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Counslers refusing to taking MB Worksheets

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  • #16
    A lot of boys jump the gun. I think the process is good training for all the other cumbersome bureaucratic processes he will face in life--my son had a long time to learn that. As a MBC I will sometimes accept pre-work if I think he really did it in the spirit of the thing (it was summer, he shot me an email, and we never got the SM to sign off/find a blue card, etc) but I would look more askance at TWO Eagle required ones that had 90 day requirements. I'd have to talk to the boy...

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post

      False. Recruiting and maintaining lists of MB counselors is the responsibility of the Council and District. Finding and contacting MB Counselors from the approved list is the responsibility of the Scout.
      Merit Badges are about more than " simply providing opportunities to learn skills" and "there is more to them than an introduction to lifetime hobbies, or the inspiration to pursue a career."
      They're about personal growth. And a big part of that is the Scout being a big boy and getting the counselor list all by himself, discussing the badge with the SM mano-a-mano, and calling and meeting the MB counselor for himself.
      BSA has aims and it has methods. The methods are not ends unto themselves. MBs are not the aim, the growth achieved by a specific process is the aim.

      Sitting down at a desk and filling out worksheets is neither the method nor the aim. The MB program is explained here: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...geprogram.aspx
      I think you need to read the "Guide to Advancement, 2013 edition". It says that identifying at least one counselor is the responsibility of the unit leader.


      "7.0.0.3 The Scout, the Blue Card, and the Unit Leader
      A few merit badges have certain restrictions, but otherwise
      any registered Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or qualified
      Venturer or Sea Scout may work on any of them at any
      time. Before he begins working with a merit badge
      counselor, however, he is to have a discussion with his unit
      leader. That a discussion has been held is indicated by the
      unit leader’s signature on the Application for Merit Badge,
      No. 34124, commonly called the “blue card.” Although it
      is the unit leader’s responsibility to see that at least one
      merit badge counselor is identified from those approved
      and made available, the Scout may have one in mind with
      whom he would like to work. The unit leader and Scout
      should come to agreement as to who the counselor will be.
      Lacking agreement, the Scout must be allowed to work
      with the counselor of his choice, so long as the counselor is
      registered and has been approved by the council
      advancement committee. However, see “Counselor
      Approvals and Limitations,” 7.0.1.4, for circumstances
      when a unit leader may place limits on the number of merit
      badges that may be earned from one counselor."

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by rdcrisco View Post
        My son with Aspergers has filled out the worksheets for several of his merit badges including his Personal Fitness(90 day chart) and Personal Management(90 day chart). He is being told that they are not being accepted by counslers because he was supposed to contact the counlsers first. The counsler are refusing to sign any of the requirements including the written ones.

        Does anyone know anything about this?
        It's up to the counselor's decision.
        Last edited by perdidochas; 05-22-2014, 09:02 AM.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Tampa Turtle View Post


          Your old SM did not understand the process and did all the boys a disservice.
          Right.

          And I'll add the counselor (and apparently the new troop) is doing it correctly. He's doing his job and holding the Scout's feet to the fire to complete the merit badge properly. There need to be more counselors like this guy. Looking back, the people in my life who made a difference and really taught me something were the mean old SOBs who held me accountable and required me to do my best.

          For the MBs I counsel I don't accept the worksheets either. They are a lazy way out for both the Scout and the counselor. Depending on the specific requirement (do, show, demonstrate, discuss, etc.) I'll take the worksheet when the Scout when he hands it to me and close it in my notebook. I then expect the Scout to do, show, demonstrate or discuss the topic. If the requirement was to write something, then okay.

          Too many troops treat counselors as if their only function is to grade these homework sheets. NO. MB Counselors should be a huge part of the Adult Association method of Scouting in which boys sit down with adults of character and learn from their expertise. Rubber stamping worksheets is how adults ruin the advancement program by turning into a high-speed/low-drag box checking contest.

          To this counselor: Good job. Keep the faith.

          To rdcrisco: if you truly want the best for your son, find out what other MBs this fellow counsels and encourage your boy to earn every one from him.

          Comment


          • #20
            What does your son's Aspergers have to do with the MB counselor's decision?

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
              False. You should read the document you reference. "Scouts should not have access. Their interaction with the Scoutmaster in discussing work on a badge, and obtaining a counselor's name,is an important part of the merit badge plan."
              Context clues, Ding Dong. The line you quoted out of context refers to online lists of MB counselors (which is why it is located under the heading "Web-Based Counselor Lists") The specific prohibition against Scout access is obviously to ensure the system is followed by preventing Scouts from calling MBCs before having the discussion with his SM. It does not refer to MBC contact information in the broad sense.

              Originally posted by allangr1024 View Post
              I think you need to read the "Guide to Advancement, 2013 edition". It says that identifying at least one counselor is the responsibility of the unit leader.
              "Identifying" one MBC doesn't mean calling him for the scout or doing any of the rest of the scout's work for him.


              "Earning merit badges should be Scout initiated, Scout researched, and Scout learned. It should be hands-on and interactive, and should not be modeled after atypical school classroom setting. Instead, it is meant to be an active program so enticing to young men that they will want to take responsibility for their own full participation."

              Wapa wapa wapa wapa wapa wapa wapa wapa
              I know the idea of your snowflakes making their own decisions and phone calls is scary to you, and that the idea of the resulting young man is even more scary, but your fears about empowered youth don't change the program.
              Last edited by Scouter99; 05-23-2014, 03:51 PM.

              Comment


              • #22
                I am a merit badge counselor and a Mom of a scout with Aspergers.

                My son reads the work books and does the worksheets prior to contacting a counselor. HE calls a counselor himself. The worksheets, in my mind are not supposed to be used in place of talking and working with the counselor. I fully expect that he will do, show, demonstrate and discuss every requirement with his counselor. That being said, I hope that if there are writing components to the merit badge I would hope that the counselor would accept the write ups he does on the worksheets. He is doing environmental science at summer camp this year and has been working on the sheets. He will participate in all discussions and demonstrate anything he needs to demonstrate. He will be able to better research endangered animals from home and we have been discussing ways to reduce pollution at home, school etc. In my mind he will get more out of the merit badge than showing up at the summer camp meetings an hour every day for a week.

                If it states in the requirement that a scout must get his parent's and his counselor's approval before doing something, the scout needs to speak with a counselor first. I am a counselor for the family life merit badge and there is a requirement that a scout needs to do a project around his home that would benefit his family. The requirement specifically states "With the approval of your parents or guardians and your merit badge counselor" do the project. I have had a scout show up to our first meeting with the workbook, including the family project, done. We sat down to discuss the requirements and I signed the blue card for the the requirements after discussing them with him but I would not sign off on that requirement. I explained that there are reasons requirements are written the way they are. It is about the process, the following directions and doing things the proper way. I offered to get him the names of other counselors that might not be as "rigid" as I am and might sign off the requirement. This was 3 weeks before his 18th birthday and the last Eagle required merit badge, and his project was finished. Sorry, I have too much respect for the rank, the program and myself to compromise my values. To the boy's credit, he said he wanted to do it the right way and we came up with a project he could do and the badge was finished a week or so later.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Good for you! That's the way the program should work. If more counselors and parents operated this way the Scouts would get much more out of the program.

                  I don't have a problem with Scouts using the worksheets as an internal means or organizing their work -- sort of an expanded list of requirements with room for making notes. When either the Scout or counselor looks at completing the worksheet as completing the badge is when I begin to have an issue.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Thanks. Too often scout parents want their scouts to advance so fast . Our troop frowns strongly on the "do everything as fast as you can to get your rank faster than the next guy" method. Our numbers are declining. This year we had 2 crossovers from the 3 cub scout packs in town including the pack from our own CO. When asked why they chose the other troop in town I was told that the other troop "makes it so easy to get merit badges". All Eagle required badges are down with in house counselors, as a group, during troop meetings. Yes, they produce Eagle Scouts, but we produce Eagle Scouts who are NYLT staff members, almost exclusively staff the cub summer camp, are captains of the school soccer team and robotics club, Presidents of the Honor Society and I could go on and on.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Yep. I hear that, too. Most teenage boys would probably prefer menus consisting of chips and Red Bull, that the adults do all the cooking and cleaning for them and to replace campouts with overnight video tournaments. If all you are interested is raw membership numbers, go for it. I've always said my preference would be to have a troop of five scouts who really wanted to be in a high quality, challenging program. If when those five age out that means folding the troop flag, putting out the fire and calling it a day, so be it. I don't ascribe to the idea we have to do anything and everything just to get boys in the program.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        MB counselors are all over the map as represented in this discussion. Fine. Some counselors want to prove some points not listed in the merit badge requirements. Fine. That's them. You don't have to use them. Go elsewhere.

                        Physical Fitness merit badge was the topic. The only requirement that strictly says to wait to start until the counselor approves it before beginning it is #8 and the requirement is listed at the end of #7. You can't start #8 until #7 is signed off. "Before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor and parents.". The rest is just pre-work that could be documented. As a counselor, I'd have no trouble if the scout brought me the worksheets and evidence for #1-#7 and then signing them off.

                        Have your son find another counselor who is supportive. Especially, if your son has a condition that is not being served by the attitude of the counselor. Each scout is different. Each counselor is different. That's how it should be.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by allangr1024 View Post

                          I think you need to read the "Guide to Advancement, 2013 edition". It says that identifying at least one counselor is the responsibility of the unit leader.


                          "7.0.0.3 The Scout, the Blue Card, and the Unit Leader
                          A few merit badges have certain restrictions, but otherwise
                          any registered Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or qualified
                          Venturer or Sea Scout may work on any of them at any
                          time. Before he begins working with a merit badge
                          counselor, however, he is to have a discussion with his unit
                          leader. That a discussion has been held is indicated by the
                          unit leader’s signature on the Application for Merit Badge,
                          No. 34124, commonly called the “blue card.” Although it
                          is the unit leader’s responsibility to see that at least one
                          merit badge counselor is identified from those approved
                          and made available, the Scout may have one in mind with
                          whom he would like to work. The unit leader and Scout
                          should come to agreement as to who the counselor will be.
                          Lacking agreement, the Scout must be allowed to work
                          with the counselor of his choice, so long as the counselor is
                          registered and has been approved by the council
                          advancement committee. However, see “Counselor
                          Approvals and Limitations,” 7.0.1.4, for circumstances
                          when a unit leader may place limits on the number of merit
                          badges that may be earned from one counselor."
                          Correct! Otherwise...let's see....

                          When the scout needs a merit badge counselor the SM should say "Go find one." When the scout asks where, you tell him the District Advancement chairman has that. When he asks who that is or how to contact him, you say, "Go find him!"


                          Absurd.

                          Every unit leader and/or advancement chair should have a reasonably up-to-date list of counselors in their council. There is a reason that system is in place. You are NOT "doing the work for the scout," simply giving him names and numbers to contact which have been vetted by you.

                          That's right, vetted.

                          There are good MBCs out there as well as bad ones. You want your scout to have the best experience possible--which is why the current system is in place. The "go find one" method will more than likely result in a frustrated scout, and an incomplete, or most likely, not even attempted merit badge. One of the responsibilities of the adult leader is to guide the scout in the right direction, and that includes guiding him to an MBC which will be best for him.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I am a counselor for both Personal Management and Personal Fitness.

                            The requirements for Personal Fitness specifically state:
                            "#7.Outline a comprehensive 12-week physical fitness program using the results of your fitness tests. Be sure your program incorporates the endurance, intensity, and warm-up guidelines discussed in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor and parents."
                            The Scout must meet with the counselor before starting their 90-day fitness program. The requirements specifically say "before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor." It is important that the Scout and the counselor discusses their plan, their goals, and their methods with the counselor before starting and then again once completed. The plan has to be meaningful, simply exercising for 3-months is not enough. Meeting with the councilor first ensures the plan is on the right track before the Scout starts. However, given your situation and depending on the quality of his effort, I wouldn't necessarily make the Scout start over and re-do 3-months of work entirely... but the discussion/reflection would be more in-depth and the plan my need to be extended a week or two to make up for any overlooked elements he may have missed.

                            Now Personal Management does not specifically state that a Scout must meet with the counselor prior to beginning his budget and expense tracking. However I strongly encourage it -- there's nothing worse than a Scout going to meet with the counselor after working for 3 months only to find out that he did it all wrong and wasted 13 weeks and has to start all over on their plan (I've encountered it several times, where the Scout doesn't understand budgeting before starting and completely misses the mark with the requirement). But if the Scout did it, and did it well, I wouldn't penalize him because he hadn't talked with me first (that's not part of the requirement... but he is taking a gamble by starting without meeting with a counselor first and hoping he's doing it right).

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