I wish my Patrol had kept good records when I was a Patrol Leader. I didn’t think it was all that important at the time, but I know better now.
I did buy a little notebook and tried to keep it up to date, but I was so busy that I forgot to write stuff down more often than I remembered. To find out what rank requirements Scouts had completed, I had to get their book (if they brought it with them). And most of the time it wasn’t kept up to date! I kept attendance records in my head, and I soon forgot them. Without a record of activities, remembering where we went and what we did was difficult. Looking back, I can see how good records would’ve made things a lot easier. Sadly, I hadn’t learned the importance of having a Patrol Scribe.
Frankly, “Scribe” sounds kind of dull and boring to me, and maybe it does to you too (you might imagine some old guy writing in a big book with an old-time feather pen).
Handled the right way, a Patrol Scribe’s job is anything but boring! Maybe we ought to call him the “Information Specialist” instead!
The Information Specialist maintains a Patrol Log Book. A Good Patrol log tells a story as exciting and vivid as your Patrol’s activities and adventures.
You won’t get much from a record that reads: “[7:00] – woke up | [8:00] – made breakfast | [9:00] – went on hike | etc…”. Your Patrol Log Book can be much more. What weather did you wake up to? Did you have any challenges making breakfast? What did you see on the hike? If your Information Specialist has the skill to sketch and draw different highlights, so much the better! A detailed and colorful record makes it easy to remember and learn from past experiences. By keeping the details fresh in your memories as you go back over the events, it also brings the Patrol closer together!
A paper notebook is easy to carry with you, and it doesn’t need to be plugged in. But a written record kept in a notebook is just the beginning. Pictures, videos, and recordings can all be included. Maybe you can set up a web page that highlights your Patrol (be sure to ask for help with this from an adult leader; he can assure that your web page is safe and appropriate).
The Information Specialist should maintain records for attendance and rank advancement. He should also make out a monthly report to share with the Patrol Leaders’ Council.
I know now that my Patrol’s rank advancement would’ve been more regular and our Patrol Spirit would’ve been greater if we had a good Information Specialist!
A creative Scout who enjoys reading/writing and has a good eye for details and storytelling makes a great choice for this important work. Share your ideas and the possibilities with him; be patient and helpful in explaining his responsibilities. Encourage his creativity in designing and building the Patrol Log Book. Make time for the whole patrol to review his records when you meet, and you’ll begin to see how this sparks the interest and imagination of the whole Patrol. Having an Information Specialist has great potential in raising Patrol Spirit!
What do you think? Is this something you’ll put to use in your patrol? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Caleb Wong says
Although I served mostly on the troop, not the patrol, level, Enoch’s suggestions are something I wish I had adopted as a young patrol scribe for Troop 226. If I had started a website or kept some details in a big notebook, my patrol would have had experience and memories to look back upon.
Let’s be honest. Being the Scribe does involve some not-so-fun tasks (i.e. keeping notes of Patrol meetings, taking attendance), but could be so much more, especially if the Troop used a Facebook, Twitter, or blog to keep track of their experiences.