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christineka

1st time teaching a merit badge- Help!

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I think the main reason Family Life, Personal Fitness and Personal Management often get put off until nearly the end is because of the "time requirements." As for Christine not having a choice, that may well be, but the Scoutmaster of her troop does have a choice, and his choice does not seem to be consistent with the merit badge program as I understand it.

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The nice thing about being a coach, is you get to dictate how you will do your job. The not so nice thing is that folks get concerned about scores and playing time at first, but boys will appreciate you best in the long run if you are fair and challenging. So be clear that nobody is going to get signed off on anything that night, but you are going to help them brain storm about the steps the need to take for some of the requirements. Then ask how many of they boys are interested in going home and working on the requirements, and make arrangements to meet with each of those who are interested. Regarding sex, my daughter's Jr. high youth leader encouraged her class to talk to us about it and report back if they had the following week. I was terrified, but grateful. Knowing that your parents are there for you for this thing is a really good idea for any boy to get into his head.

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I just get the feeling leadership is expecting this to be done in one meeting.

 

I don't think he looked at the requirements- just knew it was an eagle required badge. I did email him the list of things that needed to be done at home. Scoutmaster has a scout of his own.

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Each MB is different. Basketry can be done in one sitting at camp. The three C's need time and a really dedicated MBC. Family Life needs time (read the requirements!), it cannot be done in a week, or even a month and be done right, much less a single meeting. And no MB should ever be "required" of a Scout, all are optional. A MB class should be after, or before or elsewhere, never during a regular Troop meeting, IMHO.

 

My home Troop does a neat job with First Aid MB, tho. They offer it after the meeting, a EMT leads it, over a number of sessions. When he says you know it, you know it. Tenderfoots get credit for Second Class First Aid. Second Classers, get credit for First Class requirement. Scouts that do not participate must pass their rank requirements separately.

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I really hate it when someone posts a specific question and we end up trashing their entire program. Unfortunately, it's difficult not to do that here.

 

Christineka, what your SM has asked you to do sounds like entertaining a cub scout den for a night, not running a troop meeting and certainly not counseling a merit badge. From your posts is doesn't sound like he has much of a handle on counseling merit badges, either.

 

My suggestion to you is to take the opportunity to introduce all the Scouts to Family Life, explain the requirements to them and tell them how you expect them to complete the badge with you. DO NOT approach this as a "merit badge class". As has been mentioned before, perhaps you can discuss potential project ideas and give them some examples of projects you would find acceptable. Maybe you create chart for tracking their chores and distribute it. It is perfectly acceptable to lead a discussion in how to conduct a family meeting so the Scouts can move forward with that requirement.

 

Then let the scouts know how they can get in touch with you to make an appointment if they choose to complete the badge now. THAT is the point at which you really begin to work with the Scouts as a counselor.

 

Then let them play basketball the rest of the time.

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I am also a brand new Family Life MB counselor. Actually, I'm brand new to the whole MB counselor thing. I've been called by two pairs of boys already. Am I supposed to meet with the boys before they even get started, even if there isn't anything to talk about yet? I figured they could start working on their 90 days of chores before we scheduled a meeting. Are we supposed to meet in person if they are proposing project ideas, or are phone calls sufficient? I certainly plan on meeting with them in person to discuss the things we are supposed to discuss, just not sure if a face-to-face is necessary to get them going on some of the requirements. Since they are from a different troop, a face-to-face meeting requires some extra coordination.

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I am also a brand new Family Life MB counselor. Actually' date=' I'm brand new to the whole MB counselor thing. I've been called by two pairs of boys already. Am I supposed to meet with the boys before they even get started, even if there isn't anything to talk about yet? I figured they could start working on their 90 days of chores before we scheduled a meeting. Are we supposed to meet in person if they are proposing project ideas, or are phone calls sufficient? I certainly plan on meeting with them in person to discuss the things we are supposed to discuss, just not sure if a face-to-face is necessary to get them going on some of the requirements. Since they are from a different troop, a face-to-face meeting requires some extra coordination.[/quote']

 

I believe phone calls are sufficient. As for in person meetings, if you are not a Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster, having those Scouts from other troops visit your CO during a Troop meeting is a really ideal way to do things. It's generally a night where you'd be going to the Church anyways (to drop off or pick up your Scout). That is what I do with Scouts who want to work with me on Merit Badges.

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I am also a brand new Family Life MB counselor. ... Am I supposed to meet with the boys before they even get started' date=' even if there isn't anything to talk about yet? ....[/quote'] If you have an opportunity to meet the boys before they start on the merit badge, do it. Some boys may already have been working on the requirements, others don't even know where to start. A boy might be concerned about a particular requirement, and you can give suggestions on how he might tackle it. It's also okay to let a boy know you're new at this. Just promise you'll get help from other scouters if he has a question you can't answer. :)

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IMHO Family Life when done right is and should be a lot of work for the boy and his family. I think it is best done when the boys get a little older and start to understand the responsibilities of being part of a family. Of course some boys are more mature than others. In our Troop we hold the boys feet to the fire a bit more for Family Life, Personal Fitness, and Personal Management.

 

We tend to have a large pow wow to kick off these merit badges at the start of summer and go over a few concepts with the counselors. We might schedule time for boys once a month to meet with the MBC to go over progress but they quickly fall out and start working or not working at different speeds anyway...

 

 

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Dedkad -- if you were coaching a sport would you meet with the players before the first game? Of course!

 

Counseling a MB is more than grading their papers. They are supposed to be learning from you. If they complete requirements before meeting with you, what have you brought to the table? Of course there are probably requirements which Scouts could complete before meeting with you, but why miss the opportunity?

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Dedkad -- if you were coaching a sport would you meet with the players before the first game? Of course!

 

Counseling a MB is more than grading their papers. They are supposed to be learning from you. If they complete requirements before meeting with you, what have you brought to the table? Of course there are probably requirements which Scouts could complete before meeting with you, but why miss the opportunity?

 

But it seems like Family Life is kind of a unique MB, and I'm not really sure what they are supposed to be learning from me. A lot of the requirements are to be done with the family, which makes sense because every family is different and has different values. Some families are religious and base their foundation on that. Some aren't. Some are big families, some aren't. Some believe in spanking their children. Some don't. Every parent has lots of opinions on the way children should be raised and how families should operate. There is nothing right or wrong about most of those ways, and I didn't see it as being my place to tell them how to run their family. I envisioned it being more of a discussion with the boys about their thoughts on family, and I would chime in when needed, rather than me actually teaching them something. What have others done with this MB?

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for finishing family life I do it one on one with someone else near by in the room.

 

if I was asked to do this as a group - wow.... this is one badge I do like the workbook for because of tracking chores... so I'd hand out the workbook or have one and let others know where they can get it. And just go over the requirements and my expectations. Expectations like: for individual project you need to get parent/guardian permission and my permission to begin and I want pictures. For family project it is the same but I also expect to know who they are assigning what jobs and why. I want to know what the chores are prior to beginning.

 

As to the family meeting info the way I do it is once a boy is working on this badge I talk to both the scout and a parent - let them know what areas they need to discuss and that I don't need to know what was discussed as this is a family meeting so I just want the parent to sign off on that. When I do final sign off what I discuss with the boy about the meetings is how do they think the meeting could be improved and how do they think they can continue to build a good relationship with their family and if they don't feel comfortable talking to their parents I ask who they might have in their life that they could turn to.

 

This badge is such a personal badge that I don't really know how to do anything in a large group setting. Unless you really want to get creative and try doing some role-reversals of working through disagreements common between teens and parents.

 

good luck!!!

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Thought I'd report back, since it was tonight. I am a wimp, so after going over the badge, I handed out the blue cards (next time, I won't accept them, since the boys are supposed to get them from sm, not from mb counselor), the chore charts (I told them they could make their own), and papers for brainstorming project ideas and making a family outline. Doing that took a considerable amount of time, then we discussed number 1 and number 7. I made sure that everyone participated.

 

The boys wanted me to keep their cards, but I put my foot down and told them to keep them, so they gave them to a leader, who will give them to sm to keep. I thought the boys were supposed to keep those cards. My son keeps his. Anyway, I doubt they will all finish the projects and chores at the same time, so they'll just have to get a hold of me in the buddy system next time.

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... I put my foot down and told them to keep them' date=' so they gave them to a leader, who will give them to sm to keep. I thought the boys were supposed to keep those cards. My son keeps his. Anyway, I doubt they will all finish the projects and chores at the same time, so they'll just have to get a hold of me in the buddy system next time.[/quote']

 

"All politics is local." -- Tip O'Neal

 

I strongly encourage you to have a talk with the SM about how the boys are counting too much on leaders to keep track of their paperwork. (I'm speaking as a brother of a would-be Eagle scout if not for his SM skipping town having never returned to him his copy of the blue cards. 65 years have passed and it's still a sore subject :( ). Maybe the adult is just recording progress and will give the boys the cards back next week. But the boys should take a break from any particular badge, the boys should play some memory challenge games, and the SM should give them a short lecture on record-keeping. (Maybe at the same time you could coach parents about ways to help boys be in control of their destiny and keep their blue card collection!)

 

I get that the SM is trying to get these boys to chip away at MBs at a quick pace so that when they move on to another unit next year, they'll have a leg up. But, that has to be balanced with the boys having a sense of pride that they are accomplishing things that most 15 year olds don't even do well. A boy being able to keep track of his advancement is a key step in that process.

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This is lds scouting. The boys won't be changing units, unless they move. The sm used to be cub master. I know he has never felt the need to go through training or even read his "job" description. He means well, though.

 

My son is 11 and in lds scouting, that's a whole other patrol. His leader gives him the blue cards. He went to scout camp with the sm and older boys and he does not have his blue cards at all. One of his badges wasn't even finished. I don't know how he's supposed to finish up if he doesn't have his card, saying what he has left to do.

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