How to be a T186 Tripmaster (and a bit about how to be T186 Outings ASM)

THE BASICS

As a tripmaster, it’s your job to nail down the venue (group camp, ski cabin, etc), and reserve anything that needs reserving like kayaks or donkeys or what have you.  Normally the tripmaster goes on the outing, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  You also handle recruiting for the trip, in part by editing a flyer IN A GOOGLE DOC THAT WE GIVE YOU (not Word, not a PDF, not your own google doc - use the one we give you!  It’s all about automation.)

MONEY

You also handle the money as needed - generally the troop doesn’t front expenses (actually most weekend outings don’t involve money at all, other than within the food groups - not your problem).  

Normally you get cash up front from those who are participating for big ticket trips like Philmont or Ecuador, or just manage the float yourself if you’re comfortable with that.  The idea is for the treasurer to deal with at most one check per outing,as opposed to accepting 49 checks from scout families and writing 7 more to vendors, once a month, every month, all year round.  Parsons is the only outing for which the treasurer handles individual checks.  Again, for most outings the patrols just deal with money on their own and you aren’t involved at all.

RECRUITING

Some months before your event (or earlier if needed), the Outings ASM will prepare a signup sheet for you, and set it up so the troop can access it from the troop website.  Don’t be afraid to ask for that if you want to get started sooner than later - it’s no work at all for the outings ASM to prepare this for you.

Outings ASM will also prepare an empty googledoc for you to put the flyer information into.  DO ALL YOUR FLYER WORK IN THE GOOGLE DOC WE GAVE YOU - not in MS-Word, not in a PDF, not in anything else.  Anything you put into the provided googledoc automatically shows up in a read-only webpage available to anyone on the internet who cares to look at our outings page.   And you to go back in later to edit your flyer without having to ask anyone to re-post it for you.  An excellent example of a flyer can be found here - it lays out all the details and specifies the available opportunities for advancements.  (All it lacks is a trip report - read on…)

FOLLOWUP

Once the outing is over, you should add a Trip Report to the end of your flyer for the benefit of anyone who couldn’t be there, and for the benefit of the next tripmaster should we repeat that outing.  Include lessons learned for next time (“wish we’d stressed the need for sunscreen”), logistics (“here’s where to rent the canoes”), funny stories, etc.  An example of a flyer with a trip report added can be found here.

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Everything from here down you don’t have to worry about - it describes what the outings ASM does to support tripmasters.

Outings ASM: trip reports  Really lean on your tripmaster to complete a trip report when it’s all over - lessons learned, good times had, etc.  Useful for future outings.  You might want to update the spreadsheet that lists the outings flyers to indicate which ones have trip reports appended (just change, for example, “July 12 2010 Monkey Rampage” to .“July 12 2007 Monkey Rampage, with trip report”).  Then send an email to the troop with a link to the updated flyer.

Outings ASM: calendar  make sure to keep your trip dates current and correct on the troop outings calendar.  You’ll need a google login ID to do this job, and you’ll need to ask the webmaster to add it to the troop186admins@googlegroups.com group.  With that membership, you’re automatically an editor on all the calendars.

The easiest way to do this is to subscribe to the troop calendars (here’s how) and interact with them through the google calendar web page.  It’s worth reading up on how to import a list of events into the calendar, rather than typing them all in one at a time.

Outings ASM: automated creation of signup sheet and flyers   The spreadsheet at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtfEHHmMffi9dE82UDE4VEZfNHc2dzBLVGRNNFBCTHc#gid=0  is the list of signup sheets which is embedded in the troop website.  It has three tabs: the ones named “CREATE NEW EVENT” and “UPDATE_ROSTERS” do not appear on the troop website.  One tab contains a Big Yellow Button you can push to automatically create a signup sheet and empty flyer for an event.   The Big Yellow Button also manages older events as new ones are added, trimming the oldest off the active list and moving them to the Outings History list.  The other tab has a Big Purple Button that goes in and updates signups with current patrol information.

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Read on for details of the website infrastructure the big yellow button handles for you if you want, but you don’t really need to.

Outings ASM: signup sheets  Signups are implemented as google spreadsheets, they need to be set “editable by anyone with the link”.  Security is handled by the fact that the link is only available on the Signups page of the troop website, which is password protected.  

Each signup sheet is listed on the troop website by adding a line to the master list at

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtfEHHmMffi9dE82UDE4VEZfNHc2dzBLVGRNNFBCTHc#gid=0 (this document is embedded in the Signups page).

If you’re a member of troop186admins@googlegroups.com then you’re an editor.

For every new signup you add to the list, the oldest one should be deleted so the list doesn’t bet too long.   But the Big Yellow Button handles all this for you.  They need to hang around for at least a year so the Registrar can note camping nights for various merit badge purposes.

Outings ASM: flyers Flyers are implemented as google docs.  Each flyer is listed on the troop website by adding a line to the master list at

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtfEHHmMffi9dHo0bzRRc1hFci1MUVR1X0FVd0tYb0E#gid=0 (this document is embedded in the Outings page).  The Big Yellow Button handles creating these for you - but you have to stress to your tripmasters that they need to do all their flyer work in the googledoc you created for them.

We move  the oldest flyers to the top of the Past Outings spreadsheet at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtgiOI3U4rCvdHl1SkJPN2pMZjgtMGZGSnptX3NmaXc#gid=0  so the list doesn’t get too long.  Again, the Big Yellow Button handles that for you.  Note that there are two tabs on the Past Outings spreadsheet, one is comprehensive and one has just the highlights. The Big Yellow Button handles that for you too, it asks whether the outing it’s about to move was a highlight or not.