Like its athletes, the Brainerd Warriors activities department is working to become faster and more efficient.
Unlike the Warrior athletes, many of whom have been working to improve their athletic ability, Brainerd actives director Charlie Campbell and his staff worked on becoming technologically savvy.
The first evidence of this is the new online registration program the department kicked off for the upcoming fall season and will continue to use for all three sports seasons and the fine arts seasons.
The software program is called Registration NGIN. Parents of Warrior athletes can find the registration software by first visiting the Brainerd School District website at www.isd181.org and clicking on the athletics and activities icon. On the new page there will be a blue highlighted icon that reads “Click Here to being the Fall 2012 Warrior Online Registration.”
“It’s just a lot less handling and processing of paper,” said Campbell. “Instead of stacks of paper we can store and access whatever we need to on the computer. We think it will save us a lot of time. It seamlessly integrates the information we need. We’re really excited, but it’s a little scary right now because there are some unknowns. We think we really tried to put ourselves on the user side and to say what questions do we really need and where might someone get hung up. We’re making sure we’re still getting signatures and that people read all the important information they will need to know. The big piece right now and maybe the most confusing is how do we offer discounts. Even though our fees went down, we still have a grid that offers assistance to families in need. Basically what we have to do is verify an income level and then we give them a discount code and when they check out, they enter the code and the deduction is calculated and there is the total they pay. It’s a little bit labor intensive.”
Campbell said once a family or athlete has registered, that information will remain in the system so if they do more than one activity the next time they register should go quicker. He said he expects some frustrations the first time, but said if people don’t have access to a computer or need help to call or visit the activities office in the Brainerd High School main office.
This is the same system the Brainerd Area Hockey Association (BAHA) uses in its registration so all hockey players will already be in the system.
“In an environment where we have less staff in the activities office, this will help us get our jobs done and help the coaches, too,” said Campbell. “When we get to three days before the season starts a coach may come in and ask who is registered. Maybe we had 50 people come in that day to register and we have a stack of papers and all we can say is, ‘We don’t know.’ Now, we can communicate to coaches right away which of their athletes has registered so far.”
Campbell also likes the fact that parents can register their children whenever they want before the deadline. They don’t have to leave work to drop off the paper work into the activities office.
Where Campbell finds the biggest benefit is when an athlete’s eligibility comes into play or if there is a health issue that needs to be addressed the computer system will let him know which students have questions and if they have been taken care of yet or not.
There are 40 athletes already registered. Grades 9 through 12 registration deadlines for fall activities is Aug. 10. Middle school athletes should be registered by the last day of August.
Winter activity participants can start registering in October, Campbell said, and that includes fine arts.
“The biggest concern that I have is just making sure that people can still receive assistance if they need it,” said Campbell “It’s another step in the process, but it’s just a worksheet and us verifying an income level and then after that it’s just entering the discount codes. We want to make sure that they still get that discount and we encourage them to use the discounts.”