We have some exciting changes on the horizon. I've spent the past two days working through the training modules for our new software, E-Council. The other councils that use this sing praises about how easy and user friendly it is for parents and volunteers, and so far I have found that to be the case.
Soon, you will be able to go to our website, www.girlscoutssa.org, click on membership and renew your membership. Or you can register for a council program or adult training. It is very quick and easy to do. The software will send messages with information on the program, or event to those who wind up registered. As a troop leader, you can register the troop for an event by simply going on the software finding the event, pull up your troop roster and click through the girls that will be attending the event. The bill is generated automatically. You will be able to apply council program credits, as I understand it, for those programs or pay via your troop debit card. I think you will like it!
The E-council software will be a tremendous way for you and for us to save time. Currently, we do a lot of business taking telephone calls, and some of that involves negotiation about when the program registration was turned in and whether it was turned in by the deadline. E-council won't allow you to register for an event, program, or training after the deadline. It relies on today's technology, which means we will be using e-mails to communicate with you on whether you are in the program and what the additional directions are.
We receive lots of complaints about how much of the council isn't online and don't have access other than a public library. That is true in a few places, not many and we know where they are, so we will be working with those few locales to make this work for them. Going forward, you will need to use your credit or debit card and your e-mail address. I had someone tell me when I announced this at a summer meeting that they don't trust giving out their credit card information online. This has the same type of security for your credit card that any business maintains, so I don't believe that is something you need to spend much time worrying about. This uses a credit card processor that has to comply with all the laws about offering those services.
I believe the new E-council program will be a great improvement for you as a parent, troop leader, service unit manager or someone who wants to know what is going on with the girls in Southern Alabama. Those of you who have registered as an early bird for 2013-2014 are already in the system as a registered member for the 2013-2014-membership year. We'll have more information on this as the dates of the rollout become established.