Dear All,

We received the following email query from a Leader regarding the Bonus points and penalty surrounding the Patrol constituents submission. I would like to take this opportunity to share my response and thoughts so that you will better understand the standpoint and rationale of my team and I.

Dear John,

I am Ms XXX, Teacher IC of YYY.
I have two queries pertaining to your email sent this morning.
1) How do an unit know if your team has received the patrol constituents from us? I did not receive any email confirmation after submitting the names in MSDS, unlike for course registration. There is also no response from the team to indicate the list has been received.
2) In your email, there are points to be awarded and deducted for units meeting and not meeting the deadline. These scoring were not reflected in the rubrics shared with us during the briefing. Will there be more of such bonus points to be awarded that the units are unaware of? I believe we need the scoring system to be transparent to all units and units be informed beforehand to avoid any dispute.
I look forward to your reply. Thank you!

My response:

1. We have checked with a few units and they all received an email response from MSDS that is auto-generated. Thus, there is no difference between this submission vis-à-vis other course submission. Units should receive an email confirmation from the system. We are also checking if the system did fail to generate these responses automatically with the vendor.

Regardless, we will ensure that all units that submitted on time receive the bonus point. We will be able to check the login log should there be discrepancies.

2.

a. First and foremost, the bonus points in NPC X are additional points on top of the 100% assessment rubrics. They are meant as encouragement and positive acknowledgement of a unit’s involvement in the camp beyond the usual camp rubrics. These bonus points will only affect a unit’s individual performance in NPC X as the Tier Awards are based on pre-defined ranges as communicated during the NPC X brief.

Bonus points do not affect ranking and the Challenger Awards.

b. The decision to award bonus point and penalties was not one that is taken lightly. Units were briefed to submit the names (just the names) of the 10 Scouts who will be participating in camp by 21 April 2018. It was further explained that the Camp Council will need time process the data and create accounts for all 470 Scouts and 47 Unit Leaders in the NPC X LMS to be launched by 1 May. In fact, we have delayed the registration of the names from 20 Mar, when unit registration closes, till 21 Apr so that Units can have longer time to consider who to field for the camp after the briefing on 23 Mar.

Thus, as with SSA’s modus operandi on general registration, we would need to reject units that did not submit the names and/or did not make full payment by the respective due dates. This means instant disqualification for these units. Do we really want that to happen? Do we want our Scouts to be disqualified without even trying because we did not adhere to the stipulated deadlines for registration and payment?

c. The Camp Council thought hard about this and it was instinctive and conscientious that we do not want to disqualify any units (Scouts for that matter) before they even start. Should we then penalise the units that did not submit on time? Yes. But let’s do it the Scout way. Give them an opportunity to rectify the submission by this Friday (27 Apr) Noon without any penalties. For the recalcitrant, we will deduct 0.5%/day after 27 Apr to a maximum of 10%. Ultimately, we still need the names and we still would like the Scouts to join in the Camp.

How about those that dutifully submitted on time? We decided to reward them with 1% bonus point as a recognition of being considerate and cooperative.

We are working on the principles of positive reinforcement and Scout humanity. This is congruent with the values exhorted by our Founder when he created the Scout Oath and Laws as positive reinforcement rather than as penal codes.

” Discipline is not gained by punishing a child for a bad habit, but by substituting a better occupation, that will absorb his attention, and gradually lead him to forget and abandon the old one.” 

“If a boy is given sufficient positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior, positive behavior will usually continue.” 

 

–  Baden-Powell

Scoutmaster’s Handbook 

d. This NPC is the first time (I stand corrected) that we are releasing the rubrics in detail with specific indicators and clear descriptors for full points. This is to enable units to understand what needs to be done to achieve full points. There are also no hidden points (e.g. Tie 10 different knots on the structure) that may only benefit the beholders of the secret. We also understand that we are unable control such misuse of privileged information and thus it’s for the benefit of everyone (Staff and Campers) to keep the rubrics open and artless.

We are transparent and we will continue to do so. For this instance, the bonus point and penalties were only mooted and decided after the closing date (21 Apr). No units would have unfairly benefited or penalised because of access to privileged information. It was a carefully thought out response that is calibrated to ensure a win-win scenario for all.

NPC X is transformational in its approach to competitive camping. It is designed to be progressive and up-to-date with 21CC Scouting and the revised Scout Programme. As with any transformational changes, there will be certain hiccups. We will work hard to minimise that and what I can assure is my team and I will do our utmost to ensure these changes are carried out professionally and imbued with good old Scouting values. 

We will also need all you hardworking Leaders to continue your good work of training your Scouts so that they will enjoy the Camp and camping at large by just doing their best and be prepared. Do keep your queries coming in as mutual understanding is pivotal to the success of this Camp.

We are mostly volunteers and we will all do so professionally.

ps. The gentleman in the picture is not me. He’s a Scouter who happen to be a teacher who’s always volunteering in unenviable roles. Kudos to him!

Happy Camping,

Happy Dolphin
Camp Chief, NPC X


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