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Merit Badge “Blue Card” Revised

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  • #31
    There have been some discussions in the past of the blue card being a way for Scoutmasters to control advancement or even road block scouts from advancing. I think the idea is that by taking the unit signature off the blue card, the scouts control their advancement without any unit adult check along the way. I don't know the details but the intent is noble.

    Barry

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    • #32
      And the fear is that if a scout finds a qualified signed-up and approved merit badge counselor and fulfills all the requirements and the first time the unit knows the scout is working on the merit badge is when the scout turns in the signed blue card, the system will break down into chaos?

      scouts, on their own, piggly-wiggly finding approved merit badge counselors meeting all the requirements and turning in the signed documentation all without unit approval/assistance....What a niggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhtttttttttmare...

      OK, sorry if it was over the top. But I don't get the resistance.

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      • #33
        Pole vaulting over mouse turds.

        The form does not matter in the slightest. What matters is the quality of mentorship presented by the various merit badge counselors.

        If a Scoutmaster knows a "weak brother/weak sister," don't send a youth to him/her.

        If a Scoutmaster wants to keep Mom and Dad from signing 126 MB apps and turning them in (ok, shooting sports and aquatics are harder now that self-selection is no longer the standard), then he makes sure to assign Counselors to youth.

        This is not rocket science. It's Scouting. It's Character Development (gee, an Aim).

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        • #34
          If a District approves a person or even a married couple for all 126 merit badges, isnt that a problem that should be addressed somewhere along the line?

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          • #35
            >>If a Scoutmaster wants to keep Mom and Dad from signing 126 MB apps and turning them in (ok, shooting sports and aquatics are harder now that self-selection is no longer the standard), then he makes sure to assign Counselors to youth.

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            • #36
              >>If a District approves a person or even a married couple for all 126 merit badges, isnt that a problem that should be addressed somewhere along the line?

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              • #37
                OGE, given some of the quality control stories I've heard about, I think there are some DAC's/Council Registrars who clearly do not do their part of the lifting.

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                • #38
                  If a District approves a person or even a married couple for all 126 merit badges, isnt that a problem that should be addressed somewhere along the line?

                  This is exacttly the sort of thinking that's wrong. The Scoutmaster is the place to address the problem. He or she should address it by maintaining some quality control over the MB experience the Scout has. But all you "smack down the SMs ego" folks don't like that. You want to take the SM - the person most acutely charged with mentoring the entirety of the youth's Scouting experience - out of the loop. For you it's a bureaucratic issue - "the District" screwed up. It was "the District's" fault.

                  Convenient, since "the District" isn't a person, so no individual needs to take personal responsibility.

                  No. All that is the wrong approach. The Scoutmaster is charged with the personal responsibility of handling this problem. That's why it's important that the SM have the ability to deny the Scout a blue card, or to impose certain conditions upon issuing it. That's the only way they can actually provide the guidance and ensure the standards. Yes, some SMs abuse that authority, but that just means they're poor Scoutmasters. The solution to that problem is better Scoutmasters, not more rules and less accountability.

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                  • #39
                    See, I don't see it as wrong thinking. I see it was correct thinking

                    If a scoutmaster sees that a scout or scouts are not getting proper merit badge counseling experiences. Then they are to let the District know that so and so is a lousy merit badge counselor. If the District does not do anything, then its on to Council. If no one pays attention then I guess its time to direct scouts elsewhere but unless you try to remove a lousy merit badge counselor, you do not get to complain about how lousy the merit badge counselors are

                    What if a scout gets alot of merit badges from their parents. Havent we talked about how when our sons were scouts we as scoutmasters were so much tougher on them than other scouts? Is the immediate assumption merit badge counselor parents are always frauds?

                    What I see is an emphasis to control the scout, and have the scout do as he is told based on the fear that other adults will not do their job correctly. Should not the focus be on removing the adults who are not to be trusted with the program rather than to figure out ways around the bad egg?

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                    • #40
                      >>Should not the focus be on removing the adults who are not to be trusted with the program rather than to figure out ways around the bad egg?

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                      • #41
                        Gee. I'm in agreement with JM, Barry, and OGE. Why does that not surprise me?

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                        • #42
                          Explain to me "where" anyone is taking away the SM (or assigned leader) signature please. This is from the link posted on the first page of this thread, and you can even see a copy of the actual card if you wish, but it would not copy for me. This same quote is the start of the discussion. Do not understand where all this other stuff is coming from.

                          Merit Badge Blue Card Revised
                          A new version of the Application for Merit Badge,
                          No. 34124, commonly referred to as the blue card,
                          is being released later in January 2013. The
                          availability of the new card will vary locally, and the
                          old cards are still acceptable as councils exhaust their
                          inventories. The new version will remain the old familiar
                          blue and the change is a small one, but as it takes
                          effect it will make a significant difference in the process.
                          On the front side (first tri-fold portion) above the unit
                          leaders signature line, the statement with the word
                          qualified is being changed to: I have discussed this
                          merit badge with this Scout and recommended at least
                          one merit badge counselor. The wording change has
                          been made due to confusion over the interpretations of
                          qualified, approved, and approval, as applied to
                          when a Scout could begin work on a merit badge. With
                          the new statement, the unit leaders signature indicates
                          that he or she and the Scout have talked about the
                          Scouts desire to work on the merit badge and that a
                          merit badge counselor has been recommended.
                          The intent of the modification is to give the unit leader
                          the chance to offer counseling as to whether or not the
                          merit badge is a good choice for the Scout, based on
                          his abilities and any prerequisites. The terms qualified
                          or approved were never meant to indicate that the
                          Scout needed to pass some sort of prequalifying test
                          before pursuing a merit badge, or that the unit leader
                          had pass/fail authority to allowor to not allowthe
                          Scout to undertake work on a badge.(This message has been edited by skeptic)

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                          • #43
                            OGE hit it on the head. Our emphasis should NOT be on correcting or controlling the scout. We should focus on correcting the people providing the program.

                            The scoutmaster is still in the loop and part of the process. If scouts don't want to follow the BSA process, then a heart to heart about being in the troop is in order. But it's NOT an approval. We've seen it even in this discussion thread about SM's still having approval authority (which he never really had) or others indicating their troop would just keep going as they have been and ignore the clarification.

                            The key is that the Merit Badge program is NOT a unit administered part of the program. It's a district/council administered program. If you disagree with the approval of MBCs, take it up with the district committee chair or the district advancement coordinator. Or the council SE or council advancement director. And if they don't care, I'm not sure why you should. You can still counsel the scout and you can provide other counselor names.

                            But it's not the SM place to approve a scout for doing a badge or to dictate the counselor to be used and it never has been.

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                            • #44
                              >> If you disagree with the approval of MBCs, take it up with the district committee chair or the district advancement coordinator.

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                              • #45
                                Some points to bring up:

                                1) No one is taking the SM signature away
                                2) The intent of the blue card is to help facilitate the MB process
                                3) The ONLY authorized merit badge application is the blue card. Any other form must be specifically cleared by the National Advancement Committee
                                4) The SM assigns a MBC. If the Scout decides to go to anyone else, the process is that he circles back and clears it with the SM prior to meeting with the MBC

                                See the Guide to Advancement for details.

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