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  • Chess Merit Badge Class

    This November I will be teaching the Chess merit badge for my troop. I am the only one in my troop who has it. During free time at summer camp there is generally always somebody playing chess, so pretty much everybody knows how to play already. Having gone to tournaments and chess club before I joined scouts, I am familiar with tournament play, chess clocks, notation, and rules such as en passant. I'm not the first youth in my troop to teach a merit badge, we had a 16 year old teach the Wilderness Survival merit badge last year. Any advice on teaching? I've never done any group teaching before, it has always been one on one instruction on knots, orienteering, etc.

  • #2
    Spend as little time as required talking and as much time as possible with the scouts doing something.

    Comment


    • #3
      Unless you have 100% buy in from the troop don't do it during Troop the meeting.....But offer it before or after the meeting.......

      In looking at the requirements I have no idea how you would do most of it other than one on one.

      http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Chess I know not the official source but close enough for my purposes.


      Lots of discuss and demonstrate......Not exactly sure how you would do that in a quality manner in a group setting.

      Comment


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh boy, you really did it now 441. Quick Duck !!!

        Look up the definition of discuss. Is that how you discuss things with your parents or girlfriend ?

        I will let others pile it on.

      • EagleScout441
        EagleScout441 commented
        Editing a comment
        I know what it means to discuss, but if you look at all the summer camp merit badge classes do they really "discuss"? It's more like define.
        Requirement 2b: discuss sportsmanship: I define sportsmanship and then give/ask for examples.

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Have you filled out a Merit badge councilor application??????

        You are a Scout, under 18 correct???? Then you cannot council the merit badge on your own.....

        http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...elorGuide.aspx

        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.


        As a Merit badge councilor I do not take Meritbadge.org work sheets.....If the scouts takes the time to fill it out great....

        I will take it from him and put it in my binder.....

        Then we will discuss the requirements that say discuss, explain, or demonstrate.....


        I will say that if you accept notes as acceptable I believe you are doing a disservice to the scouts and weakening the merit badge program.....


        Do the requirements as written no more no less.....Notes are not discussing.


        As I stated I don't know how you could do an effective and quality job on the merit badge as a group..

        I am good with you teaching as a group.......Then hold discussions one on one with the scout for the requirements that ask for it.
        Last edited by Basementdweller; 08-23-2013, 04:53 PM.

    • #4
      I'm the only one in my troop that actually has the knowledge regarding chess to teach this MB. I am teaching it, and if I say that a scout has completed the requirement than it gets signed off and put into the computer.
      "Requirement 2b: discuss sportsmanship: I define sportsmanship and then give/ask for examples."
      This is the basic form by which I would complete the "discuss" requirements. As far as requirement 3 goes almost every scout already knows how to play chess(except for en passant), requirement 3 is chess rules. Then they would one on one pretend to teach me the rules.
      The "demonstrate" requirements must be demonstrated, otherwise it won't count.

      Comment


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        So let me get this straight. You are 15 and cannot be a MBC. However you are signing off requirements for a MB on a blue card ? Are you signing it as complete ? What MBC # are you using ? Entering it into the computer, what computer ? Troopmaster ? That doesn't mean squat regarding a MB.

        What happens at summer camp is irrelevant to what you do as an Eagle Scout. You live the Scout Oath and Law.

        So you are the only one in your troop qualified to teach it. Fine, teach it and get a Chess MBC to fulfill the requirements with the scouts.

        I don't think you realize the damage you could be doing here. What happens if a Scout has his EBOR and then of his elective MB comes into question? It will be on your head.

        If you are so confident you are doing the right thing, you should have no problem explaining all this to your District Advancement Chair. Send him an email and see what he has to say about it.

      • EagleScout441
        EagleScout441 commented
        Editing a comment
        Here is how we did it for the Wilderness Survival class last year: A 16 year old scout who already had it and was highly experienced, taught the class, afterwards, he gave the Scoutmaster a list of who completed what requirements.
        I am simply doing the same thing he did. If youth leadership can sign off on rank requirements what is wrong with merit badges?

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        You cannot be a merit badge councilor per national policy.....



        Regardless off any precedent you feel was set....

    • #5
      Wow.

      You have "researched" all (you feel) there is to know about Venturing, and yet have no knowledge of the basic rules and reg of your own Scouting program?

      Somehow I thought an Eagle, even an immature 15 year old Eagle, would be, at least vaguely, concerned about following the rules.

      Guess not.

      However, not to let him off the hook, but it seems that this is the kind of thing that has been modeled, and encouraged, by his Troop. What a shame.

      Comment


      • EagleScout441
        EagleScout441 commented
        Editing a comment
        "However, not to let him off the hook, but it seems that this is the kind of thing that has been modeled, and encouraged, by his Troop."
        Thank you, last year we had a youth teach Wilderness Survival MB, he was not the one putting down the signatures, but he informed the adult(counselor) about whether or not the scouts had completed the requirements: i.e. he checked everybody's survival kits, he made sure everyone started their fires without matches/lighters.
        This is the method by which my troop is allowing me to teach the Chess MB.
        "even an immature 15 year old Eagle"
        I take offence to that.
        KDD, as I have already said, I'm not the one signing off the requirements, I am simply reporting to an adult("counselor") what each scout has done and he signs it off if he thinks it is sufficient.

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        "If youth leadership can sign off on rank requirements what is wrong with merit badges?"

        Lets be clear here. You have indicated you were signing off on MB requirements.

    • #6
      Lets be clear.....The lad cannot sign off on requirements for a merit badge......It is a National Policy.

      So what is happening is his SM is signing the cards on his behalf..........I hope.

      If not there will be a few lads with earned merit badges lacking an appropriate merit badge councilor signature. I hope it doesn't become an issue at an EBOR if the folks running it do any research.

      Comment


      • EagleScout441
        EagleScout441 commented
        Editing a comment
        "So what is happening is his SM is signing the cards on his behalf..........I hope."
        Basically, yes. I'm not sure which adult will be doing the signing, though. I'm the "middle man," Scouts give me the requirements that they have completed and I report to the adult(counselor) who signs them off.

    • #7
      Now that I think the issue of my being allowed to teach the MB is settled, can we get back to my original question: Any group teaching advice? I think dcsimmons is the only one that has actually given an answer for my question, is there any further advice? The more the merrier.

      Comment


      • EagleScout441
        EagleScout441 commented
        Editing a comment
        The MB class isn't until November, all the details haven't been ironed out yet, I haven't looked for anyone in the troop who is qualified to be the counselor yet. I was just offered the chance to teach it 5 days ago when we were making the calendar for next year. Some of the adults suggested it last fall but I didn't pursue it.
        "What is the litmus test that your troop used to determine if you are qualified to teach?"
        There isn't a standard "litmus test" in our troop, but for the most part it has to do experience in that field. For example, we have an adult in our troop who is a lawyer so he taught the Citizenship in the Nation MB last year, the 16 year old who taught the Wilderness Survival MB had already been on 2 WS/tentless outings and was our SPL at the time. Having gone to chess tournaments and chess club, I have the most recent experience, and only tournament experience that I know of, in my troop.

    • #8
      Since your head is extra thick....of course you are only 15 and Always right.

      please read the link and see if it sinks in....It is the Merit badge councilor orientation guide..

      http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/18-125.pdf

      A Scout earns a merit badge by working with a council/
      district-approved and registered adult counselor, an expert in
      the chosen subject, who is on the list provided to his troop from
      the district.

      Working with a merit badge counselor gives Scouts contact
      with an adult with whom they might not be acquainted.


      What your troop is doing is not standard procedure?


      I just gotta ask this...

      I am going to bet that YOU earned most of your merit badges at summer camp and the rest by your Scoutmaster signing them off.....


      If that is the case it is incorrect and removing a couple of elements of merit badge program..... Can you guess what those are??

      Comment


      • EagleScout441
        EagleScout441 commented
        Editing a comment
        "by working with a council/district-approved and registered adult counselor, an expert in the chosen subject, who is on the list provided to his troop from the district."
        I have never seen a district list of merit badge counselors. My troop does merit badge counselors like this: The scout is required, before he begins MB work, to find someone who has experience in that field of study(law, architecture, etc) who is willing to be the merit badge counselor for that scout. Our SM has never given me a name/number/contact of any kind, I have had to go out and find someone, whether it is a teacher at my school or one of the adults in our troop. As far as I know, this has always been the way that my troop has done it.
        "Since your head is extra thick....of course you are only 15 and Always right."
        I'm simply doing it the way my troop has instructed.
        "Always right"? Far from it.

    • #9
      Question for you, 441: Why do you play chess? Why is there almost always someone at summer camp up for a game? Spit-balling here, but I'll guess it's because you enjoy it. So go with that and focus on the fun, not the merit badge. Merit badge classes are the bane of a great troop program. There are volumes of threads here as to why troop meetings should never include MB classes, so I won't repeat it all here. But I encourage you to search the site and read them.

      Much better is to focus on learning skills and having fun and let the merit badges come as they will. Several years ago I ran a month-long program for the troop on home repairs. The guys learned to rebuild toilets, we wired switches and outlets, learned to caulk a neat joint and -- the best part -- how to solder copper pipe. The boys had fun and I had moms dropping off dads for the lessons. But at the end of the month NOT ONE Scout earned the merit badge. A failure right? HECK NO! We learned stuff, had fun (who doesn't like playing with molten metal) and got something out of the program.

      Your focus for chess should be similar. Counseling the merit badges is an adult problem. Let the adult leaders deal with it (although as a youth leader and Eagle, I agree you should be guiding [or maybe dragging] the adults toward a more appropriately-run program.)

      You asked for help in planning the program -- here 'tis: involve the other Scouts in teaching the program. You said there are a number of guys who play chess, so use them. Organize the guys you know to be good players and put together a program. Break the rest of the guys up into small groups based on skill levels. Maybe you work with the best players or maybe your skills are best applied to giving the novices and good foundation -- but you decide. Break up the lectures among lots of hands-on playing. Next, make it part of the patrol program. The grand-finale could be a tournament with the patrols competing against each other. Rank the players so that only top-ranked players play against each other. Then devise a scoring system so that each patrol has a fair shot. You may even consider allowing the bottom-ranked players to play checkers. But everyone participates and everyone contributes to the patrol's success.

      This is how you build a good troop program.

      (OBTW, at the end of the tournament, mention that there is a Chess merit badge. You could even distribute a sheet listing the requirements and mention to the Scouts that if they've paid attention, they've probably gained the skills and knowledge to complete the badge. If they are interested, they should see the SM for a blue card and make an appointment to meet with the counselor. THAT'S the way the MB program should work.)

      Comment


      • EagleScout441
        EagleScout441 commented
        Editing a comment
        I will not force anyone to complete the requirements as I teach the class, but rather focus on helping them improve their skill, playing strategies, and learning the full extent the rules of chess, and of course mainly: fun.. If any of them want to earn a merit badge in the process, they can. And there will be a tournament at the end of the class.

    • #10
      eaglewolf......First I am an Eagle.

      ​Eagle doesn't mean anything more than the lad camped a bit, attended some meetings over at least a 3 year period and may or may not have actually earned merit badges and held Positions of Responsibility that may or may not have been simply titles......

      The BSA program has a huge problem with quality control. Too many PL and SPL's are simply figure heads. As we have seen on this forum, not all camping, patrols, advancement and troops are the same.......

      Who is the more quality Eagle Boy led or Adult led????? Depends on one definition of quality.

      I have met fantastic eagles and way to many who could not stand on their own two feet.


      Yet another Untrained scoutmaster who has no idea how the program is supposed to run.....

      Not your fault that your adult leadership has failed in this aspect of the program.


      Well seriously most districts and certainly all councils will have a merit badge list of varying quality.....

      Here is a couple of examples

      http://www.stlbsa.org/scouts/mbcd/pa...directory.aspx

      http://www.minsitrails.com/Volunteer...BadgeCounselor

      http://www.calumetcouncil.org/MeritBadgeCounselors.html


      So Check your councils website for a list of councilors....

      Comment


      • #11
        Found this on our troop website: http://bsatroop441.scoutlander.com/C...0A12Hh6A%3d%3d
        Can't find any council MBC documents though.

        Comment


        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          I think you know our ultimate goal is to help you do the program correctly. Many of us have contacts and experience that can help you get correct information you need. What council and district is your toop in ? Is it the Mid Tennesee Council, Trail of Tears District ? If it is one of us can contact your District Executive Ryan Vanden and see if he can get you the resources your troop needs.

          The web site does not appear to have an online MBC directory. That is OK as it is National Policy that information should only be available to certain unit leaders. Not all councils follow that directive, mine doesn't.

          Here are the relevant sections of the 2013 GTA

          7.0.2.2 Web-Based Counselor Lists
          Online counselor lists present a number of challenges. They should only be placed on official council websites that conform to the National Council guidelines at http://www.scouting.org/Marketing/Resources/ CouncilWeb.aspx. Give attention to protecting counselor privacy. Limit access to those who have merit badge– related responsibilities, such as advancement committee members and chairs, or unit leaders and selected assistants. 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.
          7.0.2.3 Unit Counselor Lists
          Units may establish their own lists of counselors, who may or may not opt to work with youth in other units. This may be necessary in wide geographic areas. It can also be helpful to have ready counselors for the most popular badges. Recognize, however, that Scouts learn from the perspectives of counselors outside their own troop. Note that all merit badge counselors, including those serving only one unit, must be registered and be approved by the council (or district, if authorized) advancement committee.

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm gonna give your leaders the benefit of the doubt and take a guess at what happened:


          Building and maintaining a list of MBCs is hard work. Back in my scout days a hard-working volunteer would coordinate with the DE and identify everyone theyknew with a particular hobby/skill (this often involved walking the exhibits at local fairs and consuming no small amount of funnel cake), ask that person if they would like to counsel MB, exchange addresses, then shake hands. Done. Then somebody's secretary would type it up. In my small town, you could practically get the phone book and just scratch the names of folks who weren't MBCs.


          Now an MBC has to fill out paperwork, take YPT, jump through lots of hoops just to be a name on the list that might only get one call a year, if that! Your SMs thought that was stupid, they probably weren't getting help from their district (why? Because for the same amount of result, they push ten times the paper!) And, they decided to go it on their own.

          What should you do? Make a fun class. Teach skills. At the end have an address and phone of an adult who they can go to and discuss what they learned. Hopefully that person is already on your councils list.

          If not, Put the responsibility of making that adult an official MBC squarely on your adult leaders and the DE.

      • #12
        "I think you know our ultimate goal is to help you do the program correctly."
        Yes I do, although some users can be a little harsh in their method of doing so.
        "Is it the Mid Tennessee Council, Trail of Tears District?"
        Yes it is, I have found DE Ryan Vaden's contact information. Once I have spoken with my SM on Monday's meeting(BTW, we are soon getting a new SM), I will proceed to contact DE Ryan Vaden.
        One question, if I contacted the President of my old chess club and he was willing to do it, could he be the MBC?

        Comment


        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          If he is 18, takes YPT, and fills out an adult application and whatever MBC application your council has it should not be a problem. In my council there is not a registration fee for a MBC.

          Some of us may be a little harsh, but realize the way you described the process sounds really bad.
          Last edited by King Ding Dong; 08-25-2013, 03:54 PM.

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          Sounds like you've got a plan. And while you're at it, hustle up and turn in your youth application for your venturing crew, that way your hard work can apply to an Arts & Hobbies bronze award (or whatever they'll call it in 2014)!

        • EagleScout441
          EagleScout441 commented
          Editing a comment
          Technically, Venturers can keep working towards Bronze awards until December 31, 2014.

      • #13
        Putting on my moderator hat here. I am at work and I don't have the time or the inclination to read thru this whole thread as I've already seen enough unscoutlike behavior in the first few posts to warrant a comment. Eagle is a youth. The rest of you are adults. Do you talk to your youth the way you are talking to Eagle? I certainly hope not. Constructive criticism is exactly that.....constructive. Boorish behavior is not constructive. Here is the deal. EDIT your posts to make them more helpful, friendly, courteous, kind and cheerful. I'm a big believer in free speech and I am loathe to delete, censor or modify anyone's posts. But posting here is a privilege and not a right. Members of this community will abide by the oath and law or they can find a different forum to post in. Like grandma used to say, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.

        Comment


        • EagleScout441
          EagleScout441 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks SR540, and thanks for the advice everybody, I think I have all the information I need.
          Basementdweller, while your comments have been a little harsh, I realize that you are simply wondering why my troop doesn't do MBCs the way instructed by National. They have been doing MBs/MBCs that way since I joined the troop, I don't know whether or not they ever did it "correctly." I am almost positive that qwazse is right about my why my troop does it this way:
          "Now an MBC has to fill out paperwork, take YPT, jump through lots of hoops just to be a name on the list that might only get one call a year, if that! Your SMs thought that was stupid, they probably weren't getting help from their district (why? Because for the same amount of result, they push ten times the paper!) And, they decided to go it on their own."

          "In defense of some posters, it's not immediately apparent that 441 is a youth. Some of his other posts on other topics imply an adult perspective."
          I tend to look at the big picture. I am very serious about scouting, in fact I have even looked into careers in Scouting(although, in the end, a career in veterinary medicine came out and is on top right now). But I think that my opening post in this thread makes it clear that I am a youth:
          "I'm not the first youth in my troop to teach a merit badge..."
          Last edited by EagleScout441; 08-27-2013, 12:55 PM.

        • SR540Beaver
          SR540Beaver commented
          Editing a comment
          JoeBob, you are correct regarding it not being immediately apparent that 441 is a youth. However, simply because a fellow member is 51 instead of 15, that doesn't give us license to suspend applying the oath and law in our dealings with them. A little latitude is afforded in the Issues & Politics forum. This ain't it. We have a youth with questions who needs help. Lets give it in a polite manner.

        • eaglewolfdad
          eaglewolfdad commented
          Editing a comment
          SR540 perhaps in this day and age some consideration could be give to creating a forum for scouts. I am sure that there are quite a few scouts in search of information much like our Eagle. Having their own forum would allow them to strut their stuff without the fear of them alienating anyone due to a different communication style. I would assign a mentor or two that the group could reach out to if they could not solve the issue using their collective genius.
          Just a thought
          Last edited by eaglewolfdad; 08-27-2013, 07:07 PM.

      • #14
        In conclusion:



        EagleScout411- you signing off merit badges for other scouts in a no go. If you want to teach your fellow Scouts about chess, go for it. It's a wonderful game (I play regularly) and many of the Scouts in your unit could benefit from playing the game. But rules are rules, you are forbidden from being a merit badge counselor at the age of 15. Your Troop has committed an error, and are fortunate that there hasn't been any advancement issues arising from such.



        I apologize for some of the belligerence Scouters here have shown you.



        Thanks SR540Beaver for having to be the mean moderator! =P
        Last edited by Sentinel947; 08-27-2013, 04:11 PM.

        Comment


        • EagleScout441
          EagleScout441 commented
          Editing a comment
          "I often find myself without the time to entirely dissect and read word for word each and every word typed into a thread. I'm not afraid to admit that."
          Being 15 3/4, I've got all the time in the world. I meant no disrespect in my comment, I apologize if it came across that way.
          "How long have you been playing Chess EagleScout411?"
          I'm not sure. I don't remember my Dad teaching me how to play, it was about 8-10 years ago. I used to play chess with my brother, he's 2 1/2 years older than I am, but he's in college now. Now I play with fellow scouts or on a computer version.

        • JoeBob
          JoeBob commented
          Editing a comment
          Won the Governor's Honors chess tournament in 1971.
          It wasn't because I was smart; it was because I was sneaky!
          I really enjoyed deflating those perfect SAT scores.

        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          " If you had read the entire thread you would know that I am not the one signing off requirements for the MB.
          ES441 8/24/13 2:58PM comment on ScoutNut's reply:
          "I'm the "middle man," Scouts give me the requirements that they have completed and I report to the adult(counselor) who signs them off."

          And I am teaching the class for the Chess MB "

          441 do you understand why some of us have a problem with this ? The problem is that you are a middle man. There is no adult association, whoever signs the blue card is just robo signing. There is not supposed to be a middleman in the merit badge program.

      • #15
        "I'm the "middle man," Scouts give me the requirements that they have completed and I report to the adult(counselor) who signs them off."
        "441 do you understand why some of us have a problem with this ? The problem is that you are a middle man. There is no adult association, whoever signs the blue card is just robo signing. There is not supposed to be a middleman in the merit badge program."
        The scouts have the option of not using the worksheet, no paperwork from them means no MB. I will be taking the paperwork and notes/reminders of scouts that have completed certain requirements(i.e. the tournament) to the counselor, who will sign them off.

        Comment


        • JoeBob
          JoeBob commented
          Editing a comment
          KDD's point is that YOU will be the adult they associate with. Despite your ability to observe the 'big picture', those scouts will not benefit from association with a seasoned chess master.

        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          Let me get this straight. They don't have to use the worksheet, but if they don't then no MB. Have you read Catch 22 yet ?

          You really need to get a copy of the GTA and read it several times. I think that will really help you out here. Here is another section of the GTA. Can you find some things your process is violating ?

          7.0.4.8 Unofficial Worksheets and Learning Aids
          Worksheets and other materials that may be of assistance in earning merit badges are available from a variety of places including unofficial sources on the Internet and even troop libraries. Use of these aids is permissible as long as the materials can be correlated with the current requirements that Scouts must fulfill. Completing “worksheets” may suffice where a requirement calls for something in writing, but this would not work for a requirement where the Scout must discuss, tell, show,
          or demonstrate, etc. Note that Scouts shall not be required to use these learning aids in order to complete a merit badge.

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          Simple advice: don't make yourself the middle man.

          The boy who contacts the MBC can simply say, "I played in a tournament with my troop" and talk to him about how it went. Scouts Honor.

          In tour class should try to "teach" the meaning of the things in a fun way. For example, you may have a student read the requirement and the description in the pamphlet, and then try practicing that term. Or acting out the movement of pieces!

          The boy who wants the badge, will "test out" by discussing them with the MBC.
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