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Are Scouts receiving merit badges that are not earned?

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  • #16
    We have this problem in cub scouts. I have been counseling my own son to be honest, so he does not accept awards he has not earned. I need to work with the other boys in my den on this as well. Hopefully, when they move up to boy scouts, they will have the integrity to refuse badges they have not earned. I suspect the awarding of unearned merit badges is happening in the church troop. (Very, very likely)

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    • #17
      Originally posted by ScoutNut View Post
      Moosetracker, I cannot imagine why, if there were an online database of merit badge counselors, they would not even want their email addresses revealed. That makes no sense to me. If a MBC does not want to be contacted, what is the point of him being a MBC?
      So, I take it that if you were a merit badge counselor you would have no problem with putting your email address out there for the ENTIRE WORLD to see, and send junk mail and/or porn to?

      Merit badge counselors CAN be contacted. It is up to the District/Council Advancement Committee to keep a list of current counselors. Some will publish it openly on their District/Council website. Some have a "locked" space on the website that only folks with the correct code can access. Some only have hard copies that can only be gotten from the Council offices by the unit leader (Scoutmaster).

      I suggest you contact the Advancement Chair for your District (or Council of the DAC does not help) and ask for names of counselors for the incorrectly completed summer camp merit badges. I would explain the reason behind your request as well. Better yet, because they might be leery about giving that information to a parent (not knowing if the parent is trying to pull something shady or not), and because it really is not the parents who should be looking for, and contacting counselors, have your SON, the Scout, contact his District Advancement Chair with the request, and explanation.

      Just a note - Nowhere, in any merit badge, is there a requirement that the Scout MEMORIZE the material in the merit badge so that he can spit it out verbatim a year later. That is not how it works.

      BSA requires the Scout to complete the merit badge requirements - AS WRITTEN. NO MORE - NO LESS.
      I would have no problem giving my email address out to anyone. I already get spam but my hotmail filter gets rid of most of it before I even see it. Also, email addresses listed on a Scout website could easily be disguised to avoid spammers as in bobwhite at yahoo dot com.

      Also, I am aware that there is not a requirement for boys to be able to recite verbatim his merit badge material a year or anytime after receiving the merit badge. I only mentioned it because I believe that many boys cannot tell much of anything about what they quickly crammed into their brain just a few weeks or months later after his merit badge class. I think it is up to the boy and his parents to make sure he LEARNS the material and does not temporarily memorize it. I guess I am suggesting that boys self police themselves on this. The last thing you want is a surgeon operating on your brain who temporarily memorized his med school curriculum, amen? You want him to know it well enough to teach it. Many merit badges worn by these boys are worthless to the boy. When an Eagle Scout cannot even tell my son how to tie a rope around a tripod group of sticks for the simple camp gadget, something is really wrong.

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      • moosetracker
        moosetracker commented
        Editing a comment
        It basically is how you look at what a meritbadge is all about.. The purpose is not for the scout to really learn the meritbadge, as he is expected to with scoutcraft.. You hope some of the parts of a meritbadge that go hand-in-hand with the scoutcraft or when the MB is totally about scoutcraft like First aid or Camping will improve or enhance that knowledge.. Otherwise the purpose of the meritbadge is simply to introduce the scout to different subject matters, if the meritbadge awakes a new found interest, then the scout on his own will continue down the road.. The requirements shouldn't be skimped on because the scout does not get the full introduction on the subject matter.. But, they shouldn't be added to because it is only an introduction to the subject matter.

      • boomerscout
        boomerscout commented
        Editing a comment
        Things not practiced are soon forgotten. There is a myth going around that once something is learned it is with you forever. That is just not true; it is not how the brain works.
        The Eagle Scout may have learned lashing as he went for the pioneering mb on the way to Star. But, if he hasn't lashed anything since then, there is no way he is going to remember this.
        Many camp areas and campouts don't seem to make poles available to lash up camp gadgets. So, there is rarely a way to keep in practice. One troop in South Florida stores their lashing poles on a flatbed trailer. They are lashing grand projects at every district and council camporee, Scoutarama, summercamp, county fair, etc. (At least they used to; haven't seen their Website in a while.) That is what it will take

      • DuctTape
        DuctTape commented
        Editing a comment
        Or the knots/lashings can be part of the program the older scouts deliver to the younger scouts on a regular basis.
        Or each scout could have a scout staff as a hiking stick and the patrol would have quite a few when at camp.
        Or the patrols could start to venture away from the picnic area campgrounds and explore other areas to camp like in the woods where plenty of sticks can be found.
        There are many ways to allow for the practice and they involve the scouts doing scouting things and not checking off boxes.

    • #18
      You all just said a mouthful...especially "Things not practiced are soon forgotten." That goes for many things in life well beyond scouting.

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      • #19
        Are Scouts receiving merit badges that are not earned?

        Yes. It does happen. The quality control of issuing merit badges to the boys rests with the diligence and honesty of theTroop program.

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        • boomerscout
          boomerscout commented
          Editing a comment
          the troop has little to do with the mb program unless they are using in-house counselors. They could also refuse to mention certain counselors from the district's list, but they have little to do with the summer camp program other than to tell their Scouts that xxx merit badge program left a lot to be desired last year.

      • #20
        This is yet another dilemma boy scouting is facing today, actually learning the skills and earning the MB's and rank badges has become go as fast as possible and using minimum effort get as many badges as possible and the final prize of Eagle by 14 and in the process learning very little, retaining virtually nothing, and having a substandard scouting experience. Reasons for much of this are lazy leaders, incompetent MB counselors, poor programs, and council/National pushing easier and simpler requirements. IMO scouting today for many boys is unchallenging, boring , and not much fun because of poorly run programs. You want boys to join scouts then make it really challenging for them, make them really earn those badges while having fun in the process instead of pandering to boys who really do not want to be or should be in scouts along with their helicopter parents.

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        • Brewmeister
          Brewmeister commented
          Editing a comment
          That's what happens when human nature meets a program with no objective standards for the top prize.

          Sports, academics, almost every other youth activity--all can be objectively judged by how one boy performs against another. The one who is the most skilled earns the starting role and is team captain. The marker to scouting progress is not as clear as yards gained, touchdowns scored, or math problems answered correctly. That leads to the problems you describe.
          Last edited by Brewmeister; 09-30-2013, 03:01 PM.

      • #21
        So, we need better competitions? Maybe at semi-annual camporees, you don't get a patch unless you finish. The top three Scouts, patrols, troops get a different color, fancier patch which is worn year around. Special competitions part of camporee include parts of pioneering, orienteering, what have you with even more bling. District scribe required to get pix with captions of top winners into local papers.

        Computer printouts tell which Scout has which merit badges; they are required (?) to enter the special competitions.
        Some Scouts find competition abhorrent; they would rather work on co-operation. Maybe age limits for the advanced ranks so less emphasis on running the mb gauntlet, and more on woodscraft and character building?

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