Sunday, February 19, 2012
Some would argue I am a bit of a computer geek. I do probably know far more about creating websites, exporting PDFs and Facebook than the average leader, but I find it to be a huge advantage. I understand learning more about computers is a time-sensitive issue for most and scary for others, but I do believe in the end it saves you time. Now I am going to try to convince you...
First, I want to stress to you that learning more about web-friendly sites, creating a troop website (Refer to my newest Blog "Creating a Troop Web Site", saving documents and paperwork on your computer etc is without risk. You may not be successful building a web site or exporting a word document as a PDF or posting on Facebook on your first try, but eventually things will click and you learn. Furthermore, typically this new knowledge can be applied to other areas of computer savviness.
Second, I believe you owe it to your parents and children to try new things as we suggest to our girls. You may find you really like working with computers and it opens up a whole new arena for for communicating to your parents.
Third, computers are greener and saves your troop money. I can't count the number of trees I have saved posting information on my troop website or sending out e-mails vs. sending home papers in back packs. Many times I even e-mail permission slips (using a PDF format, because this format is easily printable with both a mac and pc). How many times have you passed out permission slips and missed one or two girls and then had to drop one off in their mailbox or have them swing by your house? ... wasted gas. Plus, my parents are more than willing to print off a permission slip and sign, at their convenience, and the troop does not have to provide the paper. Some of my parents are so computer savvy they print off, scan and sign the PS or electronically sign the PS and e-mail it back. I won't scare you with this scenario, but I can promise you this is coming in the future and will probably be the standard.
Girl Scouts at first, was a bit apprehensive about wandering into the world of technology, but I will admit they have made fast ground. Today you can access nearly all GS documents and forms on line. Our councils GS Newsletter is jammed packed with information about events, local stories and news. I think GS would quickly admit technology has been their friend and allows them to easily disseminate information. In the past you would have to have all GS related forms either mailed to you or get them from your council representative. Today these forms and information are easily accessible virtually any minute of the day. I still see huge areas for advancement, I look forward to the day when you can sign up for resident camps on line with instant gratification and recognition that your week has been secured. Maybe this year?
To open your mind to the advantages of technology I would like you to consider using Sign Up Genius once this month. Give it a try and see what this site can do for you. I know my parents call me the Sign Up Genius Queen. I use this site for everything and then some.
Day One into your experiment visit www.SignUpGenius.com and take a moment to register. Click the Orange tab on the right hand side that says "Join Free". And yes this site is entirely free and such an easy, wonderfully interactive site. Next read what Sign Up Genius can do for you in the boxes labeled: Munchie, People, Party.
Day Two attempt to create a Sign Up Genius, the program will walk you through the entire process. The most amount of time will be spent entering your troop parents' e-mail addresses, but once this is done the information is saved and you will not have to do it again! BONUS!
How can this site help me and my troop? Great question and a long answer because honestly it can do so much and aid your organizational skills. Before sign up genius I had post-it notes all over my house listing what girls could attend these events and who was to bring these items. I was inundated by post-its. Furthermore, I had a number of girls I had not heard from. My parents now know it is their responsibility to sign up for events and items if they want to participate. So now they do the work for me. Example:
Thinking Day I created a sign up genius listing the date and time and details for the girls. Then I created an RSVP. The girls simply had to enter their name as "Attending" or "Not Attending." I can go to the web site and see who is attending all neat and orderly. I can even access this information on my phone in the car.
Another great use: Cookie Booths. Using sign up genius was a great way for parents to sign up for cookie booth on days and times that work for them. My Cookie Booth Moms simply entered our booth dates and times and the girls got to choose, first come first serve, an incentive to respond quickly.
Soldier Boxes: Recently we were blessed with an opportunity to fill boxes for some Navy soldiers serving in Afghanistan. I had a list of each soldier's requests. I created a Sign Up Genius listing all the items needed and even included a monetary donation box. All items were accounted for in almost 24 hours.
I will use Sign Up Genius to get attendance for our cookie rewards, parties, supplies... you name it Sign Up Genius is very useful.
Not only for troop business, but what about using Sign Up Genius for Service Unit or Council events. Sign Up Genius is great for Sing Alongs, which troops will be attending. How bout classes via council, would it not be great to see which leaders are going to be at a class you are interested in. How bout SU camp outs? SU managers could not only tally attendance but request items from troops. The uses are truly endless. So I encourage you to not only investigate this web site, but abuse it. Be creative!
Next up... I will introduce you to Doodle.com. A free website that gives you the ability to poll your parents on dates and times. Very useful for scheduling camp outs, events and cookie reward trips.