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  • Another mb question

    My son's scout leader told him that he could only do a limited number of merit badges with one counselor before he needed to take a break and use other counselors. Is that a real regulation? Our district says 8 merit badges total per counselor, so it's not a whole lot before you'd have to move on anyway. Reason I ask, is that my son's only done 2and close to a 3rd (He still has some bugle calls left to learn to play well enough to pass off.) of the merit badges that I'm counselor for and his leader said he had to go to other counselors.

  • #2
    Your son's Scoutmaster is probably well intentioned, but that is not a real regulation. The Scout leader understands that a Scout should do merit badges with a variety of counselors, but he cannot MAKE a Scout use a variety of counselors.

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    • #3
      Sentinel947 is right.

      I'd add be careful and pick your battles. This is a big gray area. Scoutmaster is probably trying his best. He might be concerned about a pattern beginning where you are counseling your son. It's okay now and then, but I can easily see a SM getting rightfully concerned that you and your son would do ten badges that way.

      Bugling is not eagle required and it's a really hard MB because of learning the calls. I'd hope the SM would not have an issue with you finishing this MB with your son.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by fred johnson View Post
        I can easily see a SM getting rightfully concerned that you and your son would do ten badges that way.
        But, as I said, that's not possible. In our district a mb counselor can only do 8 badges and I've only got 7, so 7 is the max number my son could do with me. (And he doesn't want to do all of the other 4- only 2.) He has been doing other merit badges with other counselors, so it isn't as if he is only working on merit badges that I do.

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        • #5
          Why you would want to do seven merit badges as counselor for your son is mystifying. Don't you want him to have the fullest experience with OTHER qualified persons? I can see you doing the 'Family Life' mb with him but why anything else? Are there no other qualified counselors?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by packsaddle View Post
            Why you would want to do seven merit badges as counselor for your son is mystifying. Don't you want him to have the fullest experience with OTHER qualified persons? I can see you doing the 'Family Life' mb with him but why anything else? Are there no other qualified counselors?
            He wants to do them and I happen to be the mb counselor for the badges. He doesn't care who's his counselor. We have 2 registered mb counselors in the district. I'm one of them.

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            • #7
              Oh- and as I said before- he doesn't want to do all 7 that I do either. He completed 2 (music and reading- both because he figured they'd be easy- they still took him several months to complete), he's still working on 1 (bugling, because playing bugle calls is hard. He started playing cornet 10 months ago.). He wants to do genealogy and family life (I told him all that it entails, telling him it's a lot of work, but he said if it's required for eagle, he'd like to get it over with). The other two on my list are safety and traffic safety. He's not interested in those.

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              • #8
                Well, as much as I like and respect Sentinel, I am afraid his answer seems to be out of date. The current version of the BSA Guide to Advancement, section 7.0.1.4, third paragraph (ridiculously bureaucratic, I know, but here is what it says) says, and I put part of it in bold:

                Neither does the National Council place a limit on the number of merit badges a youth may earn from one counselor. However, in situations where a Scout is earning a large number of badges from just one counselor, the unit leader is permitted to place a limit on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor, as long as the same limit applies to all Scouts in the unit. Approved counselors may work with and pass any member, including their own son, ward, or relative.Nevertheless, we often teach young people the importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with counselors beyond their families and beyond even their own units are doing that. They will benefit from the perspectives of many "teachers" and will learn more as a result. They should be encouraged to reach out.
                So what I get from this is, a Scoutmaster CAN place a limit on how many MB's a Scout may get from one counselor, as long as the limit is applied uniformly. And later in the paragraph, while there is no rule against a parent counseling his child on a merit badge, the BSA encourages Scouts to work with a wide variety of counselors. (Thinking back, my father (a Scouter for more than 60 years) applied this to his own family, long before the BSA put it in a book; I earned Architecture MB with him, but for everything else he was a counselor for, he told me to find another counselor.)

                The other thing I know about this is that in my council, one of the things the chair of an Eagle BOR has on his checklist is that the MB's on the Scout's Eagle application were obtained from a "variety" of counselors, or words to that effect. It is not exactly clear what this rule really means. I think that if 4 or 5 badges on the application are from one counselor, that's not a problem. If all 21 are from one counselor, by definition that would not be a variety, but I am not sure what the EBOR, the chairman or the council could actually do about it since the Guide to Advancement says there is no limit on the number of badges a Scout may get from one counselor, unless the unit leader imposes a limit. And the EBOR would not be the time to start telling the Scout about that "rule" anyway, especially they are almost (or already) 18 at the time.

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                • #9
                  Pull you son's Scoutmaster aside and thank him for his interest in providing you son the best Scouting experience possible. It would be much easier for him to take the path of least resistance and not concern himself with the quality of the merit badge program. That he has this level of concern for the quality of your son's experience is admirable.

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                  • #10
                    Hey, if this is the way it's supposed to be, that's fine. I just thought I'd ask to see if it was really a rule. I'm not the kind of person that's going to change merit badges in order to have my son do lots of them with me. I don't plan on ever changing them. I don't care who the merit badge counselor is, either. He likes the adventure of meeting someone else to work on merit badges. (He's working on 5 other badges that I don't do- only one of mine right now.)

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                    • #11
                      Just wanted to add one more thing.

                      Your scoutmaster's actions are pretty standard. Many of us are very sensitive to parents sheltering their kid or being the driving force.

                      On camp outs, we expect scouts to work with each other, cook with each other share tents etc etc. And ... we'd see big red flags if the parent stepped in to setup the tent or cook the food or carry the scout's stuff or .... etc etc etc.

                      Same with advancement. I know I've had mothers upset with me when I've emphasized it's the scout's experience and advancement is his responsibility. Those conversations usually happen after a parent hands in a blue card or stands behind their scout pushing their scout to ask questions. Or what I've seen lately, the parent keeps a hawk's eye out for merit badge fairs or other MB offerings. Then, they get their scout registered. It would be okay if they shared with the troop and the scout registered himself through that notification along with other scouts. But when the parent signs him up for the MB event and stands near by when he asks for a blue card ... or even asks for a blue card for their son .... and then drives their son to the event ... and prods him to do the homework ... and etc etc etc.

                      It's okay when it's the exception. Patterns are concerning.

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                      • #12
                        Fred to be fair on the "fairs". Some around here require registration be by troop some require individual registrations. They almost all require some sort of nominal fee that must be made by credit card. In my state 12 year olds cannot have a debit/credit card (legally).

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                        • #13
                          We generally discourage Scouts from working with their own parent on Merit Badges. A parent that would want to (and a Scout that's working on 6 Merit Badges at one time for that matter - I'd never authorize that many at once) would raise gigantic red flags for me. This seems to me to diminish the benefit Scouts are expected to gain from the "Adult Association" Method.

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                          • #14
                            Regardless of what the rules may or may not be, it definitely is a good thing for a Scout to work with a variety of counselors.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scoutergipper View Post
                              We generally discourage Scouts from working with their own parent on Merit Badges. A parent that would want to (and a Scout that's working on 6 Merit Badges at one time for that matter - I'd never authorize that many at once) would raise gigantic red flags for me. This seems to me to diminish the benefit Scouts are expected to gain from the "Adult Association" Method.

                              I am not the leader, who is approving my son to work on all these merit badges, but several of them take a long time of doing something pretty standard. Right now the boy is practicing cornet, so that he can play the bugle calls. He's taking car of the cats for pet care. (This is a 4 month long requirement.) His leader has now approved Family Life, so he's got to do and track his 5 chores for three months. He's also got to find a scout to play one more game of chess with him, and he's working on game design for a school elective. II don't think it is off the wall crazy for a boy to do chores, practice music, and playing games. He started swimming at camp and didn't finish. He wasn't given his card or told about a counselor in town, so he's not actively working on it. He has the card for personal fitness, but hasn't called the counselor yet.

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