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Question about merit badges

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Good morning. My son has transferred from one troop to another. He had two requirements left for an eagle required merit badge. We properly found a merit badge counselor for said merit badge and he finished the requirements and the counselor signed off on it. However, when my son turned in the blue card, and during a scoutmaster conference, the scoutmaster said something to the effect that the previous troop's record was incorrect on one of the requirements. Since this particular scout master will NOT allow parents to talk to him about things concerning the boys and merit badges, ranks, etc., I'm having a hard time finding out exactly what was "incorrect".

 

My understanding is that if a counselor has signed off on the merit badge, it's a done deal. Or is that not correct? And since I'm not allowed to talk to the scoutmaster at all about this, I'm not sure what to do here.

 

Can anyone shed some light for me? Thank you.

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Scoutmaster cannot disapprove a completed merit badge. A MB counselor cannot take back a badge they signed as completed/returned to the Scout. Just one of my pet peeves. It's not "We" but "our son". Your son is almost Eagle and shouldn't need his parents to hover over his shoulder in order to complete requirements. Best of luck to your son.

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Yes, I realize we're not to "hover"...I really just wanted to know if the scoutmaster can veto a MB that was properly completed and signed off on by a counselor. And if not, how to go about rectifying it? My son still is only 15 years old and when the scoutmaster told him he would not accept the blue card, my son just accepted it and said "ok". I want to guide my son in the right direction by having him have another scoutmaster conference about this and to politely/respectfully tell the scoutmaster that he can't veto a properly signed blue card.

 

Any ideas on what he could say?

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Sorry for the "bump" in transferring. It sounds like your new SM is really trying to help your boy develop. He's probably not faulting your son, but he probably doesn't think the first counselor did his job. Even so, it is probably very hard for your son to feel good explaining the situation to you because he had a sense that something was being "short cut" at the time he was taking the badge. It's easier to admit that sort of thing to an SM than to a parent.

 

The boy should call his new merit-badge counselor to tell him exactly what the problem was that he and the SM discovered and arrange for a follow-up meeting. Then he should call his SM to let him know that he's making a plan and ask him if there is any special paperwork required in addition to his signed blue card.

 

You could argue that a signed blue card is a signed blue card, but sometimes we all need to stop and ask ourselves "What's better for the boy?"

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Thank you Qwazse. I just don't think it's right to make a scout "redo" part of a MB, especially when it's been signed off on already by a counselor. Where do you draw the line, then? Isn't that "subjective" and are the requirements "objective"?

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Sorry for the "bump" in transferring. It sounds like your new SM is really trying to help your boy develop. He's probably not faulting your son, but he probably doesn't think the first counselor did his job. Even so, it is probably very hard for your son to feel good explaining the situation to you because he had a sense that something was being "short cut" at the time he was taking the badge. It's easier to admit that sort of thing to an SM than to a parent.

 

The boy should call his new merit-badge counselor to tell him exactly what the problem was that he and the SM discovered and arrange for a follow-up meeting. Then he should call his SM to let him know that he's making a plan and ask him if there is any special paperwork required in addition to his signed blue card.

 

You could argue that a signed blue card is a signed blue card, but sometimes we all need to stop and ask ourselves "What's better for the boy?"

I agree fully here on all points. First this is a situation that will unfortunately occur in all aspects of life (being questioned) and that is one of the reasons scouting is a great way to develop youth, second let him solve the dispute, and third while we are supposed to accept the blue card it might be prudent to work with others (until they are out-of-line) and achieve the same result through compromise and diplomancy. It will be a sweeter victory by accomplishment rather than by confrontation.

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Thank you Qwazse. I just don't think it's right to make a scout "redo" part of a MB, especially when it's been signed off on already by a counselor. Where do you draw the line, then? Isn't that "subjective" and are the requirements "objective"?
If your son is willing to work it out, then you likely should let him. As a SM I have had a few similar instances where I discussed the thoroughness of a "signed" merit badge with a scout because it appeared to me that it was possibly not completely accomplished, even though it was signed. I did leave it to the scout to decide to fix the "questioned" part(s), or to accept the card as it was. It was ultimately "his" decision to make. But, at least he was aware that there was some concern over its level of proficiency. They all chose to review and improve the part(s) in question. Do not know if they were intimidated, though did not seem to be, or simply understood, or already knew, that they had not really "done their best".

 

As I constantly opine; seldom is anything like this completely black and white. But discussing it with a scout is part of our job; and the scout doing the "right" thing is hopefully the result, as it makes him a better person and instills true pride in them for the final outcome.

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Thank you Qwazse. I just don't think it's right to make a scout "redo" part of a MB, especially when it's been signed off on already by a counselor. Where do you draw the line, then? Isn't that "subjective" and are the requirements "objective"?
I understand how distressing this seems. But the first counselor's initial might have been on "subjective" information that, when your boy talked it over with his new SM really didn't meet the objective criteria specified by the requirement.

 

It's a life lesson. And at this stage not a very costly one. My college roommate had the discouraging experience that many of his high school grades were inflated and did not give him an adequate background in math and chemistry. It made for a disconcerting Freshman year. He went on to be a decent chemist, but not after actually learning what he thought he already knew. :(

 

The SM is not going to catch every discrepancy between each sign-off and corresponding mastery of skill. But if he does, he's doing your son a favor. Any call for a scoutmaster conference without the boy making a good-faith effort to touch base with a merit badge counselor is misguided.

 

If the SM is in the wrong, the best thing your boy could do is report "I talked to my new counselor about this and he said [whatever the counselor said]. How should I proceed?"

 

That means the next thing you should do as a parent is get your boy in touch with the counselor.

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Yes, I realize we're not to "hover"...I really just wanted to know if the scoutmaster can veto a MB that was properly completed and signed off on by a counselor. And if not, how to go about rectifying it? My son still is only 15 years old and when the scoutmaster told him he would not accept the blue card, my son just accepted it and said "ok". I want to guide my son in the right direction by having him have another scoutmaster conference about this and to politely/respectfully tell the scoutmaster that he can't veto a properly signed blue card.

 

Any ideas on what he could say?

See my comment to your next reply. I'm sure his new MB counselor will help him with what he should say to his SM.

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as an MB counselor, Im baffled by how a SM can look at a blue card and deem a signed off requirement as lacking. what MB was it? also interesting that the MB counselor in the current troop didnt question it.

 

regardless, I would take heart that the SM takes that level of interest in your boy attaining the skills of a given MB. Get your boy in touch with the current MB counselor and have them work it out.

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as an MB counselor, Im baffled by how a SM can look at a blue card and deem a signed off requirement as lacking. what MB was it? also interesting that the MB counselor in the current troop didnt question it.

 

regardless, I would take heart that the SM takes that level of interest in your boy attaining the skills of a given MB. Get your boy in touch with the current MB counselor and have them work it out.

I wish it weren't true, but it happened frequently enough that scouters insisted that the guide to advancement chapter on MBs (http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/GuideToAdvancement/TheMeritBadgeProgram.aspx) include an article (7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges) on how to handle this. Sounds like the SM is trying to proceed by the book on this one, assuming an assistant leader was in on the discussion.

 

As to how this may happen, the chapter on Mechanics of Advancement (http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/GuideToAdvancement/MechanicsofAdvancement/BoyandVarsity.aspx) shows a common example involving Citizenship in the Community (4.2.3.6 Fulfilling More Than One Requirement With a Single Activity). It's not clear if this was the problem requirement in this scout's case, but it shows how all parties may have meant well, but were not as attentive to the letter of the requirement as they should have been.

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Im baffled by how a SM can look at a blue card and deem a signed off requirement as lacking.

 

Easy: A scout new to your troop brings you a handfull of bluecards that were signed off in a Merit Badge Clinic over the summer. You know that some of those badges cannot be earned in a class on one Saturday. A few simple questions about what was done, truthfully answered by the scout, expose the shortcomings.

 

-It's a tough situation for the SM: He never got to approve the MBC, so he didn't get to steer the Scout away from Clinic level work. If he accepts sub par MB work from this new Scout, what precendent has he set for the rest of his troop?

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Sorry for the "bump" in transferring. It sounds like your new SM is really trying to help your boy develop. He's probably not faulting your son, but he probably doesn't think the first counselor did his job. Even so, it is probably very hard for your son to feel good explaining the situation to you because he had a sense that something was being "short cut" at the time he was taking the badge. It's easier to admit that sort of thing to an SM than to a parent.

 

The boy should call his new merit-badge counselor to tell him exactly what the problem was that he and the SM discovered and arrange for a follow-up meeting. Then he should call his SM to let him know that he's making a plan and ask him if there is any special paperwork required in addition to his signed blue card.

 

You could argue that a signed blue card is a signed blue card, but sometimes we all need to stop and ask ourselves "What's better for the boy?"

A signed blue card by a registered councelor IS a signed blue card. no arguments. Whats next, randomly adding requirements "for the good of the boy" ???

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Im baffled by how a SM can look at a blue card and deem a signed off requirement as lacking.

 

Easy: A scout new to your troop brings you a handfull of bluecards that were signed off in a Merit Badge Clinic over the summer. You know that some of those badges cannot be earned in a class on one Saturday. A few simple questions about what was done, truthfully answered by the scout, expose the shortcomings.

 

-It's a tough situation for the SM: He never got to approve the MBC, so he didn't get to steer the Scout away from Clinic level work. If he accepts sub par MB work from this new Scout, what precendent has he set for the rest of his troop?

hmm...could be. Without the whole story its tough to know. But it sounds like the SM is paying close attention with good intention so I say good for him. Id say the OP is lucky to have him.

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Sorry for the "bump" in transferring. It sounds like your new SM is really trying to help your boy develop. He's probably not faulting your son, but he probably doesn't think the first counselor did his job. Even so, it is probably very hard for your son to feel good explaining the situation to you because he had a sense that something was being "short cut" at the time he was taking the badge. It's easier to admit that sort of thing to an SM than to a parent.

 

The boy should call his new merit-badge counselor to tell him exactly what the problem was that he and the SM discovered and arrange for a follow-up meeting. Then he should call his SM to let him know that he's making a plan and ask him if there is any special paperwork required in addition to his signed blue card.

 

You could argue that a signed blue card is a signed blue card, but sometimes we all need to stop and ask ourselves "What's better for the boy?"

Baggss, I'm not pullin' this stuff out of thin air. See my links to the guide to advancement.

 

A signature vs. THE FACTS. Guess which one I want everyone here to go to the mat for? Our boys are counting on you all -- not to add to the requirements -- but to help them be sure that there is nothing bogus about the badges they earn.

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