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christineka

those blue cards

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Reminds me of my grandmother. The sheets and pillow cases at her house were always full of holes, patches and seams where she had pieced them back together. But she died with a closet full of brand-new linens still in the packages. She always said she was saving them for "good" but somehow good never came. A product of raising a family during the Depression, no doubt.

 

The SM is doing the same thing. He thinks he's protecting the boys from losing the cards, but the cards are of no more use all locked up than they would be if the Scouts lost them. They can no more complete partial badges now than if the cards were, in fact, destroyed. You can try pointing out the lack of logic there, but I doubt it will help.

 

Here's a thought -- offer to take over as merit badge coordinator. You take responsibility for the cards and will make sure the boys handle them "appropriately." Set up procedures which will free up the cards to the boys, but also make the SM comfortable. Step one, the blue cards are stored under glass in nitrogen-filled cases. Scouts can view but not touch the cards. Okay, maybe you skip that step, but it's easy enough for you to throw a blue card on a copier before giving the original to the Scout. If necessary YOU, not the SM, will be responsible for creating another original blue card. Then again, maybe you just tell the Scout "responsibility bites" and give him a blank card. Of course your goal will be to wean the SM from the current Webelos III system, but you don't need to point that out right away.

 

We've got a big troop, 60+, and have a member of the troop advancement subcommittee who serves at MB coordinator. He provides blue cards and counselors to Scouts asking for them, and process the blue card and advancement paperwork on the back end. At some point during troop meetings he will hand me a stack of cards to sign. The only partials we really handle are from summer camp. Our camp tracks MBs online. At the end of camp we print a report showing each completed MB or partial. The partials are rendered into blue cards which are distributed with the completed requirements shown on the card (yeah, it's a lot of work.) These are given to the Scouts and I'm sure most are lost or run through the laundry in fairly short order. BUT, we still have the Internet report (both online and hard copies) we can go back to if necessary.

 

I don't think any of our guys really deal with partials on MBs earned outside summer camp. Most counselors simply work with the boys until the badge is completed and then sign the card.

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I wouldn't necessarily pin this on LDS. All politics is local, and I've seen every manner of adult leader try to pull these shenanigans. Get enough of them in one district and suddenly everyone thinks they've built the better mouse-trap.

 

Rattling off quotations from the advancement guide won't get you anywhere. Just try to make a compromise where you can get a photocopy (or, these days, simply picture) of a blue card. Use it to find your counselor or requirements to complete. If the boy completes them, either get it from the SM for signature, have the MBC (if he's in-troop) ask to see the blue card, or have the MBC sign the BC copy. If the man wants more work for himself, let him at it.

 

Bottom line: your boy will know he's doing the requirements and will have the dignity to ask to be recognized for it.

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Again I am not trying to pick on the LDS units, and I know of non-LDS leaders , some of whom ARE trained (heck I trained one of them), who don't care how the program is suppose to be run, but do what THEY want to do.

 

The real challenge is turnover. You need stable adult leadership in order to have a good program.

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The concern of the Scoutmaster over lost cards is reasonable. That also implies that they will be accessable enough so that the MB cards can be signed off.

 

If that system isn;t working in practice, I'd be inclined to have the parent take it up with the Scoutmaster, Committee Chair and Troop Committee as necessary.

 

 

I would think that even with such a system, a Scoutmaster should be willing to trust a Scout who is taking an interest in completing advancement requirements. If the boy loses a card after being trusted with it, tough!

 

So I'd say it would be appropriate for a parent to take an interest in resolving this issue with the Scoutmaster, Committee Chair and Troop Committee.

 

 

 

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I recently counseled a 17 yo with a 5 year old partial in Family Life. They don't always lose the blue cards you know.

(I complimented him on his organization skills and suggested that his thinking on families might have changed in five years.)

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If I were this scout's mom I would counsel him to ask the 11 yo ASM to get the blue cards for all the 11 year olds. Then teach those boys an organization system. Those boys moving up could change the process of blue cards themselves.

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As update, the sm gave us a printout of which requirements my son needs to complete of his badges. Not sure how to get the blue card signed by the counselor, but we can get to that when needed.

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My troop never used blue cards, so we used photocopies of the Boy Scout Requirements Book and had them initial each requirement , or sign off saying completed.

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It's a two way street. Have the counselor sign the printout and return it to the SM. Or maybe the counselor can call the SM. When it turns into a PIA for another adult, may the SM will get off the schneid.

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Once I organized a group of Scouts to earn the Railroad Merit Badge. We visited a well known Scouter/MBCounselor in Baltimore. He led us to a famous model railroad, a real train yard, helped the Scouts build a model train car, discussed the requirements at length. He carefully filled out and signed all their Blue Cards, kept his third piece and we went home They came away with a lot for their 5 or 6 hours of time.

Six months later, the Scout's parent called me. They ("they") could not find his blue RRMB card, and could I sign a new one for him? I explained that I was not the MBCounselor and could not do that. I gave them the name and phone number of the man in Baltimore . They called me again, and again, as they could not get hold of this man and the Scout's EBoR was being scheduled. I did not hear from them again, but I see the Scout occasionally at events, and we exchange greetings. Evidently he managed to keep the rest of his cards, because he was awarded his Eagle.

 

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