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christineka

those blue cards

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We have a problem. My son wants to work on merit badges. His 11 year old leader (LDS troop) lets him have his blue cards, so he can contact the counselor himself and work on badges outside of scout meetings, except when the counselor tells him "no" because he doesn't want to counsel only one boy (with buddy). (I counseled my son on that one to just complete the requirements first with documentation, then contact the counselor.) He sometimes has to deal with the scoutmaster, however. Scoutmaster will not allow boys to have blue cards. My son has several partial badges that he would like to finish up, but without the cards, we do not know who is the counselor, how to contact them, nor which requirements still need to be completed. Yesterday, I had to beg to get just one of them back, because there's a field trip today and the card needs to be signed. Both my son and I have asked for the swimming card several times. (Started that in June) No card has yet to be given to him. The boy even asked for a new card, so he could begin the badge over again, but that hasn't worked either. Due to a recent merit badge pow wow, he is almost finished with several badges and would really like to get them finished. (Especially right now, when he's not busy with school.) Is there anything a parent or boy can do to change the policy of holding blue cards out of reach of the boys? I understand that a lot of boys lose things (mine included), but a boy scout needs to learn responsibility anyway. Why can't a boy keep his own blue cards so that he may work on badges outside of scout meetings?

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Has the Scout asked the SM why he can't have the cards? I'd have the scout bug the heck out of the SM at every single meeting until the cards are given. If memory serves, since the bishop calls LDS leaders, Scout may need to chat with the bishop about the issue.

 

 

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From the 2013 Guide to Advancement (see text in bold):

 

7.0.0.2 About the Application for Merit Badge

(“Blue Cardâ€Â)

 

It is important to note the “blue card†is the nationally

recognized merit badge record. It has been updated

from time to time and carries the information needed for

proper posting and for evidence and reference as

needed later. The card has three parts: the actual

“Application for Merit Badge†portion, the “Applicant’s

Record,†and the “Counselor’s Record.†It requires a total

of four signaturesâ€â€two each from the unit leader and a

merit badge counselor. The unit leader signs first on the

front of the Application for Merit Badge portion and gives

the entire blue card to the Scout. See “The Scout, the Blue

Card, and the Unit Leader,†7.0.0.3.

 

Troop and Patrol Meetings are NOT generally places for working on Merit Badges, and it is the Scout's responsibility to obtain and safeguard the blue cards. The Unit Leader should give the Scout a suggestion or two about a MBC for whatever badge the Scout wishes to work on, sign the card, and happily hand it over.

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Torchwood says:

 

"Troop and Patrol Meetings are NOT generally places for working on Merit Badges, and it is the Scout's responsibility to obtain and safeguard the blue cards. The Unit Leader should give the Scout a suggestion or two about a MBC for whatever badge the Scout wishes to work on, sign the card, and happily hand it over."

 

100% in agreement with Torchwood here. As Scoutmaster, I like to know which badges my Scouts are working on, but apart from signing the front of the card I have little to no other responsibility with with the actual card until the badge is completed. At that point I sign the card as unit leader and hand it back to the Scout who then gives it to the advancement chair of the Troop committee. I have enough stuff to jam in my bag; I don't want a ton of blue cards, too! :cool:

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That is what I thought, but from asking parents around town, it seems this practice of the scoutmaster keeping all the blue cards, even though they haven't been finished, is normal in at least my town in Utah.

 

Since my son is 11, he usually doesn't do much with scoutmaster, but we are all in the church choir together, so I guess I'll just have my son ask scoutmaster after every choir practice for his blue cards back.

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Absolutely, the boy should have responsibility over his own blue cards Partial MB's may be lost by the boy, in which case he starts from square one. But they may be lost by the SM just as readily. My brother resents to this day that his SM left town with no forwarding address and all the troop's records of his advancement were lost.

 

Your son should at least ask for a copy. And, the district should have a list of MBCs. It doesn't really matter if he goes to a different counselor to complete the badge.

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christineka,

 

I'm still trying to figure out, "His 11 year old leader (LDS troop) lets him have his blue cards." My years of experience as a SM had me create files for each Scout where they could put all of their paperwork. I had too many Scouts lose advancement stuff through the years, and it was a lot of work to fix those problems. The files are available to all of the Scouts at all times. I handed out blue cards with my signature at summer camps as well as all other advancement opportunities. When I received incomplete merit badge cards for their files, I would always encourage the Scout to finish them soon. I hate incomplete merit badges. So, I guess some troops have an advancement committee member, and that's great, but as Scoutmaster, I encourage Scouts to check into merit badges all of the time, and hand out those signed blue cards.

It works for us.

 

sst3rd

 

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SSt3rd,

 

LDS troops do things a little differently since they incorporated Scouting into their youth ministry back when you had to be 12 to be a Scout.

 

When a youth turns 11, the officially become a Boy Scout with BSA, but they cannot do camp outs until 12 with the LDS troops. So 11 years olds have an ASM who deals just with the 11 year olds, they meet and do their own activities until 12, then do stuff with the troop.

 

Hopefully things will change in some regards with the new Cub Scout program. Now going camping is going to be required to advance from what I have glanced over.

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I don't understand this. Why doesn't the SM want to give the boys the cards? Is he afraid the Scouts will lose them? He doesn't want them working on MBs before earning ranks? Is he just disorganized and can't get around to producing the cards?

 

The SM's reasons and rationale make a difference with how I would suggest you proceed. I allow for the possibility the SM has good reason for this and you and your son need to listen to his counsel. Then again, this may be a situation where you need to move up the chain of command through the troop committee and district/council advancement folks.

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I don't understand this. Why doesn't the SM want to give the boys the cards? Is he afraid the Scouts will lose them? He doesn't want them working on MBs before earning ranks? Is he just disorganized and can't get around to producing the cards?

 

It is because he does not trust the boys to keep their blue cards. I was once asked to come in a do family life with the boys. I handed those cards back to the boys, but they insisted that a leader have them. The assistant leader collected them and stated it was to prevent the cards from getting lost. (None of those boys did anything else with that badge and were all sent to family life at the pow wow. Perhaps the pow wow counselor figured out a way to do the badge without having to do things at home?)

 

From talking to other parents of scouts in different troops, it seems that the general feeling of scouts is that it's something boys do at church, not at home. Parents don't worry about their boys doing anything at home or on his own.

The 11 year old scout leader, is also into community scouts. I think that makes the difference in why he is more interested in doing scouts the scout way, rather than the lds way.

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So the SM is running his own program? He certainly isn't running any BSA program that I would be a part of. If you never ask the boys to be responsible for their own advancement, you will get exactly that- a Troop of boys who don't take any responsibility for their own advancement. LDS program or not, this SM is doing his boys no favors. As for doing Family Life in a Pow Wow or Merit Badge University, around here it is an automatic partial, since requirement 3 has a 90-day reporting requirement and the family meeting in requirement 6 is likely to turn into multiple meetings, if the subjects are actually delved into.

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With no offense intended to LDS units, one of the challenges I've read about, heard, and experienced as both a DE and district volunteer , is that the leaders are not volunteers but "called" by the bishops, they do not have the proper training, expereince, or level of commitment that non-LDS units have. I had instances where I am trying to track down who the leaders actually are because the bishop has changed them, but the paperwork from council has not caught up and I have no contatc info. I remember playing phone tag for a month one time trying give out Cub Scout Day Camp info. The pack changed CMs about 3 times since recharter, and my contact at the church couldn't even keep up.

 

One good thing, the LDS church recognizes this challenge, and I beleive is now stating that BSA leadership callings are for 2 years minimum. Grant you, you are still getting your feet wet, but it is an improvement.

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Thanks for the insight- a lot of us don't know the ins and outs of the LDS program. But it seems like the Leaders who are being called out should be expected to get trained so that they can actually do their job according to BSA (and LDS) standards.

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Thanks for the insight- a lot of us don't know the ins and outs of the LDS program. But it seems like the Leaders who are being called out should be expected to get trained so that they can actually do their job according to BSA (and LDS) standards.

 

 

They are supposed to be trained. Things have changed recently (not sure if it's just my area or not) in that the prospective leader has to have their paperwork in and have youth protection completed before they can be officially called. In my ward, attending leadership training and monthly roundtable is strongly encouraged, but they cannot force people to attend. The current scoutmaster was cubmaster while I was a den leader. He is not interested in being trained. He is trying to have a fun program for the boys and get them earning badges, but whithout knowing how the program is supposed to work, it goes differently.

 

Out of curiousity, I checked what the boys completed at the merit badge pow wow for family life. Somehow, they managed to talk to their parents about how they were important members of their family AND had a family discussion. (In addition to the other requirements that could be done without the family.)

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The current scoutmaster was cubmaster while I was a den leader. He is not interested in being trained. He is trying to have a fun program for the boys and get them earning badges' date=' but whithout knowing how the program is supposed to work, it goes differently. [/quote']

 

And that is the problem. He has no idea, nor does he care, about how the Boy Scout program works. So he is essentially running a Cub Scout program for Boy Scout aged youth.

 

Youth Protection Training is required prior to being registered. But to be "Trained" he needs Scoutmaster Specific Leader Training, and Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skill. SSPLT tells you about how the program is suppose to work, and IOLS makes sure you can keep up with your Scouts when they camp.

 

 

 

 

 

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