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Taking A Boy Scout Troop Into The 21st Century With Online Interactive Workgroups
The Troop 333 scoutmaster set about creating a new operational paradigm for the scouts so that they can work online to complete mundane clerical tasks and free up face-to-face troop meeting time for more active, physical tasks and rank requirements.
The scoutmaster of Troop 333 has completed the practical Woodbadge course, Boy Scouts of America’s advanced leadership training course on par with Disney training, and is employing the concepts learned to help advance the internal function of the traditional boy scout troop.
“We are creating a model internally so that other boy scout troops will benefit. Early into the BSA program I noted that many of the meetings were dominated with mundane paperwork that held very little creativity, and consisted mostly of copying and recopying notes to form duty rosters, write up menus, and even plan the troop meetings. While I was encouraged by the collaboration and leader skills being learned, I was struck by the inefficiency of using century old methods.”
“While the Boy Scouts of America® wants the boys to work together in designated patrols using a tried and true method, it has also attempted to incorporate modern features and attitudes in getting the boys to excel in leadership roles. I felt one key factor missing was technology.”
The Troop 333 scoutmaster set about creating a new operational paradigm for the scouts.
“We still have them direct the work, discuss and do all planning as this is a boy lead troop, the only difference is now we have given them some new tools. Instead of a shiny new knife, we’ve given them cutting edge abilities online.”
The troop has a private server with interactive programs that the scouts can control. Their more mundane paperwork is now created online in standard word processing programs, spreadsheets, illustration modules and photo editors. Each scout can use his own computer to write notes, ask questions and do it all in the private only among his troopmates.
The scouts can upload and share documents, edit them, and post for others to review. There is private email, but beyond those basics are more advanced items - the scouts have live interactive private chat where several conversations can occur simultaneously or as patrols. They have an interactive calendar with auto-updates so they can share ideas, make tentative plans and gain input from the adults for feasibility and execution.
Scouts in Troop 333 have photo pages, a message forum with unlimited topics and all the technological tools to complete clerical tasks at meetings held online at times of each patrol’s choosing. Typically they meet for a half hour or hour on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. This frees up the face-to-face time at troop meetings for rank requirement items. They spend less wasted time planning and doing busywork because they’ve already reached consensus on paper online. The scouts can make presentations, play physical games, work on first aid and do those items which require physical presence. A new scout can learn how to set-up and tear down a tent, prep a campsite and more. If a scout misses a troop meeting they can catch up online by reading the forums and seeing how the decisions were discussed.
There are other unseen benefits to teaching the scouts to work not only in their patrols but also complete administrative items online - they gain real the world experience of remote workgroups. Most companies today have personnel working from desks in separate locations, sharing documents, ideas and collaborating via chat, phone conference, online meetings and more.
Working online also helps with behavioral issues. Some scouts cannot sit in troop meetings for an hour at a time without fidgeting. Separating out even a portion of the troop meeting’s clerical work keeps the scouts more active. We want these scouts to be prepared for what lies ahead, and that isn’t sitting at the same table recopying notes longhand.
“We feel the Boy Scouts is about advancement and training leaders. Our troop is training them to succeed in an increasingly technical world.”
To learn more about the flexible homeschool troop visit http://www.thefamilytroop.org.
Serving the counties of North Mecklenburg, South Iredell and West Cabarrus, all families in Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville, Kannapolis and surrounding areas are invited to make inquiries at email@example.com.
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Boy Scout Troop 333 is in the Hornet's Nest District, Mecklenburg Council based in the Charlotte, NC metropolitan region serving Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, Mooresville, Kannapolis, South Iredell County, West Cabarrus and North Mecklenburg county.