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A Scout decided he would earn the Environmental Science MB. He began by borrowing the MB pamphlet from another Scout. He found his own MBCs, several of them, all published authors in the field. He never met them in person, but they communicated to him through their books, which he borrowed from the library (there was no internet then, no PCs). These book were his references for answering questions and performing tasks in the MB requirements. He did his experiments and field work solo (sorry, no buddy system - a flaw in his method).


When he told his SM he'd earned the Environmental Science MB, it may have been the first the SM had heard he was working on it. Naturally, he had a notebook of handwritten reports answering all questions and assignments, along with diagrams, sketches, and notes on experiments and field work. And of course he had organized and edited his work to make it easy for someone to verify he'd met or exceeded all MB requirements. His SM took his notebook to look over. At the next opportunity, the SM returned it and confirmed the Scout had earned the MB. It was awarded at the next opportunity.


Blue card? He'd never heard of one. Adult association? He'd have laughed at the assumption that he needed practice for that. His parents pushed or helped him too much? No, quite the opposite actually... but even if he'd been the son of Joe Helicopterson himself... so what? Would that make him automatically suspect of dishonesty?


If he were a Scouter today, he'd be perplexed at contentions that MB classes are the bane of scouting. He'd be mystified at superstitions about how the powerful mojo in calling strange adults is so vital that he must hover over the MB process and ensure that a useful practice is enforced as holy writ. He'd be disgusted at assumptions that parental influence is most likely to be pernicious shortcuts or cheating. He'd like having several methods available to Scouts and as few restrictions on them as practical.


A few MBs are special enough to reasonably demand very particular safety precautions, certified instructor requirements, and/or MBCs with very particular expertise. But there are some MBs in which a literate and determined Scout could read and learn on his own, and even learn to higher standards than the MB requires without the aid of an MBC - unless we count the sources of his research as his MBCs.

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As usual, CC, you are far too smart for the rest of us.


No, seriously, I have no idea what your point is, because it's obscured by your extreme condescension. Yeah, some boys do independent work. They always have and always will.


I did when I was a Scout, and the MBC chuckled, shook his head, asked some questions to make sure it was my work, and signed off. Hardly the imposition you seem to think it is.

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"I have no idea what your point is, because it's obscured by your extreme condescension"


The point is to be too smart for the rest and to distract them from the point with extreme condescension.


OH, and a secondary point is that that Scouters should be pretty open to Scouts earning MBs from MBC's of their own choosing, from independent work, from work guided by their parents, from work they do in school, work they do in homeschool, etc etc.


It's a mundane point... arguably so pedestrian as to be hardly worth mention. It's mentioned only because occasionally Scouters here make comments that suggest they get vapors at the thought that Scouts are earnings MBs in ways other than MB assigns MBC, boy calls, meetings occur, etc etc.


Anyway at least Basmentdweller saw right through the extreme condescension and observed, correctly in the technical (which is not to diminish its correctness) sense that the SM was the MBC.


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Yah, hmmmmm....


And yet....

To the fullest extent possible, the merit badge counseling relationship is a counselor-Scout arrangement in which the boy is not only judged on his performance of the requirements, but receives maximum benefit from the knowledge, skill, character, and personal interest of his counselor." BSA National Executive Board policy on merit badge counseling

It's always fun to have a lad who is willin' to dig in to a topic, but there's a lot more to da world than book learning and writing reports. Scoutin' isn't school, eh? It's a chance to do fun things, to apprentice in a skill and more importantly to apprentice as an adult and a man.


Book learnin' is a start, and has its place, but I reckon you're missin' the whole point of the Merit Badge program if that's where yeh end. Hovering adults? Hardly. People with knowledge, skill, and character who take personal interest in sharing their life's work or hobby with an eager young lad.


Get out of da classroom, Callooh Callay. Join da rest of us havin' fun with kids in the woods.




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"Get out of da classroom, Callooh Callay. Join da rest of us havin' fun with kids in the woods."



You're preaching to a choir, Pastor. And quoting scripture even. Perhaps the hymns are not your favorites because some of the lines sound heretical in light of the particular verse quoted.


But the central message the choir takes from your sermon is a welcome and positive one.

Physically Strong is not incompatible with Mentally Awake and improvements in one need not come at the expense of the other. And fun should be a component both in the classroom and in the woods.

(This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)

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