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Awarding Merit Badges from summer camp, questions.

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  • Awarding Merit Badges from summer camp, questions.

    I've been Advancement chair for about 9 months but haven't had this job through a summer camp yet, so haven't encountered this problem before. My troop attended summer camp two weeks ago. When reviewing the blue cards, I find that a scout has a blue card for Fish and Wildlife Management completed. Problem is, there are requirements listed that could not have been completed during his time at camp. I also know that he didn't do his pre-work, it was discussed at the troop meeting before camp.

    The following requirements are the ones that have me concerned:
    5c. Design and implement a backyard wildlife habitat improvement project and report the results.

    7d. Make a freshwater aquarium. Include at least four species of native plants and four species of animal life, such as whirligig beetles, freshwater shrimp, tadpoles, water snails, and golden shiners. After 60 days or observation, discuss with your counselor the life cycles, food chains, and management needs you have recognized. After completing requirement 7d to your counselor's satisfaction, with your counselor's assistance, check local laws to determine what you should do with the specimens you have collected.
    Advice?

  • #2
    I would contact the camp merit badge councilor and/or the camp program director for clarification on any merit badge requirements discrepancy. Mistakes happen, but ff not satisfied with their explanation, complain to Council. A follow-up talk with the scout about the Scout Oath and Law may be needed. There is still time to set matters right.

    Unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon with summer camp.

    Comment


    • #3
      Both those requirements are in sections where you need to do one of several. Are you saying the counselor said he did this specific one, and you know he did not? If he did 5 a, b or d he still meets the requirement. Just clarifying.

      Comment


      • #4
        Was it signed off? If so, it's done.

        The back detailed list of what was completed is only necessary if it was a "partial", not completed at camp. If so, the merit badge counselor could have been signing dozens of these and accidentally started signing 5c and 7d instead of signing 5d and 7c.

        Don't sweat it too much. I would follow through to understand what happened, but it's a small issue. Mistakes happen. I'd be more concerned with whether the scout learned something about Fish and Wildlife and if it was a positive experience such that he now has interest or can share his experience with others and whether it was positive such that he wants to work on more merit badges. If we get too detailed or legalistic, scouts get negative vibes and might stop working merit badges and the scout program.

        Comment


        • #5
          Summer camps are one of the better places to earn merit badges. But the councilors may let some requirements slide. They might have discussed it as a group and let one of the scouts that performed the task lead in the discussion. It's hard to say. A merit badge is to give the scout the introduction to the topic not a certification.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by SM bob View Post
            Summer camps are one of the better places to earn merit badges. But the councilors may let some requirements slide. They might have discussed it asppen a group and let one of the scouts that performed the task lead in the discussion. It's hard to say. A merit badge is to give the scout the introduction to the topic not a certification.

            I completely disagree. I find camps are the easiest places to get merit badges, but not one of the better places to earn them. There are exceptions of course.

            Counselors are not supposed to "let some requirements slide". Counselors that do this should be removed. One may not add nor subtract... If the requirement was to "perform", or "demonstrate" etc... listening to someone describe it is not the same. Not only does this mean the scout did not earn the badge, but they were denied the opportunity to explore and learn.

            Sorry for being so blunt, but it is these types of counselors who ruin the program for the boys by denying them the real program.

            Comment


            • #7
              Unfortunately once the counselor signs off on it, it's a done deal according to the GtA. However I would A) double check everything B) talk with the Scout, and C) if the counselor did then let folks know about it so the situation can be resolved.

              As someone stated,some camps are good at keeping standards, others are not.

              In talking to the Scout what I would encourage him to do is get on the ball and do it correctly. I had a nice discussion with my oldest who "earned" one MB at a MB college, only to discover the MBC was using out of date requirements, and didn't even do all of them. He finally earned it.

              Comment


              • #8
                It doesn't have to be a confrontation. Ask the scout. Talk with him about what they did in class, what he liked about the merit badge, what was hard for him, which of the elective requirements he did and why.

                If there really are shortcomings, a good leader should be able to convince the scout to complete the work in order to avoid having a 'hollow' merit badge on his sash.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the advice. I'm going to pass this off to the scoutmaster with your thoughts. My intent isn't to nitpick the work, I'm trying to become more familiar with the MBs and our advancement program and as a former regulatory person, these kind of discrepancies jump out at me. Appreciate your responses.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You guys are behind the times. There is now a procedure in the MB section of the Guide to Advancement for unit scouters to follow when they believe a merit badge was not properly earned.

                    Otherwise, JoeBob has the right idea.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting. I hadn't noticed that. Thanks. I also agree with JoeBob's comments.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Twocubdad View Post
                        You guys are behind the times. There is now a procedure in the MB section of the Guide to Advancement for unit scouters to follow when they believe a merit badge was not properly earned. Otherwise, JoeBob has the right idea.
                        7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges. It is limited and should be done within 30 days. Do they release a new GTA every year? It was about this time last year when 2013 was released.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Loomans View Post
                          I've been Advancement chair for about 9 months but haven't had this job through a summer camp yet, so haven't encountered this problem before. My troop attended summer camp two weeks ago. When reviewing the blue cards, I find that a scout has a blue card for Fish and Wildlife Management completed. Problem is, there are requirements listed that could not have been completed during his time at camp. I also know that he didn't do his pre-work, it was discussed at the troop meeting before camp.

                          The following requirements are the ones that have me concerned:
                          5c. Design and implement a backyard wildlife habitat improvement project and report the results.

                          7d. Make a freshwater aquarium. Include at least four species of native plants and four species of animal life, such as whirligig beetles, freshwater shrimp, tadpoles, water snails, and golden shiners. After 60 days or observation, discuss with your counselor the life cycles, food chains, and management needs you have recognized. After completing requirement 7d to your counselor's satisfaction, with your counselor's assistance, check local laws to determine what you should do with the specimens you have collected.
                          Advice?
                          Well, I would ask the boy what he did for 5c--I can see how a small habitat improvement project around the ecology hut could be done.. Also, ask if he did 7 a, b or c. 7 c was my choice as FWM MBC.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SM bob View Post
                            Summer camps are one of the better places to earn merit badges. But the councilors may let some requirements slide. They might have discussed it as a group and let one of the scouts that performed the task lead in the discussion. It's hard to say. A merit badge is to give the scout the introduction to the topic not a certification.
                            5c and 7d aren't "talk about it requirements"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Time for me to re-read the GTA. Section 7.0.4.7 was not in the 2011 published version. This version is over a year old and I did not notice it.

                              IMHO, GTA 7.0.4.7 is well meant, but I really fear how far some diligent leaders will take it. It could be easily argued ... and has been in th past ... that no merit badge can be successfully presented in a group setting that has requirements verbs such as discuss, present or show. Yet, that's how summer camp does merit badges.

                              For example ... my fear is that 15 scouts take emergency prep at summer camp and 12 scouts earn the badge and three scouts from one troop get signed blue cards but their leaders take it away because there was no way that over a period of four hours that 15 scouts could do each of the requirements properly. It then becomes an inconsistent experience. Inconsistent experiences are very demotivating for the scouts.

                              ================================

                              GTA 7.0.4.7 does say that it is not to be used to apply a different set of standards.

                              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.
                              But that is a very slippery slope. "Discuss" ... did the words come out of each individual scout's mouth or was he one of fifteen scouts that stared into the sky and listened to a discussion between two MBCs at summer camp.

                              ================================

                              I'm glad there is recourse. Some scouts do game the system and unit leaders need recourse. But I'd rather see the procedure focused on correcting the MBC or the process.
                              Last edited by fred johnson; 07-08-2014, 12:59 PM.

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