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your favorite/least favorite MB to counsel?

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  • #16
    For me, it's not the badge. I like any badge where I can get to know the scout, provide a bit of my life experience, guidance and wisdom ... and make a difference.

    I'm sad when a scout shows up with a completed workbook from MeritBadge.com. I'm impressed with the scout, but it means I'll have little chance to make a significant contribution. Basically, if it says "discuss" and the scout wrote his answer all out, then he can just regurgitate the words and be done. Do I reject him if he just reads the words written? Do I demand more? I don't think that's legit. If the scout is not in a hurry and we can have a good discussion, fine. But more often then not, my experience is that scouts that have the requirements written out want to be done with the badge. They are not focused on learning or chatting. They just want to be done.

    I'm also sad when a scout shows up for a merit badge where they've done it in school multiple times. It feels lame to make them go thru the same hoops again to earn the merit badge. That seems so true for communications, citizenship in the ###### and numerous other eagle badges.

    I'd like to see more badges like tracking, welding, wood working, carpentry, fishing, climbing, cooking, camping, canoeing, hiking, etc. More doing. More showing. More practical. More fresh topics that will be new to the scout.. Things where the scout can't just show up with a completed worksheet and where the scout can't just re-hash what they just did in school or found via Google. If it is a discussion related badge like any of the citizenship badges, I'd like to see more requirements like attend a city council and visit national historic landmarks.

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    • #17
      ... duplicate ...(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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      • #18
        I will echo some of what Fred wrote. When I counsel a Cit badge (Nation or World) to younger Scout - it is fun going through it all. If I get a high schooler, I am really just stamping out signatures since they have taken the courses. This is part of my issue with the schoolwork badges personally.

        I love counseling Personal Management, and every time I teach the boys to build a spreadsheet to show the impact of compound interest on both debt and investments. It is also a tough badge to teach around here, because most kids I counsel are not allowed to take a job (their parental driven focus is on their academics, followed by things like Scouting / Sports / Church), and most kids have wealthy enough parents as well that money is not an issue to them. I have to get creative to get them to understand how the money flows matter.

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        • #19
          Lifesaving.

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          • #20
            when a boy comes to me with a workbook filled out I take it and use it as a guide. I ask them whatever question, read what they wrote, and listen to what they say. To me they don't really have anything learned until they can tell me things without reading it to me.

            Now if I am working with a boy with learning disabilities I will alter that.

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            • #21
              Fred, I have a "move" when a Scout with a workbook comes to me. I'll start off the conversation with a general question or two, and then I might ask a more-pointed question directly from a requirement. As soon as he dives for the workbook, I might ask him if I can take a look at it. I'll glance at it and then I'll turn it over next to me. Then I'll continue with the questions. :-)

              Sure, there will be some items where we'll have to look directly at it...for example, I'm a counselor for Cooking MB. He's supposed to do three sets of menus, etc. But when we get to first aid issues and food-borne microbes, along with food handling and safety, I consider that stuff pretty important. We have a conversation that might go along the lines of "so how is beef (or chicken) properly stored? How do you handle it? Would you cut up a chicken before or after slicing up a bunch of vegetables? What microbe is likely to pick up from improperly handled beef/chicken?"

              I know that he wants to look it up on the worksheet. But if he doesn't know those basics off the top of his head, we discuss them at length, and then at our next meeting we'll discuss them again. When he reaches a point where I think he understands the material, that's when he is signed off.

              With Cooking MB, I've faced "group classes" and worksheets, and I never do complete sign-offs based on just those. I use them as a starting point. Cooking, in particular, has a ton of small details (which I consider to be important), such as the weight of their backpacking menu (and I specifically look for non-refrigerated food -- the last kid that came to talk to me had bacon, hot dogs and turkey sandwiches on his backpacking menu -- we had a talk about what might be more appropriate choices -- next time we'll go over his changes), breakdowns of quantities and costs of all menus.

              I also counsel Music MB...the requirements aren't quite so detailed, so it is a much easier merit badge to finish in a sitting or two. I've gotten workbooks for that two, but since one requirement is to illustrate something, and another has an option to make lists, the workbook might indeed include the final product. But prior to that, we have a discussion about families of musical instruments and what differentiates those families. It's not really that difficult.

              Guy

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              • #22
                Fred, I have a "move" when a Scout with a workbook comes to me. I'll start off the conversation with a general question or two, and then I might ask a more-pointed question directly from a requirement. As soon as he dives for the workbook, I might ask him if I can take a look at it. I'll glance at it and then I'll turn it over next to me. Then I'll continue with the questions. :-)

                Sure, there will be some items where we'll have to look directly at it...for example, I'm a counselor for Cooking MB. He's supposed to do three sets of menus, etc. But when we get to first aid issues and food-borne microbes, along with food handling and safety, I consider that stuff pretty important. We have a conversation that might go along the lines of "so how is beef (or chicken) properly stored? How do you handle it? Would you cut up a chicken before or after slicing up a bunch of vegetables? What microbe is likely to pick up from improperly handled beef/chicken?"

                I know that he wants to look it up on the worksheet. But if he doesn't know those basics off the top of his head, we discuss them at length, and then at our next meeting we'll discuss them again. When he reaches a point where I think he understands the material, that's when he is signed off.

                With Cooking MB, I've faced "group classes" and worksheets, and I never do complete sign-offs based on just those. I use them as a starting point. Cooking, in particular, has a ton of small details (which I consider to be important), such as the weight of their backpacking menu (and I specifically look for non-refrigerated food -- the last kid that came to talk to me had bacon, hot dogs and turkey sandwiches on his backpacking menu -- we had a talk about what might be more appropriate choices -- next time we'll go over his changes), breakdowns of quantities and costs of all menus.

                I also counsel Music MB...the requirements aren't quite so detailed, so it is a much easier merit badge to finish in a sitting or two. I've gotten workbooks for that two, but since one requirement is to illustrate something, and another has an option to make lists, the workbook might indeed include the final product. But prior to that, we have a discussion about families of musical instruments and what differentiates those families. It's not really that difficult.

                Guy

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                • #23
                  You are better then me then. It's the scout's own work product, so I'd let the scout use it at any time.

                  I can't think of a "memorize" MB requirement, though there is probably one out there. Host are discuss, show, list, name, etc. So if the scout wants to use his own work product for that or something else that helps, fine.

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                  • #24
                    You are better then me then. It's the scout's own work product, so I'd let the scout use it at any time.

                    I can't think of a "memorize" MB requirement, though there is probably one out there. Host are discuss, show, list, name, etc. So if the scout wants to use his own work product for that or something else that helps, fine.

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