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Tim in NJ

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About Tim in NJ

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    Junior Member

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  • Location
    Union County, NJ
  • Occupation
    Electrical Engineer
  1. Tim in NJ

    NBC versus CBS; Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    That's my council and district. I'm looking forward to hearing some more details about this from some friends close to Troop 368 over the next couple of weeks. I know the people that post on the Patriots' Path Council Facebook page, and they would not share a fake letter or story.
  2. perdidochas covered the first part. You are thinking of the classic, historic method of boys earning merit badges, which happens to be the best method in my opinion. 1, 2, 3, or a small group of boys decide that they want to earn, say, the Engineering merit badge. They ask their Scoutmaster for blue cards and the names/contact info for a local counselor. They pick your name, contact you, and arrange a meeting or phone call of some type that works best for all involved. They may show you some work they've previously accomplished, ask questions about how to complete certain requirements, ask for permission for activities that say "with your counselor's approval", or just generally discuss the merit badge subject. Hopefully the boys leave that first meeting with a plan in their heads for how to complete at least some of the remaining requirements. As the boys continue working on the badge, they can schedule additional meetings with you. When they have met all of the requirements (as written, no more and no less) to your satisfaction, you sign off two sections of their blue card, tear off the third section for your own files, and congratulate them. Each meeting you have with the boys could last 15 minutes or two hours, and you can get a badge done in one meeting or twenty. It really depends on the requirements of the given badge and the work that the boys are accomplishing at their own speed. As far as required background, a merit badge counselor is essentially supposed to be a subject matter expert for the boys to use as a resource. Your background in each subject should be evaluated at either the council or district level for each badge that you apply to counsel. In my council, this is handled within each district by a specific volunteer with a job title of "Merit Badge Dean." Generally, they are looking for a professional or strong amateur interest in the subject, and from your brief descriptions above, I would guess you would qualify for those first 6 badges you mentioned. Its up to you to decide if you want to share your experiences about the hobbies that you are no longer actively involved in though. I have found it to be a good experience, however I do want to caution you not to get discouraged if your phone is not ringing off the hook. I don't believe any of the badges you listed above are among the top 15 most popular, so you might end up with limited interest.
  3. Personally, I hate the worksheets. This isn't school, I'm not a teacher, and assigning fill-in-the-blank homework seems to me to be pretty much the opposite of what scouting is supposed to be about. I consider the merit badge pamphlets to be a good reference, but not an absolute necessity. I'm a bit saddened to see how many boys show up to our first meeting for a given merit badge with a sentence or two written in each blank on a worksheet they pulled off the internet figuring that they'll get my signature on a blue card 45 minutes later. In reality, anything that can be completed on the worksheet is the least emphasized part of the badge for me: I spend a lot more time and effort on both the hands-on and discussion requirements of any given badge.
  4. Cooking MB presents one very unique challenge at the moment... two sets of requirements this year. As far as I understand it, by starting the badge in 2014, the scouts can choose whether to use the old requirements to earn the badge or the new ones that become mandatory January 1st. This means that when that scout does contact you (well done with pushing for that request by the way), you'll have to ask him which set of requirements they intend to use. I'm sorry I can't give you much in the way of specific guidelines for how to cover all of the requirements, but just remember to take your time and make sure every scout has the time to cover every requirement. There is no particular clock on getting the MB completed, so just work through a few things each time you meet with the boys. Also, I suggest initially partials on their blue cards at the end of every session so that both you and the scouts are clear on exactly what has and has not been completed. Good luck!
  5. Tim in NJ

    CSDC canceled?

    We've had to cancel the first week of camp at some of our locations this year due directly the harsh winter New Jersey has been experiencing. So many school districts have had so many closings that many campers and staffers alike will not be able to make their normal start dates. The state mandates that all public schools have to be open for 180 days of instruction no matter what the weather causes, so to make up all of the lost days everything is going to be very backed up when June rolls around.
  6. Tim in NJ

    merit badge pow wow

    18 one year and 16 the other I believe. When some of the scouts contacted me afterwards to complete the badge, I never saw more than 2 at a time.
  7. Tim in NJ

    merit badge pow wow

    From what I have gathered, results may vary greatly depending on your location and local practices. My council does run a "Merit Badge Workshop" (phrased that way on purpose) every November. A handful of badges are offered, and with only one exception each class only allows the scouts to cover a limited amount of the requirements. The exception that offers a chance to earn a complete badge seems to be Fingerprinting, which really does seem to have a set of requirements that should not take much time at all. For the last two years I have introduced Engineering Merit Badge at this event, and in about 2 hours I (and another counselor working together) have managed to sign off 3 of the 9 requirements as partials for each scout. We always make sure that every scout participates and speaks up for all completed requirements. At the end of the session, both counselors sign partials and offer up our contact information to allow the boys the chance to arrange the next meeting when they get more work done. Its certainly not much of a council fundraiser, since I think the participating boys are charged something $4 to register for the event plus $2 per merit badge session. Since there are only 4 sessions offered total, no boy would even have the opportunity to spend over $12 for the whole day. That probably barely covers the expenses to run the event.
  8. Tim in NJ

    Central New Jersey Council dissolving

    To put a bow on this, Patriots' Path Council hosted a miniature version of our annual Tradeshow of Scouting yesterday afternoon for transferring CNJC units. 38 out of our 48 new units attended, several bringing along multiple representatives. The biggest contingent I saw from a single unit was 4 adults and 5 youth from the same troop. As 00Eagle mentioned above, these units had been parts of 2 different districts in their old council and have now been placed into two of the already existing districts in PPC, with the biggest deciding factors being geography and school districts, not the name of their old CNJC district. Most of the people I talked to seemed very happy to be there and I already heard some compliments about the level and variety of programs we have to offer our new members, especially compared with what they used to have.
  9. Tim in NJ

    crossover ceremony

    i'm not familiar with the typical functions of most LDS units on this front. For most of the "community" units that I've worked with, the crossover ceremony had the Webelos stay in their Cub uniforms. For most of these units, the Webelos were already wearing the tan shirts anyway as that seems to be the more popular option here in New Jersey. In many cases, during the crossover ceremony, shoulder loops were changed from blue to green and/or neckerchiefs and slides were swapped to boy scout versions. It all varied slightly depending on the traditions of the particular packs and troops involved. Of course, these ceremonies also happened in groups, as these units did not involve the LDS membership timing. Have a quick discussion with the Scoutmaster involved, and perhaps ask other units in the area what they typically do. No one is going to get mad at you for a wrong answer on this, since there really isn't a wrong way to do it.
  10. Tim in NJ

    merit badge counselor

    Bugling has been the least-earned badge nationally for the last few years. Family Life will probably be the source of most of your phone calls. I've been registered as a Safety MB Counselor for over 2 years now... still waiting for the first scout on that one!
  11. Tim in NJ

    merit badge counselor

    Christineka: No, you do not need to buy the merit badge pamphlets, and any worksheets you find online are created by well-meaning people that are creating unofficial documentation. Its been 16 years since I have personally earned a merit badge, but I never used a worksheet for a single one. If you do become a merit badge counselor, your goal will be to work with the scouts in a way that gets through to them and allows them to understand the subject material. Worksheets might help some scouts, while others will benefit from different methods. You and the scouts work together towards the goal. Please take a look at the official description that I linked to above on BSA's own website when you get a chance. It really is a fantastic program when done right!
  12. Tim in NJ

    wearing the eagle medal as a scouter

    Since I became a uniformed scouter two years ago, I have pulled my medal out of the box and pinned it to my uniform exactly twice. Both times were to attend an Eagle CoH. I wasn't the only adult wearing mine either time, and no one gave me a second look. I'm happy to wear the medal with pride when appropriate and welcome new members into our brotherhood.
  13. Tim in NJ

    merit badge counselor

    In case you need it in writing: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/guidetoadvancement/themeritbadgeprogram.aspx I don't know what this "scoutmaster" is doing, but its not the Boy Scouts of America.
  14. Tim in NJ

    Scout denied Eagle conference

    Contact your District or Council Advancement Chair. There is a process in place specifically for this scenario which will trigger the Eagle Board of Review even without the final Scoutmaster's Conference. 4 months is much too long to wait, 6 more months is ridiculous. If there really was some reason to hold up your son, the troop has plenty of time to bring up the issue in years past.
  15. Tim in NJ

    Central New Jersey Council dissolving

    I haven't found anything official either, and the email I received was very light on details (I don't know exactly where this is being held, nor do I have a start time or end time). I'm waiting for a reply from our staff advisor that I hope will come soon.
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