My husband grew up doing Boy Scouts with a group of a dozen or more boys in his neighborhood. The momentum of that many squirrelly but focused boys pursuing scouting (not to mention the longsuffering and encouraging moms who nudged them along) meant that just about every last one became an Eagle Scout. Almost from the moment Sam was born, I think G has pictured him in a scout uniform and looked forward to the dad-son bonding era of scouting ahead.
I, on the other hand, was a complete novice to this whole scouting thing. My two brothers had chosen other pursuits about midway through their teen years and so scouting wasn't as much a part of my household growing up. To help make up for my complete ignorance, when Sam was getting ready to start I asked around for hints from friends who had boys already in scouts.
One friend gave me this sage advice: Start a Scout Binder. Now. She lamented how difficult it had been to prepare the Eagle scout application because all of the little signed badge cards and badges and earned rank cards and other sundry items had long been shuffled to the back corners of random drawers and pockets. She had no idea that they would need those again. So they had to gather it all up and, in some cases, track down old scout leaders for dates and signatures (or do some things over) to get a complete application submitted.
And so the Scout Binder was born.
It's just a thick (3-4 inch) binder with different types of page covers: some full page for slipping in certificates, some pocketed (the ones for baseball cards work really well for badge cards and badges), and a big velcro-flapped one at the end for odds and ends.
Whenever he brings something home from scouts, we just tuck it into the binder. (Or, in other words, whenever I run across one of those little cards that he's thrown on the counter or floor or left in his pockets, I cajole Sam into putting it in the binder.)
It's not rocket science, I know. It's a binder. But it's helped to know that, while I might not know where any of my camera chargers are and we all somehow have only rogue single socks but no pairs, we know where our scout badges are sleeping at night. And that's at least one thing we won't have to worry about down the line.
How did the scout binder do, three years later? Update here.