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How many Eagle MB should be done by parent?

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My parents were MBC for me, out of the 44 I earned, I couldn't tell you how many (maybe 12?). From the time I was a Scout through finishing all my Eagle requirements except my project, we were living on an Army post in Germany. Many of my required badges were earned at summer camp (camping, swimming, lifesaving, environmental science), but things like the citizenship's were done with at least two scouts by my father.


To be honest, I always felt a little guilty when one of my parents were a MBC for me, I always thought that somebody would say something! Actually I believe my mother was only a MBC for one badge, Family Life, before it was required.


I think that badges I took with other MBC that my father could have done, I got a little more out of. Not because of a lack of knowledge on my father's part, but being in contact with other adults. For instance my father used to be a LEO before the Army and served as an Army Aviator while in. But my MBC for fingerprinting was a CID agent and my weather study MBC was the Air Force meteorologist attached to my father's Battalion. He could have done them, but they were more "fun" with the other gentlemen. Maybe I just wanted to hang out and learn something from someone other than my father for once!


My personal observation as an Eagle who has now spent more time as a Scouter than a Scout is....that Scouts who's "end game" is to be an "Eagle" get MBC who are convenient to obtain, and those who want to get the most out of scouting reach out and expand their horizons. Just my $.02.

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Easy. None. It looks bad.


OK, perhaps that's a little extreme, but I really think that every effort should be made to find another MB counselor. As for some sort of "hip-pocket" maximum, probably five by ANY one merit counselor is a good guideline.(This message has been edited by sherminator505)

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We have no problems with a parent being a MBC for thier kids so long as other kids are doing the badge with them at the same time. I am SM and I am also listed on about 8 MB's to counsel. The only times I do MB's is with a sign up sheet and the badge is done outside scout meetings, each scout is tested and engaged and we watch to see each one is actually learning the skills, not just sitting through the sessions and getting a checkoff for having had a pulse and sitting there. The only other time a parent signs off on their kid's MB requirements for which they are a registered is when they send copies of their son's work to other troop MB counselors to verify the scout did the work. This happesn when tehy come home from MB Colege and summer camp and they have a partial and finish up the remaining req's.

When my boys are in one of my MB classes, we all know they must go way above and beyond in demostrating they know the material so there is no question there was no favoritism. My boys know that with me, knowing the skill is more important then getting the badge.

I suppose some don't like the idea of doing MB clases, but a scout is thrifty, my time is tight and the best way for me to teach E prep or some other badge is to prepare well, get the materials and support, plan the time and do a really good job teaching the badge. We have a lot of fun that way, with fire saftey they get to see all kinds of neat movies at the fire hall that help teach teh requirements, they get to mess around with the fire trucks, teh hoses, the ventilation fnas and all, they learn alot and have fun. When teh day is done I finish teh blue cars and we are done. I am too busy to have all kinds of different scouts wanting to meet and work on different parts of different badges at different days and times and keep track of it all. When we do railroading merit badge, they learn well as they are happy having fun, motivated and excited. We go as a group down to the Locomotive cafility and fet to climb on engines, blow the horn, sometimes ride a yard switcher. I can't take time to set all that up for just one scout but it is worth it when I get a dozen scouts and we set up a great progam. They learn more when they are truely engaged.

I have never heard of a scout approaching a MB counselour at anotehr troop to do a badge one one one. To help control my time, I am a trop only counseour as are my other MB Counselors. We already volunterr a ton of time so the boys have a good troop to go to, I have no additional time to counsel badges one on one with kids from other troops from other towns. I'd love to see boys show the initiative to approach a counselor to take a badge he is interested, but in todays day and age, the kids don't think that way and the adults can't work their time efficiently that way either. The majority of our scouts get MB's at summer camp, MB colleges and district our council offerings, after that comes troop MB counselors and classes.

Some might say we are making it too easy, I disagree, I think we have adjsuted teh program to meet todays realities. I don't beleive on making it easier, but I also don't beleive in making it a lot harder either.

The reality is, if we were to be purists and not go to MB summer camsp, not allow MB colleges or troop group classes, we would not only have no eagle Scouts I wouldn't have any Star scouts, they would revert to X baox and drop out after making 1st class being content with the fun they had ccamping while thery wee mebers. That is the reality of it. The good things is we are not an eagle factory and we make certain the highest priority is the scout learns the requirements and skills in the badge.


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Oh, horse manure, highcountry.


I made Life Scout in my youth membership in the 60s and 70s. On my sash (yes, I have it):

- Drafting: Mr Schwing, my 7th and 8th grade drafting teacher, signed off. Yes, he was a certified counselor in the San Fernando Valley Council.

- Metalwork: Mr Dunlap, my homeroom teacher and metal shop instructor, signed me off.

- First Aid: A local dentist, not related with our Troop, but a MBC in our district, worked with 5 of us for two months.

- Hiking: Mr Wright, our SM, took that one on. Our Troop did a 50 miler for First Class and above each summer. I was 12 my first year on the trail.

- Camping: Oh, gad, that old guy. That's where my nerves resulted in dermatitis. But I learned that bloody diamond hitch.

- Swimming: I did that through my swim lessons at the local pool/swim school. The owners were MBCs.

- Atomic Energy: Rockwell International did a district-wide program. There were about 40 Scouts in the program. It took us about 2 months to do all the factory tours, then they had several staff engineers, MB counselors all, individually test us.

- Cooking: One of the Dads dealt with that in-house.

- Conservation of Natural Resources: I did that at Scout Camp the summer I was SPL.

- Forestry: I did that one of the years I went on the trail. We checked in at base camp, did a prelim session. When we went on the trail, we did our middle work. When we came off the trail, we were tested.

- Coin Collecting: The local coin store owner was an MBC.

- Lifesaving: Did that at Camp Mataguay the summer of 1971. Same camp I did Conservation, same year I was SPL.


It can be done, even now. Here's what it takes:

- NETWORKING among adults. Jack Smith down the road is a doc and trains EMTs. He's a First Aid MB Counselor in Troop 123, but he's not Troop Only. Gee, this'll sound like Wood Badge: USE ALL YOUR RESOURCES. Send your kids to Dr Smith.


- Mentor your PLC to think about themed activities which can contribute to a MB. There is nothing wrong with the Troop wanting to provide time resources for the Bicycling MB. One campout includes a 15 mile ride, another a 25, and a third the big 50. The kids still have to find someone for the testing events, but the true 600lb gorillas, the rides, are done.


- SM makes a judgment on each MB event to see if it matches his vision and goals for the kids. If it's a gimme program, he passes. If the kid has to work, and has a chance of walking away with no signed MB, something is probably going right.


The Scoutmaster is the gatekeeper. It's a pretty good mantra for the MB program.

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Good post, John-in-KC. The opportunities are there if we look for them. I'm a firm believer in having the Scouts work out the learning process on their own. The official position is Merit Badge Counselor, not Merit Badge Teacher. IMHO a counselor's job is to review the requirements and clarify expectations, point them in the right direction, give them some coaching when necessary, and review what they have done to fulfill the requirements, not teach them and lead them through the whole process, step by step.


As Merit Badge Counselor Coordinator for my district, I unfortunately find that there are fewer and fewer adults willing to counsel district-wide, most are troop only. This is a real reversal over the last 25 years. More and more units feel that they need to cover all of the merit badges in-house rather than giving their Scouts the opportunity to meet and interact with some new and interesting individuals. When my sons were going through the program, most of their counselors were at least 20 miles away. Their life experiences in working with counselors that they didn't know were well worth the time and effort on my part getting them there. On the safety side of this, I knew most of the counselors through district activities.


IMO, it would be great if more of our troops bought into that philosophy, our Scouts would wind up better prepared for life in the world today.

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I agree Beaver. I see the MBC list grow shorter ever year as troop seem to have an amazing talent pool, even though with less than 12 Scouts. I've never really understood the Troop-only MBC idea. How does it take more time to counsel Scouts from a different Troop? The community experts are usually more than happy to join in, if someone justs asks them. Archaeology, Ham Radio, Rocketry clubs, etc are filled with people with a passion who will usually jump at the chance to pass on their excitement. Museum staffs, Chamber of Commerce, local pools, outdoor stores, etc are another great recruitment place if are in an urban area. School teachers can sometimes be pulled into the mix as well, if approached right.

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After reading the many and varied posts I have come to one glowing conclusion. The Troops again have have decided that they will do the job that someone else isn't and in the process made up their own rules.


The District Advancement Chairperson is responsible for providing a list of ALL approved Merit Badge Councilors in the District. Yes, I know there are some that are years old, I had to rebuild from one that was. Unfortunately, the Troops think that their MBC list superceeds the Districts. Unfortunate in that the MBCs on their list that are not on mine (published monthly at roundtable) are NOT approved MBCs.


Adult association is not a byproduct of the MB process, it is one of the aims of BSA and part & parcel of the MB process.


I too would like to eliminate the "Troop Only" option but that is a National Choice and mis-understood by most Scoouters and MBCs.


Training of MBCs is not new nor is it an option. National determined that MBC training is required.


As to a parent doing one-on-one with son, it is not against the rules but is against the BSA aims for adult association. As for SM approval, he can negate ALL BC's that do not have his or previous SM's signature. It is not a new policy it is BSA policy stated for many years.


If you believe that your DAC is doing a poor job (or not doing his/her job) volunteer to do the job with District. After you fight with the various SM's that tell you their MBCs are approved because they approved the applications and you don't need their list you may decide that there is a reason for the rules.


Sorry again for the rant.


my $0.02





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Horse manure to you too John, sorry the kids in my trioop/town are not jsut like yours, bbut that is the way things work and the way kids are wired up here. We are in a somewhat remote town, nearest next troo is 20 miles away. I can tell you it is hard enought o get parents to drive to campouts an hour away, gettting them to drive kids to merit BAdge Couneslours isn't going to work. The kids in my tropp WITH EXTREMNELY RARE EXCEPTION don't have it on their radar screen to look up and call MBC's from outside the troop. As I noted without MB Colleges and Summer camps we would rarely have anyone make Star. As I noted, we make sure the boys learn the skills we don't make getting a badge easier than it should be but we don't go out of our way to make it any harder either. Doing it the way some have suggested would absolutely lead to nearly all my scouts dropping after making 1st class and either sticking with school sports or sitting home with the Xbox.

As I noted, I have a pretty full plate, I have to manage my time and having Scouts call from my troop or others to set up doing a badge is not going to fit in my schedule. I shouldn't have to put inmore time, I already volunteered to do a good job as SM and councel badges on occasion as well. As far as I am concerned, let district try and get teachers and othes to sign up as MB Counselours, other than felo Firefighters I managed to get to co first aid, E prep and Fire saftery, I really don't have even more time to get others to come on board.

We as I am sure many units have experienced, it is terribly hard to get adults to volunteer at all, let alone do a good job. To ask even more of their time and demand things be done in a manner that is significantly more inconvenient and you will see good volunteers drop. If counsel came to me and told me I could not be a troop only MBC, I would do one of two things....Say fine take me off as a counselour to all badges or List as a district wide MBC but not be available for anyone other than my own scouts inmy troop.

This goes back to a problem found anywhere where people donate time, money or services, keep going back to the pool of volunteers and ask for even more, then wonder why they end up leaving.


Glad it works for you John, but it won't for us, and I gauranttee you I understand our kids, our adults, commute times, motivation etc better than you our situation. And no, it is not the same everywhere.

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No, it's not the same everywhere.


The Scoutmaster is the gatekeeper. He's also the cheerleader and the standard-setter. If he's content with laissez-faire and letting "This is how we've done it for 20 years," all I can say is encourage him.


If you are rural, why drive an hour to a weekend campout? I'm at the edge of my urban area; I can be at 4 different established camps, or an any number of neighbors pieces of property, in 20 minutes.


All the Methods matter... pretty much equally. Our job as Scouters is to educate our non-Scouter parents on why the Methods matter. Adult Association is no more and no less important than is Outdoors, Uniforms, Advancement, or Patrols... What's going to happen when Bobby, being 17, applies for a summer job two towns over, and his association with adults is the "familiarity breeds contempt" that allows kids to let it all hang out? Let him learn to develop some reserve, so that when he does interview, it's a success. OBTW, how many Scouts have gotten summer or after-school jobs because they met a MB counselor along the trail? I suspect more than a few.


I'm not saying don't use parents, I'm saying use them conservatively, and I'm certainly saying (in spite of what National policy says) be very, very wary of letting Mommy MBC her own son for 25 MBs!

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The kids in my tropp WITH EXTREMNELY RARE EXCEPTION don't have it on their radar screen to look up and call MBC's from outside the troop. As I noted without MB Colleges and Summer camps we would rarely have anyone make Star.


Yah, hmmmm.... I'm left thinkin' "Whose fault is that?" Certainly not the boys'.


Boys will put anything on their radar screen that we help 'em put there, I reckon. And it does seem to me like most small communities have all kinds of folks with lots of talent who can be approached and asked to counsel a badge. Da mayor or other town employee for Citizenship in the Community. The magistrate and that great fellow from da VFW for Citizenship in da Nation. The World History teacher at the high school for Citizenship in the World. Dr. Smith or Nurse Jones for First Aid. The retired fire chief for Emergency Preparedness. And on and on.


Small towns are a wealth of resources, and helpin' kids connect with da great folks in their town has nothin' but upside for the kids, the town, and Scouting.


Usin' parents or some 16-year-old at camp when yeh have better resources in the community is just deprivin' the lads of the real experience of a Merit Badge. And what's more, it also overloads da SM, eh? So da overloaded SM has to run a "class" in an area that really isn't his core competence. Seems like it'd be easier and less of a load to get da CC to recruit a bunch of MBC's from the community, and the boys would get more out of it.


That's just a thought from afar though, eh?



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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My parents would never have let me take merit badges with them, even if I had wanted to. I grew up in a small town, and my parents drove me around 2 counties to get my merit badges. Only the citizenship ones were done by a troop dad, all others were done by parents all over.


I guess times are different.

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I am SMC and MBC. I teach Personal Management, Cooking, and some other badges as requested. When my son wants to earn a badge, he take it with me and other Scouts, but I always have another adult leader check his work to ensure that there is not an appearance of favoritism.


ASMs do my son's SMCs, not me.


I DO sign off on his bluecards to take a badge - so his bluecards are full of my signatures I admit. I will sign as Unit Leader for his ESLP - but we will add signature lines for others as well.


In regards to MBCs - my Troop is fortunate to have highly skilled and educated counselors for most badges "within the family." My Scouts have also gone to other troops for some badges, or when one of our MBC's was not available.

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Speaking of horse manure, the following just drives me batty:


"The Scoutmaster is the gatekeeper."


The Scoutmaster is NOT the gatekeeper. The Scoutmaster is a facilitator - he provides the tools and guidance to help a boy be as successful a Scout as the BOY wants to be. A gatekeeper opens and shuts gates to control the flow of traffic, or whatever there is a flow of to control. A gatekeeper opens experiences to some and closes those same experiences to others. The BSA has never intended for Scoutmasters to open experiences to some and close them to others. If you're a Scoutmaster acting as a gatekeeper, then stop it - or find someone else to do the job. If you just took offense to this, then I'm especially speaking to you - you need to really take a hard look at what your doing and and decide if what you're doing is truly benefitting the Scouts or just feeding an ego need for control.


When a Scoutmaster signs a blue card, he isn't approving anything, he is informing the Merit Badge Counselor, by his signature on the blue card, that Johnny Scout is indeed a registered Scout which makes him eligible to work on earning a merit badge. This does two things - it keeps the Scoutmaster in the loop on what's going on with the lads and it tells the MBC that the Troop knows the lad is trying to earn the merit badge. You won't find a single space on the blue card that states "Scoutmaster's Approval". The only signature line for "Approval" is the Merit Badge Counselors.


The Scoutmaster doesn't "assign" a Merit Badge Counselor to the Scout - he provides the name and number of a Merit Badge Counselor to the Scout. If the Merit Badge Counselor won't work out (for whatever reason) the Scoutmaster should continue to provide names until the Scout has a Merit Badge Counselor. There is no need for the Scoutmaster to fill out the Merit Badge Counselor name section of the application, the Scout or Merit Badge Counselor can do that.



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He is the gatekeeper, and I will keep saying that!


One of the Scoutmaster's key jobs is to be the honest broker of the Advancement Method in a Troop.


Requirements, online or in print, clearly states ...will give the name of a... Not three names on a list, not "here's the list, pick the guy you want" ... one name. If that is not an assignment, I do not know what is.


That's why the Scoutmaster has to get to know other Scouters in his District at the various venues ... so he can mate Johnny to Dr Smith, and Billy to Dr Jones for First Aid. That means Roundtable, and time talking to other Scouters at OA fall fellowship, and time talking to other Scouters at Camporee, and time talking to other Scouters at OA winter banquet, and time talking to other Scouters when two Troops share the same campground, and ... I hope you get my point.


From where I read ACP&P and Requirements, it's an assignment. From where I understand the role of the Scoutmaster as Mr Program in a Troop, he's the one who makes it mesh.


OBTW, he probably is the gatekeeper on most of the Eight Methods... but that's another thread.

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Just curious. If the SM is NOT the Gatekeeper, who decides if a boy should start 1 or 100 merit badges at one time? It is the Gatekeeper SM! He should know what Tommy Scout has on his plate and discuss it with him. This is to ensure that the Scout has the time to do the merit badge with the Councillor and not be reffering scouts that have no time to them. May be a bad example but "Gatekeeper" is the terminoligy that is used most often. The SM is also the person that tells Tommy Scout that he can NOT take a MB at the MBU because they skip steps and he wants the MB completed not just signed off. If Tommy Scout does it anyway, the bluecard is no good as the SM never signed off on it. Sounds like gatekeeping to me.


It is NOT horse manure, is is BSA policy and has been for many years. The SM gives Tommy Scout a MBC to contact, not a blank check.





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