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Basementdweller

You and Your Scouts Requirements

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I agree the advancement should be a means of getting the scout to learn to interact with different people.

 

But I disagree with the council who thinks the enforcement should be made at the EBOR. I also disagree this is the time/place to double check qualification of the MB counsilors.

 

This is something that the troop committee should be making their own policy to acheive, BEFORE the MB is started by the youth. Once the MB is completed it's too late, Once the scout is up at his EBOR it's too late.

 

What if young scout took MB with Mr. SoAndSo the first year he was in scouting, and Mr. SoAndSo then stops being a MB counsilor on the subject the next month.. Trying to find Mr. SOandSo on the MB counselor list for the subject 5 years later while this scout is standing at his EBOR, he should not be there.. (unless you are our district who leaves you on forever, but that's a different subject.)

 

The checking of this is time taken away from the board getting to know the scout. His charactor, his ambitions, what he learned from being in the scouting program, What he learned from his Eagle project... etc.. This is what is the important function of the EBOR.. Not using that time to look over what is now too late to correct anyway.

 

 

Anyway the checking of if MB counsilor is on approved list should come from the Advancement Coordinator checking the list of MB counsilors.. The proper procedure to find the MB counsilor should be a policy of checks and balances created by your troop committee and tweaked over the years until you get a policy that works well for you.. (then redone years later when it becomes outdated, based on changes at counsel.)

 

BTW are we the only troop who uses the Advancement Coordinators? Others when mentioning who helps the scout find their MB counsilors seem to say the SM does it.. Doesn't your SM have enough to worry about during a troop meeting?

 

Our council just went to a system where the Advancement Coordinator (Maybe it's everyone elses SM???) does not do a paper advancement report and turn in a part of the blue card stub to council.. Instead they send it through the internet, and when they do they cut out the middle man of someone at council having to update their system.. Each troop is responsible for updateing their own advancement records.

 

This is great for reducing errors, but this means the troops must take more responsibilty to check out validity of the MB counsilors there scouts are going to be using.

 

And yes, we have on summer camp that has done away with blue cards. I see our other camp going that way soon too. (They just have made summer camp payment & registration electronic.. So they are taking the same path as the other camp... I am sure it won't be long before the blue cards are history for most camps.

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From what I understand based on information provided at a recent MBC Orientation that I took, IN OUR COUNCIL, the Blue Cards are considered the official paperwork for merit badge completion. What that means is that for instances where the blue card is not completed (such as a summer camp with a unit-level printout), a blue card should be filled out with counselor information and out of council location where merit badge was earned in lieu of a MBC signature.

 

The scout's record portion of the blue cards are turned in with the Eagle Application, and all dates and in-council counselors on the application are verified against the blue cards and the council database prior to an Eagle Board of Review being scheduled. Any discrepancies are dealt with during the paperwork review process. Dates on the blue card trump dates on advancement reports or in the council database.

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Thanks, I was beginning to feel like an artifact. The blue card system works because a written record is completed in triplicate at the time the work is finished by the people directly involved.

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In discussions with other district advancement chairs about conversion to a primarily electronic system the sticking point has always been what is the fail safe? As I had written earlier the Greater Cleveland Council does not require blue card submittal with the Eagle package, where others do. An earlier poster is correct in that the validation is done before the board is scheduled. I really am not arguing against a paperless system with appropriate safeguards.

 

If there is a problem with merit badges on submittal for an Eagle board of review it is dropped in the laps of the Scoutmaster and district advancement chair to solve. The GCC districts maintain counselor rosters noting dates of service and merit badges authorized for years, in my case the records I was handed six years ago went back another five years for a current total of 11 years. It is a simple matter to check dates. In the case of out of council counselors, the code 42 roster is a national database and the council registrar has been responsive to those requests in providing contact information. Fortunately the few times these issues arose they were decided in the Scout's favor because the Scout's claim was verifiable.

 

As for unit advancement coordinators checking the qualified counselor list that just means someone other than the Scoutmaster contacts the district advancement chair. Here the lists are distributed to the Scoutmasters for further internal distribution. Updates are provided as necessary. Usually they involve the addition of troop only counselors which are forwarded to the respective troops.

 

 

As for a Scoutmaster or relative acting as a single source for requirement sign off there are probably terabytes of server space occupied by the argument. I do not imagine it will be resolved soon.

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One of the problems with the electronic system (or even the written advancement reports) is ensuring the correct completion date of merit badges. Often times, advancements for the entire troop are entered batch method, and unless there is careful adherence to dates, the date of the advancement report may be what is rtecorded in the official record.

 

Whereas a merit badge application and completion record will have been individually dated upon completion.

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Just to pipe in on this thread, realize that each scout unit is going to be different. For example, our unit struggles to get two adults to show up for a campout. As the Scoutmaster, I'm always there, but no other adults will step up and volunteer to be consistent, so each campout has different adults there (but we always manage to get two).

 

So, just imagine what merit badge counselors are like. Yes, its mostly me. I've managed to get a couple adults to sign up for one merit badge, but that's it. And yes, I've asked district for help. We're a new troop with just 8 registered scouts, but on most of the blue cards, that's my signature -- because I'm not going to delay allowing a scout to earn a merit badge because I can't find someone else to be counselor.

 

Yes, I know its not great, and yes, I'm asking in all sorts of directions for counselors -- but also yes, most of the merit badge my son has earned (except those from summer camp) are signed off by me. Hopefully that will change when we add a few more scouts in the fall and next year's crossover!

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Jeff,

 

District Advancement and Recognition Chairs should be maintaining lists of merit badge counselors as well as the Council registrar. There are two types of counselors, those that teach only in their unit and those that will teach any Scout. Typically the array of badges covered is 85% of those offered. I would like to think getting the lists is only an email away.

 

P.S. The Scout should probably be making the calls.

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Jeff,E V Augustine is correct, that you should have a list of merit badge counsilors from the district. In fact in order to have your scouts learn to work with many different people you should encourage them to look for counsilors outside the troop. That being said, once you get that list in hand your troop is in a perfect position to get the kids to do that if the MB is not offered from anyone in the troop.

 

Some districts have well maintained lists, and some do not.. Ours is one with a poor list (hoping to change soon with new leadership in Advancement.) Hopefully your district has one well maintained, if so the boy should get a good counsilor on the first or second try of contacting someone. If not, prepare the scout that he may need to look at the list choose 3 or 4 withing close range of his house (town should be included on list).. And he may need to call a few to get a counsilor that is still doing the MB. (We use to make it a game with my son, he got more points the more counsilors it took for him to connect.. It was good for a laugh.)

 

The boy MUST make the phone call to the counsilor.. (not should, MUST).. We try to get the counsilors to be polite to the parent who calls, and just inform them they will be happy to talk with the boy about the MB, when he calls.. But, some just hang up on the parents. (They should use the phone call from the parent to educate the parent that this is the boys responsibility.. Hanging up does nothing, except tell them you are rude.)

 

Check your district web site for the name of your district Advancement chair. If not listed, You can call either the District Committee chair or District Executive to find out from them who to contact.

 

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Yes. Should. Our recent DE looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked for such a list. About 6 months ago one person showed up at round table with a ticket to make such a list. No progress so far. I think the only way a list will appear is if I personally make it (which I'm trying to find time to do).

 

And yes, I want to see lots of adult interaction. And yes, the scouts absolutely make the call to the few merit badge counselors we have set up. Heck, we have our scouts even call the chair of the troop advancement committee (sounds impressive, but, well) to schedule board of reviews for first class and above ranks (to increase adult interaction).

 

So yes, I know what we have isn't great, and I'm working to make it better -- but its not there yet. Just letting people know that sometimes you'll see a signature all over the place just because no one else will do it. :)

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