Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Buffalo Skipper

Merit Badge Counselor Rant

Recommended Posts

Please bear with me as I go off on this. Sympathetic replies are welcome, but not necessary.

 

As many of you know from postings here, I have been working to revive a "correct" and appropriate merit badge program in our troop. With a lack of interest from the committee, I have recruited a dozen or more Merit Badge Counselors for the troop who are willing and able to work with us (on the troop not district level), which required a significant effort. I ensured that all had jumped through the proper hoops, completed both forms and been through training.

 

I went to add one MB to the short list which I counsel, only to find out that we I am no longer registered. Upon further investigation, it was determined that ALL the MB counselors in the council have been removed from Scoutnet. The registrar told me that EVERYONE needs to fill out a new application, no exceptions, even those who did it as recent as 3 months ago.

 

Since all counselors were "dropped" as of July 1, none of the MBs which our scouts have completed in the last month were with registered counselors. I have not yet been informed if these MBs will be valid (that is being looked into right now).

 

I have put a significant amount of time into recruiting (and training) these people, and now I will have to go back to them to get them to fill out another application. It is insuting and infuriating. No, there is nothing that can be done, I just have to suck up and ask them to do it all again. I just needed to vent about it.

 

I guess next time I will make a copy of every application (#34405) and just resubmit it myself to the council office each year. If you want the job done right you have do it yourself (over and over and over again...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

This is indeed a shame. I think I would have a not-so-cordial chat with the SE. I've seen more than one good Scouter leave the program due to incompetence and downright arrogance at the District and Council levels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have talked to Asst. SE. I consider he and the SE friends, so they are very approachable for me. This is not resolved, but we are working things out. Looks like we will have to get these forms (BSA #34405) filled out again by everyone (and resubmitted every year!). The troop will be keeping a copy of these on file, and we will photocopy and resubmit to the council each year. That will keep the counselors from jumping through these hoops unnecessarily. Not the ideal solution, but it does minimize the impact. I also now have a *.pdf of the form which can be filled out and saved, which will also help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The registrar told me that EVERYONE needs to fill out a new application, no exceptions, even those who did it as recent as 3 months ago.

 

Who does the registrar get his/her marching orders from or did they make this decision all on their own?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard about the "reregister your MBs every year" thing, but to summarily dump an entire council's worth. Who wants that much paper flooding into their office at one time? Sounds like someone hit the delete button by accident.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If memory serves, a MBC is supposed to be registered every year. HOWEVER once they fill out the application and MBC form, the one that says which MBs you teach and how is your expereince in it gained i.e. job, training, avocation, they are placed on the DISTRICT COMMITTEE's charter. The DAC is then suppose to call around and see who is still teaching what, and if they will teach anyone or limit it to specific units. THEN the when district recharter comes, you either keep them on the district charter, or scratch them off.

 

Upon reflection, they might be something coming out of national on this, btu don't quote me on that. I know I was a MBC last year, and now I am no longer registered as such. I had to fill out the MBC form and place my ID number on it as I am a multiple.

 

As to the guy who asked if the MBs from non-registered MBCs are valid, that is a SM call. If the situation described happened to me, IMHO they are still valid as 1) You recrutied them and know their expertise 2) the SM did give them the MBC's info in good faith that they were still registered, and 3) the scout did the work in good faith that the MBC was registered. Better to err on the side of the Scout than not. Besides, how is the council to know who the MBC was since all they receive is the Advancement report?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DAC is then suppose to call around and see who is still teaching what, and if they will teach anyone or limit it to specific units. "THIS WOULD BE TOO MUCH WORK FOR A VOLUNTEER - I KNOW 1st HAND -

 

 

 

Expiring MBC's yearly is a GOOD THING.

 

I am surprised you had not been informed before the policy went into effect.

 

Does your district/council have a Round Table meeting once a month?

if so, do you send anyone to this Round Table meeting?

 

Please don't take offense on whether you have a RT, or go to it, no disrespect was intended.

 

Our Council implemented such a policy last fall (yearly Troop MBC's need to update an app during recharter), and I am all for it. We had tried go get the Troop to police the MBC's info they use when they recharter..... with little results.

 

I am a Merit Badge Trail Drive organizer for 3 districts and contacting MBC's for the event via info on-file is extemely difficult because of old or expired info.

 

On your Troop MBC's I expect the registrar at the council will have no problem accepting the MBC Blue cards as valid if your MBC's just get updated or confirm no contact info changes.

 

 

I have called MBC's that no have their # disconnected, no answering machine (just rings), or have been told that they "died".(This message has been edited by dg98adams)(This message has been edited by dg98adams)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buffalo Skipper,

 

I know exactly how you feel. I am the DAC for my District and held training for the MBC's. I had to fight some that said they already know all the rules. Somehow they forgot about the annual renewal and that it does NOT happen with the Troop but at the District Renewal point.

 

I worked with my Council Advancement Chair and with the SE to get approvals for the office staff to renew ALL trained MBC's each year via phone conversation vice new application. This was not the process in previous years and it requires the DAC to stay on top of the list to ensure that all MBC's are trained as MBC's (different training than any other position) and that the District still wants thier services.

 

I am surprised at how you emphasized that the MBC's were a Troop asset vice a District asset. The District/Council has to approve ALL MBC's regardless as to wether they will work with other units or not. Maybe the training is lacking.

 

Good luck and I hope that you work things out to your satisfaction as I have with my CAC/SE.

 

YiS,

 

Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your supportive replies. Let me answer some of your questions. This was not an accidental delete. This was planned (apparantly quickly) and executed. Our district had just worked through a big push to have MBC lists up to date and available, and I was a part of that push (I worked on my troop while I was working with the District MBC coordinator to help him at the same time). This master list (the first which was seen in a decade was released in May and dumped at the end of June.

 

The changes apparently came about because of the push, which prompted the pros to look into National policy, and on their recomendation, changed MBC registration from Jan-Dec to Jul-Jun as a relief for the registrar (our council charters run Jan-Dec). Also, all MBCs must be approved by a council MBC review board headed by the CAC. We'll see how long that pig can fly. As for roundtable, I have missed only 3 in the past 5 years, and that due to family vacation; I have spent 3.5 of those years serving as CS RTC and Venturing Forum Commisssioner.

 

All registered MBCs were sent out letters from the council with BSA form 34405 (MBC application) and asked to return them to re-register. I had registered back in March; I sat down personally at the regristar's desk and discussed what few badges I would counsel when I turned in a new application (code 42) and form 34405. I never received a letter from the council advising me to reregister, and allegedly, I am not in Scoutnet as EVER being a MBC. It is this oversight which has apparantly kept me out of the loop on this whole process. That is part of the rub, since I was so very explicit about getting that done.

 

I cannot worry about the district or what is happening with their MBCs. I only have time to deal with our troop list (which, in reality, should not be my responsibility, as SM, but if no one else does it, I will have to see it through).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is how it works in our district. Each year the MB czar sends to each troop a list of the counselors registered to that unit. The troops then edit their lists and return them to the czar. Those not deleted are dropped. Those confirmed are reregistered. Distribution and collection of the lists is done at an RT.

 

Having all counselors fill out a new application form each year is crazy. Why would anyone want to a) treat volunteers like that, b) kill that many trees, and/or do that much work? Really?

 

Hal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hal,

Actually that is a good suggestion, and not too far from what I was working toward, but a nice refinement. It is my understanding that Scoutnet cannot differentiate between "District" and "Troop" MBCs. Because of this, it requireds that the council/district jump through a couple of extra hoops. Your idea places the burdon of troop MBC management back onthe troop, which is a reasonable expectation.

 

I will suggest this to our ASE and CAC, who are heading up this effort. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ACP&P #33088 used to (2007 ed) allow other than adult leader app methods for MBC renewals. Does anyone have a 2009 edition? Have the words changed? Annual renewal of MBC status is a requirement.

 

One other possibility is the SE got a report back on how many Scouters did not have their background checks done from National, and decided one way to clean up that problem was to flush the MBC rolls.

 

Pure speculation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I said the DAC makes the calls to MBCs, I should specify that it is to those MBCs who are not registered to troops or crews. Troops and crews are told to send in their list of MBCs, with new ones filling out both the standard application and MBC form described above, at RT. the the DAC calls those folks not with units, or don't attend RT, district committee meetings, or district commish meetings. It is usually a handful of MBCs that needs to be called.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sympathetic replies are welcome, but not necessary. "

Not sure how sympathetic I am.

 

After years of trying to update our District Merit Badge list. The District Committee found that it was just too big a job.

Some people on the list had died, some had moved, some no longer wanted to do the badge that they were listed to do.

The problem was that no one had managed the list or updated it in a very long time.

So the District Committee gave notice that everyone on the list was being removed and a new list was being made. If anyone wanted to be on the list they needed to apply to the District Advancement Committee, who would discuss and look at their application and then pass the information on to the Dean of Merit Badges.

One of my great hopes while we were doing this was to find ways to make the District list more Scout friendly. Scouts are supposed to be the ones who choose the MBC. Not the unit or the SM. I also hoped that we could maybe put a stop to Troops doing everything "In House".

While there are of course some MB's that are maybe best dealt with close to home? To me it seemed more and more that Troops were opting to select enough adults so that Scouts in the Troop never had a need to look outside of the Troop. This also to from what I was seeing was a cause of Troops offering MB classes, where the requirements of the MB were being replaced with just the attendance at the MB Class, which was replacing the traditional Troop meeting.

When we replaced the list with the new list, it was made clear that just like any other Scouting position the MBC ran for a term of 12 months.

The names of MBC appeared on the District Charter (Many of the people listed were of course multiples)

The Dean of MB and the District Advancement Chair. Were tasked with contacting everyone on the list each and every year to see if they wanted to remain on the list.

People who didn't or were unable to be contacted were promptly removed from the list.

This was done to ensure that when a Scout got the list it would be a tool that was in good working order, not a big head-ache as it had been in the past.

I'm a little unsure why a unit leader would want to take on the task of recruiting and training MBC?

Clearly this goes beyond his realm of responsibilities and is something that the District needs to be taking care of.

Problems with MBC and the MB list should be taken to the District Advancement Chairman or via the COR to the District Committee.

Most District Committees I know of would just love to see more involvement from the COR's.

Unit Leaders going to the Council Registrar,are not doing the right thing and only serve to make things more complicated.

When it comes to MBC the Scoutmaster really plays no part in this what so ever.

Eamonn.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...