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  • #16
    First Aid is one of the merit badges for which I will heap praise on the scout summer camp. The guys at the health lodge do a really good job of 'hands on' and really fun activities for this one. They do a far better job than we could do as a troop. I guess if there was an EMS person who wanted to take some serious time to do it right that would work as well.
    I also give them credit for a good job on the waterfront merit badges, shooting sports, and a few others like fishing.
    I heap scorn on them for the terrible waste of time they offer with citizenship, and similar merit badges.

    Regarding the 'colleges', I agree and we discourage the boys from attending.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post
      Here's the other side of that coin. Where I live we do a ton of MB "colleges". They churn our MBs like a Texas BBQ joint turns our brisket. It's amazing. The level of detail is suspicious to say the least. There is little to no hands on work. They are supported by Districts (heck, they are run by Districts) and even Council.

      A few years back (when I was new to Scouting and so was my son) my son took the First Aid MB. It was an 8 hour course...of Powerpoint slides. No hands on. No demos. No EDGE. Nothing. My son came home and I asked him how the class was. He said he did not deserve the MB because he didn't do anything but sit there. I urged him to report his findings to his SM, the District and to Council (boy-led) which he did. Unfortunately the latter two did nothing to change this program. Our SM put together a program in-house -- using two doctors, an EMT and a few nurses we have -- to reteach the badge. It was not required for the boys to attend (since they already "earned" the badge) but every single boy attended. Yes, they even went through the steps of registering these professionals with Council to be MBCs.

      The result? The boys who attended thought it was the best MB program they had been to.

      The next year when that same District offered the same class (same format) we simply discouraged our boys from attending. We could not keep them from attending if they wanted to, but we simply gave them our opinion of the course and left the decision with them. I wish the District or Council had done something but they didn't.
      I do not understand that MB class, except that whoever ran it did not really worry about the Boys in the Troop that the First Aid boys were in. First Aid is the most important MB, IMHO, for a scout to have. I tell my scouts to pay attention (and we review things all the time), because I know that there is a chance that they will have to do first aid on me :-)

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      • #18
        I like worksheets because they help keep some flighty minds organized. Downloading the ones from USScouts will only cost the print per sheet charge

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        • #19
          Originally posted by perdidochas View Post
          I do not understand that MB class, except that whoever ran it did not really worry about the Boys in the Troop that the First Aid boys were in. First Aid is the most important MB, IMHO, for a scout to have. I tell my scouts to pay attention (and we review things all the time), because I know that there is a chance that they will have to do first aid on me :-)
          In my neck of the woods these MB colleges are big business. They are always full. I know this issue is in another thread, but if you ever wanted to see "paper Eagles" just go to one of these classes.

          I ran in to an Eagle Scout at one of these with his MB sash all filled with MBs (nearly both sides). Young kid, probably 14. He was taking Pioneering with two Scouts from our first-year program. The kid could not tie a clove hitch, so I have my two Tenderfoot Scouts teach him that and his lashings. ;-)

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          • #20
            Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post
            In my neck of the woods these MB colleges are big business. They are always full. I know this issue is in another thread, but if you ever wanted to see "paper Eagles" just go to one of these classes.

            I ran in to an Eagle Scout at one of these with his MB sash all filled with MBs (nearly both sides). Young kid, probably 14. He was taking Pioneering with two Scouts from our first-year program. The kid could not tie a clove hitch, so I have my two Tenderfoot Scouts teach him that and his lashings. ;-)
            I think they are experimenting with MB universities here, but they don't get much business, at least not from my troop. I will admit, we do have Merit Badge classes, but for the most part these are just times for the boys to get together with MB counselors. I have several boys who were in my Cooking MB class last year that still haven't finished. It's up to them.

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            • #21
              In registering as a MBC, you have the option of controlling with which Scouts you will work.

              "I agree to work with:
              All Scouts
              All Scouts in these districts: _________________________________
              Only with Scouts in these units (indicate whether troop, team, or crew): _____________________________________________
              Counselors are encouraged to be available to work with any Scout in any unit.
              I plan to serve as a merit badge counselor for this event or outside organization: ______________________________________"


              You are still approved and removed solely by the council, usually acting through a district advancement committee member by delegated authority.

              You are still a Council-registered Merit Badge Counselor.


              I have watched. Some unit-only MBC are fine. Some are not. I have no feel for whether a Scout necessarily has a better experience outside his troop, but he has a different experience - one he is supposed to have: calling up a stranger for an appointment.

              The Scoutmaster can judge which is better or best if he has actually been present during the work and can compare. Few Scoutmasters have that information, but they like the ones they have set up. That is how it goes.


              Like many Merit Badge Counselors, I would prefer that initial contact come from the Scout candidate. It is not always thus.

              1. Many Merit Badges are handed out, and some earned, at Summer Camp. Many of the "counselors" there are not registered as required by B.S.A. (and many cannot be since under 18 years of age), and the "merit badges" the non-MBC's approve have not been earned for any purpose. (Will that matter somewhere down the road? It's the Scout's risk.) Try First Aid for 47 candidates in 250 total minutes with no testing whatsoever.

              2. Many troops, believing that "advancement is what it's all about," organize mass-MB events, including arrange for MBC.s. Scouts may pass requirements at such events.

              3. Many districts, believing advancement is what it's all about, arrange mass-MB events., including MBC's. Scouts may pass requirements at such events.


              Advancement is the Scout's responsibility --- like school "homework"

              Advancement of patrol member's is also the Patrol Leader's responsibility.


              Some merit badge pamphlets are good.
              Some are OK.
              Some are weak.
              Some are an embarrassment to B.S.A. and have been for years.
              None of this can be determined by the pretty covers.
              A good MBC will direct the candidate to reliable sources of information for a Scout.

              If all the MBC has is familiarity with the pamphlet, the odds are strongly against his or her being remotely competent.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by boomerscout View Post
                I like worksheets because they help keep some flighty minds organized. Downloading the ones from USScouts will only cost the print per sheet charge
                I have found a program called Quiz Star that allows me to develop online quizzes for the Scouts to take. I can customize as needed and it reports scores. Pretty nice free tool.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post
                  I have found a program called Quiz Star that allows me to develop online quizzes for the Scouts to take. I can customize as needed and it reports scores. Pretty nice free tool.
                  What is the purpose of the quizzes?

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by TAHAWK View Post
                    What is the purpose of the quizzes?
                    To see what they have retained as part of the course.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post

                      To see what they have retained as part of the course.

                      Do you make taking and/or "passing" the quizzes a requirement for merit badge sign off?

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                      • #26
                        On a different note..

                        It seems many kids today don't know how to communicate live. They text, instant message, email and tweet in 140 characters or less, almost exclusively. They seem to have almost no use for picking up the phone and making a call, resisting doing so at all costs. They use their smart-phones as everything but phones! Employers get irritated with the lack of live communication skills, and the lack of relationship building skills.

                        Having to pick up the phone to call a Merit Badge Counselor should be highly emphasized. I would like to see the Scout calling the counselor become part of the registration process for attending MB fairs, even if only to confirm their name made it onto the counselor's list before the fair begins. That way it is not adding to requirements of any particular merit badge, but they get to practice the skill.
                        Last edited by BoyLedMyEye; 04-28-2014, 03:50 PM.

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                        • #27
                          "think my District Advancement Chair would side with scoutnut. He said HQ checks "funny" things with blue cards (e.g. lot's of different MBs with the same signature, too many MBs where boy's and councilor's last name match).

                          It's not too far fetched that a registrar could check a signature that he/she didn't recognize to see, just for kicks, if the counselor ever registered with the BSA."


                          Quayze, does your council office also collect blue cards??? Ours just enters the information into Scoutnet from the advancement reports---we keep the pink copy, and the blue cards go into a shoebox, rarely ever to be looked at again UNLESS there is an MB problem at Eagle time, and we can't find the pink sheet and have to dig out the blue card. Council only sees the blue card when there is a verification question, and then they have us file a corrected advancement report and we keep the blue card.
                          Last edited by FrankScout; 04-28-2014, 07:07 PM.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by BoyLedMyEye View Post
                            Do you make taking and/or "passing" the quizzes a requirement for merit badge sign off?
                            It is to test their retention of the knowledge so they can demonstrate mastery of the material. We use the EDGE method when the badge is taught and where to the GTA, as well as the Guide for Merit Badge Counseling.

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                            • #29
                              St. Louis does not use Blue Cards, they are white with green or red printing about 5x6. All the same information is recorded but it has a field for the MBC ID #. Stamped with SE signature and given back to Scout.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by FrankScout View Post
                                ... Quayze, does your council office also collect blue cards??? ...
                                I don't think they do. But we have Eagles keep them at the ready when they bring their application to HQ. We encourage them or a parent to take their app in in person so issues like this can be addressed without any delay or middle-men.

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