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Merit Badge Days are mostly Garbage...("Was that over the top?...I can never tell")


While there are a few of the easy merit badges (thinking leather working or basketry types) that can be done successfully in a large group, most merit badges and almost all Eagle Badges should be as close to one on one as possible.


Having sat through several of these abominations I can virtually guarrantee that 30 minutes afterwards most of the finer points of ________(you fill in the merit badge) have been forgotten by the vast majority of the group...

It would be like like taking a CPR in a class of 100 with only two "practice dummies" and no time for everyone to experience the rise and fall of the chest or the feel of the effort to make several cycles 15- 1-1/2 or 2 inch chest crompressions (for several minutes at a time) ...most will never zone in on what is being stressed and taught....they just fill seats and get a ticket punched...


Heck, I don't even like the fact that some summer camps now have EAGLE sessions...Excepting, perhaps swimming and life saving, Eagle candidates should really "work" on the required badges. They should get a meaningful experience not just sit in a room (Eagle nest?) being lectured too, or reading or playing Video games for several days...(and yes, I have wittnessed these exact things)


Unfortunately, our Council and District support these travesties and many boys flock to them, hoping to blow out a few quick and easy badges...merit badge mills...bah humbug



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There is only one way for a unit to stop using MB mills: It has to stop using all of them. Otherwise, the SM and CC will be exposing themselves to a rightful charge of hypocrisy:


- Going to the US Strategic Air Museum on I-80 in Omaha and staying there overnight gets you Aviation MB.


- Going to the USS New Jersey (Scouting Magazine, Jan/Feb 07, p 37)... they advertise new Scout MB programs.


- Going to Patriots Point (USS Yorktown), on their website advertises Aviation and Oceanography MBs.


Google on museum scout "merit badge" programs... there are 34,600 hits. (American Textile History Museum - Scout Services, Houston Gulf Coast Railroad Museum, Wisconsin Maritime Museum Overnight Program). Only one activity on the first page of the hit list (Children's Museum of West Hartford, CT) indicated they would not do the sign-offs for their Scout overnight programs.


I'm not saying a unit cannot go to these opportunities, but I am saying you will have to sell your PLCs to reject the MB offers. To my way of thinking, the SM and the Committee are then obligated to locate a local MB Counselor who will make him/herself available to leverage the opportunity. Of course, whether the boys take up the cudgel of getting their blue card and doing the MB with the Counselor is their responsibility.


Further, the SM and CC need to front-end educate their parents, because I guarantee you Troop XXX across town is still going to do this. (Gee, this sounds like gwd-scouters problem in the Webelo III thread).


Of course, this also means the SM and CC need to have a hard think about where and why the Troop is going to Scout Camp. In my Council, at our 10 day operation, Scouts have the potential to earn up to 8 MBs a year.


All this can be done, but the CC and SM need a buy-in from the IH down to the PLC. If we really believe that our Troops are Boy-Led, then the PLC is the body who have to want to stop using the mills to get quickie advancement.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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All this can be done, but the CC and SM need a buy-in from the IH down to the PLC. If we really believe that our Troops are Boy-Led, then the PLC is the body who have to want to stop using the mills to get quickie advancement.


Yah, I've seen several units that have done exactly this.


One of da side effects is that the boys get somewhat uncharitable toward the badge mill units. They see someone with 50+MB's and roll their eyes and ask how many of them are "real." But they do take great pride in the badges they've earned.


I've also noted over the years that the counselors who stick to makin' boys really learn the requirements and make badges a real opportunity/challenge are the ones that the boys respect the most.


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