This article is part of the Undisrupted series, a series of articles detailing our troop's response to the current COVID-19 situation, allowing training to continue even when physical CCA sessions have been postponed showing that our troop is truly prepared and unwavered even in the face of the pandemic.
By Lucas Loh
Badges are one of the most prominent features in scouting, and as far as we know, has always involved the process of a Scout Leader evaluating and approving the Scout's merit before awarding the Scout the badge. However, this often involves the use of a hardcopy report or proof of merit, as well as a physical signing and passing of a certificate. In addition, the Scout Leader has to meet up with the scout in-person to evaluate his merit.
However, with frequent supply issues of blank certificates and in view of conserving both time and resources involved in the printing of certificates, our troop has pioneered the first of its kind online Badge Management System (BMS). This will allow us to achieve both speed and efficiency in managing the troop's badges.
As scouts no longer need to wait for an opportune window to apply for badges, the troop is able to process and award badges much faster than usual. In addition, the Leaders will have access to the submitted proof of merit documents, making it easy and quick to evaluate a scout's progress from one centralized system.
This also avoids the issue of having to wait for the troop to obtain hardcopy certificates and badges, as well as the Leaders having to physically sign and return the certificates, reducing the wait time for approval.
The BMS allows Scouts and Ventures (the whole troop) to submit softcopy documents and apply for both his award badges (Scout Badge, and Discoverer, Explorer, Voyager Awards) as well as Proficiency Badges within the Scout Scheme anytime, anywhere. This removes the need for the scout to wait for a physical training to submit his report, saving time in the process of proficiency badge applications.
On the Leaders' end, they are also able to view all applications, past and present, in one system to keep track of Scouts' progress. This will save valuable Jihe time as our Scout Leaders no longer need to review the application in person.
Scouts can then use the digital certificate to purchase badges from the scout shop, eliminating the troop as the middle man between the scouts and the scout shop. This also encourages independence and self-management as scouts are responsible for their own progress.
This BMS is part of the Catholic High Scout Group mentality of speed and efficiency, in everything we do and all trainings we conduct, to build strength for the troop.