Here’s an exchange from Ask Andy about forms and Scouts.
I’m a relatively new Assistant Scoutmaster. I’ve been instructed that Scouts seeking ranks beyond First Class, in this troop, are required to complete a “Scoutmaster Conference Worksheet” before their actual conversation with the Scoutmaster, which they then submit for their board of review. (I’ve attached the worksheet for your reference—it was created by the previous Scoutmaster.)
I’ve just read that pedantic, soul-sucking, cheerless form. What a load o’ horsepucky. This is anathema to the purpose of a Scoutmaster’s conference and should be burned; the author should be taken out and shot. Somebody needs to read the Scoutmaster Handbook. – Andy
This made me wince for two reasons: I have been guilty of trying to reduce a lot of Scouting to a handy worksheet or form and I hunted down one of these ‘Scoutmaster Conference Worksheets’ on Google.
I have to agree with Andy’s assessment.
Can you imagine a task more antithetical to the spirit and intent of Scouting than filling out a worksheet? Picture the look of resignation on a Scout’s face when, in answer to his inquiry for a Scoutmasters conference, he is directed to fill out a worksheet. I cannot imagine a better way to kill a Scout’s enthusiasm. Now rather than an active exchange with a human being the Scout is interacting with a bunch of blank spaces he is commanded to fill.
What’s worse is that someone is going to save that form as if it were contract and use it to assess the Scouts performance against what he has written.
Scouts are not units to process through an assembly line. They are inquisitive, lively and ready to take on the world. Such energy and potential can never be reduced to writing.