to the Online Registration System and Links to Actual Merit Badge Events
Event: 10th Annual Merit Badge College. 21 Merit Badge Classes, 139 Boy Scouts
Rodrigo and Mike,
The Merit Badge College went great thanks primarily to your help... We had approximately 140 youth and 25 adults. The main surprise is that for the first time, the line was so short that all scouts were able to attend the opening ceremony and not wait in line during the ceremony. Even the doubters on the Scout professional staff were pleasantly surprised…
Thanks again and again and again for all that both of you have done to make my scouting in my neck of the woods a more rewarding experience for all.
Merit Badge College
Shelton State Community College
Black Warrior Council
Event: Shelby District Merit Badge Day. 41 Merit Badge Classes, 353 Boy Scouts
Bill & Zac, thought I would let you in on some information for your event this year at Shelton State. Please see below. Rodrigo Cano who is the Merit Badge Coordinator for the Foothills District in the Atlanta Area Council has developed a website for Scouts to locate Merit Badge opportunities outside of their own district or troop. As part of this website you can link your date and event/classes so others can see it.
We were fortunate enough this year to have my district (Shelby - Greater Alabama Council) utilize his site for our online registration. It made the event a tremendous success. Rodrigo has been in attendance for the last three years and provided expert advise on how this works. I thought I would share his contact information below since this may help you with your event in March… here is the contact info: Contact Rodrigo Cano at firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.meritbadge.info
Shelby District Commissioner
Greater Alabama Council
Event: Cherokee District Advance-A-Rama. 17 Merit Badge Classes, 194 Boy Scouts
You commented that you already had an event in progress and didn't want to jump in midway and use the online system. I was somewhat in the same position. For previous events we had handled registration completely by email. When we do our Advance A Rama, I want to give Troops in our District a window where they can register in advance before we open it up to everyone. For this event we had already developed a hard copy Event Program and mailed it out to troops in our District before I got the online system worked out. This worked out perfectly. All of the Cherokee District troops registered by email to our Registration Coordinator who then passed them onto me, I in turn established a user id and password and then registered them online. I also passed the "pure" online registrations to our Coordinator who entered it into our system. Some extra work for us but the first time using a new product I wanted to mirror the two systems. We have had absolutely no problems. One thing that I've done and would recommend to any Event Manager is to run a hard copy "backup" of the alpha roster at close of business daily. That way if something happens to the system or server, I have something to work with until the system is restored and I haven't lost a huge amount of data. It may not be necessary but it certainly give me a warm, fuzzy.
John R. Doyle
Advance A Rama
Northeast Georgia Council
Event: Troop 1776 Merit Badge Day. 21 Merit Badge Classes, 321 Boy Scouts
Click here for pdf comment from Troop 1776 Merit Badge Day
Scoutmaster, Troop 1776
Atlanta Area Council
Event: Day Of Merit, Southern Polytechnic State University. 7 Merit Badge Classes, 139 Boy Scouts
Here's my take on the online registration system: Overall, it worked very well and was a boon to those of us organizing the event. The following aspects of it were particularly helpful:
1) The ability to "market" the event to scouts outside (in some cases*well* outside) our home district/council. We drew scouts from much further a field than we ever had before.
2) The ability to update available slots in real time. It was a boon to attendees because they knew immediately what badge they could get into, and a boon to us because we could keep the instructors updated on how many scouts to expect. The ability of attendees to withdraw easily online was also helpful . . . scouts who realized they couldn't attend could pull out ahead of time, opening up slots for others. I believe our "no show" rate was lower this year for precisely this reason: Many of those who might simply not have showed up in previous years took the time to formally withdraw since they could do so by accessing the website.
3) The ability to have, in effect, the attendees do the data entry for us . . . a great savings in work over the old system of typing the information from paper forms into a spreadsheet.
4) The ability of instructors to post prerequisites and links to worksheets, etc. on the registration site, ensuring (at least in
theory) that the scouts would have ready access to them before the event. I know that far more scouts in my class came with their prerequisites prepared and ready to be signed off than has been the case before…
Yours in Scouting,
Dr. A Bowdoin Van Riper
Social and International Studies Department
Southern Polytechnic State University
I love your new registration site! It makes it very easy to sign up for classes. It is much better than using e-mail with spreadsheets.
BSA Troop 204
Powder Springs, GA