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Merit Badge Prerequisites

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Granted, I know this is entirely dependant on the individual....but I was told in EMT class that "If your average Dr shows up at a wreck and wants to assist...decline the offer."


Why? Because most ( not all, mind you) Drs are used to seeing patients that have already been stabilized or somewhat in presentable conditions. Likewise, most paramedics and EMt are better able to handle the "raw" conditions of a wreck as they are usd to it.


So sure, I get that it's not a "100% rule" But kinda see it.


Oh...yeah, I see the whole CPR thing too.

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Beavah, you're right - Shotgun Shooting MB does offer Hunter Education as an either or - but then there is an awful lot of other safety components in the rest of the requirements so requiring Rifle Shooting MB as a pre-requisite for Shotgun Shooting MB still doesn't make sense - neither from a safety standpoint, nor from a gun handling standpoint - shotguns and rifles are sufficiently different enough from each other that they handle differently.


As for swimming to lifesaving or swimming to canoeing progression - sure, outside organizations may show a progression in how they handle things - and maybe we should have a conversation on whether that makes sense for the BSA - but there is nothing in the Swimming Merit Badge requirements that truly apply as skills needed first. The argument that someone holding a swimming merit badge means they are more comfortable in the water just doesn't fly with me.


Short - I can't find a thing in Camping MB that requires a Scout to start a fire, or build a lean-to, and frankly, Wilderness Survival should be as much about preparing someone who doesn't have much experience camping to survive as preparing someone who does have experience. Done correctly, a Merit Badge Counselor for Wilderness Survival MB will be able to deal as effectively with younger Scouts with little experience as with older Scouts with more experience. If the younger Scouts were "failing" that says more about the counselors teaching than it does about the younger Scouts.

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CalicoPenn - I didn't say that Scouts should know how to build a shelter before taking WS. I did say that Scouts should have a basic level of familiarity with the outdoors before taking WS, in part so that they're not scared of the big bad dark. And while Camping doesn't require that you build a fire, by the time you've gone camping those 20 days and 20 nights and cooked those meals, you'll have learned how.


As one of those counselors who had Scouts "failing" (your word, not mine), I take slight umbrage at your characterization. Mixed-ability groups are difficult for any teacher to work with, especially when you're talking about hands-on skills. A brand-new Scout unable to keep pace with his older, experienced friends easily gets discouraged. If the instructor has to keep coaching this Scout on very, very basic topics, that takes away from the rest of the group. So allowing Scouts into a badge that's above their experience and ability level is a double-edged sword.


Perhaps this is more a condemnation of the summer camp MB system of "classes," which basically gives you five hours to run through an entire topic, than anything else. But I'd wager that's where the vast majority of Scouts complete MBs, so it's where attention ought to be focused.

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If the younger Scouts were "failing" that says more about the counselors teaching than it does about the younger Scouts.


Yah, hmmmm.....


You've got a funny way of lookin' at this, Calico.


Yah, it's possible that a lad who doesn't have Camping MB can be helped to succeed at Wilderness Survival, and it's possible that a boy who has never fired so much as a .22 at a stationary target can step up to a 12-gauge and sporting clays, and it's possible that a lad who hasn't bothered to finish Swimming MB yet might be able to make it through Lifesaving. I reckon we can imagine a combination of really tough go-getter tikes and really exceptional counselors with all kinds of time and resources who would make it possible.


Thing is, it ain't likely. When yeh put a boy in over his head, and stress him with challenges he's not ready for, you're far more likely to harm the kid. Not physically, though that's certainly possible, but certainly mentally. That lad who fails to experience any success with a shotgun, who can't keep up with his Lifesaving buddies, who is all but in tears sleepin' out without a tent... yeh haven't done him any favors. You've taken his sense of trust and adventure and crushed it.


I think in your mind yeh keep imagining the few kids who might be "held back" by a prerequisite, but you're neglecting the many kids who will be hurt without 'em. Makin' a lad who is a good shooter do Rifle and then Shotgun isn't goin' to hurt him at all; the fellow who likes shooting sports will enjoy it. The same good instructors that you're imagining will challenge him appropriately. Lettin' a lad who is tentative and uncertain who just squeaked by his swim check go do Canoeing is a recipe for tears and frustration and a permanent "I HATE Canoeing!!!" feeling that is hard to overcome.


There is a natural progression to these things, and yeh really do have to be able to swim before you can swim strongly, and you really do have to be able to swim strongly before yeh can train in lifesaving. Lettin' a lad know that isn't holding him back, it's being responsible for creatin' a safe, positive experience for the boy.


MHO, anyways. And shortridge makes a good point too. In a camp setting, it also helps create a safe, positive experience for the other boys by ensuring they can rely on their partners, and ensuring that the instructor's time isn't monopolized by the lad who isn't ready for the challenge.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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The basics...Swimming, First Aid, and Camping. Lifesaving builds on swimming, Emergency Prep builds on FA, and Backpacking, Hiking, Cooking all build on Camping.


I don't want to see skill awards again, they were an unfortunate experiment that lasted way too long. I will say that I enjoyed earning all twelve as a Scout, and it really established the core level for future events.


Other than local units encouraging completion of certain MB progression, is there any movement afoot to bring in the basics?

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While not in the official requirements, our council camp does things this way and has for decades.


Swimming MB required before taking Lifesaving.

Lifesaving MB required before taking: Canoeing, Rowing, Motor-boating, Small Boat Sailing, and Water Sports.


I would say that the vast majority of the Scouts in our council earn these badges in the context of summer camp and so have to follow this progression of things.

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I find that teaching shotgun shooting is easier with those who know nothing about rifle shooting or who have never shot a gun. Shotgun shooting is an entirely different sport. Takes a whole different mind set as well as different shooting fundamentals. Those who have never shot don't have any bad habits to over come.

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