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Working on badges / advancements organizational ideas

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As a badge counselor, ASM and parent of an ADD child in a troop with LOTS of ADD boys - I am very much aware of the lack of 'organizational maturity' many of our boys have when they first come into the troop ADD or not!


for advancements, the handbook makes it pretty easy - they have a checklist and you go right down it - the problem is getting the boys to remember their books, and then remember to get them signed off when they complete a requirement. With our new scout patrol, i tell them - "go get your books NOW and lets sit down and go over what we've done today." until they get the habit themselves. With my son's book - he has a cover on it to start with, and there is always a pen tucked in the cover pocket and a partial pad of post-it notes. If he completes a requirement outside of scouts -(like when he got his CPR card at school) i try to get him to make a note or stick the "proof" in the book right away, so it will be with him when he goes to scouts - because I KNOW he will not "remember" when the time comes!


Badges are a different thing, though - since there are so many and they keep updating them. my son once went to a merit badge college where they gave him a folder with the badges he signed up for and their worksheets in it. this struck me as a good idea, and we have continued this by printing out the badge requirements for each badge he is working on and putting them in this folder with clear page protectors between the badges. His Blue Card is stapled to the front page of the requirements, so it can be initialed, but not lost. Any part of the badge that needs written work is pinned in behind the requirements, can be put in the page protector sleeve, or he can go on the computer and answer the questions right there, and print it out later to add to his book. As he finishes a badge and gets it completed and signed off we take it out and "retire" it - the paperwork, his portion of the blue card, etc go in a three ring binder on his shelf at home. (I figure this will make a good basis for a memory book if and when he reaches Eagle)


At this point in time - he is working on 6 badges - most of which he's waiting for something special to complete them (Camping he needs 5 more nights of camping, Shooting & Archery he can only finish target shooting at camp, Space Exploration he's building his rocket, etc.)


he's finally gotten the habit ingrained of taking his handbook and this folder to every scout event/ meeting - in case something comes up to get sign offs! at least he has it in the car!this has REALLY cut down on Jon losing Blue cards and credit for requirements done - especially when the badge counselor changes - like when camp or a merit badge college issues a partial completion!



I have noticed since becoming an ASM, and a badge counselor, the number of badge cards issued, lost and re-issued - and requirements being lost with them!

I'm thinking of starting a folder like this for each of our 8 new scouts in our troop - whether or not they keep it up will be up to them - but I think it's a good way to keep them aware of working on badges, without the constant 'Looking for papers' this age seems to be prone to loosing.


Any other suggestions for teaching the boys to organize and track progress easily?




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The worksheets are a great idea; we strongly encourage their use too, as a way for the lads to organize their work. In my experience, the Scouts who keep those worksheets in 3-ring binders have the best "retrieval" rates.


For keeping the blue cards, I've also seen Scouts stick one of those adhesive 3 1/2" floppy disk holders inside the back cover of their handbook, and keep the cards in there.


One lesson I learned with the NSP is to get blue cards to them early for MBs like camping, swimming, personal fitness, and others that they'll have to do eventually. Prevents the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" dramatics later on.



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I'm all for providing organizational tools to the Scouts to help them keep track of the required paperwork for badges.


However, let's not forget on whom the responsibility lies . . . the individual Scout. It's part of his learning curve. Parents can, and probably should, encourage and keep advancement in the forefront of the Scout's brain, but it's up to him to complete the requirements and, to a large degree (at least in my mind) keep track of what's done.


I have seen parents who literally run around a campout with the Scout's book open and saying, "Billy, you just met a requirement!" I happen to think Billy ought to complete the requirement on purpose. Or, a helpful adult might say, "Billy, maybe you should look at your handbook, there might be something you accomplished . . ."


Now, before the by-the-bookers go looking for a BSA reference to the above, let me save you some time . . . there isn't one. It's just a personal preference of mine. There is room for philosophy in the BSA in certain areas. If there weren't, I'd be out of a job.



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Worksheets for requirements . . .


That must be similar to what my district has for scout camp. It's like a giant blue card with the Scouts names and all the requirements on it.


The floppy disk holder is a great idea. I'll see if we can incorporate that into our scout's handbooks.


Both sounds like good ideas.



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