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MBC - What's involved and what's required?

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  • MBC - What's involved and what's required?

    I'm a Pack leader, recently also recruited to be the CC for our CO's troop.
    I have little to no memory of the few MB's I earned as a boy, most were done at summer camp.....
    and since I'm new with the troop, I really don't know what's involved. The committee has recently surveyed parents for talents and MB's willing to help with. I was thinking of offering to help too.

    So, I understand required qualifications might differ a bit, but generally I'm assuming either professional experience, education, or a hobby that you know about. Is that right?

    Then, what is involved exactly? I saw another thread today discussing MBC's and a lot of talk about "classes". I was imagining an individual takes an interest in a given MB. He somehow tracks me down because I'm listed as available for it. Then I help the lad, get him pointed in the direction, maybe walk through the requirements with him, maybe just be available for a phone call or two with questions.... So, what's this about a class? Is it up to the MBC to usher the boy(s) through every step of the requirements? What sort of time commitment is it?

    For discussion, some of the badges I might be able to help with include:
    SCUBA - I'm not active, but I'm an assistant instructor / divemaster with trimix cert
    engineering and drafting - degrees in both
    pulp and paper - worked in that industry for 16 years before I was lucky enough to get out
    kayaking - used to do it as a hobby
    aviation - I'm not active, but I'm a licensed private pilot
    maybe hiking, home repair, boating, surveying, and a few others.....

  • #2
    Your method is the classic way to do it--boy with interest contacts MBC, etc.

    In terms of "classes," they vary. In my troop, I show up at our Scout hut two Thursday's a month for "Merit Badge Class." What that basically means is that if anybody wants to work on a merit badge, one or more MBCs will be there. I've also run it as conventional classes, or to do an activity--for example, we did an oil spill simulation for Environmental Science.

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    • #3
      perdidochas covered the first part. You are thinking of the classic, historic method of boys earning merit badges, which happens to be the best method in my opinion. 1, 2, 3, or a small group of boys decide that they want to earn, say, the Engineering merit badge. They ask their Scoutmaster for blue cards and the names/contact info for a local counselor. They pick your name, contact you, and arrange a meeting or phone call of some type that works best for all involved. They may show you some work they've previously accomplished, ask questions about how to complete certain requirements, ask for permission for activities that say "with your counselor's approval", or just generally discuss the merit badge subject. Hopefully the boys leave that first meeting with a plan in their heads for how to complete at least some of the remaining requirements. As the boys continue working on the badge, they can schedule additional meetings with you. When they have met all of the requirements (as written, no more and no less) to your satisfaction, you sign off two sections of their blue card, tear off the third section for your own files, and congratulate them. Each meeting you have with the boys could last 15 minutes or two hours, and you can get a badge done in one meeting or twenty. It really depends on the requirements of the given badge and the work that the boys are accomplishing at their own speed.

      As far as required background, a merit badge counselor is essentially supposed to be a subject matter expert for the boys to use as a resource. Your background in each subject should be evaluated at either the council or district level for each badge that you apply to counsel. In my council, this is handled within each district by a specific volunteer with a job title of "Merit Badge Dean." Generally, they are looking for a professional or strong amateur interest in the subject, and from your brief descriptions above, I would guess you would qualify for those first 6 badges you mentioned. Its up to you to decide if you want to share your experiences about the hobbies that you are no longer actively involved in though. I have found it to be a good experience, however I do want to caution you not to get discouraged if your phone is not ringing off the hook. I don't believe any of the badges you listed above are among the top 15 most popular, so you might end up with limited interest.

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      • #4
        Everything you might want to know about Merit Badge Counselors -

        http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...ounselors.aspx

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        • #5
          Hey, thanks. very helpful answers.

          Tim in NJ.... I can assure you I wouldn't be discouraged if my phone wasn't ringing off the hook. I'm not in it for that. In fact, having this take too much time is one of my big concerns. I'm busy enough in my scouter roles. I just want to help where I can. If I can help 1 boy in the troop by filling a hole of experience that nobody else in the unit has, that's good.

          My other big concern.... I'm just trying to figure out if I qualify or if I should offer it or not. I just want to be helpful if I can be....
          To my question of qualifications...... I'm thinking your statement "Its up to you to decide if you want to share your experiences about the hobbies that you are no longer actively involved in though." points to what I was wondering, but I'm not sure I'm understanding what you meant by that.
          to that point
          I haven't been active in let's say both flying and SCUBA for a number of years, not from a lack of interest but from a lack of time and money.... I still have the interest and knowledge....still read about it all the time..... so, maybe to be a good mentor for a boy, but I'm not going out doing these things every weekend, so does that preclude me from fulfilling the need of the boy?

          In a MBC, do they need just a voice of experience, a mentor, or do they need someone that can say, "hey, I'm going out next weekend to do X. Grab a friend and come along."?
          Last edited by blw2; 04-04-2014, 12:32 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by blw2 View Post
            In a MBC, do they need just a voice of experience, a mentor, or do they need someone that can say, "hey, I'm going out next weekend to do X. Grab a friend and come along."?
            Mentor and coach is the biggest. For that last part, you want to be able to direct the boy to outfitters/clubs in the area that would help him (and maybe his patrol and troop) accomplish some of the "action" items in the requirements.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by blw2 View Post
              Hey, thanks. very helpful answers.
              Tim in NJ.... I can assure you I wouldn't be discouraged if my phone wasn't ringing off the hook. I'm not in it for that. In fact, having this take too much time is one of my big concerns. I'm busy enough in my scouter roles. I just want to help where I can. If I can help 1 boy in the troop by filling a hole of experience that nobody else in the unit has, that's good.
              My other big concern.... I'm just trying to figure out if I qualify or if I should offer it or not. I just want to be helpful if I can be....
              To my question of qualifications...... I'm thinking your statement "Its up to you to decide if you want to share your experiences about the hobbies that you are no longer actively involved in though." points to what I was wondering, but I'm not sure I'm understanding what you meant by that.
              to that point
              I haven't been active in let's say both flying and SCUBA for a number of years, not from a lack of interest but from a lack of time and money.... I still have the interest and knowledge....still read about it all the time..... so, maybe to be a good mentor for a boy, but I'm not going out doing these things every weekend, so does that preclude me from fulfilling the need of the boy?
              In a MBC, do they need just a voice of experience, a mentor, or do they need someone that can say, "hey, I'm going out next weekend to do X. Grab a friend and come along."?
              Usually with specialized (and potentially dangerous) activities like skydiving or Scuba diving or flying, you have to hold active certifications as instructors to be authorized as MBC. Most aquatics badges require specialized training, for example.

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