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  • Accept Partial from Camp I know was not complete ?

    So five of Scouts took the Cooking MB at camp last week and all received partials. Background. The prerequisites for the class were to do the cooking with the troop and class time was to do the safe food handling and menu planning. This was a mess hall camp so no patrol cooking took place. To his credit the kid running the class thought this was nuts so he modified it by having the boys do the menu planning as homework and spent class time for three days cooking lunch. He had 20 scouts and was in way over his head. If I hadn't been there to help get the fires started and help herd the cats nothing would have been accomplished. This kid forgot a can opener and was about to send some runners to the commissary to get one. I stopped that and told all the scouts to get out their knives and check if they had a can opener. None thought they did until I showed them what that short stubby thing was for and how to use it. (another strike against patrol boxes) Non the less even though only 3 "meals" were cooked he signed off the cooking requirements for all the boys for 4 and 6 and the menus for 3 and 5 if the boys presented them. 7 is home cooked meals and he signed off on that one if a unit leader certified that was done. Since my boys had presented no evidence I would not certify that one. (I am just a Committee Member and parent but was an acting SM for most of the week). Technically all the boys have to do is complete camping and backpacking meal plans and the at home plans and meals (7). I plan to register as a MB Conselor to help them finish. Since the actual cooking portions are signed off do I have to accept that even though I know it is not completed ? Or as the MB counselor who will sign off the completed badge is it my responsibility to ensure all requirements are met as written? The GTA says "A subsequent counselor may choose not to accept partial work, but this should be rare." Hmmm. "Rare" is in it is rare for an Eagle to be rescinded ? I have been told that MBs at camp are "different" and witnessing this and the Swimming MB at camp I can see they are. That one was "completed" so it is out of my control except for my son who I will ensure completes some of the requirements as written that I have not seen him do before. (I have Y instructor and RC Lifeguard certifications)

  • #2
    " I have to accept that even though I know it is not completed ?"

    Hell no. Do right by the scout, don't short change him.

    "Your duty is to be satisfied that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge you are coaching.

    My $0.02


    • #3
      All of this "crap" can be remedied by changing the words of the requirement from, "Demonstrate you know how to tie the square knot," to "Master the skill of tying a square knot under any and all circumstances." Or "Master the skill of tying a sheet-bend, double half-hitch and taunt-line hitch, outside, in the rain, in the dark. Repeat for all four corners of a tarp that doesn't have grommets." For those who think this is over-kill, I've done it many times in my outdoor career. Poles? Lash two 6' walking sticks together for a center and use the other four on the corners, That's six staves, the minimum number of boys in a patrol. Of course the boys would have to know what a straight lash is to pull it off.

      Nothing, including MB's are ever complete until the boys can actually use the skills. Of course, being practical with such knowledge is not a prerequisite for advancement, just go through the motions and hope for the patch.


      • #4
        If you become their subsequent merit badge counselor, you can accept or reject any of the signed off requirements according to your judgement. That's a very big part of the merit badge counselor job!

        Oddly enough though, the scouts do have the option of taking their partials to some other Cooking merit badge counselor, who might or might not share your same view of the signed-off requirements on their partials. At that point, you would really be out of the loop and have little recourse. You can describe the situation as you saw it right now to your Council Advancement Committee and encourage them to take some corrective action with the Camp MBC.


        • #5
          Once the merit badge is signed as complete there is nothing you can do about it.......Partials on the other hand.....

          I have rejected partials....One mom and scout showed up with a camp partial....I sat down at the table to speak to scout and mom kept interrupting......sent mom away so I could speak with scout.....Scout could not answer one question about the merit badge..... I told mom that I was willing to work with the lad to complete it but I would not be signing today...... Well I never saw them again.


          • #6
            The first year my son went to summer camp, he and a bunch of other new scouts took the fishing MB. It wasn't until Wednesday evening that we adults found out that the counselor had not been doing his job. He played cards during class time and would point to the poles in the corner of the training space and tell them they were free to take on and go fishing if they wanted to. Of course we complained to the camp director. Honestly, I don't know if the kid was fired or reprimanded. As you might guess, when we got the rocords, the boys all had partials. Here is how the SM handled it. He took the boys aside and said a scout is trustworthy. Your blue sheet shows that you accomplished these specific requirements. If you feel like you did, I'll accept that with no questions asked. If you feel like you didn't then we will work within the troop to accomplish these requirements. Each boy stepped up and said that he did not do any of the things he had been signed off on and ripped his sheet in half. It was the honorable thing to do.

            Later in a different troop when I became the ASM for the NSP, I ,made it a point to have adults shadow the new scouts to MB classes at least the first couple of days. Older scouts know the ropes that the new guys have no clue about.


            • #7
              I definitely go at least once to every class in which any of "my" Scouts are participating. I write a detailed analysis on the asessment form at the end of Camp. IF any instructor is passing over requirements, the Program Director, the Camp Director, my D.E. the Council Camping department, and if need be, the Council Executive will hear about it. If you get a Scout with a questionable Partial, have a real, honest, discussion with him.

              Here's one for you: For an Able requirement in Sea Scouts, one must do the requirements for Lifesvaing Merit Badge. I had a young lady Sea Scout come to me to do that.


              • #8
                Yeah, partials are a different story. The only final item is when the counselor signs the WHOLE card. Individual requirements are never approved. The back of the card with initials is just a helpful reminder of where the scout is on the progress toward completing. The counselor can revisit anything until it's signed off.

                As for JBlake47's comment, I very much different. MBs are done when signed off. You can't override an authorized MB counselor. MBs are a council program and not a troop program.

                If you think it's important the scout has the skill, work with the scout. Provide him opportunities to use the skill. Don't penalize him for another registered leaders shortcomings.


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the input. Fortunately non of the boys will "need" the badge soon so I should be able to position competing it properly in a positive way. Rather than them looking for some counselor that will just sign it off for them. There is no need to start from scratch as they did do some work and everything can be done easily as a course of attending fall activities. The troop has some MSRs so they can get some experiences with a backpacking stoves as well.


                  • qwazse
                    qwazse commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Two campouts devoted to cooking and you'll be set. Plus the boys who didn't take the course can learn by example.

                • #10
                  It appears that the answer to this question has changed under the new GTA


         Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges
                  From time to time, however, it may be discovered that merit badges could not actually have been earned. For example, a Scout who returns from summer camp or a merit badge fair with signed blue cards for an extraordinary number of badges could raise concerns.

                  If, after consulting with those involved in the merit badge program—such as an event coordinator, the camp director, or a merit badge counselor—it becomes plainly evident that a youth could not have actually and personally fulfilled requirements as written, then the limited recourse outlined below is available. It may result in a decision that some or all of the requirements for a badge could not have been fulfilled, and thus, that the badge was not actually earned.

                  After such a consultation, the unit leader, in a positive environment similar to that of a unit leader conference, discusses with the Scout the circumstances under which a merit badge in question was approved. A parent or an assistant unit leader should attend as an observer. The young man shall not be retested on the requirements, but a conversation with him can reveal if he was present at the class and actually and personally fulfilled all the requirements. Such a discussion could cover who taught a class, what sort of activities took place, where and when they occurred, how testing was done, what the Scout might have brought home from the class, and other similar process-oriented details.

                  In most cases, with a fair and friendly approach, a young man who did not complete the requirements will admit it. Short of this, however, if it remains clear under the circumstances that some or all of the requirements could not have been met, then the merit badge is not reported or awarded, and does not count toward advancement. The unit leader then offers the name of at least one other merit badge counselor through whom any incomplete requirements may be finished. Note that in this case a merit badge is not “taken away” because, although signed off, it was never actually earned.

                  Just as we avoid penalizing Scouts for the mistakes of adults, it should be a rare occurrence that a unit leader finds the need to question whether merit badges have been earned. This procedure for recourse is limited and reserved only for clear and evident cases of noncompletion or nonparticipation. For example, the recourse could be allowed when it would not have been possible to complete a specific requirement at the location of the class, event, or camp; if time available was not sufficient—perhaps due to class size or other factors—for the counselor to observe that each Scout personally and actually completed all the requirements; if time available was insufficient for a “calendar” requirement such as for Personal Fitness or Personal Management; or if multiple merit badges in question were scheduled at the same time.

                  This procedure is not to be viewed as an opportunity for retesting on requirements, for interjecting another set of standards over those of a merit badge counselor, or for debating issues such as whether a Scout was strong enough, mature enough, or old enough to have completed requirements.

                  Unit leaders who find it necessary to make use of this recourse must act quickly—if possible, within 30 days of discovery. It is inappropriate to delay a Scout’s advancement with anything less than a prompt decision. If a Scout or his parent or guardian believes a unit leader has incorrectly determined a Scout has not earned a merit badge, or more than 30 days have passed without a reasonable explanation for the lack of a decision, they should address their concerns with the unit committee.

                  They should first, however, develop a thorough understanding of the merit badge requirements and that each one must be passed exactly as it is set forth. Upon encountering any merit badge program where BSA standards are not upheld, unit leaders are strongly encouraged to report the incident to the council advancement committee, preferably using the form found in the appendix (see “Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns,”


                  • #11
                    Good Grief!

                    The more they try to slice, and dice, things every which possible way, and the more they try to cover their back sides, the more convoluted it becomes, and the more opportunities for abuse there are.

                    Unit leaders, and committees across the country will read ONLY that they can now deny a signed off merit badge.

                    I can hear the crazed cackles of glee already!


                    • #12
                      Here is the situation I am in. Last year, we had a number of boys take camping MB at camp. The camp had several prerequisites for the MB. Since I am the only camping MB counselor for the troop, I was the person who prepared the letter that explained which prerequisites the boys had completed. I now have one boy coming to me saying he only has 2 requirements left because his blue card shows he completed all of the other requirements - including the prerequisites that he had not completed (ex: cooking a meal on a lightweight stove). He had emailed me about the MB. I replied to the email and copied his mother explaining that he still had some prerequisites to complete. In the meantime, he's chosen to ignore me and go to the Advancement Chair who says he's only got the 2 remaining requirements to complete. I am not going to sign off on the MB as complete until he's done the other prerequisites but I know this is going to cause trouble within in the troop.


                      • #13
                        True. Your SM should have a scout conference regarding the Scout Law with this young man. Your troop needs a new AC.

                        You did right.


                        • #14
                          As SM, I have refused completed blue cards issued by summer camp that I know and can verify were not completed. Namely, I had 2 scouts take the camping merit badge which were marked fully complete even though they did not have the 20 nights of camping under their belt. Basically we would inform the scouts of how many nights they had completed and hold the blue cards until they fulfilled the requirement. We would try to plan extra campouts to help them complete them faster.


                          • #15
                            Why are you punishing the boys because of an issue with your council???

                            If the council does not train it's MB Counselors properly and ensure that the requirements are fulfilled at camp the backlash should be directed at the Council and the Camp Director, not the boy. By holding the boy accountable and doing nothing about the poor quality of MB Counselors at Camp you are only perpetuating they system.

                            I spent many hours with a lad working on the Forestry MB at camp this summer because the camp staff in charge of nature couldn't identify 5 trees, let alone 15 & know their uses! And the kid couldn't identify a tree based off just a wood sample either. That MB is complete only because I spent 6 hours working with the boy. Every kid in the class got a complete even though some of them had field notebooks that contained 5 samples of the SAME Tree. The issue is not the boys slacking off; the issue is that council doesn't hire people with knowledge in the area they are expected to work in.


                            • Khaliela
                              Khaliela commented
                              Editing a comment
                              KDD--It was just a random thought about Blue Cards and partials, not directed at anyone.

                              QWAZSE--While I agree that it is important for the boys to actually learn the skills required; I think denying the blue card w/o going after the inept counselor is unreasonable. If you are going to deny the blue card, then you must also go after the person who signed it complete. I was just trying to point out that the lack of learning is not always the boys fault; sometimes you just get a poor teacher.

                              SCOUTER99--The boys who filled the book with 5 samples of the same tree didn't know any better. They got the samples from 5 different trees; it was just the same species and because the instruction was so poor they didn't know any better. They had a White Fir labeled as a white fir, and also labeled as a Grand Fir (both correct names for the same tree); they also had a dead white fir labeled as a Tamarack (Western Larch) because it was orange and all they knew of Tamarack was that it is the only conifer in the area to turn orange and loose it's needles in the fall; they also had it labeled as a Douglas fir because they found one whose needles didn't lay completely flat; then they had the cone labeled as coming from a Spruce, no idea how they came up with that. The boys had NO IDEA that they were all the same species and neither did the MBC! You can't fault a boy for not knowing what he wasn't taught.

                            • Scouter99
                              Scouter99 commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Help me with your wording: Did their notebook contain 15 entries but 5 duplicates, or just 5 duplicates? In the case of the former, of course simple ignorance would not be grounds for denying the MB in the first place (though I could very easily see some powerhungry weirdo claiming that).

                            • Khaliela
                              Khaliela commented
                              Editing a comment
                              SCOUTER99: 15 entries, but 5 of them were the same species. (White Fir) So in actuality they only had 10 species ad didn't meet the requirement.