Saturday, February 06, 2010

Stump the Organizer Saturday! Organizing Boy Scout Stuff

The regularly scheduled Stump the Organizer! post will not be seen this week in order to bring you this special post. Thank you readers for your Stump the Organizer! questions and I promise to answer them next week.

Whether you realize it or not, Monday, February 8, is the official 100-year birthday of Boy Scouts of America. Scouting has a special place in my heart. I have been a scout leader for six years - first Cub Scouts and now Boy Scouts. My son is a First Class Scout and we're having a lot of fun in the Scouting program.

Boy Scouts is a boy-run program, and as such the boys have a lot of responsiblity. Keeping track of all of the achievements and paperwork is part of the experience. At least, the Boy Scout Manual makes it pretty simple to record all the achievements involved with rank advancement. But keeping track of everything related to merit badges can be a chore. To organize merit badge items, the Scout can use some standard organizing tools.

A file drawer or a file box are tools that every school-aged child needs. Filing is a life-skill and to learn it, it must be practiced. Place a hanging file for each school subject, one for warranties and manuals, and files for each extra-curricular activity in the file drawer. From the picture of my son's file drawer, you can see he has a file for scouting that is labeled "BSA."

My son has different handouts on scouting skills in his "BSA" file. If he needs to review how to use a compass, he can find that particular handout quickly. But the most important things he keeps in his "BSA" file are his merit badge cards, advancement cards, skill cards and patches.

Merit badge cards are the only acceptable proof that a scout has earned a merit badge. This proof becomes very important when scouts are working on their Eagle rank. In order to become an Eagle Scout, twenty-one merit badges must have been earned. There are many other requirements, but finding the merit badge cards seems to be a big challenge for many scouts. All of my son's merit badge cards are kept in a zippered sandwich bag and are filed safely away. The sandwich bags are used to contain the advancement cards, skill cards and patches too. The bags keep the small things together and offer visibility.

The shallow drawer in my son's file cart is where he keeps his current, active projects. He is working on two more merit badges right now. The merit badge books and the supplies he needs are handy when it's time to work on them.

Of course, there is much more stuff than paper in scouting. Camping, hiking, and fishing require plenty of stuff. We have a plastic set of drawers in my son's closet that is used to store the smaller things like the mess kit, compass, flashlights, tackle box, etc. His sleeping bag and back pack are stored next to the set of drawers. When it's time to camp, it's easy for my son to grab everything he needs because it is all stored together in a handy location.

One of the smarter things we did was put a couple hooks in my son's closet for his uniform. He has to wear his uniform for a meetings once a week - which isn't really long enough for it to get dirty. But my son is not likely to put his uniform back on a hanger. The hooks are the perfect solution: the uniform is off the floor and it takes little effort to use the hooks.

Scouting is a wonderful program for learning new skills and responsibility. It's so much more fun when all of the equipment and papers can be found effortlessly.

If you are interested in scouting please check out these websites: and During 2010 there will be many special events to commemorate the Scouting Centennial. It's an exciting time to be a Scout and a Scout Leader!

P.S. Don't forget the custom sticker/labels give-away. Enter your comments to the February 2 post - just look for the picture.

P.P.S. There is still space available in the upcoming Letting Go and Lightening Up class at a special reduced rate. Please visit the Clear Spaces website to enroll.
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