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Bobwhite Blather

Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Committee chair timeline: November

november_200While the Scouting calendar just keeps going, the end of the calendar year is almost upon us. This means there are some important housekeeping items to take care of before the clock strikes twelve.

  • Your charter year may be almost over, or it might go another month or two. Make sure you’re on track to renew on time (see last month’s article for more on rechartering). Get your recharter roster finalized and you’ll just about have all the hard work behind you. It’s mostly legwork then: meet with the chartered organization representative or executive officer, get a check for payment of fees, and get the application turned in to your council service center.
  • Update your Journey to Excellence scorecard. Get advancement and membership numbers from your council records (ask your commissioner for this information) and check it against what you have on file in your troop records. Correct any discrepancies before the end of the year and show updated figures on the JTE form. Your JTE scorecard can be turned in any time after October 1 if you follow calendar-year reporting. It’s due by December 31, but strive to get it in well before then if you have all your statistics. Your unit commissioner is your partner in this endeavor.
  • It’s also a great time to check to make sure you’ve recorded all your service projects with the service hours reporting system (there’s a link to access it, and instructions for first-time users, on the JTE webpage). Journey to Excellence requires that all service projects be recorded through the tracking system. Some councils will record Eagle service projects automatically; in other councils, you’ll have to enter that information yourself. Also enter any projects your unit participated in for the chartered organization, the community, the council’s Good Turn projects such as Scouting for Food, time your Arrowmen spent on service projects with the Order of the Arrow (including Ordeal service), and so on. Qualifying service can be rendered either by the unit or by individuals belonging to the unit. To report data, you’ll need to know the number of Scouting and non-Scouting youth and adults, the total number of hours put in by all participants, the date of the event, the organization (if any) that you partnered with, and a brief description. The service hours reporting site gives detailed instructions on how to access the system and what information to collect and record, and the recording page gives dozens of categories and partnering organizations which can not only help you record service already performed but give you ideas for projects in the future.
  • Check with the Scoutmaster to ensure that your Order of the Arrow election has been scheduled. Most OA lodges hold elections in January so call-outs can take place prior to spring Ordeal weekends. If you don’t know who to contact, ask your commissioner or district executive to put you in touch with your chapter or lodge adviser. Your Scoutmaster should designate an assistant Scoutmaster to serve as the troop representative adviser to support and train the youth OA Troop Representative.
  • Schedule your Friends of Scouting unit presentation. The ideal time for these to take place is during an event when parents customarily attend, such as a court of honor (Cub Scout packs will want to schedule these for their Blue & Gold banquets). Support the FOS effort by having lists of troop families available for the FOS presenter or committee and by following up with families who did not attend the presentation. This committee function often falls under the Treasurer’s area of responsibility, but it’s usually best to designate a separate individual to carry out this job – ideally, one who has supported FOS in the past.

I’ll continue this series next month with a few holiday season reminders.

Image courtesy of arztsamui / Freedigitalphotos.net