Hello Troop Leaders!
I'm here to share with you today one of my favorite websites that I is a big part of our troop. And no, I'm not affiliated with or getting paid by this brand. Have you heard of Shutterfly Share Sites? Well let me tell you how great they are to organize your troop community and why you need to use one this year!
Share Site is a closed (not open to the public) website you can create for your troop and share (by email) with all of your troop parents. It's a great way to have a private online community to share news, information, sign ups, pictures.. lots of goodies!
- Online Meeting Calender accessabile 24/7
- Share pictures and videos privately.
- Automatic emails: When upcoming meetings are approaching, cancellation of events, anything you want. This is also optional and something you can turn off.
- Holds important forms that parents may need to access.
- Registration forms
- Permission Slips
- Financial Assistance Forms
- Health History Forms
- Badge make up requirements
- You can create sign up sheets for snack mom or field trips and events. We used this for our cookie booths as well.
Because everyone forgets dates, including myself, you need this. This is probably the main resource parents will go to the share Site for. Add in meetings, events, field trips, days off from school. Anything.
Parents can go in and volunteer for snack day, volunteer roles, supply round up,. You can also keep a sign up for field trips and events so you know who is going without having to track them down.
If parents had questions they would post to the board so everyone could see. This eliminated repeat questions.
Our message board currently consists of 3 topics...
- Uniforms: I posted an attachement of how the uniforms should look along with the placement of the patches, such as the council ID and the troop numerals. I also provided some tips on how to iron on the patches.
- Activities and Ideas: This message board was an open discussion for parents to add ideas as far as activities and what they could volunteer their skills towards. I would only recommend this board if you are seeking out parents ideas and opinions.
- Cookie Sales: This is a must! Oh the millions of questions about cookie sales. Dates, Deadlines, how tos, it's all housed here.
We may add more topics to this message board as we continue on this year.
Pictures and Videos
Of course you need this one. As a troop leader you can't also be the one taking all the pictures. You will have moms snapping away at the meetings and events with their cell phones and they will need a place to share their pictures! One girl even uploaded a video she took at one of our events of irish step dancers!
Forms and Documents
This page is great because you don't need to constantly be printing off and supplying permission slips or registration forms. You can direct them to the website and bingo bango you're good! I also like to copy the activity handouts from the meetings here, too.
Optional: Badge Earning
This was a special page that I created for any of the girls who joined mid year. Girls who joined later or missed a chance to earn a badge had the option of making it up on their own. I made word documents for each badge we earned that detailed the requirements and options of activities the girls could do. This does require extra work on your part to create these documents but it does make a difference to the girls who love earning their badges! Maybe I will share with you the documents I have already created? :).... stay tuned.
Better Than Facebook Groups
Sure, there are other options out there for creating an online community for your troop. One of the alternatives I have heard was Facebook. I thought about this, too. One of the biggest reasons I was against it was because it required you to have a Facebook profile to access. Despite what you might think, not everyone is on Facebook. In fact, there were several parents in our troop that were not on Facebook, including my husband. The last thing you want to do to a parent who has already, for all these years, resisted the Facebook community is to exclude them or force them to join. With Share Site all you need is an email address to join. Additionally, Facebook doesn't offer the subpages that make the site organization easy.