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Outdoor-friendly record keeping

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  • Outdoor-friendly record keeping

    The discussion about Blue Cards touched on record keeping. I think the Blue Cards are a fine way of tracking indoor progress, though maybe not as good as they used to be. Kids used to collect baseball cards, so they had some ability to keep track of rectangular pieces of cardboard... Not sure they come into Scouting with that skillset as often these days.

    Anyway, the big problem I've seen with Blue Cards is weather-related. Our troop likes to do as much outdoor learning as possible, but while Blue Cards fit nicely in the cargo pockets of scout pants, they don't survive a good downpour very well. After one MB Weekend, we had a lot of scouts with piles of blue pulp in their pockets. As a MBC, the only reason my copies of the cards were okay is that I put them with the teaching materials I put in my truck after the last session (before the rain came).

    Scout handbooks have a similar problem. When scouts bring the on campouts, they get pretty badly beatup. We're established enough now that scouts are getting most of their advancement signed off by their PLs and SPLs, but I still get the occasional request, and often the advancement record in the back is a collection of pages held together by a strand and a half of glue, with signatures and dates of blotted ink that has run and become illegible. Nearly every time I see the handbook of a scout who's been with us more than a couple of months, I find myself suggesting he take a picture of the advancement pages every time he gets something signed off.

    Bottom line, I like the idea of scouts learning to be responsible for their own record keeping, but can we give them some more durable tools to do it?

  • #2
    We had an advancement committee guy that said he loved it when Eagle candidates came to their EBoR with their old handbooks held together with rubber bands, or loose pages in a ziplock, etc. He said he knew they were real Scouts. :-)



    • #3
      I'm laughing because my old scout book is still held together with Silver Duct Tape! Pretty sure I got a new one about 2/3 through scouts...but only really remember using the one with the duct tape.

      Also: I never kept the blue cards. Our MBC always kept them...I think we were given one piece after we finished, but once the advancement folks had it in the system...we never kept them.
      Kinda wish I had now, so I could remember who signed off what..


      • #4
        Theres an app for that... BSA-on-the-Go lists all the requirements for all the scout ranks, and badges. You can check off the requirements.

        I supply baseball trading card plastic sleeves to my sons. Office Max Depot Staples sells pages of plastic sleeves that hold 12 cards. After each COH, they just slip the blue cards in the page. Each son has a 1 inch ring binder with all their blue cards, rank advancement cards, membership cards, etc. Couple of full sheet page protectors for 1st class certificate, COH programs, page of patrol names, troop numbers, patrol members, scoutmaster name, etc.

        It will become a memory book later in life but now it is a way for them to keep track of all the paperwork. Made it real easy when the oldest went to fill out his Eagle application. He had all the documents in one place. He took it to his ECOH to show if needed.


        • #5
          the completed cards and MB earned cards my son also keeps in ballcard sheets and has them in a binder.

          thing I'm wondering about all the keeping them in the pocket and getting wet etc.... does no one know how to use a simple ziplock baggy or even a pen pouch for a binder? just keep the blue cards you are working on in them - if carrying just one in pocket put it in a ziplock bag first! packing scout book - just like any book on a campout - put it in a larger ziplock bag!

          really it's not that hard to do!


          • #6
            you suggesting etched in stone perhaps?

            Very few Stones Disintegrate when getting wet...

            but then the Boys would get tired of Lugging them around for a week at summer camp and the would just end up in a Campfire ring somewhere


            • #7
              Boy Scout Handbook and ziploc bag. never heard of a blue card until I worked supply. MBCs either signed off in the BSHB or the Reuqirements book a lot of us used as we could see the updated requirements for MBs when we used the troop's library for MBPs.

              had a conversation today with someone who sits are our district Eagle boards. He loves it when he sees a "well loved" BSHB that is dog-eared, held together by duct tape, etc. Told one Eagle to not be sorry about the condition of his handbook when the scout apologized for the book's condition.

              My friend did ask what were some of the trips the book went on.


              • #8
                Zip lock. But if a few are destroyed, fine. We can work with the scout to fix that.


                • #9
                  I'll suggest they etch things on stone and keep the stones in a zip-lock bag just in case.

                  Though I had been thinking maybe we could try waterproof paper instead.


                  • #10
                    Print your own. One of our HOAs had alteration permits printed on waterproof paper. It was kind of expensive, like maybe 25 cents a sheet.


                    • #11
                      I don't have access to a pdf version of the BSA handbook with reprint permission, but I suppose I could gin up a blue card replica.


                      • #12
                        Rite-in-the-Rain sells blank sheets of water proof paper for $30 for 200 sheets (or 15 cents a sheet).

                        I used their pads on campouts. Pencil works better than pen.


                        • #13

                          "Tactical" paper! Unfortunately doesn't sound like it works well with an inkjet printer (well, yeah, it's waterproof after all). I've had some success before with using sprayed shellack or varnish to waterproof paper (after printing it). It's a little tricky, you have to spray a fine, even mist, but if you're careful it will work.

                          Rocks in ziplock bags are simpler. Some professionally produced weather resistant stuff would be even better. Maybe if National moved from Texas to Seattle, waterproof might be higher on their priority list.


                          • #14
                            You need to use a Lazer Printer not an Ink Jet. Does not erase well. I use mine also with my Space Pen.

                            Or you can just use a zip lock bag.