If you haven’t gotten the memo, memos are passé. So, according to many Scouts, are email and even Facebook. To really get your message across these days—or at least this week—texting is the answer.
The trick is finding a texting solution that’s both affordable and easy to use. Well, I think I’ve found the answer: Remind. The service, which targets teachers, is free and a breeze to use.
To get started, you create a user account at Remind.com. You’re given a short code (and an alternate phone number) to which users send a text message in order to sign up. For example, a user might text @troop123 to 12345 or 555-555-1212. Users can also sign up to get your texts by email; to do that, they send a blank email to an address like email@example.com.
You can administer your classes from both the Remind website and the associated iOS and Android apps, so you could, for example, easily send a message from an outing with an updated return time. To send a message, you simply choose the class, type your message, and click Send. (A handy counter warns you as you approach the 140-character limit.) You can also schedule a message to go out days or even months in the future—and edit or delete it if you need to before it goes out.
The website and apps let you see who is signed up for each class, although for security reasons you can’t see their phone numbers or email addresses. This is a good way to keep track of how many troop families are really getting your information.
You can create multiple classes under a single user account, so you could have separate groups for your adult leaders, your patrol leaders’ council, and your troop committee. Messages can go to a single class or as many classes as you select. You can even send messages to a single individual; just be sure to heed the BSA’s prohibition on one-on-one contact with Scouts.
Until semaphore mounts a shocking comeback, Remind may be the best option yet for communicating with your Scouts and leaders.