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    • If he has a signed blue card, from a district or council approved Merit Badge College, as scoutmaster myself, I would just accept it and award the scout.  Doesn't mean that the district or council lead on the event wont get an earful from me. I would also ask the scout about his workings to make the requirements.  This may influence the scout to actually work towards his next one properly.  But I would never stop the scout from earning the this one.   My son took Camping Merit Badge at a MBC.  I know he worked hard on the requirements, but when it came to the cooking part, the counsellor allowed the group to use previous troop camping experiences to get it signed off and didn't ask for proof of their nights camping. My son still received the merit badge completion at the end.  But we had a talk about how he got a "free pass" when other scouts have had to do the cooking part on upcoming campouts after they started the badge.  I wasn't going to argue with a group setting merit badge.  If they felt they covered the requirements and signed the blue card, thats on them.  I did make mention of it to the Merit badge coordinator for the event, and the district advancement chair as well. 
    • Going by the Guide to Advancement, blue cards are still the nationally recognized standard for the merit badge record (7.0.0.2 About the Application for Merit Badge (“Blue Card”)).  Councils can request a different process for large events (not sure how many councils actually make these requests or if they just do it on their own).  From what I have heard, some councils really scrutinize the blue cards at Eagle BOR time, while others just go by what is in the database (ScoutNet / Scoutbook).  So I guess the answer depends on which council you are in, and could change based on the people involved. We have Scouts move into / out of the area somewhat frequently, so we try to do the safe thing by making sure that the Scout always gets a blue card.  I like blue cards and Scoutbook, because they serve as backups to each other (blue cards sometimes get lost or damaged, and sometimes computer data gets lost or corrupted). Sometimes we get an actual blue card.  Sometimes we get a digital blue card from 3rd party vendors such as Black Pug or Tentaroo.  They can be printed on light blue card stock.  I have not heard any complaints about digital signatures.
    • I certainly think that the Uniform Method would benefit greatly from a statement of clear, concrete reasons for wearing the Scout uniform.  As noted previously, this is what we have now: Personally, I think that numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 10 are too vague and aspirational to be useful in explaining to Scouts and parents why we want them to wear uniforms.  Number 5 is sometimes useful, but not for most of the occasions (unit meetings) where the uniform will be worn.  Number 6 is good, but only on those occasions when Scouts are out in the community in uniform.   I would keep number 9, and suggest two restatements so that there are three clear, concrete, and easily explainable reasons.  The Scout uniform --  Shows the wearer's activity, responsibility, and achievement.  Badges and other insignia remind the Scout -- and show others -- his or her progress in developing skills, developing leadership, and overcoming challenges.  (Character, Fitness, Leadership)  Shows that the wearer is a member of a team.  Regardless of their backgrounds, all Scouts are equal members of a team, with equal responsibility for helping each other and the unit to succeed in their goals and activities, and to grow.  (Citizenship, Character) Shows that the wearer is ready and willing to serve the community and the country.  Every member of an organization committed to directly helping others puts on some type of uniform:  fire fighters, clergy, military, law enforcement, medical professionals, and many others.  For more than a hundred years, Scouts have been recognized as people with special skills, and have been called upon time after time to help others.  (Citizenship, Character, Fitness, Leadership)
    • We have 25 girls in our Scouts BSA Troop and are adding 10 more due to a successful recruiting event last Saturday.  Probably 1/3 of our girls used to be in GSUSA, and a few still are (being registered in both programs).  I am not familiar with GSUSA, I believe the principal difference is that we in the BSA use the outdoors as our principal classroom to teach our ethical decision making and Scoutcraft skills.  A Scout in our Troop who does not camp and hike would not be much of a participant.  It is clear to me that he other program does not have this same degree of emphasis.  I am sure there are exceptions, but our girls who have joined us share that there is minimal actual outdoor activities like in Scouts BSA.  I offer this not as criticism, but as an observation.  While some of the YPT and safety practices have some parallels, it is hard to imagine a combination of the organizations.  Their approach to organizing, financing and program is very different, but apparently works for their participants.
    • “There’s a form for that!” Under section 7.0.0.2 Merit Badge Program In the event unit leaders or other volunteers discover that any merit badge counselors are not following mandated procedures regarding the use of blue cards or working with the requirements as they are written, they should complete and submit to the council advancement committee the Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns form (found in the appendix) . Unit leaders should regularly review the policies and procedures related to the merit badge process with Scouts, parents, guardians, and leaders, and counsel them on proper methods as the need arises.
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