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How many Eagle MB should be done by parent?

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How many Eagle Merit Badges should a parent be allowed to sign off on? We have a registered MB counseler who is a parent and is working with her son on multiple Eagle required MB's for thier 17 year old son and some other MB's also. Our Troop currently dosen't have a policy in place to stop this (I will be changing that) but I cannot find anything from BSA that this is forbidden. It goes against the purpose of adult interaction and reeks of special treatment but I cannot find any set ruling.

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Yah, hellow SM196.


As Scoutmaster, you get to determine who you send a boy to when he requests to start a MB. There's no reason yeh have to send him to his parent, even if his parent is a counselor for that badge.


Some councils refuse to sign up a MBC for more than 5 or 7 badges, eh? Not strictly kosher, but they're tryin' to deal with da problem you describe.


Many troops choose not to allow boys to complete any badges with a parent or close relative, the same way we don't allow a parent to sit a Board of Review. In workin' with a lot of troops over the years, that's what I generally recommend in most cases. Da parent-as-MBC is just too Cub Scout for me, eh? It deprives the boy of the full benefits of Adult Association, and parents aren't really experts in the field when they're doin' a lot of badges. Parents tend to be either easier on their own son or harder on him, and yeh just can't escape the stigma of perceived impropriety even when things are on the up-and-up.


So best if yeh don't allow it at all, IMO. Like anything, there are exceptions. If a dad is really da only qualified Composite Materials counselor in the district, then by all means let the boy take the badge with dad. But for Eagle required badges, it should always be a non-parent.




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Is there a reason to suspect the parent? Does the scout show any indication that he is skating on requirements? Many posters here say they are tougher on their kids that others, could that be the case?


The reason you can't find anything solid preventing a family member from counseling a scout is because there is none. And if you institute a troop policy, well, it may be ok in the troop, and I understand it, but if someone challenges it, you lose. Its your choice.


Have you talked to the family? Aired your issues? Assured yourself the badge is being done correctly? Is there a reason to assume the worst?


Having said all that, my son got a Silver Palm, I counseled None of the merit badges he ever got

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The simple answer is "As many as the parent is a registered merit badge counselor for".


Yes, Scoutmasters provide names of merit badge counselors to the Scouts, but that does not mean a Scoutmaster ASSIGNS a merit badge counselor to a Scout. A Scout is under no obligation to go to any merit badge counselor "picked" for him. A Scout may request another name, or may request a few names. Any Scoutmaster who refuses just shouldn't be in the job - and any Troop that tries to enforce a rule about which Merit Badge counselors can be used should turn their Scouts over to units that get the program and don't act as barricades to advancement.


None of this "Yeah, but there's nothing in the real world to prevent it" loosey goosey crap. If any adult stands in the way of a Lad trying to advance, that adult should be shown the door.


You're unit doesn't need a "policy" on this. There's already a policy that covers it all - the one put out by the BSA. They aren't guidelines for putting together Troop policies - they stand alone as THE policy. Follow that policy and you won't go wrong. Want to create your own "policy'? Start your own scouting movement - just remember not to call it Scouts.(This message has been edited by CalicoPenn)

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The Scoutmaster is the gatekeeper of the merit badge program.


I work for my DAC, training new MB Counselors. The above is one of the key points of my presentation every month. That signature on the MB app is Mr Scoutmaster's approval for the Scout to begin the badge, and it's Mr Scoutmaster's assignment of a Counselor to the Scout. If Mr Scoutmaster lets Billy's parents do 21 MBs with Billy because he doesn't keep the gates, then Troop 123 will reap what is sows.


Personally, just because ACP&P says "Parents can" does not necessarily mean parents should. Adult association is about more than Mommy and Daddy teaching Billy. Family Association is a Method of Cub Scouting. Now, if Mr Billy is the only Counselor qualified in a Council for Stamp Collecting MB, that's a different matter. To me, it means the DACs and CAC need to be looking for more stamp collectors to counsel the badge.

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What parents can and should do are two different things.


The only time I allow (as SM) a parent to sign off their son's MB is if the boy is working on the MB as part of a group. I also let the parent know that it would "look better" if his/her boy gets signed off the same time as someone else, but its just a suggestion.


But a parent doing all 21?


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Hello Thank you for quick replys. As a new Scoutmaster I had an inactive Scout (medical issues) become active again with a list of 7 merit badges he is currently taking with his parent 5 Eagle required. He also turned in about 5-8 completed MB's with most of them being completed partials from summer camp. The Scout did not seek mine or the last Scoutmasters approval and the parent and their son didn't know his son needed to get prior approval from a Scoutmaster. The parent I'm told is one to make sure it is completed correctly but I don't know that first hand. If he works hard to make Eagle could he be denied because of this? We have other MB counselers for the Eagle MB's, should we transfer him to them? Should I sign the Blue cards even though proper procedure wasn't followed?(This message has been edited by SM196)

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I did citz in community with my son and others in his patrol at the same time. It was not that big a deal and he did the same work the others did.


Like most things "it depends on the situation" I guess.


I can't see ever being MBC on a solo basis with him on a badge.



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The name of the merit badge counselor will not come up at the Eagle Board of Review, well, I guess anything is possible, in the past 10 years or so of doing Eagle Boards, the Counselors name has rarely come up at the ones I do, but then again, I guess it could happen. If the person is registered, then there is no issue with the BSA.


It may be a point to consider in the future, but to tell the scout you dont trust his mother, when you have been told she does it right seems wrong. If you want to be sure she is doing it correctly say so and inspect his work. Nothing wrong with that, to just summarily tell him to switch, yeah, I think thats wrong


then again, I could be wrong(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Thanks Calico, you just freed up all my Tuesday nights and one weekend every month!


I've got a couple parents who spout the same "you're standing in way of the Scouts (read, "my son") advancing" bull. I have a name for folks who feel that way about the job I'm doing as Scoutmaster. I call them "The New Scoutmaster." It's odd no one ever seems to take me up on that.....


Advancement policy clearly requires a Scout to have a blue card signed by his SM before beginning a MB. This may be an assumption on my part, but when I am asked to sign something, that usually means I am approving the content of that document. In the case of a blue card, that includes the name of the counselor.


The rule in our troop is a Scout shouldn't use a parent as a counselor for a required MB if there is someone else is available. We try to have mutiple counselors available for all required MBs, but we are occasionally short. Emergency prep and Environmental Science are the only two I know of with one counselor, and both cases the Scouts/sons already have the MBs.


For elective badges conflicts are more frequent, and we don't really worry about it to much.


In your situation, SM196, I don't think you can do much. If the parent is a registered counselor for all the badges, you don't have much of a case for refusing them. That the SM didn't give prior approval is fairly thin ice, if it comes to an appeal. That they Scout has been inactive due to medical issues makes an even harder call.


I would sit down with the Scout, his mom and my troop advancement chairman and explain that you are concerned that he has done so many required MBs with his mom. Ask him if he can show you some of the work he did for the badges. As you say, if the mom usually sticks closely to the requirements, that should be the end of it. On the other hand, if it appears the mom has pencil-whipped the requirements, maybe she and the boy will see the light and complete any additional work on their own.


Keep it friendly and non-confrontational. If it goes to appeal, you I don't think you have much of a case.

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BSA Requirements 2209 #33215 or 33216 (glue or wire bound respectively:


Pick a Subject. Talk to your Scoutmaster about your interests. Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you. Pick one to earn. Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors. These counselors have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping you.


Note the sentence: Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors.


The Scoutmaster assigns the Counselor. As I tell my students: The SM has the duty to get to know his Counselors, to learn their strengths ans weaknesses. That way he can match Mr Jones to Bobby and Mr Smith to Billy, even though they are taking the same merit badge.


The Scoutmaster is the gatekeeper.


BTW, since BSA Requirements is online, you can also find those words at:


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Sadly, I agree with twocubdad.


What you can do is stop this for the rest of your tenure as SM, be that 3 or 30 years. Have a friendly cup of coffee with your CC. You and he need to have each others backs. Then, you announce, first at a Committee meeting, then at a PLC, and finally to the Troop how things are.


Yes, it will mean more time for you: Mr Smith, may I...? What it will also mean is you will get to help kids learn to make good decisions.


Have fun :)

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As stated earlier there is no rule against it or at least I cannot find one.



But I find it suspicious that the young man is working on a 5 at one time with his mother as councilor. IMHO The SM should not have allowed it.


One of the objectives of Merit Badges is to have the Scout meet with someone he does not know, Manage the meetings and requirements. I hope that my son has a different councilor for each of his merit badges. Meeting a unique person and working with them is a gift.



SM196 you said that he showed up with a list of merit badges he is working on. Did you approve them???? The first step to earn a merit badge is to get the SM approval.




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