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Recordkeeping questions

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Hi. I have a few specific questions relating to den recordkeeping. I'd like to learn what others do and find helpful.

 

- Do you use the individual scout records?

- Do you take attendance?

- How do you record what the boys work on in their handbooks?

 

After 3 months of meetings under my belt, I'm finding that I need to do some things differently. For example, only 3 of the 11 parents have told me what their scouts have completed in the handbooks. It was suggested at the leadership meeting that my assistant and I take the books home, sign off on them, and record each scout's progress.

 

I'd like to do things in the most efficient way possible, so any suggestions would be welcome!

 

Thank you!

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Parents sign off on requirement completion in Cub Scouts. They should keep handbooks up-to-date.

 

The den leader is responsible for keeping records for the Scouts in his den by going through the handbooks. He keeps advancement records for each individual Scout, and may optionally choose to track attendance. Personally I don't think there is a need to track attendance.

 

On a regular basis (before each pack meeting) each of the den leaders submit advancement records to the pack's advancement coordinator so he/she can update pack records and purchase awards before the pack meeting.

 

While I was a den leader I started out using the large poster-size record sold by the Scout Store, then I switched to using a home-made Excel spreadsheet. Eventually I spearheaded a switch to an on-line system called ScoutTrack.

 

Many packs use Packmaster software, but the trouble with that system is that one person has to enter all the advancement, and with a large pack that can be a huge job. My son's pack started using the ScoutTrack on-line system since that allowed both parents and den leaders to input the completed requirements for their sons/dens. This can greatly simplify things for the den leader and the advancement coordinator.

 

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Here is a free line of excel spreadsheets for helping leaders keep track of their Scouts -

 

http://trax.boy-scouts.net/cubtrax.htm

 

I use a different spreadsheet that I modified to suit what I wanted.

 

I do not keep an individual sheet for each scout. I have all of the boys across the top and dates, den meetings (with what we did at the meeting) and various activities along the side. I keep track of attendance. That way it is easier to tell who gets credit for what and what a Scout might have missed.

 

Since I have my records to show who was at meetings/activities, I know who completed what requirements there. For work completed at home, I collect their handbooks at the den meeting the week before the Pack meeting and go thru them at home. I will record anything they have had signed off at home and add anything they have done with Scouts that has not been entered in their book yet. I initial & date each requirement in their handbook as I record it on my spreadsheet. The handbooks get returned to the families at the Pack meeting.

 

We have just started using ScoutManage, which is an online based Unit Management system. Once we can get everything up and running on it, the parents will be able to sign off online too. That will hopefully eliminate some of the running after handbooks (and award forms from the den leaders!).

 

Even with ScoutManage, I still use my spreadsheets. They help me to organize things, and see at a glance what has been done and where everyone is at, when I am in a meeting and not at a computer. The spreadsheets also make it easier to enter everything in ScoutManage.

 

This is what works for me. Ultimately, you will have to do some trial and error to see what works best for you.

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OK, I undertsand I'm responsible for going through the handbooks, but we have 11 wolves. Many times the parents do not bring the handbooks. Some have told me right out that they do not work out of the handbook. See, their Tiger Leader last year kept track of everything for them, and I think they got used to not having to keep records at all. Well, I am not willing to do this. I have other obligations outside of scouting. My main concern is that even though I keep the parents up to date as far as what we're working on, that they don't work in the handbook and complete the items we DON'T cover at den meetings - so when we get to Blue & Gold, they're not going to have their requirements met.

 

I don't see our pack paying for ScoutTrack anytime soon.

 

I plan to use that wall chart.

 

Does anyone use the individual scout record form that's in the leader's handbook?

 

Thanks,

 

Amy Culbertson

Den Leader

Pack 251

Shippensburg, PA

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the biggest problem i see with not working out of the handbook is that they may not know everything required and not all of the details.

 

for example (and i may not be 100% right - but the idea is there) there is a wolf requirement which talks about walking around the house looking for dangers (and this is how it is listed in many of the tracking programs). but the last sentance tells them to visit a firehouse. without the book they may not have this information.

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You need to have a parent meeting to let them know that you are not a mindreader. If they don't sign off in the handbook you will have to assume that the requirement is not done and their son will not get recognized. Remind them, clearly, that it is their responsibility to work at home with their sons. If they don't, or simply never sign off in the book on things they have done, their boy will not be receiving his rank award.

 

They have until the end of the school year, hopefully they will get the idea. If not, oh well. You can't give an award to a boy just because you feel sorry for him.

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After using Scoutrax for several years, I switched over to Packmaster last year. They have a setup called dotnet that is internet based and allows multiple leaders to access, although only one can be on at a time. I don't go through each book, instead, I tell parents to give me a list of achievements and electives which I input into Packmaster. Sometimes they bring a sheet to the meeting, or they e-mail me. On occasion, i will print each scouts personal record off Packmaster and give it to the parents for crosscheck.

 

I encourage my scouts to do as much of the book as they can at home and also to look through the elvetives and requirements to see which things they do as part of school or as a matter of course. Our kids are all homeschooled, so their parents often incorporate scout stuff into curriculum as well.

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ScoutNut's suggestion about a parent's meeting is a good one. I find few leaders use this very important communication tool. Your leadership style and that of last year's leader don't have to match. But the parents have developed an expectation that you need to reshape to how the den will operate *this* year. Also - there are significant differences between Tiger and Wolf, which change the way in which parent involvement takes place. A parent meeting is a good place to cover this information.

 

If bringing the books to the meeting isn't happening, you could institute a reinforcement system where the boys get rewarded for remembering the book. That's not going to solve whether or not the parents sign the books, though. That may be solved if you print out the spreadsheet from one of the advancement tracking sites that provide them, and give each parent a copy to facilitate the record keeping.

 

http://www.madsenco.com/scouting.shtml

http://usscouts.org/advance/Documents.asp

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I don't know how the den leaders did it in my son's pack but as advancment guy, I had a big binder with a sheet for each Scout. Each sheet had spaces for ranks, arrow points, belt loops, pins, etc.. Once a month, I'd sit down with the notes from the DLs, update the book and make a shopping list. Took about an hour a month.

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Being a new Tiger Den leader, I find using the individual record forms from the leader handbook usefull especially at the Den meeting when checking the boys handbooks. Quiet surprisingly, they update them and bring them to meetings. When I get home I transfer the data to an excel based program called tigertrax which I found online. This is where I keep more detailed record.

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The Trax programs are free, it's an Excel spreadsheet.

 

I'm a Tiger leader and I sign off on books during den meetings as much as possible...which I can do because I'm using the shared leadership and I'm not running the meetings. Next year, I'll either get the ADL to record the achievements or else take the books home. BUT I can tell you that when you hand out beads for the PTR badges (I know they've been recalled, but the new ones should be available now) and Little Johnny gets one and Little Timmy doesn't and you tell Timmy that it's because Dad didn't sign anything off in his book...

 

True story...one of my Tigers came to me and asked me if he was getting any beads because he saw all the others getting them...."I'm sorry, but there's nothing signed off in your book" He shot Dad a sad look...our next meeting was a pack meeting, when I wasn't gonna be signing off on books anyway, Dad came up to me with the handbook. There were a lot of things signed off then.

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I did the parent meeting path, explaining that anything that they do with their scouts that can be signed off should be, and either give me or E-Mail me a list of what they did, I check it off in (insert -Tiger/Wolf/Bear/Webelo)Trax, and also note it in my personal logbook with the date completed, the entries also have a check box for "award recieved" in my logbook just in case a boy wasn't at the meeting when the award was scheduled to be given I can see he still needs to recieve it. In return I print out the summary from the Trax program and let the parents look it over each meeting so they can double check it against their scouts book. This system has served me pretty well so far (my boys are W1's now)

YIS

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When I had my dens, I had approximately 15 boys with 1 assistant leader and a den chief. We had our denner take role on a clipboard each meeting while our assistant denner took the dues, counted the money and checked off each boy that paid. Our boys were required to bring books each and every meeting with all new requirements met marked with a small torn piece of paper as a page marker. While they did their pre-opening, opening, and pledge, I went through each book and wrote what they did on thier sheet in my notebook I made with a page for each boy from the advancement record book from BSA. All this took about 5 minutes.

 

YES it took time to teach them. YES it took time to teach the parents. YES it had to be retaught for awhile, but in the end I figured out it saved me TONS of time in the long run. I started this as wolf scouts and continued this until Webelos II ended. Occasionally, a boy forgot a book,but it was rare because they knew they would have requirements signed off each meeting, so they brought it.

 

Ensure the expectation is clearly communicated to boys AND ESPECIALLY parents. Boys are used to hearing expectations at school. They know what they are and what they mean. Parents, however, sometimes need re-teaching and often. Eventually, they all learn.

 

Don't do ANYTHING your boys can be doing for you or themselves. Makes your life so much easier and makes them so much more independent.

 

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Hi all,

Somebody told me about the cubtrax spreadsheets, and I am eager to take a look at them (specifically, the ones for Bears) - but both of the web addresses I've found are coming up with errors right now. Does anyone know of a current source?

Thanks,

Rob

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