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cnew2

Merit Badge classes at scout meetings?

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Cnew2, if you are thinking about approaching the troop about this, do a little research and have facts and a plan ready to present. I agree with Brewmeister, it's hard to switch horse in mid stream. LOL You need to sell on the advantages of what Scouter99 calls the "personal growth" part of the process. Identify the advantages of growth form the process. You also can learn how other troops run a successful MB program without it being part of the weekly meeting. Build a couple of simple plans that ween the troop away from weekly meetings and into a program where the scouts have most of the control of how they perform in the process. I will say that from our experience, it only took only three MBs for the scouts to learn the habits of the process. Our troop goes something like this: 1. Get the MB Counselor list, 2. Pick a MB, find a partner to do it with and get a MB Card, 3. Call the Counselor to set up a date to meet and get counselor personal information to fill out the MB Card. 4. Get SM signature on MB card. After that, it's none of the troops business what the scout does until he completes all the requirements. Now of course there are different ways doing this, we had scouts call and ask the counselor to meet 30 minutes before a troop meeting, especially when the scout was alone. Sometimes it is best to work as a group, like the model rockets MB. But once everyone understand the premise of intent of the process, the counselor and scout can work out the process to completing the badge and getting them most growth at the same time. Good luck. Barry

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Thank you all for your responses. I had no idea! I did not know there was a Merit Badge Counselor class. I will research this and try to attend. This all makes me curious to know how the other troops in our area operate. Our area does seem to be interested in getting merit badges done as summer camp is one MB class after another. Also the are 2 MB "colleges" to choose from in December.

 

I must admit as I led Communications I noticed the terminology is aimed toward 1 boy working on the badge. For example - Plan a campfire program and serve as master of ceremonies. Of course in my group of 12 boys they couldn't all be master of ceromonies. And yes I did have to spoonfeed/force some of those boys to get through the badge. And yes all in a classroom setting.

 

hmmm...my eyes are opening to the merits of not doing badges at meetings. Like another poster commented it may be impossible to change this troop. Perhaps I can get them to only offer 2 MB sessions and not 3. It would be quite a different enviroment for them.

 

Thanks again.

The troop has 3 sessions of MB classes, fall, winter, spring. Each session is 6 scout meetings. Each session has approx 4 badges offered, boys pick which MB they want to work on.

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Sorry to say, but if you had boys who did not serve as master of ceremonies, they did not complete the Communications badge, and if it was awarded it was not earned. Which is sad because it's an Eagle badge. If the card is signed off, it's a done deal, unless you can appeal to the boys that a shortcut was unintentionally taken, and will they live up to the Scout Law and finish it after the awarding of the patch?

 

We've gone through this to some extent with our troop. I've argued against merit badge meetings (we have separate meetings from the troop meetings), but ended up locking horns with an ASM who said "we need to help the boys." My response was that this approach makes for a very fine Webelos activity badge meeting...in the interest of making peace in the short term I let it drop. If we have parents/leaders who want to be counselors and set up separate meetings, I can live with that if we are not taking troop time, and if the badges are actually completed, which they have been thus far. But yes, that is not how the process is supposed to work.

 

Since you appear to have a merit-badge focused program, you can expect to encounter a LOT of resistance (from parents) if you are proposing changes and telling them they can't get their 12-week personal fitness program done in a 60 minute meeting...so be prepared. Unfortunately for the average parent who is only peripherally aware of what scouting is all about, they care about what they see--the badges on the sash.

Yes MB oriented. Heard of a dad who pays his son $10 for every MB he earns. The boy earned a lot at summer camp.

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Cnew2, if you are thinking about approaching the troop about this, do a little research and have facts and a plan ready to present. I agree with Brewmeister, it's hard to switch horse in mid stream. LOL You need to sell on the advantages of what Scouter99 calls the "personal growth" part of the process. Identify the advantages of growth form the process. You also can learn how other troops run a successful MB program without it being part of the weekly meeting. Build a couple of simple plans that ween the troop away from weekly meetings and into a program where the scouts have most of the control of how they perform in the process. I will say that from our experience, it only took only three MBs for the scouts to learn the habits of the process. Our troop goes something like this: 1. Get the MB Counselor list, 2. Pick a MB, find a partner to do it with and get a MB Card, 3. Call the Counselor to set up a date to meet and get counselor personal information to fill out the MB Card. 4. Get SM signature on MB card. After that, it's none of the troops business what the scout does until he completes all the requirements. Now of course there are different ways doing this, we had scouts call and ask the counselor to meet 30 minutes before a troop meeting, especially when the scout was alone. Sometimes it is best to work as a group, like the model rockets MB. But once everyone understand the premise of intent of the process, the counselor and scout can work out the process to completing the badge and getting them most growth at the same time. Good luck. Barry
"Personal growth" part of the process is not listed in the MB book as one of the requirements.

 

Well that is just but one of the objections one is going to face when trying to change this kind of troop. It's way to easy to teach MB's than it is to teach such things as leadership, maturity development and teamwork dynamics of a patrol.

 

One is dealing with a totally clueless group of adults that run troops under these conditions.

 

Stosh

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Sorry to say, but if you had boys who did not serve as master of ceremonies, they did not complete the Communications badge, and if it was awarded it was not earned. Which is sad because it's an Eagle badge. If the card is signed off, it's a done deal, unless you can appeal to the boys that a shortcut was unintentionally taken, and will they live up to the Scout Law and finish it after the awarding of the patch?

 

We've gone through this to some extent with our troop. I've argued against merit badge meetings (we have separate meetings from the troop meetings), but ended up locking horns with an ASM who said "we need to help the boys." My response was that this approach makes for a very fine Webelos activity badge meeting...in the interest of making peace in the short term I let it drop. If we have parents/leaders who want to be counselors and set up separate meetings, I can live with that if we are not taking troop time, and if the badges are actually completed, which they have been thus far. But yes, that is not how the process is supposed to work.

 

Since you appear to have a merit-badge focused program, you can expect to encounter a LOT of resistance (from parents) if you are proposing changes and telling them they can't get their 12-week personal fitness program done in a 60 minute meeting...so be prepared. Unfortunately for the average parent who is only peripherally aware of what scouting is all about, they care about what they see--the badges on the sash.

Much cheaper for dad to just buy the patches at the scout shop. I think they're less than $2 each.

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Sorry to say, but if you had boys who did not serve as master of ceremonies, they did not complete the Communications badge, and if it was awarded it was not earned. Which is sad because it's an Eagle badge. If the card is signed off, it's a done deal, unless you can appeal to the boys that a shortcut was unintentionally taken, and will they live up to the Scout Law and finish it after the awarding of the patch?

 

We've gone through this to some extent with our troop. I've argued against merit badge meetings (we have separate meetings from the troop meetings), but ended up locking horns with an ASM who said "we need to help the boys." My response was that this approach makes for a very fine Webelos activity badge meeting...in the interest of making peace in the short term I let it drop. If we have parents/leaders who want to be counselors and set up separate meetings, I can live with that if we are not taking troop time, and if the badges are actually completed, which they have been thus far. But yes, that is not how the process is supposed to work.

 

Since you appear to have a merit-badge focused program, you can expect to encounter a LOT of resistance (from parents) if you are proposing changes and telling them they can't get their 12-week personal fitness program done in a 60 minute meeting...so be prepared. Unfortunately for the average parent who is only peripherally aware of what scouting is all about, they care about what they see--the badges on the sash.

Just keeps getting better and better....

 

 

So the boy isn't actually interested in earning the merit badge......Just the $10 on the back end.

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Cnew2, if you are thinking about approaching the troop about this, do a little research and have facts and a plan ready to present. I agree with Brewmeister, it's hard to switch horse in mid stream. LOL You need to sell on the advantages of what Scouter99 calls the "personal growth" part of the process. Identify the advantages of growth form the process. You also can learn how other troops run a successful MB program without it being part of the weekly meeting. Build a couple of simple plans that ween the troop away from weekly meetings and into a program where the scouts have most of the control of how they perform in the process. I will say that from our experience, it only took only three MBs for the scouts to learn the habits of the process. Our troop goes something like this: 1. Get the MB Counselor list, 2. Pick a MB, find a partner to do it with and get a MB Card, 3. Call the Counselor to set up a date to meet and get counselor personal information to fill out the MB Card. 4. Get SM signature on MB card. After that, it's none of the troops business what the scout does until he completes all the requirements. Now of course there are different ways doing this, we had scouts call and ask the counselor to meet 30 minutes before a troop meeting, especially when the scout was alone. Sometimes it is best to work as a group, like the model rockets MB. But once everyone understand the premise of intent of the process, the counselor and scout can work out the process to completing the badge and getting them most growth at the same time. Good luck. Barry
I think you will find this troop is more common than you think....

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Thank you all for your responses. I had no idea! I did not know there was a Merit Badge Counselor class. I will research this and try to attend. This all makes me curious to know how the other troops in our area operate. Our area does seem to be interested in getting merit badges done as summer camp is one MB class after another. Also the are 2 MB "colleges" to choose from in December.

 

I must admit as I led Communications I noticed the terminology is aimed toward 1 boy working on the badge. For example - Plan a campfire program and serve as master of ceremonies. Of course in my group of 12 boys they couldn't all be master of ceromonies. And yes I did have to spoonfeed/force some of those boys to get through the badge. And yes all in a classroom setting.

 

hmmm...my eyes are opening to the merits of not doing badges at meetings. Like another poster commented it may be impossible to change this troop. Perhaps I can get them to only offer 2 MB sessions and not 3. It would be quite a different enviroment for them.

 

Thanks again.

Oh that makes me feel better, the troop puts on only 4 merit badges at one time.....NOT

 

So do you guys meet during the summer.....

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I'm with most everyone here, we ran our prgram like Scouter99 describes. But I had a friend in another troop who ran an experiment over a couple years. He counseled a MB class of 30 scouts (I don't remember the badge) where the class met one hour before each meeting until they finished the badge. Then a year later he introduced the same badge, but didn't hold any classes before the meetings. He encourage the scouts to work on their own and call him. He started with about 30 scouts in that group as well. He signed off almost all 30 scouts in the first group who attended weekly classes and 9 in the second group. I'm am not suggesting one way or the other , I'm just pointing out this MB counselors results. I'm so fanatical about the personal growth part of the MBbadge experience that I was kicked off the District MB College team for insisting we use the same standards our troop uses with the scouts. By the way, Horsemenship is a very cool badge. As for communications, I think you will find it a lot more fun and rewarding for both you and the scout when working with each scout individually. The badge itself is a great personal growth and confidence building badge when done correctly. Barry
Similar experience, similar results.

 

I have actually led a few merit badge classes in our troop despite my objections to the process. I figured at least I knew they would be done right, since we were going to do them either way.

 

The boys get a blank card at the beginning of the meeting and it is their responsibility. I tell them upfront that this was just a "kickoff" meeting and that, while we'd be covering some things as group work, there were things they needed to do on their own.

 

For instance, I kicked off the Cooking merit badge last winter. We did the bookwork stuff and the boys planned various menus. I also brought in some "experts" from outside the troop to talk about backpack cooking and other topics, which I think is a potential advantage of the group process. But it was their responsibility to get it done. Thus far I have had a grand total of zero boys approach or contact me for any follow up on the badge...

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Our Troop will periodically have a MB class meet before regular troop meetings. some may be every other week some monthly. But never seems to be more than one running at a time. Every few years they run the cycle for the Citizenship badges. Allows for bringing in local politicos to talk and take questions. Auto repair was popular this past year. On a rare occasion we will have a meeting where we all meet somewhere like the police station to do Fingerprinting. But this happens at most once a year. It does give scouts a sense of change. We will occasionally have a meeting at the local indoor rock climbing place as well.

 

Some MB councilors will meet with scouts one-on-one during meetings during Game time. or after the meeting.

 

We don't as a troop do a lot of MBs during campouts, but I hope to do some cooking MB stuff in the coming year especially as there will be high demand for time on it next year.

 

But meetings in general for Patrol Time, Trip Planning and Scout Skill development.

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Cnew2, if you are thinking about approaching the troop about this, do a little research and have facts and a plan ready to present. I agree with Brewmeister, it's hard to switch horse in mid stream. LOL You need to sell on the advantages of what Scouter99 calls the "personal growth" part of the process. Identify the advantages of growth form the process. You also can learn how other troops run a successful MB program without it being part of the weekly meeting. Build a couple of simple plans that ween the troop away from weekly meetings and into a program where the scouts have most of the control of how they perform in the process. I will say that from our experience, it only took only three MBs for the scouts to learn the habits of the process. Our troop goes something like this: 1. Get the MB Counselor list, 2. Pick a MB, find a partner to do it with and get a MB Card, 3. Call the Counselor to set up a date to meet and get counselor personal information to fill out the MB Card. 4. Get SM signature on MB card. After that, it's none of the troops business what the scout does until he completes all the requirements. Now of course there are different ways doing this, we had scouts call and ask the counselor to meet 30 minutes before a troop meeting, especially when the scout was alone. Sometimes it is best to work as a group, like the model rockets MB. But once everyone understand the premise of intent of the process, the counselor and scout can work out the process to completing the badge and getting them most growth at the same time. Good luck. Barry
I agree Personal Growth isn't a written requirement, but neither is weekly meetings. However, Citizen, Character, and Fitness are general aims that should be applied to all scouting activities. And your point about a clueless group is right on as well, that is why I suggest doing some research. The difference between weekly classes and working independently on the MB is the difference of using the Advancement Method as the end goal instead of the 3 Aims. That is the big picture and it is a hard one to grasp all at once.

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Cnew, Noticed everyone here has been discussing the cons? Here are some Pros (none of which benefit the boy, only the adults):

 

MBC doesn't have to figure out a meeting place.

MBC only needs to teach once a year

MBC doesn't get phone calls from parents

MBC doesn't get phone calls from kids

Parents use the peer pressure to get there kids the MBs

Scouts earn more MBs quicker and easier to mom and dad's satisfaction.

 

In the meantime, for fun and games, see if your troop can offer the Bugling merit badge as a class...

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Sorry to say, but if you had boys who did not serve as master of ceremonies, they did not complete the Communications badge, and if it was awarded it was not earned. Which is sad because it's an Eagle badge. If the card is signed off, it's a done deal, unless you can appeal to the boys that a shortcut was unintentionally taken, and will they live up to the Scout Law and finish it after the awarding of the patch?

 

We've gone through this to some extent with our troop. I've argued against merit badge meetings (we have separate meetings from the troop meetings), but ended up locking horns with an ASM who said "we need to help the boys." My response was that this approach makes for a very fine Webelos activity badge meeting...in the interest of making peace in the short term I let it drop. If we have parents/leaders who want to be counselors and set up separate meetings, I can live with that if we are not taking troop time, and if the badges are actually completed, which they have been thus far. But yes, that is not how the process is supposed to work.

 

Since you appear to have a merit-badge focused program, you can expect to encounter a LOT of resistance (from parents) if you are proposing changes and telling them they can't get their 12-week personal fitness program done in a 60 minute meeting...so be prepared. Unfortunately for the average parent who is only peripherally aware of what scouting is all about, they care about what they see--the badges on the sash.

 

We've been doing the exercise part of the Personal Fitness badge as a troop over the summer. We did the 12 weeks, now the boys have to learn the material and talk to a Counselor about it. In our troop of 30+, only two have gotten the badge so far.

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Cnew, Noticed everyone here has been discussing the cons? Here are some Pros (none of which benefit the boy, only the adults):

 

MBC doesn't have to figure out a meeting place.

MBC only needs to teach once a year

MBC doesn't get phone calls from parents

MBC doesn't get phone calls from kids

Parents use the peer pressure to get there kids the MBs

Scouts earn more MBs quicker and easier to mom and dad's satisfaction.

 

In the meantime, for fun and games, see if your troop can offer the Bugling merit badge as a class...

I like it.

 

You forgot

 

Scoutmaster does not have to figure out a program 18 weeks of the year, Notice I said SM not spl because it isn't boy led.

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Sorry to say, but if you had boys who did not serve as master of ceremonies, they did not complete the Communications badge, and if it was awarded it was not earned. Which is sad because it's an Eagle badge. If the card is signed off, it's a done deal, unless you can appeal to the boys that a shortcut was unintentionally taken, and will they live up to the Scout Law and finish it after the awarding of the patch?

 

We've gone through this to some extent with our troop. I've argued against merit badge meetings (we have separate meetings from the troop meetings), but ended up locking horns with an ASM who said "we need to help the boys." My response was that this approach makes for a very fine Webelos activity badge meeting...in the interest of making peace in the short term I let it drop. If we have parents/leaders who want to be counselors and set up separate meetings, I can live with that if we are not taking troop time, and if the badges are actually completed, which they have been thus far. But yes, that is not how the process is supposed to work.

 

Since you appear to have a merit-badge focused program, you can expect to encounter a LOT of resistance (from parents) if you are proposing changes and telling them they can't get their 12-week personal fitness program done in a 60 minute meeting...so be prepared. Unfortunately for the average parent who is only peripherally aware of what scouting is all about, they care about what they see--the badges on the sash.

Sorry to say, but if you had boys who did not serve as master of ceremonies, they did not complete the Communications badge

I was livid this summer when I realized mid-campfire that the Communications MB counselor was signing 15 boys off for being an MC by having each one introduce just 1 skit.

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