The Event Management and Booking System that is now known as EvBoo started back in 2004 when the Assistant County Commissioner for Scouts in Surrey, approached me about giving him support for his large activity camp for Scouts and Guides called Scoutabout. He said “how do you fancy putting together a booking system for Scoutabout?”. Obviously I accepted the challenge, and in 2004/5 I developed the ability for Scout and Girlguiding groups to register their interest in the Event, to record payments made by those groups and provide a receipt, specify the names of those people attending and at the Event provide a simple way to “check-in” each group. At the time the Internet was not available in everyone’s home, there was little broadband take up and very few other Events were doing this. However almost every group did register online and the project was considered successful! For me (and Surrey Scouts I hope), we’d got the bug! No one wanted to go back to paper forms and spreadsheets. We also thought we could do more and started adding more features and functionality.
The County team asked to use the booking system for an event planned for the Centenary, however due to low numbers that event was cancelled.
The world was looking a different place following recent terrorist attacks and we knew that we had control of who should be allowed on site by the use of wristbands. However what the Scoutabout Committee really wanted was the ability to be able to establish at any point in time exactly who was on site. With 6000 people at Scoutabout that was a challenge, however the site used had good perimeter security and there were a small number of natural points of entry. I therefore pitched to the Scoutabout Committee that we introduce individually numbered barcode wristbands. We would then track each individual as they moved on and off site at those gates. The proposal was accepted and with some donated PCs running Linux, we produced a gate tracking application that ran at each gate and tracked everyone. Whilst we had challenges with intermittent WIFI between the gates (it is a very large site with over 1km between gates) the software had been developed to work autonomously so tracking data was still collected.
We also wanted access to everyone’s permission and health forms. Yes, all 6000 of them. We therefore had the idea that we could scan every single form on arrival on Friday and then have this connected to the participant in the booking system. We provided barcode labels which parents and leaders stuck to their completed form. The system worked a treat and all 6000 forms were scanned in, however it took us 16 hours to complete (with some sleep). However on that Event, an incident at our canoeing offsite activity resulted in an urgent call into the admin team regarding a participant. In under a minute we had that participants health form and established the incident was connected to a known medical condition. What initially seems like a very serious incident, was now able to be sensibly managed and everyone involved was hugely reassured. Yet again, the booking system was proving its value.
Now the Cubs wanted to join in! Yes Surrey Scouts had really seen the benefit of how much easier the booking system made Event organisation, that we were asked to support this County Cub activity day. The requirements were similar to Scoutabout, however at this stage we did not capture individual Cub details.
Online Health and Permission Forms introduced.
Service Team Registration improved.
Named participants added.
Individual Lanyards printed and provided to all participants.
Online Health and Permission Forms introduced.
Switched from Tyvek wristbands (which were proving hard to purchase) to printing our own personalised wristbands. See our wristbands in action, even in water!
Improved Wifi Technology meant we had fantastic wireless access across the site. In fact, the technology could have reached over 40 km away.
Online Scout Manager (OSM) is now everywhere and we use it in our Groups too! So we had to provide a link between the two! Therefore Scout Troops and Guide Units that used it could manage all their young people attending in OSM (using the Events feature) and these automatically synchronise with EvBoo overnight. That’s less work for each of the leaders which has to be good! Some Troops have 100 young people so imagine just how much easier that is, 100 names, 100 dates of birth etc.
Activity Registration Added. This allows groups attending to provide the details of the Activities they are organising, along with budgets and risk assessments. Third Party activity providers can also register their activities and staff too!
OSM Synchronisation also used and to our surprise, 40% of the Cub packs that attended used this feature, amazing!
EvBoo works outside of Surrey!
Its true, the EvBoo online Scout and Guide Event Management Software works outside of Surrey! This year we’ve been contacted by other Scout Events outside of Surrey and are supporting them with their Events. The system is extremely flexible (see list of features), however we are very keen to ensure the system works for all our users. As you can see there has been an immense amount of development work completed on the system. It has never failed to provide the Event organisers the features and reassurance they need. They never look back!
For us, the development continues! We have a roadmap of features and improvements set out for the next 2 years, but will always prioritise those that our Event Organisers need. If you think your Event will benefit from the management and booking system, please do get in touch.
Creator of EvBoo Scout and Guide Event Management and Booking Software.