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shaner

Trouble collecting required forms

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Also, I suggest that you find another adult helper.

Like Son #2 says, anything can be suffered if you do it with a buddy.

(He was referring to a Venturing training course. But I think this applies here.)

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When I was doing unit level scouting, "day of departure" was indeed the "no-s**t" deadline.  No one left the parking lot of the church if the paperwork wasn't complete, because it was a 2 hr ride to camp.  We had cases where we had to delay for an hour or so while Mom ran home to get the forms.  BUT...if the physical had not been completed, little Johnnie went back home, because the Camp was not going to let him past the check in point.  At that point, the camp will not issue a refund, and a few times the scout joined us on Monday or Tuesday when the physical got done at the Urgent Care.  As pointed out before, camp physicals are not rocket science, and if the lad plays sports, that physical will suffice.  It just has to be on the BSA form.  My wife is an elementary school nurse, and she goes through the same pain every September.  Kids show up for the first day of school, with no physical or without the required shots.  There is no lee-way for tolerance.  The kid is sent back home until the parent finds the time to fulfill the legal requirement.  As my wife says, "you've known for 5 years this day (Kindergarten)  was coming...don't tell me you can't get a Dr appointment until November."   Young parents these days are so self-absorbed and "busy" and they think everyone else needs to bend to accommodate them, because that's how their parents raised them.  Don't get me started.

Edited by scoutldr

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First, God Bless You. This is a much needed and under appreciated duty.

 

We did a couple things. One was publish the 'list of shame' on email with a grid of needed forms and scouts with the missing forms high-lighted in yellow. Another was to say that scouts would lose their slot if not turned in, and finally an adult with a clipboard and NO ONE got on the bus without all the forms. In one case we had some chronic parents that always did it (they were both lawyers for petes sake) and they had to drive the boy up later in the day on their own.

 

We tried a $25 late form fee but some folks would just pay it than bother.

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No matter how I look at it (even after considering cash flow and the timing of physicals as Bevah points out), I can not seem to accept that only half (remember, that's over 30 people) are turning in their paperwork in complete and on time,  leaving the person "who volunteered for a service position" to scramble for paperwork.  I totally get a few special cases, but 50%...over 25 families??.

 

 

Yah, @@shaner, that's pretty typical, eh?

 

One of da things that often happens in troops is that the volunteers who are selected are the parents who are more engaged and responsible, eh?   Most new troop treasurers are a bit appalled by families that don't pay their bills on time, and most new folks in your position are similarly frustrated.   Recognize that families who are under stress or just aren't payin' as much attention are at least a large minority in almost every program. 

 

 

At this point, and based on all of your input, I think I will have to go to the committee with requests for:

  • Troop enforced missed deadline fees.
  • More of the onus be put on the scouts...the SPL should be hearing from the coordinator a lot.
  • That the committee, SM, and ASM's completely take over the paperwork collection process after the deadline has passed.   Like I said, I partially blame the committee, SM, and ASM's for creating this culture in the first place...let them taste it for a week or two and I bet there will be changes.

 

So you will all know:  I have already volunteered to do this job again next year.  I can guarantee you there will be changes.

 

And tons of thanks for the input...good stuff.

 

Yah, hmmm....

 

I wonder... in Scoutin', do we think it's a good idea to punish boys for their parents' behaviors?   I wish the lads were responsible for their own paperwork, they might be more responsible!   But they aren't, eh?   So in the end, it becomes hard to throw Billy Patrol Leader off the trip when his patrol needs him just because his family is feelin' financial stress and can't get it together, or toss Tommy Firstyear because his single mom is havin' a hard time gettin' off work to take him in for a physical. 

 

These are da sorts of things that cause good SMs and Committees to be more lenient, eh?     It's hard to take scatterbrained parents out on their kids.... the lads are already feelin' it, after all.

 

The SM is probably puttin' in 10 times the time, effort, and $$ that you are tryin' to get the boys to a great camp experience. Da SM and ASMs are payin' to give up a week of their vacation to take someone else's kids to camp, on top of all the rest of da prep and trips and conferences and meetings.  They need help, eh?

 

Now I can't speak to your local area or your unit, eh?  Maybe a year of tryin' strict two-week-before deadlines and leavin' some bodies on the floor is appropriate or might help, even if yeh loose a couple of lads from Scouting.  In the end, though, it won't change your job much, eh?  You'll just be dealin' with da same exact thing two weeks earlier.  :)   

 

So what it really comes down to is either yeh choose to take one frustratin' job off the SM's plate so that he and da ASMs can spend more time helpin' the boys or yeh don't, eh?   If yeh shove it back on them, then they'll do it because they care about the boys, but it'll push 'em that much closer to burnout.  What yeh do is annoying, but it's a real contribution to kids and families.

 

Service is service, eh? 

 

Personally, I think da best version is to have one and only one paperwork & payment & signup turn-in for camp about a week before whenever the camp needs the count.   The week gives yeh a little family disaster slop, but yeh don't sign boys up unless it's all there.  It at least reduces the need to track lots of different lists and papers if yeh can pull it off.   Takes a few years to get people on board with, particularly because of da physical thing.

 

Beavah

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Question:  Does anyone have any suggestions, techniques, or processes that the troop can use to help in the timely collection of paperwork?

 

We had the same problem until we said one simple phrase: "If your properly completed paperwork is not in by xx/xx/xxxx then you cannot go. Monies paid will not be refunded." We give them the paperwork in January. We have multiple information meetings in February and March where we review how to fill out the paperwork properly. We give them a completed form as a guide. We show them where to get certain information like immunization records. We do everything short of fill it out for them. The forms are required to be in by May 15th since we go to camp in the middle of July. If the forms are not in by the end of May, you don't go. We put this process in five years ago and we have only had two people miss out in all that time.

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For that hard deadline approach to work, you need adult support both at the troop and council level. That is rare. In two different units, I have had last-minute parents, who missed the deadline, appeal directly to Council. Council was only too happy to ignore their own deadline and take the money. So a deadline did not matter. :blink:

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One has to have the backing of the whole group(s).  There will always be those that pull the plug on any well organized process.  I would say, go ahead with the paper work as usual, collect the money, and when the boy shows up at summer camp two hours away without his medical form, he can sit in the health lodge until either 1) his parents bring up the paperwork, or 2) they come and take him home.  The rule was not set by you, it was set by the camp.  Don't shoot the messenger, have little cards with the name and phone number of the camp director to hand out to all the parents who want to ignore deadlines.

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"One of da things that often happens in troops is that the volunteers who are selected are the parents who are more engaged and responsible, eh?"

 

The responsible will be punished. :)

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For that hard deadline approach to work, you need adult support both at the troop and council level. That is rare. In two different units, I have had last-minute parents, who missed the deadline, appeal directly to Council. Council was only too happy to ignore their own deadline and take the money. So a deadline did not matter. :blink:

 

We had council do that once. Council made an exception and allowed the parents to submit the paperwork at camp the day of arrival. They realized real quick that this parent could not read and follow directions. The immunizations were not filled in, the tetanus was not current and the kid did not have the right gear. The camp director stepped in and overruled the council and the scout was not admitted. Hate to see that happen but if his mom and dad had followed directions he would not have missed out on camp.

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The responsible will be punished. :)

 

I thought it was no good deed goes unpunished.  

 

Several comments answer the issue, which is maintaining the AHMR's for your unit on a year round basis.  To the OP, once they are good for camp then you should be good to go for almost a year, by the time camp rolls around next year you will the guru of making this work.    

 

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/Resources/MedicalFormFAQs.aspxis the FAQ's  This one is called out as appropriate to the discussion:  

 

5th FAQ

 

Following are some of the best practices for using and storing the records:

  • The Annual Health and Medical Record is secured to maintain the confidentiality of the information, yet at the same time, the forms should be accessible by adult leaders in an emergency. The following guidance will assist leaders in achieving this goal:
    • Leaders are encouraged to maintain the original AHMR forms in a safe location in a binder or file that protects the documents entrusted to the unit leader.
    • The AHMR should be taken on all activities.
    • Designate a leader to keep the files containing the AHMR up to date.  This may include reminding participants to update the AHMR annually or as needed.    

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Another logjam is that many scouts have their annual physical at the start of the summer to accommodate summer sport camps and fall school requirements.

 

Not uncommon here to send scouts soon-to-expire BSA Health form to Council in May/June only to have the scout bring his new Health form to camp in July/Aug.

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I don't know about doctors in other areas, but most in my area will fill out a camp/sports/school physical anytime of the year as long as the child has been seen in the office in the past year. Just about every kid has a visit to the doctor's office at least once a year, flu, cold, strep, etc.  Our doctor will filling out all my kids' forms at their annual physical or if I leave them with a self addressed stamped envelope at  a sick visit. It may take a week or so to get them back, but if I ask in March and need them for June all is good. 

 

We also have urgent care centers on just about every corner here. They charge $20-25 per kid and will fill out up to 3 separate forms as part of the visit. Sports physicals must be completed after 4/15 of the school year before to be good for the entire next school year. $25 is less than a lot of people's office visit charges in this area. One doctor in the area organizes camp/sports physicals in the evening for a week in May and all the fees he collects get given to the school sports programs that the kids attend or to Girl Scout or Boy Scouts as FOS donations. I know one troop in the surrounding area that got the local family practice doctor to come to their meeting place and do the whole troop's physicals for $20/kid. They are a huge troop, 100+ scouts.

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Another logjam is that many scouts have their annual physical at the start of the summer to accommodate summer sport camps and fall school requirements.

 

Not uncommon here to send scouts soon-to-expire BSA Health form to Council in May/June only to have the scout bring his new Health form to camp in July/Aug.

This is happening to us as well.  We opened a discussion about it last night after the committee meeting...we'll kick it around some and hopefully come up with something that we can put on the table at the next meeting.

One has to have the backing of the whole group(s).  There will always be those that pull the plug on any well organized process.  I would say, go ahead with the paper work as usual, collect the money, and when the boy shows up at summer camp two hours away without his medical form, he can sit in the health lodge until either 1) his parents bring up the paperwork, or 2) they come and take him home.  The rule was not set by you, it was set by the camp.  Don't shoot the messenger, have little cards with the name and phone number of the camp director to hand out to all the parents who want to ignore deadlines.

2 hours away?  Try 9.5 hours.  They actually stop overnight on the way up.  They don't get in vans to leave if the paperwork is not in order.

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I know one troop in the surrounding area that got the local family practice doctor to come to their meeting place and do the whole troop's physicals for $20/kid. They are a huge troop, 100+ scouts.

Wow nice simoleons there. I'm in the wrong profession. Not making anywere near that. As a volunteer  :)

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For that hard deadline approach to work, you need adult support both at the troop and council level. That is rare. In two different units, I have had last-minute parents, who missed the deadline, appeal directly to Council. Council was only too happy to ignore their own deadline and take the money. So a deadline did not matter. :blink:

Dontcha just love it when Council decides what is best for your unit?  I hope they offered to also find the scout a provisional troop?

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