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Scoutmaster as Merit Badge Counselor? To have another ASM sign off completed card?

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  • #31
    I'm the SM of my Troop and am registered as a MBC for several MBs. But I never teach those directly -- it's only so I can help guys finish up that last bit that they couldn't complete at summer camp. For example:

    We had 12 boys take the swimming merit badge this summer. The last requirement they needed was #4 (show how to inflate your pants, etc.). They were all getting ready to do it on the last day of camp when a thunderstorm came up so they weren't able to do it. So now I have a dozen boys that need to find a swimming MBC just to do that one thing (which is getting removed next year anyway). So, I register as an MBC so they can complete it on our next campout at the lake.

    OTOH, I have another boy who is only missing #10 on the camping merit badge. While I am registered for that one, too, this requirement is a discussion and I think he would be better served by talking to another adult. As a result, I'm trying to find another MBC that's not part of our troop for him to complete it with.


    • #32
      dfscott ...
      Camp requirement #10 Discuss how the things you did to earn this badge have taught you about personal health and safety, survival, public health, conservation, and good citizenship. In your discussion, tell how Scout spirit and the Scout Oath and Law apply to camping and outdoor ethics.
      Of all the camping requirements, that sounds like a great requirement to complete with your scoutmaster as he's the guy you camp with every month.


      • #33

        Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83 View Post

        You've got a good handle on the issue, and have brought out another problem with the system.

        Although I don't think you need to be a NASA engineer to teach Space X, you certainly need a solid understanding of the topic. Unless we have another Leonardo Davinci out there, no one is knowledgeable enough to be a MBC for more than a hand full of merit badges.

        You're also correct about the need in interact with many different adults during the advancement process, and we all know that is an intentional element of advancement.
        Only a handful of merit badges? Oh come on.

        For example, I have a masters in computer science so I'm well qualified to counsel Digital Technology and Programming. I'm sure I could manage Robotics too. I've been geocaching several years and counsel Geocaching MB. I hike and backpack and camp so there's three more merit badges I counsel. I raced bicycles and coached, so I'm qualified to counsel for Cycling MB and Personal Fitness MB. When younger, I was on swim team and have been a life guard so another two merit badges I could counsel for. I was involved in archery, made my own arrows and strings, that's another MB.

        So far, that's over ten and I could keep on going. In general merit badges are an introduction to a subject and only a reasonable general level of knowledge (solid understanding) is needed to counsel for one. I would suggest most people are qualified to counsel at least a handful of merit badges. Whether that person would want to is a different question.


        • #34
          Originally posted by SWScouter View Post
          Only a handful of merit badges? Oh come on. .... .
          ... Variety ... A major reason for the merit badge program is to interact with a lot of different people. Get out. Meet people. Find out what they like. Learn how to work with many different people.

          ... Effort .... IMHO, it is much easier to earn two MB from one counselor than to earn two MB from two different MBCs. A lot of the effort is getting to know each other and forming norms between the scout and the MBC. So if a scout earns a MB from a MBC and then learns he could council another, that is much easier than earning two MBC from two different MBCs. I'm not for one MB per MBC, but encouraging less is a good thing.

          ... Experts .... I could justify teaching a large portion of the 130+ MBs. The issue is that is it your love or could we find someone with more direct immediate experience. Many of us have diverse rich backgrounds. It is just that we should avoid "justifying" being a MBC and settling. Let's find a lawyer to teach the law, not just someone who took a law class. Let's find a doctor or nurse to teach personal fitness. Let's find a current archery instructor to teach archery.

          ... to some degree limiting it is also to avoid the parent or the leader who is out to support their guy and to game the system. I think we can justify it other ways and can avoid this discussion. But it is an issue too.


          • #35
            Spot on, Fred. All of which is precisely I don't like summer camp merit badges, merit badge universities and troop-sponsored merit badge classes.


            • #36

              Originally posted by fred johnson View Post
              ... Variety ...
              ... Effort ....
              ... Experts ....
              All good comments. I was specifically addressing
              Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83
              Unless we have another Leonardo Davinci out there, no one is knowledgeable enough to be a MBC for more than a hand full of merit badges.
              I didn't mean to address how many merit badges one should counsel for. As you suggest, besides one's knowledge and ability, there are good reasons one should limit that.