example, if one of your Scouts is planning a PL/APL camp, or one of your parents is sponsoring a tour of their workplace, you may want to let them answer questions directly.

A few notes on security and child and youth safety....

By default, when you send an email to a youth, a copy is sent to all the logins that can access that youth…. e.g., the youth him/herself, the youth's parents, etc. If a parent wants to be party to all communications, but doesn't have a ScoutsTracker login, you can add them as an additional email contact for specific youth. So basically ScoutsTracker views each youth as a group of addresses that will be contacted when you want to send something to that particular youth. If a parent wants to be excluded from the group of contacts for a particular youth, then they can be deselected as well.

The list of emails associated with each youth can be modified by drilling down to “Account” | “Scouts” and then on the youth in question, where you'll find a new “Contacts” item.

Each parent/youth only can see in the archive or event history the emails that were actually delivered to them in the first place. E.g., the parent of a Scout who was not sent information about the PL/APL camp cannot read the emails that were sent out the participants. Furthermore, if a youth is identified as a contact for a particular event, people who click the “Ask a Question” button for the event will not see who the recipients are.

And finally, if a parent wants no email communication with their youth, then there is a toggle you can set that prevents any email emails from being sent to that youth.

Other email changes...

The verification process that you had to go through to prove that you really are the owner of your email address is still in place, but has been stream-lined, and doesn't dump you into a scary-looking Amazon Web Services page.

However, verification is now a mandatory step before you can send out welcome messages. Previously, if you hadn't verified your email address, then the welcome messages would be delivered from “no-reply@scoutstracker.ca”, but was finding that a number of parents were replying to the “do not reply” welcome messages.

Quick Picking the recipients

You can now send quickly send emails to your entire Pack, or just a specify Patrol or Six. And, if you are sending an email pertaining to a particular event, you can even send out the email based on the youths' signup, payment or attendance. This means with the click of a button (or two) you can send - a note about troop gear to only those youth who will be going to CJ'13, or - a reminder message to all the Cubs who haven't yet signed up for the Spring Camp, or - a nag email to the Venturers who participated in the Winter Adventure but still owe money.

Archiving

Emails that you send from ScoutsTracker are archived, so that you (and parents) can can go back an read the emails even if they've deleted them from their own inbox.

From the sidebar, you can access the entire archive; and from any individual event, you can view that event's email history. So now all of your emails are logically collected in the appropriate places. And of course, you can follow up on one of your previous emails which will open the email composer with all the previous email addresses included by default.

If you want, you can permanently delete emails from the archive. Deleting an event also deletes the associated emails from the archive.

Asking Questions about Events

When youth/parents sign in to look at an event, they can quickly send an email to the event's organizers by clicking a new “Ask Question” button. This email will then be delivered to the event's contacts. By default, you can assign one or more leaders as the default contacts for all events (under “Account” | “Logins” | “Leaders”), but you can also add different individuals for specific events… for example, if one of your Scouts is planning a PL/APL camp, or one of your parents is sponsoring a tour of their workplace, you may want to give them a shot at fielding the questions directly.

A few notes on security and child and youth safety....

By default, when you send an email to a youth, a copy is sent to all the logins that can access that youth…. e.g., the youth him/herself, the youth's parents, etc. If a parent wants to be party to all communications, but doesn't have a ScoutsTracker login, you can add them as an additional email contact for specific youth. So basically ScoutsTracker views each youth as a group of addresses that will be contacted when you want to send something to that particular youth. If a parent wants to be excluded from the group of contacts for a particular youth, then they can be deselected as well.

The list of emails associated with each youth can be modified by drilling down to “Account” | “Scouts” and then on the youth in question, where you'll find a new “Contacts” item.

Each parent/youth only can see in the archive or event history the emails that were actually delivered to them in the first place. E.g., the parent of a Scout who was not sent information about the PL/APL camp cannot read the emails that were sent out the participants. Furthermore, if a youth is identified as a contact for a particular event, people who click the “Ask a Question” button for the event will not see who the recipients are.

And finally, if a parent wants no email communication with their youth, then there is a toggle you can set that prevents any email emails from being sent to that youth.

Other email changes...

The verification process that you had to go through before (to prove that you really are the owner of your email address) is still in place, but has been stream-lined, and doesn't dump you into a scary-looking Amazon Web Services page.

On the other hand, email verification is now a mandatory step before you can send out welcome messages. Previously, if you hadn't verified your email address, then the welcome messages would be delivered from “no-reply@scoutstracker.ca”, but was finding that a number of parents were replying to the “do not reply” welcome messages, and (for example) asking Akela about an upcoming event.

Event start/end times

Due to popular request, you can now specify a start and end time for your events (e.g., a meeting is from 7:30 pm - 9:15 pm, or a camp is from Friday 6:00 pm to Sunday 11:30 am). This means that if you or your youths' parents imported your ScoutsTracker schedule into Outlook, Google Calendar or iCal, then your events will show up in the appropriate timeslots, rather than always appearing as an all-day event, and they can use their favourite calendar app to check when they have to pick up their youth without having to connect to ScoutsTracker.

Additionally, start/end times gives more accurate assessment of when an event is upcoming, or finalizing an event (previously, since all events were all-day events, the event wasn't really considered to be over until 11:59 pm)

Additionally, when you click on a ScoutsTracker event link from a calendar app, the event details will now be displayed within ScoutsTracker if you had previously clicked the “stay signed in” checkbox.

Cancelled Events

You can now non-permanently “cancel” an event. Cancelled events are left in your schedule, but are visibly different (e.g., they are suffixed with “CANCELLED”) so youth and parents can still see that they event they had heard about in meetings, but now know that their weekend is no longer booked. Additionally, signups and payments for cancelled events no longer apply, so youth/parents won't be confused by having to signup for an event that isn't actually going to be offered.

Cancelled events also impact Program planning in that the requirements that were going to be addressed in the cancelled meeting no longer shown as up-coming, meaning that the “Completion” reports reflect a potential gap that may now exist in your annual plan.

At any time you can uncancel the event (e.g., if you end up rescheduling it, and just need to change the date but leave all other aspects unchanged).

Linking Support

You now have the option to Link Up to the next section. Doing so, is basically the same as when you Move Up a youth, however the youth remains active in your section. Additionally, there is a new Role of Kit/Tenderpad/Tenderfoot/Initiate for uninvested scouts. While in this pre-invested role, youth don't show up in the “Ready-to-Award” report, even if they've completed all the requirements for a badge through their linking activities.

Targeted Fundraiser "Badge"

Some fundraising activities contribute to the greater good, but sometimes when there is a big goal (e.g., CJ'13) you want to track each youth's individual fundraising contributions.

Sometimes you want to track each youth's fundraising efforts towards a particular big goal (e.g., CJ'13). ScoutsTracker has a new “badge” that has a single open-ended tally requirement that you can use to track each youth's total. You can then see the youths' total via the “Troop/Pack Reports” | “Completion” report, or you can see every single update via “Troop/Pack Reports” | “History”

Additionally, there is a new event label called “Targeted Fundraising”, which lets you decide how much each event is worth per youth, and which will automatically list the Targeted Fundraising “badge” as a related requirement. So if you held a bottle drive that raised $350 between 7 youth, you can update the event to record that it was worth $50 towards each youths' Targeted Fundraising “badge” and then just update/finalize the event to automatically increment each of the 7 participants' totals.

The youth can also see their own targets, and what they've done to contribute to their own fundraising by going to “My Reports” | “History”.

Miscellaneous

There were a variety of minor enhancements and bug fixes.