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From the Advancement Committee Guide Policies and Procedures



Merit badge counselors must be recognized as having the skills and education in the subjects for which they are to serve.

All merit badge counselors must be approved by the council advancement committee.

They must be approved by the committee for each specific badge.

Registration must be renewed annually. This is an excellent opportunity to not reregister those persons identified as not following the policies and procedures of the BSA.


It looks pretty clear to me that the council advancement committee or their delegates can question or disapprove whenever they feel it is justified.

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Not trying to hijack the thread.


Kinda strikes me as being odd that here we are an organization that at times harps on about Scouts (Youth Members.) Not living up to the Oath and Law. Especially after the work that people put in.

Yet here we are talking about adult leaders and questioning how trustworthy they are or might be?

Have to wonder what message we send to the Scouts?


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I guess I don't see it as if they are trustworthy or not. I see it as do they understand what the MB process is all about..


If you enter a troop that is in eagle mill mode as a newbie, will you know that that isn't the way it should be?


If you are someone who earned his eagle (and maybe all 100+ MB, while in a troop in eagle mill mode) you come in with a concept that your son should get the same opportunity as you growing up.


I guess I can remember a time just after my son went into his troop where I thought like a helecopter parent.. Looked at the requirements, and the MB's and thought this isn't so hard.. I was talking to my son in the car trip home about if he did this and that, he could bump off his Eagle real early.. Husband who had been a boy scout and made Eagle, was in the car as I was talking to son, and said "Absolutely not!!!!".. But, didn't explain it, and I didn't understand what the problem was..


It took me about a year to catch on to why this isn't such a good idea.


I wouldn't call myself "untrustworthy", I would have called myself "uneducated"..


That is why I was thinking this might be a good troop to visit in the Fall and talk to, see what their program is like, and either help the troop (or if the troop has a fine program) help this MBC hopeful, better understand what the program is like.



We do not have manditory MBC classes.. With all the problems maintaining the MBC list that we have had over the years, plus the new YPT rule that we are having a hard time getting MBC to send that with the application.. Anyway, we are already haveing troops working with MBC's that they have approved without sending info to Council.. We would have alot more doing their own thing, if we added manditory MBC training on top of all the newly mandated things National has added or are intending to add.


Councils/districts that added that years ago, so that it is a way of life before the anger of all the National Mandated stuff happened, have a good thing already in the works.


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honestly, you understand that 90% of the problems in scouting are caused by the adults.


Some are well meaning leaders, others are helicopter parents, other look for the glory of eagle mills.


There is no way i would trust a fellow who says he is proficient in 100 merit badges. The fellow who say submits hiking, camping and backpacking....then in a year submits swimming and lifesaving then in another year submits all the citizenships........maybe that way. but not in one swoop.





















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I suspect that Eamonn well understands the difficulties caused by adults, given his career.


I respond to Basementdweller by agreeing partly. I disagree in that not even in the staggered manner he suggested would I accept those additional subjects for the counselor.


I am thankful that when I was a boy scout, the MB program was run almost exactly the way it was supposed to. In retrospect, I well-remember the occasional MBC who slacked off and allowed boys to 'earn' the MB with minimal effort. I got one of those, Citizenship in the Community.


I also remember well, and much appreciate, the ones in which the MBC was passionate about his field. Being forced to seek out these MBC's whom I had never met, to meet with them multiple times, to be given instructions on what I needed to learn, to be given a taste of WHY they were passionate about that subject, and to be given the chance to take some of that passion or interest for myself...these are the reasons I remember the ones like Religion, or Electricity, or First Aid, or Marksmanship, or Athletics, etc. The list goes on. These MBC's were persons for whom I had the ultmost respect because they were not minimally proficient in the subject - they were professionals. They were expert enough that they made their living from what they did. In every case, these wonderful men who took the time to counsel boys they had never met...were the counselor for only ONE MB. For nearly all of my MB's that I earned for Eagle, I had to find a different, new counselor, a person whom I had never met. The Scoutmaster assigned me to each one and gave me his phone number and address. My parent drove me to meetings. We met on weekends or nights. I was treated to many wonderful stories and experiences. Each one of these unique individuals helped open my life to more possibilities. I remember their faces. I remember their voices. These men really made a difference. I hope they knew how much. It is my regret that I never had the chance to thank them once I realized these things.


The few MB's that I had the same counselor for were exclusively those earned at summer camp. Except for the ones on the waterfront and except for marksmanship, they were easily forgettable because those young camp counselors were NOT professionals and they did NOT have any passion for the subject and they did NOT care about anything more than getting past the time they had to spend with a group of boys, some of whom weren't interested in the first place.

Sadly, this latter situation is what I most commonly observe at camp today (and summer camp is where I truly see the elements of 'Eagle mills') as well as in some troops where merit badges are 'taught' as part of the troop activities by just a few inexpert troop leaders who think they qualify in multiple subjects (but who would not even qualify as dilettantes).


I am thankful that I, at least, derived benefit from a program that was done well. It saddens me to watch generations of boys who haven't and don't.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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I have been on the District's merit badge list for 4 years. I have yet to have a non troop related scout approach me about being his counselor. Not once.


The amount of work required for CC,CN,CW now is much less than it has been in the past. CN at one time was one of the harder badges. Now it's done in 3 hours at a "college". It used to require actually writing a letter, now an email will suffice. It used to expect a reply to the letter, now, proof that the email was sent is enough. What quality?


If an involved adult, degreed or not, doesn't have the knowledge or interest in a variety of hobbies and vocational work to proctor 50-75 of the merit badges, I'd be surprised. Most adults won't sign up for fear they'll be asked! But most could easily handle the knowledge requirement for most of these badges, just by making it to 45 years old.

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I believe that far and away the #1 most import qualification for a good MBC is that they've able and willing to work with the boys.


Looking at the requirements, most intelligent and educated adults can adequately serve as counselors for the vast majority of merit badges after a few hours study and preparation.


If you've got an expert around who's willing and able to serve as a MBC, that's fantastic. But don't let the lack of such experts keep you from providing MBCs for the boys.

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Looking at the requirements, most intelligent and educated adults can adequately serve as counselors for the vast majority of merit badges after a few hours study and preparation.


Yah, I reckon it depends on what yeh mean by adequate.


Merit badges counselors are meant to be mentors showin' kids the depth and fun of potential future careers or lifelong hobbies or da real meaning of Citizenship, in the way that packsaddle describes.


That requires somethin' more than just having taken the MB yourself once as a lad.


It should require someone who works in the field, or has a genuine long-term amateur/hobby interest. Otherwise you're just cheating the scouts out of the real program.


Yah, yah, someone with a lot of outdoor experience in and out of scouting can conceivably counsel a fair number of the outdoor badges well. It just happens that a lot of badges overlap the expertise of someone like that, because of what Scoutin' is about. I still think, however, that to truly be expert enough to be a counselor a good chunk of their expertise should be from outside of Scouting, eh? Not just have worked/sailed at a scout camp waterfront, but own their own sailboat or sail competitively or instruct for ASA. Not just have canoed on scout trips but have canoed on their own, in varied conditions, taken or taught ACA classes, etc. Part of the purpose of the badge is to introduce the lads to the wider world.


Beyond that, I don't think an average adult can reasonably claim to be expert (and current) in more than a handful or two of badge areas. And the expectations for those should be the same, eh? The MBC should be plugged into and a regular part of the wider world of people who do that sort of thing. A pilot, not a passenger for Aviation MB. An athlete, not a spectator for Sports. A real graphic artist, not a consumer for Graphic Arts.





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By adequate, I mean that they know the material well enough know whether the boy has fulfilled the requirements or not, which should be the minimum standard.


We had a boy who had fulfilled all of the requirements for an obscure merit badge. All he needed was a counselor to make sure that what he did was good enough. I personally spent many hours over a couple of weeks trying to find an "expert" merit badge counselor for him. (Yes, I tried contacting every single counselor for that merit badge in our district.)


At a certain point, it makes a lot more sense to to find a MBC who's willing an available when you can't find an expert who's willing and available.


There's no way I was going to tell the boy that he couldn't earn his MB because of my inability to find him an expert MBC.


No, it's not ideal. But I'm forced do the best with the resources I have.

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Yeah, I think adequate is a variable meaning depending on what particular MB you are talking abouty.


I am signed up as in my counsel for First Aid, Woodwork, Fire Safety, and motor boating.


When I listed my experiences and knowledge of those badges on the form, my DE asked me if I was also interested in doing canoeing and emergency preparedness.


I told him no. He figured that my years of being on the water and working around, on and owning boats; as well as my years of fire dept and water rescue ; would have me pretty good as canoing and emergency preparedness.


I guess it was more of hopefull wanting that really thinking it was possible.


Then I exoplained that there is a big difference between a firefighter with a million dollars of equipment and a qualified infrastructure of emergency poersonel and a scout's version of emergency preparednes.


And although using various pieces of equipment for water rescue gave me a wide variety of experinec and knowledge, it did not m ake me qualified to teach or mentor canoiing ...even though I worked with more and less difficult equipment.


I guess what I am saying is that a football coach could teach soccer, but a casual moped rider is not a professional motorcyclist.

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5 sounds about right, I signed up for 8 and I think that is about 3 too many. However I tried to cover the ones that no one is willing to do in the District. While it is wonderful to have a passionate professional only teach a MB it is pretty hard to come up with those numbers.


Some MB's also have overlap like Fire Safety and Emergency Prep.


I also think in my case at age 50 and having had 4 careers and accumulated a lot of skills, hobbies a person can guide a boy well enough. In some areas of my MB's I know who is the all time expert is and can guide the boy to the appropriate resources...


Still I haven't had too many takers as I said "you do the MB with me you will DO the MB...this is not a class where you take notes and get credit".


I restricted mine to the Troop this year as we have a large of Troop of 80 boys (on paper) and that is enough. I am sure it is a different story in other areas.

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