Fantastic Schedules and how to build them!
By Greg Anderson
Preparing for camp can be a hard proposition sometimes. You've got to make sure that everyone has packed everything they need, that you have enough parents going with you, and a ton of other things.
In the middle of all that, you've still got to sign up for merit badges. Well, never fear. I'll walk you through the process I use. It's not too hard but it does take a little doing so buckle your seat belt because here we go!
Gather your records
Okay, so this isn't really the glamorous part of the process but I guarantee you, everything you do at this point will help you out.
You're going to want to pull up an advancement report for each Scout off Scoutbook. I would recommend printing these off so you don't have to mess with going back and forth when you're meeting with the Scouts.
Take a good look at each of them and think about where each kid is at and what would be good for them to take. Compare this with the merit badge schedule and see if anything pops. (Available October 15) The point isn't for you to build a schedule for the Scouts, but you can't give good advise without data and thought beforehand.
prep your patrol leaders and email parents
We are a Youth-led organization, so you're going to want to have your Senior Patrol Leader run the meeting where you build the schedules. Give your youth leadership the advancement reports, some advice on each kid, and a run down on how the meeting should go.
It also helps to keep the parents in the loop on this meeting. Send them the schedule and a copy of the advancement report if you can. Let them know that this is a meeting that their Scout does not want to miss.
hold a schedule meeting
For this bit I would recommend printing off a sheet that lists all the times. Have your patrol leaders hand these out, as well as the advancement reports to each Scout and a copy of the class schedule. Your SPL will explain that everyone should mark on that paper what they want to do for each time slot. It wouldn't hurt to have them add a few alternative classes at the bottom of the page, just in case the ones they want are not available.
Some Scoutmasters prefer to put down ground rules before schedule building. You might want to say that each Scout can take whatever they want but everyone needs to do a required badge. It might be that all new Scouts take the Trail to First class. Whatever expectations you have make sure they are communicated.
to the computer!
At this point in the process, it is important to remember that you aren't in this alone. (Hopefully you aren't at least) Bring your Troop Committee on on this. If you can have someone do this part for you, it will free up time for you to help get the kids ready for this trip.
When you make your half-payment (due on March 1) we will send you an email with the information to get you onto the Doubleknot registration site. You'll need to set up a login and then you should be good to go.
First it will ask how many you are bringing and their shirt sizes. The next screen is the one that you will spend the most time on. It has a drop down menu with the names of each youth and adult. Click on the one you want to sign up for classes. The next drop down menu will have the times. When you select a different time, it will change the available classes below it. Click on the classes you want and repeat the process until you have everyone done.
After you are done, make sure you go to "Checkout". You don't have to pay right now, but if you don't click it, it won't save what you've done. Which would not be fun.