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When Do You Refuse a Merit Badge?

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I still stand with my answer too, which actually supports your decision in this case whih falls under:


"that you have undesputable proof was done absolutely wrong."


The class was done wrong, the MBC were not really MBC's, the scout showed up late, left early and cards were blank in the wrong places.


I cannot see anybody holding any sort of good arguement agnsinst your decision.



As far as seeing "adding/taking away from requirements" comments...that is a still debated thing.


"I'm not adding a requirement, just clarifying ity."


" But the book says a scout must be prepared, and not having /having done "X" means he is not prepared."


You know what I mean, you will get a ton of answers on both sides of that.



Anyways, I think you did the right thing. Merit badges are supposed to be earned, not given out. They are acomplishments, not something to just be collected.


Is the father a leader or not?


If he is a leader, he should know that " his son essentially ended up teaching two of the MB's (Woodworking and Chess) because he purportedly knew more on the subject " is DEFINANTLY

not the same as taking ther MB class , and he has no argument to stand on.


If dad is not a leader and not in the know...this is a good time to expolain to him how itv really works and he still has no argument to stand on .

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Reasonable Rascal,


I'm going to start planning for our Fall MB Academy next week so you bring up great things that I best make sure I consider in the planning...THANKS!


As for your scout, something is definitely fishy here and needs to be brought to RT so it doesn't happen in the future.


What to do in your case: I would tell the scout that you need to get the BC checked out first. Since the counselor names are filled out, I would ask them about it and take a moment to explain the circumstances.


Most counselors have a sign in sheet that day to help them have a list of scouts. Find out if your scout's name is on it.


Find out if the counselor's presenting are indeed 'registered' counselors. Our council has an online system that easy to check through.


After all is said and done, simply tell the scout that he did the BC incorrectly in getting signatures when he should have gotten signed off for doing requirements. He should have had partials checked off, not signatures. If he tells you that the counselor signed off, then explain they were not MB registered counselor but helping volunteer to teach so scouts could learn and be able to explain to a registered MB counselor.


Someone is putting you in the hot seat, which is the parent in making this event a MB factory when it wasn't intended that way. Bring up too that a scout is trustworthy which means he tells the truth and is honest. (to be honest with ya, I think the parent or scout gathered the counselor info and signed the signatures) You do have your work cut out for you here plus an extra load added...*sigh


When all is said and done, we will all learn something from this and realize bookmarks need to be put in place for MB events that prevent something like this from happening. Glad I read this now while planning our district next one. I know for my scouts at the last one they were NOT going up to the counselors afterwards to get the required ones checked off that had been presented that day so basically coming back with NO partials.

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This is why don't like Merit Badge universities.



So scoutnut..... I am not sure if your a merit badge councilor or not, but mine say nothing about what I am merit badge councilor for........I am registered as councilor for 10, despite this I have only counciled three times in 4 years, and on the councils list for all. I received one MBC card for all and it does not list them individually.



So in theory, once you get registered as a MBC you could council anything.... Honestly, I tested our system....I signed up for nuclear science merit badge, I am an engineer, but in no way qualified to council the merit badge....Next revision of the Councils MBC list I was on it as a councilor for Nuclear Science. I could go on and on about unqualified MBC's......


But isn't where the SM comes in???? He directs his scouts to quality MBC's.


So if they are registered as MBC for anything it is valid........



So Rascals issue is the boy did not fully participate in the Merit badge university....Missing 1/3 the course. Did not do any work prior to the event. Did not follow the procedure of getting a SM signed blue card. Then gets greedy and walks away with 4 or 5 merit badges without any effort.


Is this a hill your willing to die on?????


While I agree with you that the scout did not adequately participate to earn them...I am not sure what could be done after the fact......There is no way he earned 4 or 5 merit badges in 2 hours. The leaving early was a slap in the face too...


I think I would have a SMC with the lad and ask him what he thought, did he meet all of the requirements adequately, effort, was it in line with the other scouts???? Ask him about showing up late and leaving early...... who knows the lad may surprise you???? I would give him the opportunity to do the right thing.


Now what if the scout chooses not to do the right thing????(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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Basement Dweller,

You may not like MB Academy but I think they can be helpful if set up correctly with bookmarks in place.


As a newbie SM with a small troop, it kept my boys advancing or getting work done plus offered them an opportunity to learn something new that i wouldn't have offered in a Troop meeting since we tend to focus on 'required' MB so they get done.


Guessing I need to do a spin-off thread asking for advice on MB Academy so i be sure I have those 'bookmarks' in place so something like this doesn't happen at mine and thus making more work for another SM or giving a scout an opportunity to test the un-'trustworthy' waters.

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It's one of those things that get generalized in this site.


For every awesome, intense, by the book MB Academy that does things legitimatly and right...there are 20 that do not.


Even at the Cub Scout level - Webelos Scout Saturdays.


Around here, Webelos can go to a 7am to 40 pm event that serves breakfast and lunch, and the Webelos scout come home with 5 or 6 completed activity badges?




Nah, it was rushed, things were overlooked intentionally and people figured it was "close enough".


But some boys only came home with 1 or 2 activity badges and those same scouts had already b een working towards those badges.


Guess which ones get all the attention? The scouts who came home with 5 or 6 activity badges signed off in their books.


So, yeah, a MB academy can be done right. CVan be very beneficial and serve the scouts and troop well.


IRS agents can also be very friendly, courteous and helpful to the taxpayers...but those are not the majoritry or the ones we hear about are they?




A spin off asking for advice on a MC academy is a great idea. You can hear everybody's issues and concerns and adress them before the fact instead of after.




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*laughing at Scoutfish use of just 'Deaf'... *laughing Am I Deaf to not listening to the advice to drop the idea of doing MBA??... *teasing laughter


Didn't know about those Webelos Saturday but was a GREAT example. Shows how my planning level is one higher than most. I was very much a hands on leader yet my scouts did all the Webelos activity badges ahead of AOL plus I included belt loops and pins into my planning killing two birds with one stone. Being hands on, meetings were fun and skills were practiced, sometimes more than once.


Maybe the focus of our MBA needs to change. Thanks for the advice to spend some time READING the forums for info, Fish... *laughing

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In a not so related - but related topic...


At our council Resident camp, there are usually 5 or 6 activity badged available, but you can only take 3 of them.


WE did this because you really couldn't take 4 or 5 or all 6 and complete the requirements to earn them.


Pick 3 of the 5 or 6 offered.


MB Academy's could be the same way: Offer as many as you want, but only sign up for a limited number of them.


Or assign a point value to each MM available and set a max point value - kinda like the generator on Green Acres. Look at all the MB's available, pick them out and make sure their point value does not excede the max allowed.


Rank MB's at 5, 10, 15, 15-I, and 20 points. The "I" designation meaning it would be "incomplete" as that merit badge could not be completely done at the academy.Also, location of the MB and the distance between MB class locations would be a factor. If two classes are on opposite sides of the camp, you wouldnt fit both in in the morning session.


Some would only be supplimental and not a complete MB class. Citizen for example. You could not perform Requirements 3, 4-a, or 5 while at the MC Academy. But the rest are probably doable.


So citizen could be ranked at 15-I points while Chess MB could be ranked as a 5


The MB Academy could be set at a max point limit of 20


When you reach "X" number of points, you cannot sign up for any more MBs


Ummm...I am assuming everybody knows what Green Acres was and the generator reference? :)

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I guess we've all seen the bad. I've seen one really good one, at MTSU in Tennessee.


They do one badge in a 6 hour period. They have qualified instructors. Most are university professors.

They run Red Cross FA and some adult training modules. Very well done.


I've seen some, just as rough on the edges as have been described here. I had a parent pull his son out of this class, and take him to another the same day, so son could get two badges. I explained that the instruction was so much better, that son would really benefit from the class. No matter. Numbers.


I find it incongrous that a Scoutmaster would run such a loosely goosey merit badge fair, when it is usually Scoutmaster's that get their dander up when short cuts are made.


Another underlying issue is the parent. The parent here is enabling this type of behavior. I call it trail blazing. They are loud, disagreeable, and generally make life so difficult that the leaders involved just let it go. It's either that, or have a monster blow up. Which most adults try to avoid, being, well, adults.


The door keeper is the Merit Badge Councilor. We need MBC's that require the scouts DO the requirements, not sit through a class not listening, then getting a badge.


Who here remembers when Citizenship in the Nation was as hard as Personal Fitness?


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They used a generator for power.

Plugs had different numbers on them. You could only go up to 5 or 6 somethinmg like that.


So you could plug in two #3 cords, or three #2 cords, but not a #4 and #3 cord.



If you did, the generator relay would kick out.


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We attended a great and through Merit Badge day this March. There were 15-20 badges offered, but my son only worked on two because the classes were set times. We spent all morning in one - had lunch - then spent all afternoon in the other. Some classes were scheduled for all day so you could only work on that one.


We came away with one complete and one partial because, of course, gardening can't be completed in a class setting. But she gave us all the information we needed to get a good start - resources so the kids can pick and work on their own project - lot's of seeds and lots of enthusiasm for the subject. It got my kid excited and pumped which is worth way more than a completed badge.


Of course, just like everything else, the quality of the program is going to depend on the quality of the people. There may have been another class at the same event that was not well done or stringent enough. But since the sessions were at set times - I do know that no one got four badges in two hours. In fact, two hours was the shortest class that was offered, so at most they could get one in that time frame.

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With the reference to Green Acres... hmmmm...

You mean the show that WAS supposed to be funny if one can HEAR the jokes?? At least technology has come a long way that captions are now available that one doesn't have to wish a black and white 'motion' picture was on...*laughing (Scoutfish.. THANKS for the clue on the generator that I miss cuz I was too busy focusing on the lips... *grins)



On the MB Academy, ours is also 3 sessions: AM,PM and Full day so basically a scout can only earn 2 that day. Sometimes a scout many have partials done and need a sign off on a specific MB counselor and tries to catch them AT MBA. Gotta show proof of the work for that to get himself 3 instead of the norm 2.


Gaining another grasp that presentation skills and planning on the part of the MB counselors for the MB they will be doing are important too as we continue here.


What about partial cards that can go back to the SM or the MBA planner as well as be a reminder to counselor and scout to get the partial info?? I know there is a space on the BC but saw several Scouts attend the sessions and walk out afterwards without getting signatures for partials.

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The one I went to signed off in little booklets instead of blue cards.


The inside had all of the requirements and a grid for each number & part to sign if the scout completed that requirement. If they completed the entire badge, there was a completely seperate place for them to sign off. Our counselors signed off at the end of the class, but it was up to the scout to bring them the booklet and make sure it was taken care of.

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"Is this a hill you're willing to die on?"


Having personally witnessed the scout coming late with no advance work then leaving early with 4-5 merit badges, I think you meet with the young man and give him the opportunity to explain himself. I'll hold out that perhaps he completed one, maybe two of the badges in that time, but probably not. Hopefully, after conferring with you, he will make some ethical decisions on his own.


If not, you tear up the blue cards. If he wants to appeal to the council advancement committee, I'd be more than happy to take the opportunity to discuss with advancement committee what the hell kind of program they're approving. (MBUs must be approved by the council.)


I think it goes without saying that your Scouts NEVER attend this event again.


What in the world kind of lesson is taught by letting these merit badges stand? If you're not willing to die on the this hill, when will you?




(PS -- for those of you who think MBUs are great and don't understand why many of us refuse to let our Scouts participate, this is why.)

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