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Awarding Merit Badges from summer camp, questions.

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  • #31
    Of course the counselors don't want the adults around. It would suck trying to work with scouts with a bunch of judgmental know-it-all curmudgeons hanging around. It's like being SPL in a troop with a uptight scoutmaster waiting to pounce on you at the slightest mistake.

    Scouts get many things out of summer camp merit badges. Some is the program itself.

    ... Outstanding. Horsemanship. Chess. First Aid (with the right counselor). Small boat sailing.

    ... Good detailed experiences. Shotgun. Rifle. Archery. Environmental Science. First Aid. Wood carving. Fishing

    ... Inconsistent over the years and often shallow
    .... ... ... Camping (we do more in the troop even outside the MB, just as skills teaching).
    .... ... ... Wilderness survival. (we've had kids build their own shelters on weekend camps regularly just for fun).
    .... ... ... Personal fitness (introductory and it's a good badge to have the same MBC available for three months).
    .... ... ... Astronomy (potentially great topic but really needs a counselor who loves astronomy
    .... .... .... ... ... plus too many times at summer camp the observations end quick because of rain or a really bright moon).

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

    But even with the less than stellar quality camp merit badges, I'm okay with it. Scouts work with staff closer to their own age in a camp setting. It can inspirational and refreshing even with the less than stellar quality. Many scouts end up wanting to become staffers because of it. Some even get inspired because they see someone closer to their age with a real interest in the topic.

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

    Ultimately, if you don't like the summer camp program, go somewhere else or create your own summer camp program. It's okay to provide feedback, but if you are going to piss and moan then stop going to the camp.

    Scouts pick up on negative attitudes quick and kills morale and devalues their achievements. So if you don't like the program, then don't bring your scouts to that camp.

    We've done our own summer camp week several times with great results. scout leaders teach what they are truely experts in and the scouts learn alot and have a less stressful week. We had an EMT teach first aid. A long-term BWCA person teach canoeing. An avid fisherman teach fishing. Best week at camp those scouts ever had.

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

    This year, my only disappointment was the OA callout. Fire died quickly (three minutes). All leaves, no wood fuel. Forgetting their parts. No inspiration. .

    Comment


    • #32
      Of course the camp staff counselors don't want the adults around. It's like being SPL in a troop with a uptight scoutmaster waiting to pounce on you at the slightest mistake.

      Scouts get many things out of summer camp merit badges. Some is the program itself.

      ... Outstanding. Horsemanship. Chess. First Aid (with the right counselor). Small boat sailing.

      ... Good detailed experiences. Shotgun. Rifle. Archery. Environmental Science. First Aid. Wood carving. Fishing

      ... Inconsistent over the years and often shallow
      ... ... ... Camping (we do more in the troop even outside the MB, just as skills teaching).
      ... ... ... Wilderness survival. (we've had kids build their own shelters on weekend camps regularly just for fun).
      ... ... ... Personal fitness (need MBC around for the three months)
      ... ... ... Astronomy (need MBC who loves the topic and nights when it doesn't rain or doesn't have a full moon)

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

      But even with the less than stellar quality camp merit badges, I'm okay with it. Scouts work with staff closer to their own age in a camp setting. It can be inspirational and refreshing. Many end up wanting to be staffers because of it. Some even develop interest in the topic because someone close to their age has real interest in the topic.

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

      BUT ... Ultimately, if you don't like the summer camp program, go somewhere else or create your own summer camp program. It's okay to provide feedback, but if you are going to piss and moan then it's better to stop going to the camp.

      Scouts pick up on negative attitudes quick and kills morale and devalues their achievements. So if you don't like the program, then don't bring your scouts to that camp.

      We've done our own summer camp week several times with great results. scout leaders teach what they are truely experts in and the scouts learn alot and have a less stressful week. We had an EMT teach first aid. A long-term BWCA person teach canoeing. An avid fisherman teach fishing. Best week at camp those scouts ever had.
      Last edited by fred johnson; 07-10-2014, 02:21 PM.

      Comment


      • #33
        That's exactly what my guys do at camp, except we call it free time and they don't earn merit badges at the end. (Seriously!)

        Otherwise that's one of the most lame justifications for a terrible program I've ever heard. Negative attitudes devalue their achievement? What achievement? The negative attitudes aren't devaluing the achievement, the LACK OF ACHIEVEMENT is devaluing their achievement.

        What happened to pride in doing something well, exceeding expectation and simply striving for excellence?

        I'm sick and tired of the race toward mediocrity.

        Comment


        • #34
          Twocubdad ...
          I'm sick and tired of the race toward mediocrity.
          I don't see it that way and I'm sorry you do. ... Ya don't like the merit badge program, then your troop should not use it. You're doing that. Great! You want it better, work for change. You want to discuss improving it, discussing changes.

          But it's un-scout-like to complain and worse to look down at others.

          -------------------------------

          Our council summer camp staff makes $100 to $200 week (depending on job, skill and age) and are up there for 9 to 12 weeks. They have assignments from morning to night often including kitchen, camp fire, specific unit help, site clean up, etc. You are not going to get skilled MBC staff without easily doubling the price of summer camp. We are at $250 per scout for a week of summer camp. I could see improvements if we charged every scout $500 for the week.

          IDEA - Perhaps when signing up for summer camp, every troop should donate and pre-register two adult leaders for teaching specific MBs. Then, troops that don't provide MBs can't take MBs.

          IDEA - Another option, perhaps summer camps should provide free food and housing to qualified and screened MBCs who come up and volunteer to teach. I know that would be very attractive to myself when I retire.

          My sons have had some great MBCs and some poor ones. They have had some summer camps, district camporees, MB events and they have also called individuals for badges. As long as it's a variety, they are learning and growing. If they were all bad or all just like school, It would be an issue. I also like that they are learning from others near their own age. I think that's great when it works.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by fred johnson View Post
            Twocubdad ...

            I don't see it that way and I'm sorry you do. ... Ya don't like the merit badge program, then your troop should not use it. You're doing that. Great! You want it better, work for change. You want to discuss improving it, discussing changes.

            But it's un-scout-like to complain and worse to look down at others.

            -------------------------------

            Our council summer camp staff makes $100 to $200 week (depending on job, skill and age) and are up there for 9 to 12 weeks. They have assignments from morning to night often including kitchen, camp fire, specific unit help, site clean up, etc. You are not going to get skilled MBC staff without easily doubling the price of summer camp. We are at $250 per scout for a week of summer camp. I could see improvements if we charged every scout $500 for the week.

            IDEA - Perhaps when signing up for summer camp, every troop should donate and pre-register two adult leaders for teaching specific MBs. Then, troops that don't provide MBs can't take MBs.

            IDEA - Another option, perhaps summer camps should provide free food and housing to qualified and screened MBCs who come up and volunteer to teach. I know that would be very attractive to myself when I retire.

            My sons have had some great MBCs and some poor ones. They have had some summer camps, district camporees, MB events and they have also called individuals for badges. As long as it's a variety, they are learning and growing. If they were all bad or all just like school, It would be an issue. I also like that they are learning from others near their own age. I think that's great when it works.

            A. After trying to work with the camp and its council and being told they can't afford to follow the rules, I am working with National.

            B. Which point of the Law leads you to "It's un-scout-like [sic] to complain"?

            C. Adults can counsel but do not determine what camp the PLC selects.

            D. "Some" Merit Badges are given reather than being earned.

            E. If a camp cannot afford to adequately staff for the number of candidates they accept, how does that support the conclusion that they are entited to cheat? I'll bet you can think of alternatives. Look! You did. But as I noted, some camps cannot see how to use volunteers or absolutely do not want them, and you seem to fall into the second category: "Of course the camp staff counselors don't want the adults around. It's like being SPL in a troop with a uptight scoutmaster waiting to pounce on you at the slightest mistake."

            F. Note that Metrit Badge Counselors must be adults. That makes it very hard not to have adults around - unless you cheat.

            Comment


            • #36
              While I can appreciate the sentiments about wanting the boys to have fun at summer camp and learn with/from their peers without the judgy adults around as well as avoid the school like classes, this is different from merit badges. The boys can and should do all of those things, however these activities are not equivalent to calling up,learning from, and being tested by an adult merit badge instructor. By all means use summer camp as a place for boys to have fun and learn from each other in a non-school setting. when they return they can call up a merit badge counselor (adult) and proceed to actually earn the merit badge. I still do not know how councils and camps get away with having boys sign merit badge cards, or the adults signing them after abdicating their responsibility to a boy. The ways camps run merit badges is one of the most untrustworthy things I have witnessed as a scouter. I feel for the boys who miss out on a quality program.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by fred johnson View Post
                This year, my only disappointment was the OA callout. Fire died quickly (three minutes). All leaves, no wood fuel. Forgetting their parts. No inspiration. .
                Built by incompetent counselors who were inspired and refreshed to incompetency by working with past staff close to their own age.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Although this wouldn't guarantee competency it could help somewhat. Require 4 weeks of volunteer summer camp staff for Eagle.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    As far as I can tell, there are two steps, neither of them instant. 1) Educate adults in your district in what to expect in MBCs. 2) Change camp directors. (You might try to reform the current one, but once that "can't afford it" mentality sets in, it takes a serious kick in the pants.) I have no problem with youth counselors who are given proper supervision ... Who know they can hand out partials and the CD has their back. ... Who know if there is an adult "expert" they can recruit him/her. I've helped with space ex, astronomy, and swim instruction during my stay at camp. What was my example? When I was a scout, my SM sent me to the SM in the troop camped next to us for 1st aid MB. He didn't pass me at camp. Dad had to drive me to his place with a buddy for further skills improvement. (That suited Dad just fine, because that town had the cheapest barber in the county!) Wouldn't it be great if your shy boys met one or two community counselors at your summer camp? That way, their first call to an MBC wouldn't be a cold one! Anyway, the program is only as broken as people let it be.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Our Council demoted the Camp Director who was running a Merit Badge Mill. After nearly two yeasr as a jr.-level DE, they fired him outright. He had other problems.

                      The mill is running full blast at another Council's camp.

                      "Change Camp Directors" Sounds good. Why stop there? Ending pain, suffering, and evil would also be good.


                      Comment


                      • #41
                        From the BSA website: Summer Camp Merit Badge Counselors

                        The same qualifications and rules for merit badge counselors apply to council summer camp merit badge programs. All merit badge counselors must be at least 18 years of age. Camp staff members under age 18 may assist with instruction but cannot serve in the role of the merit badge counselor.


                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Papadaddy View Post
                          From the BSA website: Summer Camp Merit Badge Counselors

                          The same qualifications and rules for merit badge counselors apply to council summer camp merit badge programs. All merit badge counselors must be at least 18 years of age. Camp staff members under age 18 may assist with instruction but cannot serve in the role of the merit badge counselor.
                          Very much like white collar crime. Rarely enforced.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Like it or not, "assist with instruction" and "counsel" are synonymous in the minds of many. I wonder if there should be an "MBC's Aide" patch.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              The policy is fine. It just needs to be followed. If National HQ is worried about their "brand", they would follow their own policies which mitigate loss of quality. Instead, while they promote excellence in words, actions show they care more about volume of awards and not quality. It is the Walmart philosophy of business. It is a quality vs quantity. HQ needs to ask themselves whether they want the Eagles Scout and the BSA brand to be the Walmart or Saks. I know some will say it is important to encourage as many boys as possible to participate. I agree, but advancement and awards should be based on standards. Participation in scouting does not require one to earn MBs and handing them out as parting gifts for attending summer camp or universities devalues the brand. strange how HQ is so caught up with the religious aspect of scouting and declarations of other "values", yet consistently allows for scouts to advance by promoting the ignoring of the actual requirements (via willful non-enforcement of policy). A Scout is Trustworthy, and all adults who deal in this type of "advancement" are not being scout-like IMO.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Very well said.

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