Author Topic: Personnel "problem"  (Read 11749 times)


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Personnel "problem"
« on: May 07, 2009, 04:00:09 PM »
This was our third year to use the AW software.  It's been a fairly smooth ride.  Thanks Rick.

The "problem" that I need help with goes something like this.  During club on Wednesday, our secretary enters data from the Check-In sheet.  She does not get all of them done by the time club is over so I come in on Sunday evening and review what she did and finish up the rest.  On a few occasions I have to add something she missed or correct a mistake.  I said all that to say that I feel our records are about as accurate as can be given what gets turned in.  I suppose we could employ a third set of eyes but there comes a point of diminishing returns.

Now that "regular" club is over, the secretary and I are trying to get awards ordered and accounted for so they'll be ready for next Wednesday's award night.  I printed an Award Status report for a few of the leaders showing those that had completed a handbook sometime during the year.  When they looked it over, they mentioned that some kids were not on the list but had indeed completed a handbook that year.  When I looked at their record, I found that their "completed" handbook was missing some sections.  I've come to terms over the past three years that some leaders will mark a section as complete in the actual handbook but just forget to make a note on the Check-In sheet.  The end result is the handbook gets left as incomplete in the computer, and that clubber does not show up on the Award Status report.

This might not be as big an issue were it earlier in the year.  We normally order from Awana on Wednesday night after club is over and get our order the following Tuesday.  The leaders are now having to recall who has completed a handbook, and in some instances, call parents to verify.  I'll probably just order extras of the more common book awards so that everything gets covered.  So my question boils down to this, how to convey to the leaders that the computer can only reflect what has actually been turned in?  A few times per year I will print out a Handbook Status report for some of the questionable kids and ask them to verify against what is in their handbook.  It either comes back as, "This looks accurate", or I will make the necessary changes only to have that same clubber missing sections a few weeks later.

This likely sounds petty, but the engineer in me just has a hard time when all the cogs don't line up.

- David Crow
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 10:51:30 AM by Rick Leffler »

Rick Leffler

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Re: Personnel "problem"
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2009, 11:16:59 AM »
Some clubs (including ours) don't require the listener/leader to write down the completed sections on the worksheet. Instead, once a section is signed off by the leader they send the clubber over to the secretary who is running AW on a laptop nearby.  The clubber shows their book and signed sections to the secretary who at that moment checks off the completed sections "live".  

This approach provides the following benefits:
1. Improves accuracy because you're not relying on leader/listeners to write down the correct sections. And the secretary can immediately see and correct any missing sections while they have the clubbers book in hand.
2. Frees the leader from all section related recordkeeping so they can turn their attention immediately to the next clubber in their group ready to recite sections.
3. Sending the clubber away from the table to go see the secretary gives the clubber a little break and reduces their tendency to distract other clubbers at the table. It also is good for the fidgety ones to walk around for a minute.
4. The secretary can interact briefly with the clubber lavishing praise and even quizzing the clubber about the section they just got signed.
5. Award records are created (and the clubber gets to see the popup award message) which means the secretary and/or assistant can begin "pulling" them  and getting them ready to be handed out at the end of club. (Just clicking the main Awards tab will show the Awards earned so far during the current club date.)
6. As soon as handbook time is over, so is the section recordkeeping and the Awards List Report can be printed for the Director to use when announcing awards that night.

1. Depending on club size and location of clubbers during handbook time, you may need to have more than one laptop and secretary doing the data-entry live.  If you have a network you can have multiple users logged in simultaneously, otherwise you could use the database Check-out/Check-in to get non-networked multi-user functionality by running the database directly off a USB flash drive for secondary databases.  Even if the church does not provide laptops, many individuals personally own laptops that could be used during club time and since you'd be running off a USB drive, no software would be loaded on those secondary laptops.  AW will run on any of the new inexpensive "netbooks" (with Windows) so that may be a nice option.  I personally have a Samsung NC10 and get 6-8 hours of battery life.

Hope this information helps. I think this is a good topic and I'd guess many clubs struggle with the same issues. Hopefully others will jump in on this topic and share their ideas!

« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 01:06:20 PM by Annette »


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Re: Personnel "problem"
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2009, 05:00:05 PM »
We too send the clubbers from the leader to the secretary.  The secretary gets to be out of the office and out with the children as you spelled out, Rick.  They like that.

Different with us, however, is that we have a half sheet card stock "Clubber Card" that we designed that follows the clubber through the life of the handbook collecting all the info about it.  The leader circles completed sections on the card, then sends the clubber with the card to the secretary (one secretary for 45 Sparks and one for 45 T&T.)  The secretary surveys the sections and prepares the awards right then.  (Awards are prepared by stuffing each into a plain white envelope that lists the clubber's name and the name of the award.)  The secretary keeps the cards and brings them all to me in the office.  All the awards go in the Big Red Awards tote.  The commander takes the tote to the middle of the floor and announces the awards by reading the envelopes.

I then take all the cards home and feed the info into AW the next morning and order what I need by the afternoon.

This process enables us to function with just one computer and one license.
This process enables the secretaries to concentrate on getting weekly awards out the night they are earned.

When awards are missed, (if a leader forgets to circle a section on the card---doesn't happen often) it seems to be self policing since the clubbers know it and go to their director right after club when they didn't get a jewel or seal they think they should have.  Together they come to the office and the handbook is compared to the card and remedied.  Sometimes the clubber is mistaken, sometimes the leader missed it, sometimes the secretary missed it.  Rarely does it happen at all.  By the time the Book Award is earned, AW is accurate.

Dave, in the future, maybe you could ask for questionable books, rather than a handbook status report sheet, to be brought to you so you can match them against the records. 

We give out Book Awards when they are earned.  For several years we saved them for the end of the year, but the ceremony got long.  Instead we have a year end carnival where they spend all of their points, (we don't do store either,) and then we have a 20-30 minute closing program with photo movie and acknowledgments.

Saved at Awana in 1975!
Office Director
Cornerstone Baptist Awana Club


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Re: Personnel "problem"
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2009, 01:00:31 PM »
We have approx 100 registered active clubbers with an average of 75 on club night. We have Cubbies through Journey. This is our third year with the software, a long time secretary retired, I am the new one.  Last year, as a new Secretary with little to no familiarity with the books, sections or kids - we did a paper to computer method, that streamlined as the year went on.

The Commander has the software on his laptop and brings it to church each week. This way he has family information during the week. He prints off the Registration Check-In forms for me for the total group and then in sections per club.  I use this paper form to jot a check on families as they arrive. This gives me time to say hello and collect weekly dues and answer parent questions. I usually have 3-4 minutes to enter these into the computer.

Next - Each club takes a turn at handbook time.  The child says the sections and gets their books marked with their club leader. Then they come to see me at the front of the building. I look at their book, mark it in the computer, pass out Awana Store Dollars per section and write down points. I print out reports for club leaders when they request to see how the clubbers are progressing.

Cubbies uses the card system mentioned above, and I receive these cards at the end of club. They receive their awards the next week.

Journey and Trek give me their sheets each week and I enter them in as well.

Sparks & T&T are done during their handbook times, awards brought into their circle time. The more I got to know the software, the faster I got.  One system we use is to have a sharpie and a sandwich bag at the ready, I mark the bag with the Name, Award and put it to side and a helper fills it up.  We have not used the Awards Report as of yet, and I plan to use it this year.

At the end of the year, I had a great knowledge of all of the kiddos - I also knew what year end awards needed to be ordered just from the cheering and encouragement the last month of club when they handed in their books.
We missed one shy kiddo who did not want to bring his book up to the table, and I had assumed he was not doing verses . . .But it was quickly fixed. :)

It has helped to do an entire year with the software  - this next year I am planning to do less on the paper work end.

The other piece of mind, is if in power issues, computer issues or illness, the printed check in sheets could always be used as a backup and did come in handy a couple of times. :

Not sure if this made sense, hard to discribe a recording club night in a few paragraphs. :)

Angie Wright
Bend, Oregon
Fellowship Bible Church Awana Club


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Re: Personnel "problem"
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2009, 03:33:08 PM »
Dave, in the future, maybe you could ask for questionable books, rather than a handbook status report sheet, to be brought to you so you can match them against the records. 

I've done that on several occasions.


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Re: Personnel "problem"
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2009, 04:46:04 PM »
We use progress cards, but also ask that the clubbers take their books to the Secretary.  If the card matches the computer, in terms of sequence, then the info is just added.  If it doesn't, we ask to see the book.  As HangGlider and WingRunner books should be completed front to back, sections in order...and Red Jewels in Skipper/Hiker/Climber are the same way...this works pretty well.  The green jewels in the older books are the only ones you can't tell by just looking at.  Also, a month or so before the end of the year, we take a look at progress reports to determine if kids are "on track" for finishing workbooks, and we send a copy home with the parents, asking them to confirm our records (this also helps them see how close their clubber is, giving them a little extra incentive to help them finish strong).  If any of our records look suspicious, or don't match what the parents see in the books, we take a look at them during club nights.


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Re: Personnel "problem"
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2009, 10:42:03 PM »
"...  Also, a month or so before the end of the year, we take a look at progress reports to determine if kids are "on track" for finishing workbooks ... "

Have you explored the PowerUp initiative from Awana?? Lots of ideas on how to pace kids in their handbooks for the entire year  ;)
David Barnes
Awana Commander
First Baptist Church
Branford, FL
N.Fl. Awana Ministry Team


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Re: Personnel "problem"
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2009, 09:13:15 PM »
After 4 years, this has always been a problem for us. We are going to start out using the "Handbook Achievement Slip" and the "T&T Tracking Sheets" from Awana this year. I envision that each leader would have some and simply fill out the information as they are listening to sections. Then bring to me to be entered in the computer.

I really liked the Award Tote idea for the Commander to hand out with the white envelopes.

Effie Baglin
Celebration Church
Valrico, FL