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Summer Camp MB mill - as usual

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Interesting perspective Kudu, I was thinking more in the lines of having adult leaders who actually did not sign off a skill until the scout exhibited it and then made sure the Troop's program gave the scout ample opportunity to use that skill so that by the time they earned Eagle, making a fire or lashing a camp gadget was second nature.


"fixing" Wood Badge and NYLT will not improve an Eagle's skill at making a fire or lashing. Having adults who adhere to the published scouting requirements will.



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That is a moral argument.


Before the invention of Leadership Development and its PORs & Paper Eagles, the purpose of training was practical preparation for Patrol Adventure.



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Stupid question, but here it goes: Why don't we let the SCOUTS (caps for emphasis)do the teaching and signing off of skills? From both my expereince and observations, they are usually tougher than adults are on making sure Scouts meet requirements.


As far as Eagles and not being able to start a campfire, I understand that one from expereince. I was helping out at a camporee, and one of the events was to tie a piece of spaghetti into a square knot. So of course you needed to start a fire, boil water to cook the noodle, and tie the knot. From my observations and talking to the judges, only 1 patrol did it without any help whatsoever. Yep only one with out any help. The the judges were so frustrated that no one else was able to do it. They did help out one NSP by demonstrating how to make fuzzsticks, chipping wood, and told them how to layer the firewood. Very sad, especially since my Cubs at CSDC were upset they couldn't build fires for cooking due to a fireban. At least the Webelos were able to do some cookign on a gas pig cooker.(This message has been edited by eagle92)

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"How many new Eagle scouts cannot build a fire or lash a useful camp item? Just sayin"


"How can Irving change this trend? Could BSA change this trend if they wanted? "


You could change the way advancement is done, as some have suggested. But that would be a major change.


"The members of the Board [of Review] should keep in mind that the review is not a re-examination and does not require that a boy again demonstrate the skills in which he has been examined. The main purpose of the review is to make sure that the examination was up to standards. It is a check-up to see that what should have been done was actually done." -- Handbook for Scoutmasters by Bill Hillcourt, 1947


If an Eagle Scout who has been at least on 20 nights camping can't make a camp fire, maybe that tells us something about how camping is done in 2011 compared to 1910.


How many fire lays are described in the current Boy Scout Handbook? In the Handbook where does it say what fire lay is best to use for cooking? Where does it say you cook over coals not over flame?(This message has been edited by bnelon44)

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I don't have my BSHB in front of me, so I'll need to look it up when I am home. But please tell me that something that should be a basic scout skill, one that CAN save lives (I am living proof of that life saving benefit of an open fire), is still in the BSHB. Because if it isn't, I am going to be madder with that being over looked, than the handbook misquoting Green Bar Bill. Being able to build a fire IS A LIFE SAVING SKILL! and yes I am shouting this time around.



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So, how is advancement supposed to work in the BSA?


Let's begin here:


Step 1 The Boy Learns. He learns Scouting skills by taking an active hands-on part in troop and patrol meetings and outdoor programs. This learning, as we said above, the natural outcome of his regular Scouting activities his on-the-job training.


Step 2 He is Tested. When his leaders see that he has mastered a given skill and satisfied a given requirement, they tell him so and record his achievement.


Step 3 He is Reviewed. When a Scout completes all requirements for a rank, he appears before a board of review composed of members of the troop committee. Their purpose is not to retest him, but to make sure he has met all the requirements, to chat with him about how he feels hes getting along with the troop and its program, and of course to encourage him to keep advancing.


Step 4 He is recognized. When a Scout is certified by the board of review, he is awarded his new badge of rank as soon as possible, normally in a ceremony at the next troop meeting. He should be recognized again at the troops next court of honor.


What are some reasons why this doesn't happen?


In some troops, being an eagle factory is priority number one. Kids will all take a merit badge together with only one or two Scouts actually doing the work. Everybody receives credit regardless if they actually did the requirements.


In some council's an inadequate underage summer camp staff is hired. Council breaks national policy by using inexperienced 15 year olds to "counsel" merit badges at summer camp while an adult area director simply signs off on merit badges without ever having worked with the Scouts. Council's do this to save money. They don't care that the Scout doesn't get the promised program they paid for.


Quality of training - how many scouters have sat in on a training class being put on by an inexperienced trainer? Did you ever question the experience of the trainer? In my council after completing wood badge, you are eligible to be in charge of next year's woodbadge class. You may only have two years of Scouting experience under your belt, but you will be able to "teach" the course.


So who loses? Why the Scouts do of course.


Consider this - our council summer camp just recently began following the rules for BSA lifeguard. Prior to that, the BSA lifeguard class at summer camp lasted an hour a day for five days. At the end of camp, Scouts were given their BSA lifeguard cards. Now when that Scout finds himself in a real lifesaving situation and ends up becoming a victim himself because he did not really complete the time requirements. So who is to blame?


Or consider this - a Scout is given credit for hiking merit badge at camp by simply sitting during the sessions. The Scout isn't really tested, and a 15 year old merit badge counselor is more than happy to give credit to his friends without them doing any work. Then later, the Scout ends up getting lost and panics because he really did not do the work.


But all of these things have been approved and condoned by highly paid professionals because they do not want to spend the monies necessary to have a quality summer camp program. And many of these pros have never read advancement requirements. Yet they still receive promotions based on their council's being one of "quality". So what do they care anyway? For many of them scouting is nothing more than a business. For most volunteers I know, Scouting is not a business, but a way of life and a commitment to the youth they serve.


Then there are those MB counselors who like to add to the requirements making it next to impossible for the boy to get the merit badge from that counselor. Still there are other counselors who love cutting breaks to Scouts making the badge too easy.


Advancement policy and procedure is pretty simple really - a Scout must do the requirements, no more and no less. A Scout is expected to do exactly what is stated - if it says show or demonstrate, that is what he must do. Just telling about it is not enough...


Most Boy Scouts I know can read the BSA requirement book and understand what it says. Surely, literate and educated adults can understand it as well. So how much training is truly needed? There has to be a desire on the part of the adults and youth to make sure advancement is done correctly and a quality Scouting program is delivered to the boys.


The professionals who supposedly manage the program (at least in my council) should especially do their jobs competently. Serving the Scouts and their volunteer leaders should be their priority number one. If the professional staff in my council truly managed things properly especially their summer camp, their membership criticals would be easily met as more and more boys would join Scouting because the council offered a quality fun program. Instead they do a pretty good job of chasing most of the councils troops out of council while they continue to be promoted to higher positions in their professional program.


There should be no merit badge mill at summer camp. Instead, Scouts should go to summer camp and actually accomplish learning their skills and above all, having fun doing it.


Just how much fun did a Scout have earning his motor boating merit badge at summer camp without ever entering the boat? How much fun did a Scout have earning his cooking merit badge by cooking a single $8 pancake?(This message has been edited by abel magwitch)

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I don't really think the issue is a mill (one sort or another.) A boy may be able to start a fire and pass the requirement at age 11, and pass another requirement that says he cooks something (foil dinner?) over an open fire at age 11. But if he doesn't use the skill to cook on a regular basis, expecting him to boil water and keep it boiling long enough to soften pasta under the pressure of a camporee event at age 15 may be expecting too much.

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Perhaps if a "quality summer camp program" was not defined as fifty badges (including Citizenship badges, for Bill's sake) AND a Scout earning five, six, seven, or eight [!] badges in five days, it would be possible to deliver said "quality" at today's prices. I never earned more than two at a Summer camp, and thought that was pretty fast. Let's see. Two per week x 52 weeks.


(And Kudu, I do think the Bill's are drafting badly. Oh. That would be off topic, yes?)

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It could very well be the direct result of a mill.


In the mills, once a scout has gotten signed off on a MB, why waste Eagle "getting" time going over any skill ( that was probably demonstrated by an adult instead of practiced by a scout) when there are other MB's to scratch off a list and add to the Eagle Rank Aquisition Progarm?


If it is indeed a mill, and advancemnts are frivolously signed off left and right without true merit behind them...why would you expect anybody to challenge a scout to paractice, and maintain a skill - aqssuming he learned or understaood it to begin with?



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Given the uniform requirement (expressly applied to summer camp) that only Merit Badge Counselors (who must be 18 or older) may test and sign off on merit badges, in what sense have the Scouts who received a Blue Card signed by a Scout after failure to individually teat "earned" a Merit badge for any purpose? The 15-year-old's signature is just as much a nullity as if the Candidates eight-year-old brother had signed off.



"The steps to follow in the merit badge program are

outlined in the current Boy Scout Requirements. This

book lists the requirements a Scout meets to earn each

of the more than 100 merit badges that are available.

Scouts must be tested individually, and they MUST meet

all the requirements.


No additional requirements may be added.


A merit badge cannot be taken away once it has

been EARNED, provided the counselor is a REGISTERED

counselor for the merit badge.

. . .

Camp merit badge counselors MUST be qualified

(see Qualifications of Counselors, page 13).


Camp staff members who are qualified in the

subject and are younger than age 18 may ASSIST

the merit badge counselor with instruction. The

merit badge counselor or instructor in a particular

subject should be available to both individuals and

groups. However, regardless of the class format,

each Scout must be reviewed INDIVIDUALLY BY THE COUNSELOR

to ensure completion of the badges


. . .

Each counselor MUST maintain the exact

standards as outlined in the merit badge

requirementsnothing deleted, nothing

added . . . ."


BSA Pub. 33008 Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures [emphasis added].



Next, if the candidate was not, in fact, given the opportunity to earn the badge, given the lack of adequate staff or even one Merit Badge Counselors for the MB, is he not entitled to a partial refund of camp fees?

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"How many new Eagle scouts cannot build a fire or lash a useful camp item? Just sayin"


"How can Irving change this trend? Could BSA change this trend if they wanted?"


If the BSA really wanted to make sure Eagle Scouts could lash useful camp items, then there could be repeated requirements throughout the advancement process that involved doing this. The requirement could be beefed up - to do five square lashings within five minutes, and then build on it. The Star requirement could be could be to lash together a cube with eight lashings in five minutes. Etc.


Right now there is no need for a Scout to ever lash together a useful gadget again after he makes First Class. There are useful gadgets galore in the camping store.


The program could be changed, but it's not going to be.

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Oaktree - rather than a race to tie 5 lashings (though that is what we do at Camporee), how about make your own shelter using each of the lashings and knots and sleep under it for a campout?


My Troop does this 2-3 times per year. The tents stay home, and only tarps, ropes and poles make it into the trailer. The Patrols have to build shelters, and they have learned to Be Prepared for a sudden rainstorm during the night. This rainstorm delivered by the Scoutmaster and the SPL with a pair of water bottles, since it does not rain in Southern California.


Instead of a test, the whole Troop has fun and actually applies their skills on a campout - and isn't that what it is all about? We just surprised the Troop with telling all of the boys who went on the last campout that they are close to earning Geocaching MB. The SPL worked with the MBC, and all of the games and activities and patrol contests coincidentally overlapped with the requirements. We did not tell anyone until Sunday morning, to make sure that it was seen as fun games, not as a MB class.


Worked great - though I only expect half of the boys to finish the final few requirements.

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Poles?!?!?! Tarps ?!?!?!! WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING POLES AND TARPS! ;)



Seriously though Horizon's troop has a great game plan: USING THE SKILLS ON A REGULAR BASIS ( caps for emphasis this time :) )


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