Here is one area of Scouting that can really tweak people. Advancement. I am not going to get into the parents who say that Bobby Bear or Waldo Webelos has completed this or that and you know that they have not. If there is a discussion, then they/boy will have to prove it. A simple talk between myself and the boy will suffice. A Scout is Honest and a Cubscout will do his best. If the Parents are caught up in it, well they can as Scoutmaster Shawn says “Go Pound Sand.”
What I am after in this post is my philosophy as guided by all BSA Rules, Policy and Regulations. (As I know it. If I am wrong, please by all means let me know. I am open to learn. Which, I did when I posted about the Video Game Beltloop.)
To me, if the Scout does his best and completes the work needed to achive a beltloop, pin, award, patch and rank, then they earn it. It’s hard to track these things. We rely upon the Books for the most part. However there are many other ways to do so. In my case, I rely upon Den Leaders to keep correct and accurate (as possible) records. Case in point our Pack uses Packmaster. One Den Leader uses an Excel spreadsheet, because that is the way he likes to do it. In the past I have used similar spreadsheet systems. There are also many iPad/iPod based systems as well. But, they are generally one scout based and also do not have all the awards that I like to have.
So, why is this so important. It is the respondsibility of the Adults in the Cubscout Program to keep records. The boys can’t even find their homework, socks or even sometimes forget their sister on the School Bus…(yes, it’s true.)
That being the case, it was one of my Wood Badge ticket items to help create a process of record keeping. Hence, I had the Pack buy and I rolled out Packmaster. Hence, I am somewhat of a Packmaster Nerd for our Pack….ok, Den. Tonight (Sunday) I was going through what Elliot had done in the past several months updating what I knew he had done for work within the Pack and Den. I was also updating all the info about what the boys who attended the Pioneer District Cuboree this last weekend.
Now, I had thought when I wrote the last blog post and even talking to the Adults and sending an update that I had gotten it all. Nope. I only focused on the Bears, since I told the Den Leaders that I would be the Packmaster master for them. All they had to do is update me as to what the boys have done in the den. Now, as I plodded through Elliot’s record, I realized several things.
Under the electives:
All boys did Sales part A. Participate in a fundraising program within the Council and keep reords. DONE
20: Sports: AL Archery. Bingo! (Do that every Summercamp and just did again at Cub-o-ree.) DONE
24: American Indian Life: In school Elliot’s class is studying NA History and they are making a blanket based upon a local tribe. In talking to his teacher (who is very cool) I got to know more about what he is doing. I even told her that I play the Native American Flute. Guess, whose coming to class? BINGO. DONE A,B,C (Two other boys are in his class)
25: Let’s Go Camping: We basically did this as a Den/Pack and by himself. A, C,D,E,G. Still need Leave No Trace. Two boys did the Scout’s Own. One at Summercamp and Elliot at Cuboree. BAM!
Now, I am tad hazy on other electives or things he has done, so I emailed the Den Leaders asking for updates. (I keep all my email, and I think that I got it all.) Now, with Packmaster you can send out a record to each parent. I did this asking them to update me for additions/deletions and errors. Never know what the family has done and not told us.
My overall point in Advancement is….it happens all around us. Advancement does not happen during a Den/Pack Meeting or Outing or Summer Camp or Cuborees. It happens in the home, on vacation, in the school or where ever. It’s up to us as Akela’s and Parents to figure out if it counts. Ask your Den Leader, Cubmaster or any Scouting person and they hopefully will be able to help you out. If not, start googling for Scout sites. The more research you do, the more cool Scout items you will find that you and your son can work on together.
FYI: Here is what Elliot_Record looks like as it stands today. The only dumb thing is that I cannot get Packmaster to register via PDF that he has 1 Gold and 7 Silver Arrow Points. Ugh…