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  • Lost book

    How do you handle this situation: scout loses his book, and expects SM to "just re-sign" everything that the scout says he's completed. We allow older scouts to sign off, and we've no way of knowing for sure what had been earned. We do not record advancement in our troop until a rank or badge is earned. Keeping up with their paperwork and book is their responsibility.

  • #2
    We've had this happen to two different Scouts in the past few years. One Scout had photo-copies of his rank advancement pages so the re-creation was easy. The other did not, but "A Scout is Trustworthy" so no one had any problem taking the Scout's word for it.


    • #3
      I'm assuming this is a scout still in the first three ranks? This is how I would do it, Boy and family should do the prep work in the new book first. (Recollect when and where and be able to talk about it). Scout should be able to connect with his patrol or same rank scouts to resurrect an account of their shared scouting experiences. Youth or adult leaders who most closely worked with those scouts would also know if he really did pass the swim test or do the first class cooking etc...

      And then a scout is trustworthy. If I as the SM then had questions about his mastery of the items, I'd make sure he has teaching opportunities in the future.


      • #4
        More common is for the pages to wear out/fall out. We try to occasionally update the TroopMaster records as a backstop.

        As to the fix, I go for a hybrid approach. I do think the Scout needs some skin in the game and needs to put some effort into retracing the signoffs. My opinion is it has less to do with trustworthy and more to do with accountability and responsibility. We ask the Scout to go to the individuals who originally did the signoff, if they remember doing so. Some of the requirements are clear cut -- either he attended the five or 10 troop activities or not. Either he cooked two meals/served as troop cook or not. Those are easy. When it comes down to it, if no on has any recollection of the Scout passing a requirement we ask him to go through it again. Ultimately, loosing a book has never been an impediment to advancing, but it's enough of a hassle that the Scout thinks twice about keeping up with his stuff.


        • #5
          Head 'em off at the pass! I emphasize the importance of the book, right from the very beginning. You lose the book, it's going to be a hassle. I use software to backup the books, but emphasize it's only a back up and if something is not recorded in the backup it will have to be done a second time. An ASM is responsible for the backup records, but the boys are all responsible for making sure the ASM knows about any changes and has the book to back it up.

          Sure we have had lost books, especially by boy not really buying into it's importance. The boy makes an appointment to visit with the ASM in charge of advancement and the two go back to square one and work it all over again either using the records or doing the task over. The boy needs to show he can do everything he had covered. If it's a second time around, it shouldn't be a big problem. If he's forgotten, a second review is no big deal. We have records of advancement sent to the council office, and THE BOY has to go back through all the records and recreate a new book recording all the dates of advancement, MB's etc. Rank in progress is always a difficult thing to do. He has to have evidence of the service projects he attended, MB's in progress, POR served, etc.

          The onus of the process is on the boy, not the records, or the adult record keeper. If a few of the boys learn that by losing a book, it's going to be a lot of hassle, they tend to either find the book quickly or resolve themselves to the fact that recreating the records is not a fun time and won't lose it in the first place.



          • Twocubdad
            Twocubdad commented
            Editing a comment
            Life lessons at no additional cost!

        • #6
          I like the idea of making them do reconstruction. We also tell and retell the boys and parents to scan, shoot, and copy those pages on a regular basis...


          • #7
            We advise the boys to occasionally photocopy their books, or to go to our Advancement chair and update their records on TroopWebHost. It happens. Just had a boy yesterday tell me he lost his book, just after I asked to see it. (He's closing in on First Class, so I'm trying to nudge him a bit).


            • #8
              All good stuff. Most close to what I had thought about; have the scout recreate what he did, where, with who, and discuss it with me. If he can't remember, then do it over. Thanks, from the outgoing SM.


              • #9
                At one time we had the boys going to the designated Troopmaster data-entry person (a committee member), who was present at every troop meeting with a computer, EVERY TIME they had a requirement signed off in their books. It should not surprise anyone that this system broke down after awhile (especially after that guy left the committee when his son Eagled/aged out of the troop, and the current holder of that position does not attend every troop meeting, but also because it is hopeless to expect every Scout to actually go see an adult each time a T-2-1 requirement is passed.) The system now is that one of the procedures to be followed when completing a rank, and before asking for a Scoutmaster's Conference, is to arrange with the current data-entry person to have the sign-offs entered into the computer. That also means that the Board of Review members have a mostly up-to-date report (printed from Troopmaster) of the Scout's advancement status, merit badges, POR if any, etc., for review at the BOR, plus there is usually a reasonably up-to-date backup available if the Scout loses his book. All that will have to be reconstructed are the requirements passed since the last BOR. (I actually have suggested to some Scouts that they also photocopy the requirements pages from their books every couple of months or so, especially those Scouts whose books look like they have been left out in the rain too many times, but I doubt that many photocopies have been made.)


                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Backups are always busywork. That said, our reports go to the PLs, who then use them to determine program. Then they are given to the boys to cross-check with their books. If they have a sign-off in their book that's not on the report, they can go and inform the AC so she can update her records.

                  Doing it this way means that the AC does not always have her finger on the pulse of what the boys are doing. For example, she thought one boy had aged out because she had a partial blue card for an MB he was taking from her. Well evidently he arranged for a different MBC, completed his work with him. had his SMC, and submitted paperwork to HQ. T'was a little perplexing to her when she heard our SM report!

                  Basically, this means that we're counting on the SM to have his hand on the tiller when it comes to upper level advancement. The bigger the troop, the more that's a worry, I suppose.

                • fred johnson
                  fred johnson commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Qwazse ... It's busywork because it's just not needed. Why does the AC have to update her records? It's not her advancement. Boys know what's going on pretty darn good. Plus, scouts should be scheduling the program to reflect FCFY (scouts don't have to advance, but the troop should be doing activities that pretty much cover FCFY as a measure of a good program ... hikes ... skill games ... cooking ... program elements ... ).

                  The main role of the AC is to collect rank and MB advancements, submit them to the council for recognition and acquire them for the courts of honor ... at least in our troop. Our AC does not track partial rank advancements anymore than tracking individual requirements of each and every merit badge. But that's our troop.

                  I've been more and more impressed with the reports I can get from ScoutNet. Plus, that's the record of truth that I have access to using and it serves me fine. Scouts have their handbooks. That should serve them fine too. The rest is noise.

                • FrankScout
                  FrankScout commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Agree with Fred! Our AC does the same thing, tracks partials, and dates for every rank requirement. Completely unnecessary, as the only dates that are needed for the Eagle application are the COMPLETED (Board Of Review) dates!

              • #10
                I've come to the conclusion that some Scouts think it's the responsibility of the Scoutmaster to collect abandonned handbooks, permission slips and popcorn sell sheets. In order to keep our CO's fellowship hall uncluttered, I do take the abandonned items but I put them in the trunk of my car where they stay until someone asks about them. It's definitely a teaching moment...Oh, Second Class, I was at a merit badge clinic-thingy two weeks ago and the director gave me a dilapidated handbook...Perhaps it belongs to the Scout in question?


                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's one more thing. I teach boys to get a marker and write their name and troop # on the *edge* of the book. So that if the cover or binding or cover page fall apart, there is an outside chance that they will be able to read it from holding the book sideways.

                  (Now that's an edge method that translates into any language! )

              • #11
                if the scout can't tell me how he did something then he must not have done it well enough to have learned it and does it again. If he can tell me well enough then I'd sign it. The only boys that sign off in books for us are Junior Assistant Scoutmasters - scouts teach, scouts watch, scouts say go do it for "___adult or junior asm_____" While I would love to have patrol leaders or say a 1st class or above sign off, but that isn't the way the troop was when we joined and I can only see more headaches from it than benefits. I don't want a boy getting signed off that really doesn't know his stuff because he's good friends. I don't want a boy not getting signed off because a boy is being a jerk and going above requirements.

                Our JASM are 16+, life scout, and sat down with SM or ASM to go over basic rules (same thing we sit in a room for hours for to get that "wonderful" trained strip)


                • #12
                  Originally posted by IM_Kathy View Post
                  ... I can only see more headaches from it than benefits. I don't want a boy getting signed off that really doesn't know his stuff because he's good friends. I don't want a boy not getting signed off because a boy is being a jerk and going above requirements. ...
                  You mean you can only "imagine". I have seen. And your worst-case scenarios are extremely rare and no less likely to happen with 16+ y.o. JASM than a 13+ y.o. PL or any 1st class scout (the concept not the patch). They are definitely more likely to happen with adults. That said, at some point in the year -- usually early spring -- we have all qualified scouts sit down in a big circle and go over the basic criteria for signing off on work.

                  Keep in mind, we don't usually have JASMs. Most of our boys achieve 1st Class around age 14. Patrol leaders are usually 13.


                  • #13
                    LeCastor, I have done that same thing, collect "stuff" and hold it until somebody asks me for it. We write the names on the edge of the handbook as well. As an aside, the quality of these current handbooks is abysmal. By First Class the pages are falling out. We encourage our scouts to keep it in. A zip lock bag with pen and pad. Most do. I've met with this boy twice. He brought a printout of the T-1st Class requirements from MeritBadge dot org. No book. I told him he had to replace his book before we'd start the rebuild process. I asked him about a few of the requirements, and as expected he had clear memory of some and "I can't remember" on others. This is going to be a root canal process, I can see.