Please note that the 9th B&D does not really use these certificates now as the reasons behind making them have been resolved. This page was originally written in 2002.
What awards are these?
The 9th Dagenham produces a set of Weekly Certificates for the Beavers and Cubs. These are awarded each week to the kids that qualify for the following categories:
Best Behaved Cub
Best Behaved Six
Most Inspection Points
Worst Behaved Cub
Moaner of the Week
Most Helpful Cub
Pest of the Week
The certificates take the basic form of an A5 size sheet with the appropriate logo. A curved text bar shows the title of the certificate with room underneath for the standard "This Certifies that ........ has been Loudest Cub of the week" with a line at the bottom for a signature & date. The left hand column shows either the group name or the camp (sometimes we use these at camp) and the right hand side of the certificate has some humorous pictures related to that particular certificate.
Why do you have them?
I began giving out these certificates in response to the way my Cubs were behaving some time ago (this was in 2001). I was not happy with the way the Cubs at the time played the games. I don't mean that there was any real problem with discipline but more with the minor 'whinging' and moaning about being out. There didn't seem to be too much of a team spirit, cheering others on and so forth. Over the course of a few weeks I introduced them proper to the idea of Sportsmanship. How to behave when you are out of the game, how to take winning & losing etc. As a small incentive for behaving the correct way I brought in the certificates, to be handed out weekly.
Do they really make a difference?
At the time they brought on a vast improvement. The kids really took to the idea and began to behave better in general in order to achieve a certificate. Over the course of the past year the way the kids behaviour during games has vastly improved and this is constantly rubbing off onto the new recruits. Now by and large, when I say they are out they go and sit out without arguing of any sort. In our group there will always be a little banter between the Cubs and leaders but this is never taken seriously and the cubs understand the principle of sticking to the rules.
It has also improved the general standard of behaviour. I am pleased to say that we have not had any major behaviour problems for a long while (unlike the situation say 3 or so years ago). Not all the Cubs are angels, and some of them can be downright annoying at time, but I would class their problems as annoying silly ones, not serious misbehaviour.
The standard of uniform has increased too (although that is largely due to my pushing this fact, along with perfect behaviour at Grand Howl, Flagbreak & Inspection too). Almost every Cub turns up in full uniform on a regular basis (and that means full uniform in our group, Trousers/Skirt, Jumper, Scarf, Woggle, Black Shoes, Folder, Pen/ Pencil, Paper, 2 Handkerchiefs).
Ok. How do I go about making them?
Ahhh. Right. First thing you will probably need is some sort of DTP program. You could try using something like Microsoft Word but with certificates, especially anything vaguely fancy, you will need a DTP package. I myself use Microsoft Publisher now which is an excellent package. It can handle almost anything you want to do. Previously I used Serif Page Plus. If your budget won't stretch to Publisher (and it is not exactly cheap) then Page Plus is the one for you. You could probably find the earlier versions (up to v5) for next to nothing (or nothing if you buy the right computer magazines). Page Plus will handle almost anything that Publisher can, although I think it takes a bit more getting used to myself. Either DTP package can do all the fancy stuff like putting the graphics just where you want, backgrounds, curvy text etc.
The next thing you need is some sort of graphics package. Take a look around some of the shareware sites and try a few out. As far as professional packages go I would only seriously consider Paint Shop Pro for general website work (I use Photoshop now but again that hits the wallet hard!). There are plenty of other competing packages but they either tend to be seriously expensive or too complex. PSP has the added advantage that you can get a shareware version and try it out first. Even so it is competitively priced and fully featured. The graphics package will allow you to touch up any clipart, do some resizing/colouring and so on before putting it into your work.
The last thing you will need is a good imagination, some time on your hands, some clipart and a lot of enthusiasm. However, there are many different programs out there and I would always recommend a free program for someone to try things out with. Take a look at the Useful Programs list on the GLNE site. All those programs are high quality, safe to use and free!