I may the last person on the planet to know about Shutterfly's Share sites, but just in case, I wanted to pass along an amazing FREE tool for your troop.
My girls like to have a Photo Journalist kaper. They take turns taking photos and documenting what we did for troop meetings. It's great, because I want pictures but it's hard to take pictures when you are the Troop Leader... but in a few years, when they are doing most of the work and I'm just there for advice... they'll still want to take the pictures. HA!
Anyway... a good Girl Scout Leader friend of mine mentioned she used Shutterfly for her troop for signing up for events. My ears perked up and I asked for a little more information. Well, life gets busy and I hadn't done anything with it until last week.
You can set up a Shutterfly account (if you don't have one) and then set up a "Share" site to set up calendar events with reminders, share photos and give parents permission to upload additional photos from events, have a troop roster to easily track who is and isn't available for events, event sign up forms (these do have to be tweaked), upload files for dispersing, set up a journal for sharing news with parents, a message board (though I disabled mine) and of course the store where you can order photo gifts (It is Shutterfly after all).
I use "Trip" for events; "Volunteer" for Service Projects; "Performance" for Ceremonies; "General" for deadlines on event registration and you can set up a reminder where the system will automatically email out the reminder to parents and I don't have to remember to do that!!! I did add all the girls' birthdays and the GS Holidays, too. You can even download the Calendar and import it into another client, such as Google or Outlook or whatever. That's nice, too. If events change, you can ask it to update members.
The Event Sign Ups I'm using totally differently than intended. For my events, I'm using the Volunteer Sign
Up forms. I put the girls names as a Role and have parents leave a comment "yes" or "no" to let me know if their daughter is attending. I have a sign up for all the events we are doing this year with any information I have about the event.
You fill out information about the event and decide what type of sign up form it is. Like I said, I'm using Volunteer sign ups.
Then, you list the roles or jobs. I'm listing the girls names as Roles, because that's what I've found is easiest to get parents to give me responses.
Once it's created, you can have the site email the members and ask them to come sign up. I set up all the events for the year and parents can sign up when they want, but I didn't have the site email them. When I am ready or closer to an event, you can send the sign up form out to members and invite them to sign up. That's what I plan to do.
One of the things I was complaining about the first night was the inability to upload files to the site to just have a Resources pages for parents... those basic forms that everyone needs access to... permission slips, at home badge information, "homework" sheets that I'm sending with girls this year in order to get them to step up and take responsibility for their badge achievement, and completed stuff we do like newsletters that parents may want to see. I did find it... You add a "Files" page and then can upload as you want. LOVE that you can drag and drop to reorder the list, too.
I'm still figuring it all out and I'm definitely not an expert on it, but so far it's pretty cool. My only "oops" was with the Message Board, which is why it's gone (ha!). I was uploading some blank forms and told it to post and when it did, it emailed all the members of the site that there were files uploaded... niiiicceee. But, it was my fault.. I wasn't paying attention apparently and I didn't uncheck a box. But, I don't want parents posting things on a board thinking they are going to me and they send them to everyone. AND I don't want my parents to post something and I not see it and it be kinda important. I want to retain our communication and improve it... not make it more difficult.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that I can set up albums and ask parents to contribute photos after the event. The calendar has an option to "email after event to invite to share photos". I plan on doing that. PLUS, I love that there is one place now for my families to check calendar, event sign ups, documents, and they are able to view photos from past events. That is awesome. Much easier than setting up a new album every time and sharing it out. I really hope that I will keep on top of uploading photos. OH... and you can tag people in there, too, even the girls who don't have accounts (They have to be 13, so I better not be getting any requests because that's a violation of their Internet Safety Pledge. There are Federal Laws preventing companies from collecting personal information about kids under 13 and since they have to share personal information to make an account... they aren't supposed to have one and if they do... it's because they lied about their age... which I'm totally NOT cool with. -- okay... off soap box).
I encourage you to check Shutterfly out... I know there are other places that offer similar things, but I really like this and it's very easy to use... plus you can order prints right there... it's awesome.