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CubsRgr8

Merit Badge Questions

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Last night, at the troop meeting, a scout approached me about the Reading MB. He had a signed blue card but not a copy of the merit badge book. Our troop library doesn't have a copy of this particular MB book. Instead, he had printed the requirements out of MertitBadge.com, along with their worksheets. He does not intend for get a copy of the MB book. Is possession of the MB book is considered a requirement? My notes from MB training do not address this issue.

 

Two days ago, I received the renewal letter for serving as a MB counselor. I'm registered for five, the maximum the council will allow. Yet, the letter pleads for additional counselors for about a dozen MB badges (including one or two I'd be willing to add to my portfolio). What's the internal process for getting my council to allow us to register for more than five?

 

 

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There is no requirement for the Scout to have a merit badge book. Are you a Reading merit badge counselor? If so, you should have a copy of the merit badge book.

 

I would talk to your council & see what they suggest regarding the max number of merit badges for counselors.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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I agree with Ed. The scout isn't required to have the MB book but it is a good resource for the counselor. This troop maintains a lending library and when a new version is needed or if a boy needs one that we don't have, we get it. The boy is always free to purchase the book for himself.

After counseling several MBs (natural history oriented) for a while, I tend to believe that few persons in their right mind would choose to sign on to be a counselor for more than five anyway.

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Its great that these threads (questions) resurface as new people join the campfire. Every unit should try to maintain a current library of the Eagle Required badges and those that the unit has found most popular. The books are a great resource; but just that. I think that its very important that counselors keep abreast of current requirements.

 

Last Fall I had a scout ask me why his counselor was using the old book -- the counselor is now using the currrent book!

 

More recently one of the lads who was checking our library for a book (Physical Fitness, I think) mentioned that we had several with different covers. When I wondered aloud why that might be he took the bait. We now have two sections of the library -- Current and Historical. (The old ones are great discussion starters -- I've a 16 yr. old who wants to know why he can't do masonry -- his uncle used to mix mortar for his father-in-law on the weekend & had some great stories.)

 

Backstop your Merit Badge book library w/ the latest edition of the "Boy Scout Requirements" book for $3.50. (Its got ALL the requirements but no additional info. #B33215 -- you know the one w/ the badges of rank displayed across a yellow to green cover .)

 

I've noted before that many units purchase books when they try a merit badge w/ the whole patrol or troop, other libraries grow as individual scouts earn a badge on their own and donate the book to the troop / crew when they've completed it.

 

Do Your Best!

Bob

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It's important that scouts learn to use the resources available to them. while it is not required that they read the merit badge book, it is recommended in their Scout Handbook that they do.

 

The reason is simple. Can you get to a new destination without a map? Sure you can, but you might take a wrong road or miss somthing that you might have enjoyed because you went around it. Just as a scout can advance without ever reading the Boy Scout Handbook, they can earn the merit badge without reading the merit badge pamphlet. It's more difficult to advance that way but it can be be done.

 

Teaching the scouts to find and read the manual is an important lesson for future tasks.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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For most of the merit badges I have been exposed to, the MB book usually discuses the responses to the requirements for that MB. Some MBs can be completed from the information in the MB book alone. I strongly encourage Scouts to get the MB book.

 

SM406

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Colleges and Universities don't require textbook purchases either but it sure helps!

 

The "five" limit is artificial and just another example of an authority who thinks something should be this way so he/she makes it that way. Again, a common practice of den leaders, Scoutmasters, and some councils. It is wrong IMO.

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I'm glad to see the scouts use the computer and using the worksheets, I beleive it gives the boys a format and a way to start the MB-- I find that if they use the book even if it's older most of the answers are still found in it( yes it is best to use the most current one)and the older books have better hands on stuff. I'm from a small troop, and I hold 7 MB topics (I have not been asked from another troop for help)I hear from some of our scouts that many times when they ask outside, that the MB counselor does not want to help if the boys are not from that troop or they just don't have the time-- Lots of other counselor are happy too help -- thanks to all that volunteer RM

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While the BSA does allow a person to be the merit badge counselor for any number of merit badges. All Merit Badge Counselors are appionted by the District Committee. This committee can set guidelines and are responsible for the Merit Badge List,the Dean of Merit Badges works with the Advancement Committee.

While I really don't know why there isn't a limit on how many badges one person counsel. It may have to do with geographical and distance concerns. I do know first hand that at times with out the district keeping an eye on things it can get out of hand. We had one guy on our district list who was down for 42 Merit Badges. As a committee we do not have to approve every counselor or give a reason for not approving. We could have a unwritten policy, but that isn't the way things should work. At present we have requested that people do not sign up for more then five and will look at any special circumstances case by case.One reason we are doing this is because we want the Scouts to use the list and use the Merit Badge Counselors. We have had a lot of Scouts with 30 or 40 MBs who have never gone "Out Of Troop" to earn one of them. We as a district have also made the appiontment of Merit Badge Counselor a one year term.

Eamonn

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Cubsrgr8 asked: "What's the internal process for getting my council to allow us to register for more than five?"

 

I mis-read the question at first and thought, "Why don't you ask your district executive about your council's internal proceedures."

 

On second reading, I think he's asking "who do I ask about this and how do I get it changed?" Please tell me if I'm putting words in your mouth.

 

There is a lot of good information in this thread. Eamonn points out, correctly, that the matter should go through the council advancement committee. He's also "spot on" (right) about such policies usually are reactionary to specific cases like the ones he mentioned.

 

You should call your district advancement chairman and inquire about the policy. It could turn out that there really isn't a policy, but that a guideline has been "hardened" once it reached through all the voices in the council.

 

Or, you may have hit a council policy and it may be time for it to be re-examined. If so, request that the District advancement chairman bring it up at the next council advancement committee -- by having the district advancement chairman request that the council advancement chairman and request the topic on the agenda at least a couple of weeks prior to the meeting. That way no one is "blind-sided" and the meeting will go smoothly.

 

DS

 

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One of the purposes of the MB program is to teach the Scout initiative. He has to find the counselor, call him/her and make an appointment and then work with him. It is also to encourage the scout confidence in reaching out and meeting new people. If Billy's mom, a member of the troop committee, is the counselor for 8 MB, that's seven new people the scout won't get to meet. A MB is supposed to be something the scout earns on his own...not something that is spoon-fed to him at a troop meeting.

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Yes, I am a council registered Reading MB Counselor. I am surprised that the MB book isn't required, but I will continue to encourage the scout to borrow or purchase the current edition.

 

The five merit badges I counsel are not very labor intensive (Reading, Communications, Computers, Architecture and Cycling), so I would gladly register for a couple more, if allowed.

 

DS, your second take on my question was correct. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether a council policy was imposed by the professions or by the volunteers. Now I know which approach to take to see if I can get it changed. Thanks.

 

 

 

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Okay, now my dander is up.

 

"While I really don't know why there isn't a limit on how many badges one person counsel." Apart from not being a complete sentence, why on earth should their be a limit on the number of MB one may counsel? Rules are the lazy mans way of trying to fix things. If someone has been certified to being capable of teaching 42 MBs, maybe the Advancement Committee is not doing their job. If one finds abuse, stop the abusers. The lazy way out is to make blanket rules.

 

 

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The only reason I can think of for a District/Council to limit the number of MBs an individual Counselor is listed for, is if Scouts are getting "virtual busy signals" when assigned to them (sorry I'm too busy, sorry I'm too busy, sorry I'm too busy). Even at that, I think the the real solution to that problem is not limiting badges, but recruiting more counselors.

 

I also encourage Scouts to borrow the pamphlet, or for some MBs (camping, cooking, first aid, e-prep, orienteering, for example) buy the book so you have your own copy for life. BSA requirements may change, but arterial bleeding will always be arterial bleeding, and those references will serve them way after they've completed the MB, and after their Boy Scout tenure is over, for that matter.

 

As a former MB counselor, I also encourage them to download and use the worksheets from the internet -- really helps a Scout organize his notes and helps him and the counselor review the academic requirements.

 

I don't get overly excited if a counselor has the former edition of the pamphlet, as long as he's using the current requirements.

 

Scoutldr; when you say the Scout has to "find the counselor", you mean that he has to initiate contact with the counselor after the SM assigns one from the District/Council/Troop list, right?

 

KS

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As we have dicussed before the BSA olicies and procedures for advancemnet are inthe Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures manual.

 

It states that there is no limit to the number of merit badges a person can counsel providing they are registered and qualified.

 

It also suggests by the way that it recommends MB counselors be recruited and organized that a person counsel within a specific catagorie. For instance a person might do only water related merit badges such as sailing, skiing, fishing. Or someone might do camping related such as cooking, camping, survival, hiking, orienteering.

 

As much as I understand the feeling,I cannot support the theory about the need regulate counselors to insure the scout meets multiple counselors. The BSA allows scouts to go to one person for as many MB as that person is registered and qualified to do. It would be within the rules to go to a mother or father for instance for ever MB if they were registered and qualified. Yet I have never known a scout or parent to do that.

 

We should focus more on the qualifications of the counselor rather than on setting artificial limits.

 

Bob White

 

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