Posts Tagged ‘Advancement’


Troop Record BookOctober 29th was a busy Scouting day for me. It began with the troop’s roadside cleanup service project, followed by a trip to the council Scout Shop, and ending with the troop’s spaghetti supper fundraiser in the evening. The trip to the Scout Shop was with the new scoutmaster who needed a new uniform. While we were there I decided to pick up a few needs for the troop also.

One of the items on my list was a Troop Record Book. If you have been a reader of this blog you know that I am not a happy camper that the Boy Scouts of America did not come out with a new record book when the new rank advancement requirements began in January of 2015. A few weeks ago I finally broke down and made some charts on the computer. I still wanted another record book though because they are a good place to keep basic Scout information and attendance records. Even though we can not use them for rank requirements we could still use them to keep track of  merit badges.

I saw three record books on the shelf at the store and at first planned to grab all three since I thought the BSA supply division might plan to drop this item from their inventory. After opening one book and looking through its pages I quickly changed my mind.

I was shocked! I was surprised! I was actually excited! It was an updated Troop Record Book featuring the current rank requirements! I could not believe it at first. It took our Scout Shop nearly a year and a half to get them, but I was finally holding one in my hands.

A question came to mind. When did these new books become available? Has my council Scout Shop been holding out on me for the last 18 months? Why couldn’t I find it when I did a search on the scoutstuff.com website? I looked for a printing date on the inside cover and discovered they were printed in 2016. Okay, so they only started printing them this year. After inquiring about it, I discovered they became available this summer.

I bought two of the Troop Record Books, one for myself as the troop’s advancement coordinator, and one for the scoutmaster. It will be nice to once again know where the Scouts are in their advancement progress. (Our troop does not yet do online advancement. I have not been successful getting into the online program.)

My goal is to now get the information from the old record book, along with the informations in the Scouts’ handbooks, to have an updated record book. It is going to be a challenge but it will be worth it when it is completed.

Scout Rank record

Remember my last post? I went shopping at the local Scout Shop and bought several closeout items, some for actual use, and some for the collection. I left one item out of that article, the one that was rolled up in the tube. It was something I thought the troop could find useful. In fact, it was something the troop has not used for several years, but as the advancement coordinator I thought it night be time to use one again. What is it? It is a troop advancement chart with the current requirements listed.

When I was in the Scout Shop I stopped at the advancement chart rack to see if the B.S.A. had come out with a new chart yet. I found a few of the old advancement charts, a lot of Cub Scouting charts, and a few posters, but not a current advancement requirement chart. So I asked Jenny, who was working the at the store, if one was available. She told me there was and we walked back to the rack. I felt like a fool when she showed me the new chart hanging on the wall above the rack. I never even noticed it when I was looking. My eyes were on the advancement rack’s contents, not the wall.

She looked through the rack for the new advancement chart. She did not find one. Well, now I felt a little better. She checked the computer and it said they had three of them. She went to the back room and found them. The chart is not small. It measures 36″ wide by 23″ high. It will not fit on the old chart’s piece of hardboard. I was quite happy with the price which was only $2.49.

I wish I had a larger picture to show you. I guess you will just have to go to the nearest Scout Shop and see it for yourself.

chartnew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

scout_ranksI have recently accepted the position of advancement coordinator for Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68, so I have been checking out the 2013 Committee Guidebook to see what my new responsibilities will be, and how much work I have gotten myself into. Let’s take a look.

1) Encourage Scouts to advance in rank.

This one should be easy enough. I was a scoutmaster for thirty years. I was always encouraging the Scout to advance. Now I will do it while wearing a different title.

2) Work with the troop scribe to maintain all advancement records.

This will be an interesting challenge since our troop has never asked this of the Boy Scout who holds the position of Troop Scribe. Do any of you readers have any suggestions that have worked well in your troop?

3) Arrange quarterly board of reviews and courts of honor.

This is an easy one. Our troop already does board of reviews as needed during committee meetings, once a month. Quarterly courts of honor have been a part of our yearly program since the early 1980’s.

4) Develop and maintain a merit badge counselor list.

This one is going to require some work. Our council is in the process of updating its counselor list so that will help a little. I think my goal needs to be finding more local counselors. We only have a few within Melrose. I will start with the parents of the Boy Scouts, and then try to find more outside of the troop. I think it would be great to find a local counselor for at least each of the Eagle Rank required merit badges.

5) Make a prompt report on the correct form to the council service center when a troop board of review is held. Secure badges and certificates.

We already do this quite well on the committee. This duty should not be a problem.

6) Work with the troop librarian to build and maintain a troop library of merit badge pamphlets and other advancement literature.

The troop librarian already has a small collection of merit badge pamphlets but it may be time to go through it with him and see if the books are outdated and need replacement, along with what other pamphlets may be needed.

7) Report to the troop committee at each meeting.

When I was the scoutmaster I made regular advancement reports at each committee meeting. The current scoutmaster does the same thing. I guess the main goal here would be to check in with him each month, at least once if not more, to catch up on the latest advancement completed and possible needs. Is there a way to help him achieve more advancement?

One thing not listed as a responsibility but something encouraged by the committee guidebook is to check out internet advancement. Our troop has never used it. As a scoutmaster I could not use it because, at the time, it was not compatible with the Macintosh computer I use at home. No one on the committee back then was interested in taking on that responsibility. I understand that today it should work on a Macintosh computer so I shall have to check it out sometime. Until then we will continue to use the Troop Advancement Report form and turn it into the council office when we pick up the awards.

Are there any other things your troop advancement coordinator does?

committee org chartShortly after I retired as the scoutmaster of Troop 68 a few years ago I became the troop committee treasurer. It did not take me long to realize that I did not care to hold that position. It was not that it took a lot of work. It was just that I did not enjoy it. Even when I was a scoutmaster I tried to stay away from the financial stuff of the troop. Now here I was smack in the middle of it.

During last week’s troop committee meeting I was pleasantly surprised to find out another committee member was willing to take over the role of treasurer. He wanted to take on more responsibility within the troop but due to his schedule he was not able to make many of the meetings or outings. He thought this role would be a good fit for him. He and I will be getting together later this week to discuss the accounts and responsibilities of the position.

Of course, this leaves me open to take on a different position on the committee, one that I have wanted to do for the last couple of years – the advancement coordinator. I think it is kind of ironic that this position has been offered to me right at the time the new Boy Scout advancement requirements take affect. I pretty much knew the old requirements by heart. I guess I better start reading that new handbook I just purchased.

Our troop has never really had an active advancement coordinator. We did have someone who was going to do it a few years ago but he retired from the committee shortly after accepting the position. To tell the truth, as I look over the advancement coordinator’s responsibilities, I think I did many of them when I was the scoutmaster. Maybe, as I take on this role, I can lighten the load of the current scoutmaster.

The main reason I accepted this new position was to work with the boys on their advancement requirements once again. It was one of my favorite things I did as the scoutmaster. Now, I realize this is mainly the scoutmaster’s job, but name one scoutmaster would does not like a little extra help. I would help out a couple times a year but I always felt like I was intruding on someone else’s responsibilities. I will have to have a talk with the scoutmaster about my new role.

The worse part about accepting this new position is that I am currently serving as the cubmaster of the Cub Scout Pack. The pack meets on the first and third Mondays of the month. The troop meets on the first three Mondays of the month. After thinking about it, that might be for the best. By having a limited amount of time with the troop I will have to try to use the time to the best of my abilities.

Do any of you have any suggestions for this new advancement coordinator?

The committee organization chart was found on The Volun-told Scouter Blog, found at http://voluntoldscouter.blogspot.com/2011/01/committee.html

2016Handbooks - 1Gosh! I do not know if you have heard or not but the Boy Scouts of America have changed the requirements for the Boy Scout advancement program. Scout is now a rank, which means there are seven ranks instead of six. Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have changed a fair amount. Star, Life, and Eagle Ranks not so much. These changes could bring a few changes to your troop’s yearly program.

Of course, these changes to the advancement program need to be reflected in the Boy Scout handbook, which means a new handbook needs to be written. I was hoping to see a new handbook by the end of last year, but I was told during last month’s roundtable that they would be out some time in January. Knowing the B.S.A.’s history of getting things out on a timely basis. I thought that meant we would have to wait until February.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email last week that stated the new handbooks were now on the shelves and available for sale. I drove the thirty miles to my nearest Scout Shop on Saturday to pick up one for myself, along with some items for the upcoming Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet. I ended up buying six handbooks; one for me, two for the scoutmaster and his assistant, and three for the Scouts. I like to keep a few on hand so new Scouts have them quickly available when they join the troop.

I have already received an email from the father of one Scout who has asked me to put one handbook aside for him. I have a feeling the other two could be claimed by the end of the week. I bet I will need to pick up more of them when I attend next month’s roundtable in Sartell.

I was caught a bit off guard when I saw the price of the new handbooks was $14.99. I should have known they would not be the same price as the old handbooks. Oh well, we have to have them.

Did you get your new handbook yet?

mpsc2014bThe Boy Scouts have come home. About an hour and a half ago the ten Boy Scouts and two adult leaders of Melrose Troop 68 arrived home from spending the week at Many Point Scout Camp in northwest Minnesota. From the few minutes I was able to talk to them I discovered they had a great time but were ready to get home, clean up, and get back to life with their families.

The ten Scouts did an excellent job earning advancement while they were at camp. When I left them Monday afternoon I made a deal with them. I told them that if they earned a total of 25 completed merit badges during the week I would host a movie/pizza party. Eight of them were earning the Cooking merit badge which I did not think they could complete during camp so I did not count these against the total. I thought that 25 badges would present a good goal but would still be challenging.

Someday I will learn my lesson for betting against the Scouts. They earned their goal and went beyond it. They came home with 33 completed merit badges. It might be 34 after we check one Scout’s camping outings to see if he completed his Camping Merit Badge. Eight of these merit badges were the Cooking badge. It seems that with the new requirements this year the boys can complete the award during the week at camp. Oh well, even if I took the eight Cooking merit badges off the total it still leaves 25 completed badges, which met the goal. I guess I better get ready to buy some pizzas.

Here is a breakdown of the merit badges earned at summer camp this year:
8- Cooking, 2- Climbing, 2- Environmental Science, 4- Fishing,
1- Fish and Wildlife Management, 1- Forestry, 3- Game Design,
2- Geocaching, 1- Kayaking, 1- Lifesaving, 1- Mammal Study,
1- Nature, 1- Rowing, 1- Shotgun Shooting, 3- Weather,
1- Wilderness Survival (and possibly 1- Camping).

Congratulations to all the Boy Scouts for doing a great job at camp this week. Even though they earned a lot of badges while at camp they still managed to have a lot of fun and participate in in lots of activities.

2013 auction prizesI was looking for a way to further excite the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 to attend troop activities and earn their advancement when I came up with the idea of having a troop auction for prizes at the end of the year. I do not remember if I got the idea from another troop or if I came up with it myself. I do know that it has been a part of our program for over twenty years, and that other Scouts leaders have developed their own auction programs after listening to how Troop 68 conducts theirs.

Here is how it works. The Scouts earn “troop bucks” each time they go on an outing and for each merit badge and rank they earn during the year. They earn $25 per troop outing. They earn $50 for each merit badge. They earn $100 for attaining Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class; $150 for attaining Star or Life Rank; and $200 for reaching the rank of Eagle Scout. These bucks are then used to bid on prizes during the “troop auction” held after the December court of honor.

When I first began doing the auction I would hand out troop bucks at each court of honor. The bucks were actually Monopoly money with our troop stamp stamped over the top of it so the boys could not use Monopoly money from their own games. The Scouts had to store the money themselves. If they lost it it would not be replaced.

The Monopoly money worked well for a few years, but then Monopoly money disappeared from store shelves. Another problem was that brothers started pooling their money together to bid on the bigger prizes. That was not the way the bucks were meant to be used and was very unfair to those Scouts who did not have brothers in the troop.

I created a troop bucks certificate on the computer to replace the Monopoly money. The certificate contained the Scout’s name. amount earned, and the year earned. Certificates could only be used by the person who’s name appeared on it. The year on the certificate helped to keep things honest for the one prize we auctioned for which only bucks earned that year could be used to bid. I also awarded the certificate once a year, at the December court of honor. That created less work for me and less chance of Scouts losing the bucks before the year’s last court of honor.

Any unused troop bucks could be saved to be used another year on regular prizes. Once a Scout turned 18 years old his troop bucks became non-valid. It was interesting to watch older Scouts try to use up any troop bucks they owned at their last auction before they turned eighteen. Bidding is done in $5 increments.

We I started the troop auction we based the amount spent on prizes by the amount of advancement earned during the year. A certain amount would be added to the kitty for each merit badge and rank. The more the Scouts advanced, the more money was thrown into the kitty, and the more prizes or bigger prizes could be bought. That worked well until the troop started shrinking. Ten Scouts had trouble earning a large fund so we changed the financing to a lump some. I also based the number of prizes on the number of Scouts currently enrolled in the program. We did not need 30 prizes when we only had eight Scouts.

I also wanted to keep the cost of the auction down so I began looking for prizes throughout the year, not just a month before the auction. I started getting pretty good and finding nice items for free or little cost.

Each auction contains some “traditional” items. There is the Boy Scout Handbook, because someone is going to wear theirs out during the year. Boy Scout bolo ties and merit badge sashes have also been used as prizes on a regular basis. I usually try to include some sort of camping gear. And then there are some fun prizes, of course.

Tonight is Troop 68’s final court of honor for the year. The troop auction will immediately follow it. The picture posted with this article shows most of the prizes which will be auctioned. A merit badges sash is missing, as is the $20 cash prize for which only 2013 troop bucks will be allowed to be used to bid. There will be a lot of first time bidders at this auction. It should be a good night.

Has your troop does anything like this as a part of your program?

moviemaking-mbI always liked the Cinematography merit badge. Maybe it is because I like movies so well. Or maybe it has something to do with all those years I spent working with Mel TV3, our local community access television station. I did become a councilor for the badge shortly after it became available. I have a feeling that if this merit badge would have been available in the 1970’s I may have added one more to my sleeve.

It was announced today that what we have known as the Cinematography merit badge will now be known as the Moviemaking merit badge. That may be a better descriptive name for the badge. According to the Bryan On Scouting blog:

Think of it as the long-awaited sequel.

Cinematography merit badge is now Moviemaking merit badge, effective immediately. The design of the badge won’t change, and new pamphlets are expected in Scout shops in mid-November.

Why make this change? Well, anyone who sticks around to watch a movie’s credits knows that cinematography is just one specific part of making a movie. So calling a merit badge that covers all of moviemaking “Cinematography” was something of a misnomer.

The BSA’s merit badge team also saw this as a chance to make a few other changes, including:

Tweaked requirements in light of the title change and focus away from cinematography and more toward moviemaking in general.
Updated text in a number of places to reflect the name change and address newer technology
New information about intellectual property.

For more information about the merit badge change check out
http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2013/10/03/cinematography-merit-badge-becomes-moviemaking-merit-badge/

What do you think of the change?