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youngmaster

Notebooks, how to enforce them?

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Hi SCOUTER,

 

I am a 21 year old assistant scoutmaster to a troop of 6 kids ages 12 to 14. I have posted on here before about eeping the boy's attention a couple months ago. Now they have improved in teamwork, and keeping attention, there are still some outbursts but the "signs up" is used more effectively. Right now they have been finishing up with planning our 95th anniversary troop reunion this weekend that we've been working on all year. A complication with that though, some scouts seem to forget their duties in preparation for this event because they do not write it down. The boys who have remembered theirs seem to be very good at memory, and two other boy's father is also an assistant scoutmaster so they feel that they don't have to. After last night's meeting, my head scoutmaster and I were discussing ways that we could enforce the boys to bring three ring binder notebooks.

 

We have been trying to enforce notebooks since I was a teenager myself, of course everytime the scoutmaster at the time mentions it the boys just shrug it off. I would like to know your ways of enforcing preparedness and making sure they bring all supplies and utensils ready for the meeting. Even though my views greatly differ, my scoutmaster wishes that physical punishments such as running, push ups, etc not be used. We will be having a meeting about bringing notebooks the next week after Labor Day. Please share your ideas and I will get back to you.

 

Thank you

 

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Notebooks, hmmm. IMHO I think you can encourage them but require them? We strongly, strongly encourage the scout handbook, some paper, and a writing implement. Some boys make up their own notebook but many would NEVER do it. While notebooks are a swell idea (I am a notecard or pocket pad man myself) it seems to smack a bit of school...

 

We had an issue like that with out general meeting. We finally just put up a big duty board for the meeting and after a couple of meetings didn't really need it.

 

I would further argue that it should be up to the boy leadership to figure this out...

 

Good luck.

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3-ring binders? Are you a troop or a school? More importantly, what makes you think that just because they write something down in a notebook, they're going to remember the task anyway? That would require them to actually pick up the notebook between meetings and review what is in it. What is more likely going to happen is the lads will dutifully bring their notebook, write things down, take it home, then not pick it up, let alone open it, until the next meeting which pretty much negates the reason you want to have them bring notebooks anyway.

 

A better way - the SPL/PL has a list of everyone's tasks - part of his job is to keep track so he follows up with the Scouts - let him communicate however works best - phone, text, e-mail stop in a school hallway. Who follows up with the SPL/PL? Why, the Scoutmaster, of course - a quick call or e-mail asking if things are on track, how is everyone doing with what needs to be done is usually enough to prod a SPL/PL into doing their follow-ups in case they forgot.

(This message has been edited by calicopenn)

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CalicoPenn is right that the youth leaders should be reminding the rest of the troop, and it's important for them to remember, which is something you can work on as part of their training.

 

I also agree that 3-ring binders seem a little too schoolsy for my tastes. Maybe you can model something more woodsy - carry a small notebook, maybe one of the spiral ones, in a pocket. Pull it out to take your own notes (even if you're sure you can remember the information).

 

As frustrating as it can be when things don't go smoothly, remember that the real goal isn't for the Troop to put on a fantastic 95th celebration, but rather for the scouts to develop maturity.

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It is common, perhaps universal, for young scouts to forget their duties. It is the patrol leader's responsibility to follow up with the scouts in his patrol to make sure that their duties get done. The SPL is responsible to check with the patrol leaders that the patrol has completed the duties assigned to the patrol. And Scoutmaster may need to remind the SPL of his responsibility to call the patrol leaders.

 

This is easier with mixed age patrols, where older scouts serve as PL's and SPL. ThIn general, maturity follows age. A 12 year old patrol leader is going to be as likely to forget his responsibilities as a 12 year old scout. Since your troop is 14 and under, it is likely that even with reminders, the scouts will still neglect to perform the duties that they had agreed to do. Let them fail. If a patrol that was responsible to bring, say desserts, doesn't bring them, then there are no desserts for the event. After the event, review with the PLC the effects of the patrols not doing what they had agreed to do. After 5 or 6 of these, they will start to learn. It's letting them fail in a safe environment.

 

 

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For what purpose are you trying to enforce them?

 

Carry one yourself! Explain what you put in it, See if you actually use it yourself.

 

Explain the benefits of them, if the boys find them to be helpful, they'll use them. If it's just one more "top down" directive and they don't "get" why they should use them, they won't.

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I find the older boys will "call out" the younger ones on missed duties. "Hey Billy are you Quartermaster? Why is the Patrol Boxes missing? When I was Quartermaster we always blah, blah, blah. (Dramatic sigh) here let me show you."

 

Works far better than any notes, videos, or contracts. (Though we have tried all that as well)

 

Funny thing is boys have all sorts of learning styles. My oldest will not retain anything he writes but will memorize the verbal. Others seem to need pictures, others will memorize the scout manual...

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Notebooks, I haven't seen notebooks in use since BROWNSEA 22 and JLT.

 

If you are trying to make sure that things get done, i.e. cook are cooking, KP folks doing KP, etc, try a bulletin board for each patrol with the duties on it.

 

Now SPL and PLs I can see with notebooks, but not the heavy, 3 ring binders. When I did BA22 and staffed JLT, we used steno-type wirebound notebooks that fit easily in the small of your back.

 

 

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Try reporters' notebooks - sold at Staples and the like. Skinny and fit easily and comfortably into a back pocket. Plus they can be easily held in one hand while taking notes in a standing position.

 

Three-ring binders are far too schoolish.

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>>Carry one yourself! Explain what you put in it, See if you actually use it yourself.

 

Explain the benefits of them, if the boys find them to be helpful, they'll use them. If it's just one more "top down" directive and they don't "get" why they should use them, they won't.

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1. Ditch notebooks.

2. Get a big old canvas, some ropes and spars, paint.

3. Help boys make sign that says: Troop ###, no notebooks allowed!

4. Watch membership double.

5. Have fun trying to keep a dozen boys organized.

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Fellow Scouters,

 

Greetings!

 

I gotta defend the notebook idea. But it is only one tool.

 

My goodness, the amount of times, I have seen boys write down a campout menu or a duty roster, on their hand or what ever scratch paper they could find the trash. Only for a parent to call the Scoutmaster and ASMs to inquire what the parent needs to purchase for grub (sorry ask your son to recreate the entire menu at 3:30 Friday, one hour before departure.) Also for Scouts to argue and fight over who has the wash duty, since the scrap paper of duty roster didn't make it from the Scout meeting to the actual campout.

 

Of course, I always get a kick out of the boy's genius idea of "Let's make brunch!" "So we only have to cook and do KP once!".

 

A notebook is one of the tools. Page 83 and 121 of the Patrol Leaders Handbook has a list of tools/resources. I would recommend youngmaster and his Scoutmaster and Committee to invest in Patrol Leader backpacks. With notebooks, PL handbooks, SPL handbook, Fieldbook, roster, menu planning sheets, duty roster, patrol advancement, as well as some of the essentials which can be shared by the patrol; rope, first aid kit, map & compass, pocket knife, flashlight, matches, sun protection. Place a patrol patch or patrol name on the backpack.

 

If your SPL and PL go to ILST and NYLT they should learn this and other youth leadership techniques.

 

Now as far as enforcing. Rather than punishment, how about a reward. Punishment just won't reap any benefits. But rewards may just do the job.

 

It sounds like youngmaster has only one patrol. This is more effective with multiple patrols. After the patrol hits an announced benchmark of success (measured maybe every two months) the troop may provide a pizza party or ice cream during the meeting. Or for a larger troop, how about the best patrol receives the pizza/ice cream while the other patrols are in patrol corners. If they are just not hitting the mark, then the parents/committee can have a pizza party/ice cream while the boys are in patrol corners. I bet the boys will work harder/smarter for 30-60 days to become a better working patrol. Communicating, planning and advancing.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Youngmaster,

 

Didn't mean to come down on you. All Troops have their somewhat arbitrary rules. Our old SM would require pen in pocket and watch on wrist.

 

At our last PLC the new SPL handed out pocket notebooks w minipen. Since it was surplus from some Military conference the boys hung on to them. Even the ones that would never remember anything can sip in their pocket and forget.

 

Sometimes we use 3 x5 cards.

 

I see one problem with a notebook is it less likely to be carried out in the field.

 

We have 80 scouts (50-60) active. In our case I would leave such a thing to the Patrol Leaders to figure out.

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Whatever you decide to do, make sure it's easily portable, i.e. can fit into some pocket.

 

One thing I saw was a small notepad that was laminated and you could use a dry erase marker on it and reuse.

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You might even get some cooperation by encouraging (allowing) the scouts to use the smartphones or smartpads.

 

Barry

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