. . .the Troop record book represented a living history of
the progress of Scouts . . It also represented hours spent by Scoutmaster and Scribe, with
pen in hand, tracking progress, AND keeping track of the record book. Today, software
replaces the book . . .a comparison of troop recordkeeping software applications is now
available. You can download it here!
by Ed Henderson
At one time virtually
every Troop in America owned and maintained a well worn Troop Record Book. Some were kept
less formally than others, some were hardly kept up at all, but, for others the Troop
record book represented a living history of the progress of Scouts on their way to Eagle.
To this day, I probably have 15 of the old books sitting in a filing cabinet from my days
as Scoutmaster. Sometimes I go back through them and try to remember all of the faces as
though it were a kind of school annual to reflect upon. I look at campouts we held 20
years ago and try to recall all of the memorable incidents and fun times of our Troop.
Hints of Future Success
The Record Book
All I Want For
Christmas Is . . .
Impact of The
The Need for
Evaluation - Looking Ahead
Recordkeeping Software Now Available
Records Hinted at Future Success
I also note with
satisfaction one of my Eagle Scout who earned his Aviation Merit Badge later went into the
Air Force Academy, participated in Desert Storm, and is now a pilot for Delta Air lines. I
recalled another Scout who was among the first in the nation to earn the Law Merit Badge
when it first came out in the late 1970's. I remember this lad as a 15 year old Scout when
he lobbied all of the attorneys of the local Bar Association persuading them on the need
for a Law Explorer Post. This same Scout is now an Assistant District Attorney. These old
record books, are really books of future success, the Merit Badges these Scouts eagerly
pursued in their youth also served as early indicators for an exciting lifetime career or
Record Book Blues
Still, those record books
also caused me more than a fair share of grief and headache. I never will forget the time
one got left out in a downpour at a Campout, or the time a catsup bottle leaked all over
one at our Scout hut. On one occasion, I remember tearing apart my house, desperately
looking for the thing for over an hour only to have my Senior Patrol Leader observe to me
that I had it hanging out of my cargo pants pocket of the Scout uniform I was wearing!
Every year, at re-charter
time in December, I would purchase a new copy of this book and dutifully spend hours
transcribing all of the data from the old - by then, well worn - edition into the fresh
new one. It was one way to spend New Year's Day while avoiding all of the football games.
I carefully copied hundreds of Merit Badge dates, leadership records, parent contact info,
etc. as my perfectionist recordkeeping tendenncies took over. I then went back and
highlighted all of the Merit Badges and Progress Awards with a yellow marker to indicate
the badges that we had already ordered & purchased. I had a thick folder with
handwritten Unit Advancement Reports, that I had filled out in triplicate, to obtain the
badges. Six hours later I then pulled out a giant wall poster and began filling it out,
trying to reach 4 feet across the table without wrinkling the new chart.
Both the Scribe and myself
consulted that record book constantly at every campout and meeting. Everyone wanted to
know their latest advancement status. Updating the reports and chart was a never ending