It is amazing the amount of stuff you can collect when you are a scoutmaster for thirty years, especially the paperwork. What should you throw away? What should you keep? What do you file away and than forget about? I played it safe and kept a lot of it.
It has been two years since I stepped down as Boy Scout Troop 68’s scoutmaster so it is probably time to sit down and begin going through the hundreds of files I have accumulated. It is time to get rid of some of this stuff. I am sure the current scoutmaster is not interested in most of it since it does not apply to the current Scouts and program.
I have files dating back to the 1980’s. They include advancement reports, board of review notes, troop rosters, Eagle Scout court of honor programs and agendas, and committee meeting minutes. There are files of information from the yearly trips to summer camps along with info from high adventure trips to Philmont Scout Ranch, the 2001 National Jamboree, and Charles Sommers Canoe Base.
I wrote the troop’s monthly newsletter for over 25 years. There is a file of these for each year. These newsletters contain quite a bit of history of the Scouting program in Melrose. And there lies part of the problem. I don’t really want to “throw away the history” of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68, but I really do not need to keep all this paperwork.
Then I got an idea! I emailed a note to the president of the Melrose Area Historical Society to see if they would be interested in receiving some of these old records for the museum. She responded quickly, writing, “We would definitely like to give them a home.” I think the MAHS museum would be a great home for some of these records. It would be available to the public instead of just collecting dust in my office.
Now I need to find an evening or three to to go through the files. I may scan some of the records before passing them, like the old newsletters that were created using a typewriter and real “copy and pasting” techniques.
What does your troop do with older files and paperwork? Do you simply throw them away? Do you have a special place to keep them? Do you give them to your local museum? Let us know by leaving a comment.