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  • your favorite/least favorite MB to counsel?

    What is your favorite/least favorite MB to counsel (or to take if you're a scout)?

    My favorite is Theatre. I think I like it b/c when the boys come for that one, they are really interested or they wouldn't be there.

    My least favorite is Citizen/World. Mostly b/c the boys that generally come to me are way too young to really understand it. There should be like a pre-test to see if you're ready for some of these things.

    My son's favorite was photography or climbing and his least favorite was Personal Management. I think the P.Management was his least, though, because he went through three counselors before he got finished. They all kept quitting on him. Finally the local bank manager took over and it's much better now.

  • #2
    I loved doing Soil and Water Conservation. Discussions can branch off into such a large range of topics almost everything is related in some way.


    • #3
      If I do not have a passion for it, I do not counsel it.

      I enjoy all three Citizenships ...

      Don't ask me to counsel Music; I cannot carry a tune in a bucket.


      • #4

        Sorry to hear your son had a tough time with Personal Management based on adults. That is my favorite badge to work on with guys, especially if they take my advice and wait to do it until they are old enough to have a part time job. There is so much more to learn by budgeting a few hundred dollars a month -vs- a $5.00 per week allowance. The number of valuable things guys can learn with that merit badge is huge.

        In one of the older Personal Mangagement pamphlets, there was a chart of two methods for saving. It demonstrated that if a person were to put aside $2,000.00 a year for ten years and then quit contributing, and just let the money grow, it would grow to far more than $2,000.00 a year from the time someone started at 34 and contributing until he turned 65. I get very theatrical with this chart. Props and everything, explaining how "Joe" graduated from college and wanted to live the playboy lifestyle, with a fancy downtown apartment, BMW Boxter, nice new threads, etc., but after finally getting married and settling down, he realizes he better start saving for the future, and how the Boxter gets sold for a Chevy, and the nice clothes get replaces with Dockers. Then I talk about Pete, whose dad convinced him to get into his new employer's retirement program on day one, and did so until he got married, had a child, and decided he just couldn't afford it. This guy had 20% more from his $20,000.00 total investment than Joe, who invested $80,000.00 over th course of his working life. Then I show Mike, who started on day one and continued contributing all the way through till 65, and how he had the Boxter, the nice clothes, the great vacation home, and almost twwice as much money as Joe and Pete combined. I swear to you, I've done this with probably 35 guys in the last ten years. All but three have been so pumped at the idea of saving, they get almost bug-eyed.

        It is a shame that both Personal Management and Communications have dropped the requirment to write a resume. I offer to help guys with their resumes when I do Personal Managment. Because the story above was so long, I won't go into the phenominal job one of our guys landed out of college, who was told that it was his resume that caused them to decide to hire him almost sight unseen.

        Communications has become my least favorite. Between some weak requirments and eliminating some of the most valuable, I'm not even sure this should be an Eagle Required badge any longer. Just my opinion.

        Also, let me add that in contrast, Family Life has recently be improved with the addition of a discussion of what it means to be a father. This topic has led to a number of conversations with boys that really seem to have an effect on their role as future parents. In general, I look at most of the changes BSA makes to MB requirments with skeptisism. But adding that requirment was an excellent move.

        Good luck and God bless anyone who undertakes Counseling boys on Merit Badges. It perhaps is the most effective way of utilizing the Adult Association method of Scouting. I have seen it do miraculous things, both with boys in our Troop, and specifically, my two sons. Thank you to all who serve.



        • #5
          I like doing the citizenship ones but that's probably because I teach political science for a living. Done well though, they can be pretty interesting (done poorly, anything is boring and awful). I've had several guys recently who really wanted to talk about global politics, and they wanted more depth than you get from watching CNN or Fox or whatever - or, for that matter, in their high school social studies classes where it is all about gearing up for the state exams.

          Mollie, I'll agree that most 11-12 year olds aren't ready for the "World" one in particular (nation and community might be a little bit easier to grasp) - but a few are, particularly if they've ever had international experience of their own or if their parents happen to live, eat, and breath global politics due to their day jobs. That's the problem with a hard and fast rule from national. And as I understand it, this is where the SM really should be acting as a gate keeper, guiding scouts who are eager, but not mature enough, to badges that are a better fit for them at that point in time.

          I'm not so sure I like the communications MB that much either and I sympathize with Mark's point. In the future this is one I may drop.

          I really like the American Cultures one but I have yet to have a boy want to do it. I keep it listed because there's no one else in our district who is a counselor for it.

          I'm working on my water skills because I want to be competent enough to counsel canoeing! (Actually I can do all the basic things listed but I wouldn't want to counsel a badge where I'm just barely over the threshold myself - so, more practice and training for me, hurrah! You can see I'm really broken up about the need to get out on the water some more...) Here's the funny thing about that one - it doesn't require any actual canoe trips, just demonstration of proper technique. Seems to me it would be better to take the canoe trip requirement out of the camping MB and add it to the canoeing MB instead.


          • #6
            I agree with communications. I no longer feel it should be Eagle required either. I also agree with Mark, you can't beat a good resume for catching an employers eye.

            In our little rural area here, the SMs pretty much let the boys take whatever whenever and I think that is bad. OR they take them to camp/merit badge college only and you see a bunch of boys that look like they duplicated each other's stuff.

            Wonder if we listed some of our more innovative ideas for the badges we do if we could learn from each other ways to punch them up a bit? I also do genealogy, and you talk about a DRY book. WOW! Once I'm done with these kids, though they can't wait to see what's coming next. They just hate the book.

            I wish my son had Mark for PM. Maybe then, he'd have done better. We did have him use his job as the budgeting tool, but that was MY idea. The first counselor actually told him to just use $5 a week because the math was easier. Talk about dull!



            • #7
              When I was a young owl, I really enjoyed Cooking MB. It is a shame that it isn't required for Eagle anymore. After that one, I enjoyed the "tech" ones, like Atomic Energy, Electronics, Photography.

              Now, as an OGO, I don't really have any that I don't like.

              They all have their purpose, albiet being watered down a lot.


              • #8
                My favorite is Citizenship/World.

                In school, I hated history in any form. I picked it up because there was a need in the troop.

                I got flak from a committee member because I opined that I didn't think a boy should undertake this MB until at least 10th grade ("It's not in the requirements!!!"). I still use that as a rule of thumb, although I make exceptions for exceptional individual cases.

                I have had to learn a lot preparing myself to counsel (not teach) this MB. A lot of stuff I should have learned in school. By virtue of waiting until they're older scouts, the boys have developed higher-order thought processes and had the learning experiences in school to be able to have intelligent discussions of the subject matter.

                After I finished the latest go-'round with 3 scouts, one of them (a HS senior) commented, "Wow! This was a great merit badge. I learned so much, and it fit in so well with the things I've been studying in my AP History class". It certainly made my day (and validated my position, too).

                My least favorites to counsel are Citizenship/Community and Communication.


                • #9
                  My favorite is Citizenship in the Nation because I'm a real stickler. *s* Seriously, it's because I get the chance to make a (hopefully) permanent political impression on these future leaders.

                  My least favorite is probably Computers -- because the majority of the kids know more than all of the counselors ;-).


                  • #10
                    My favorite one to take was probably Climbing. I think my favorite to teach would be either First Aid, Climbing, or Wilderness Survival. I didn't finish Wilderness Survival as a youth, but I enjoyed that kind of stuff. I'm going into a healthcare field (athletic training) and enjoy first aid stuff.

                    My least favorite would have to be Family Life. I never did finish that one either but I hated working on it at all! Probably my least favorite to teach would be that.


                    • #11
                      As a counselor, my favorite MB is naturally the one for which I have a professional passion - Archeology. I was very happy when it was finally approved by National. Like LisaBob, I'm also registered to counsel for American Cultures but I've never had the opportunity. Don't know that I have a least favorite. Maybe Scholarship - that one always seems to be a mere ex post facto signoff. I suppose I should be more demanding on that one. My lovely bride does Horsemanship. She's very good at that.


                      • #12
                        I counsel Climbing, Whitewater, Cycling, Backpacking, Canoeing, Wilderness Survival, and Hiking. As much as I enjoy them, there are changes that should be made to enhance most of them. As an example, for Climbing, I would like to see an Alpine option that would include an understanding of snow and ice as avalanche tiggers, the physiological effects of altitude, pulley systems, and self rescue techniques.

                        As a Scout, my favorites were Canoeing, Signaling, Hiking, Surveying and Fruit and Nut Growing (took two years to complete)....


                        • #13
                          Welding sounds like a neat one!!


                          • #14
                            most rewarding for me is swimming when it was a scout that was a poor swimmer when he started scouts.

                            I like cooking when it is a boy that really wants to cook rather than a boy that just wants the badge - and you can tell. Now with cooking going to become eagle we have some boys already wanting to start it that are still working on their cooking for ranks.

                            Family Life is great when it is the boy that sets out and comes up with his ideas for projects then gets my approval then gets parents approval. I've had a few that you can tell the parents gave them the idea. Some of the boys I've worked with have come up with some great individual and family projects. I also explain to the parents that with the family project it is a beginner for eagle project - the boy is in charge of who does what so just because you know that X needs done you can't do it unless the boy tells them to.


                            • #15
                              When I was a young owl, I really enjoyed Cooking MB. It is a shame that it isn't required for Eagle anymore. "

                              this is coming back as a Eagle require MB believe starting 2013-2014? According to National