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How To Handle Redundant Requirments

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I have three 6th graders recently elected as PLs. They are turning out to be better than the three high school kids that preceded them. ;)


"Never do for a boy what he can do for himself." - LB-P


Good quote by LB-P, but I like mine better, "Never underestimate what a kid can do if he wants to (or has to)."


I don't expect miracles out of my boys, I rely on them.

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The question is answered, kind of, in Section of the Guide to Advancement, by which I mean it doesn't really answer the question definitively but rather gives examples then leaves most of it t

pack54... The one thing i noticed in your last posts is that these were MB's YOU wanted him to get done. What does your son want to do? Why does HE want to go to summer camp? The Scouting Journey isn'

That's precisley why I discourage scouts from taking merit badges like the Citizenships and Communications at summer camp - it's a waste of opportunity.  There are ample opportunities to earn those "c

... And as far as getting some other MBs done before Summer Camp, I have a hard enough time getting him to do his homework.....

It's like I have an evil twin. :0


Warning about advice from strangers: With the strategy these fellows suggest (and I've followed) only a boy with real initiative will earn MBs outside of camp. He might not discover that initiative until he's 17.4 and finally decides it's time to earn Life, and 6 months later, Eagle ... with increased probability of missing the mark. His initiative = your palpitations.


On the flip side, if he does hustle up and gets in the habit of calling counselors and knocking out an MB every month or so, when he does Eagle, he'll have time to kick back and with those extra electives rack up a few Palms.

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Pack54 - wow, I'm stunned - someone actually listened to my advice :blink: .


Sounds like an ambitious schedule - and it also sounds like a lot of fun!  I'm betting your son is more excited about camp now too.  Be prepared for at least a couple of partials and to make sure your son doesn't get discouraged about them - it is not uncommon for boys to need to take two years for Rifle if they've not spent a lot of time shooting on their own (make sure you pad his camp spending allowance a bit too - it costs money for those bullets - we always suggested that a Scout have two pools of money - one for the rifle merit badge work and one for the trading post/fun stuff.  Once the rifle merit badge funds were gone, that was generally it for the year and the Scout would take a partial - unless they were like "this close" to gaining that final score needed to earn the badge - it's just a way to make sure that a Scout isn't disappointed at the end of camp that he spent all his money at the rifle range and got a partial and didn't get to buy a camp t-shirt, like all his friend have).


Homework?  Yeah, not sure if I have any sound advice on that one - I'm the type that would disable the smart phone and x-box until the homework was done.


In the past, I was never a fan of this kind of motivation but I've seen it work - your son is 13 - in two years, he'll be wanting a learner's permit, then shortly after, a driver's license.  If Eagle Scout is a rank he truly wants to earn (and it's not something that is expected of him) then a great way to self-motivate is to sign an agreement now between parent and son that he can't get his driver's license until he earns Eagle Scout or he ages out naturally - whichever comes first.  I know a couple of 16 year olds who made just that kind of agreement and are now really motivated to earn those last couple of badges and finish their projects before summer.

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I knew several kids in a previous troop who's parents did the "no drivers license until Eagle" route.  Some of them did it, but the ones that did, they only reason they did it was to get Mom and Dad off their back.  They wern't even interested in a ceremony to recieve the rank.  The desire to earn Eagle really has to come from within.

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I discourage parents to talk contract with a boy regarding advancement. How is making any kind of deal "self motivating"?


For as many boys as we lose when they get their license, we have twice as many who actually step it up and start finishing their advancement once they can drive to meetings and activities on their own.

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With my troop, my advice is more of the lines, " You scheduled 2 MB at the smae time, you need to pick one," "Sure you don't want a free period for free swimming," or "Livesaving is an extremely hard one. You sure you want to take it? if you get a partial, we have folks to help with after camp."


Now with my son, I did lay down the law with him.  I told him point blank, "No paperpushing MBs, I want you to have fun."  And with the excpetion of one suggestion, he came up with his own schedule. Since he was taking Geocaching, I suggested he also do Orienteering since it's 'Old School Geocaching."  In fact, I think he's only taking 1 eagle required MB at camp: Cooking. Everything else is fun stuff.


In refernce to 'Get Eagle or no License" we had a Scout in my troop growing up whose parents did that. He was well on his way to Eagle with 60+ MBs and he decided to rebel.  Never did get Eagle, but he did eventually get his license.


As for the folks with the young troop. Somewhat same situation. Remember I have the 11Year old SPL.  Has he been perfect, nope. Has ne needed coaching, mentoring, and advising, yep. But he's getting the job done, and has done a better job than the previous SPL. And that's not only me as Dad saying it but the other leaders.  "The Patrol [Method] is not one one way to run a Boy Scout troop, it is the only way." Give the boys the responsibility,and they will amaze you.


"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William Hillcourt

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I knew several kids in a previous troop who's parents did the "no drivers license until Eagle" route.  Some of them did it, but the ones that did, they only reason they did it was to get Mom and Dad off their back.  They wern't even interested in a ceremony to recieve the rank.  The desire to earn Eagle really has to come from within.


That's just a different type of Helicopter Parenting. That's "Stealth Mode" helicopter parenting.


I am reminded about the now infamous Mike Rowe letter to a potential Eagle scout.


I've taken this road with my Scouts...and my son. If you don't make it you will be in good company. Heck, I know guys who aged-out at Life and are now Scouters and they are better people for having NOT made Eagle than they likely ever would have been had they made it.


It is a goal, but is it not the end of things if you fail. There's a better life lesson in failure than in success.

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My scouting experience?  After 4 years of Boy Scouts I was Second Class with 1 MB (Stamp Collecting).  Let this be a warning to you, if you don't do better than that, you could end up as screwed up as I am.

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I pass the Cooking Merit Badge every week.  I cook dindin for my family at least two or three times a week.

For a Scout to even THINK he should not "do" the cooking requirements in FC or in CMB or in the Camping MB whenever it is available to him is indicative of another problem entirely. 


In a Troop that has a robust camping and hiking program, the opportunities to cook (and clean up?) and such should be almost automatic for the boy.  He should be able to at least HELP with meal planning and execution multiple times a year.   In the old(er) times, the Cooking MB also allowed the preparation of a meal for the family or elsewhere also.  Is this not still possible?  Why would a boy complain about the need to learn and demonstrate a skill that will benefit him thruout his life?  


For a PL to sign off on a T-2-F requirement, he definitely needs to witness and testify to that skill (would you eat his meal?)  For the Cooking Merit Badge (the certification of a more expert skill) , the skill and knowledge needs to be that much better, IMHO, and therefore needs to be especially demonstrated.


I know a First Aid MBCounselor that is very thorough and makes his charges go thru many demos of the skills and knowledge .  At the end of his course, yes, I will allow those boys can easily pass the T-2-F  first aid requirements.  But they will do them separately, for their SM or PL. 


I tell Scouts whenever it is appropriate that if they master any of three skills, they will never fail to put food on their table and a roof over their head:  The first is CLEANING.  There is always someone who will pay you to do their cleaning.  My daughter and her husband make a very reasonable living cleaning restaurants and kitchens.   The second is COOKING.  Whether in a fancy gourmet restaurant or fastfood greasy spoon, somebody will pay you to cook tastily and healthily. .   The third is DRIVING.  As a safe, skillful,  responsible driver, you can always find a taxi or bus or truck to drive for a paycheck. 


Sic sempre  Scouts!

Edited by SSScout
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As an outdoorsman, I have always thought of the T-FC requirements as the minimum level of skill to go out in the woods and be self-sufficient enough that everyone else around you doesn't need to babysit you.  If an Eagle scout can't start a campfire, I seriously question his ability to be a genuine Eagle Scout.  Do scouts get lost in the woods?  Sure, but they also know the best way to get un-lost, too.


After the scout has completed the T-FC, or even while doing the T-FC skill training, the opportunity for, "Hey, that was cool, what's next?" should be there for him and here is where I see the boy breaking away form the requirements to get a greater degree of training in areas that are of interest to him.


Once a scout reaches FC, I'm satisfied he'll do well to enjoy his scouting career.  However, if he has had his advancement to FC pencil whipped and is a burden on the members of his patrol because he doesn't know what he's doing, he's pretty much useless and will definitely not enjoy the scouting experience.  This is how we get our Eagle scouts that can't start a simple campfire.  They are along for the ride and the reward and aren't interested all that much on the experience or journey.


If advancement quit at FC and the boys then had a smorgasbord of MB's to further their education, then I'm all for it.  That furthering of education doesn't need to even be advancement.   


If people don't think that T-FC is not enough to make a well-rounded scout, then beef up the T-FC requirements to where they would be and then have everything else electives.  Heck, even at that point, as long as the Scout is proficient in Scoutcraft, then they can add all the STEM MB's they want, even the classroom MB's are not a big deal then, if that's what the boys want, go for it  


If a boy loves the water, they should have an entire MB series on swimming, boating, fishing, etc.  If the boy loves nature, then there's conservation, forestry, ecology, recycling, environmental science, etc. to satisfy his interests.


I think the program can meet the interests of a wide variety of different personalities.


I'm thinking T-FC can be seen as a high school diploma or GED.  You are basically educated.


MB's become the college level education and then there are the second tier MB's that would offer an indepth look at subjects and maybe then the "Eagle Path" are earned at the PhD level. 


A MB at the college level degree of difficulty, then that same MB at the Masters and then a PhD level where the boy really knows his stuff and could have some sort of valuable expertise in that area.


Take cooking:


T-FC - Skills for feeding oneself and a small group (patrol)

Bachelor level - Dutch Oven, campfire cooking, developing and modifying recipes for the outdoors.  

Masters level - Backpacking foods, how to break down grocery store packaging into usable backpack treks, dehydrating one's own food, foraging in the wild,

PhD level - Cooking for larger groups, Specialty cooking (gravies, sauces, baking breads, muffins, in DO, etc.)  Making cheesecake in the DO instead of just cobblers.


There could be a handful of PhD required MB's that had pre-requirement MB's.  If PhD Cooking is required for "Eagle" then Bachelor and Master Cooking need to be done first.


I can see the Swimming following the same parallel levels of difficulty with PhD Swimming culminating with BSA Life Saving certification or maybe SCUBA certification


First Aid is another natural for the progressive levels of education  If the old Ranger award needed 125 hours of First Aid training (EMT certification) why couldn't that be the PhD level of First Aid?


I wouldn't even have a problem with STEM being a PhD level goal under these circumstances.  With all this talk about how most of the MB's are STEM oriented in the first place, why not apply it to the Scouting journey?  Science, Technology and Math all apply itself nicely to building catapults.  Why not take to to the next level beyond Popsicle stick catapults of the Cub program?


There's so much out there that is available and BSA is trending itself to FOLLOW what others are doing rather than taking the lead and setting the pace which they have 90% of the program skills already in place to do so. 


Is this going to produce redundancy in the program?  No, it will produce a progressively more challenging adventure in the area of interest.  There will be no question that what is being taught at the PhD level is not what was taught at the T-FC level.   :)


It also forces the BSA to categorize the curriculum to a progressively challenging path rather than willy-nilly wanderings it has in place now.

Edited by Stosh
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It suggests that a service project "could" be counted by a Scout for two different awards, but provides that it might not be a good idea - without outright prohibiting the practice.




Service projects?  My answer would be "no, it counts for one only - that is Troop policy" - and if there was any pushback, the answer would either be "I'll be glad to help find a Troop more suitable to people wanting shortcuts" or "Congratulations, Mr. CC, you're the new SM" depending on the support from the committee I received.

The BSA sample projects section for the Hornaday Award, the eagle scout did four projects for his Hornaday award, one of which doubled for his eagle project. So clearly the BSA didn't object to the doubling up if they picked this scout to be the poster child for the Hornaday Award.


Note, if you haven't listened to the mp3 interviews with this kid, it's worth it to take the time. It interesting listening to the issues and challenges he had doing these projects.

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  • 5 years later... Fulfilling More Than One Requirement With a Single Activity

From time to time it may be appropriate for a Scout to apply what was done to meet one requirement toward the completion of another. In deciding whether to allow this, unit leaders or merit badge counselors should consider the following.

When, for all practical purposes, two requirements match up exactly and have the same basic intent—for example, camping nights for Second Class and First Class ranks and for the Camping merit badge—it is appropriate and permissible, unless it is stated otherwise in the requirements, to use those matching activities for both the ranks and the merit badge.

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I think the answer is a little more complicated, and a Scout / leader / merit badge counselor should read all of section before making a decision on whether to double-count an activity or not.

For example:


Where matching requirements are oriented toward safety, such as those related to first aid or CPR, the person signing off the requirements should be satisfied the Scout remembers what was learned from the previous experience.

So this is why a kayaking merit badge counselor can make a Scout re-do the BSA swim test, even though the Scout might have already qualified as a swimmer the year before or even have earned the swimming merit badge.


Some requirements may have the appearance of aligning, but upon further examination actually differ. These seemingly similar requirements usually have nuances intended to create quite different experiences. The Communication and Citizenship in the Community merit badges are a good example. Each requires the Scout to attend a public meeting, but that is where the similarity ends. For Communication, the Scout is asked to practice active listening skills during the meeting and present an objective report that includes all points of view. For Citizenship, the Scout is asked to examine differences in opinions and then to defend one side. The Scout may attend the same public meeting, but to pass the requirements for both merit badges the Scout must actively listen and prepare a report, and also examine differences in opinion and defend one side.

The paragraph above could also apply to the campout requirements for Second Class and First Class 1a. vs. the camping merit badge.  The rank requirements for SC/FC 1a. were rewritten in 2016 in such a way that there might be times when a campout can count towards the camping merit badge, but not count as a campout for SC/FC 1a.  For example, if a Scout goes to summer camp and stays in a tent that was pitched by the camp, then it could be counted towards the camping MB, but not be a campout for SC/FC 1a..  The intent seems to have changed a little bit, where SC/FC 1a. seems to be about the Scout gaining some experience putting up / taking down a tent or other shelter, but the camping MB seems to allow for some more flexibility by sleeping "under the sky" or in a tent pitched by the summer camp.


When contemplating whether to double-count service hours or a service project, and apply the same work to pass a second advancement requirement, each Scout should consider: “Do I want to get double credit for helping others this one time, or do I want to undertake a second effort and make a greater difference in the lives of even more people?” To reach a decision, each Scout should follow familiar guideposts found in some of those words and phrases we live by, such as “helpful,” “kind,” “Do a Good Turn Daily,” and “help other people at all times.”

Counting service hours for school or elsewhere in the community and also for advancement is not considered double counting since the hours are counted only once for advancement purposes.

So double-counting service hours / service projects for multiple BSA rank requirements, merit badges, or awards can be allowed, but seems to be discouraged.


As Scout leaders and advancement administrators, we must ask ourselves an even more pointed question: “Is it my goal to produce Scouts who check a task off a list or Scouts who will become the leaders in our communities?” To answer our own question, we should consult the same criteria that guide Scouts.

This is a good reminder, IMO.

And Scouts / leaders / MBCs also have to be aware that some requirements are written in such a way that they cannot be double-counted.  For example:


World Conservation Award
Requirements for this award must be completed in addition to any similar requirements completed for rank.

So the 3 conservation service hours done as part of the World Conservation Award cannot be double-counted for rank.


Hiking merit badge
*The required hikes for this badge may be used in fulfilling hiking requirements for rank advancement. However, these hikes cannot be used to fulfill requirements of other merit badges.



Cooking merit badge
Note: The meals prepared for Cooking merit badge requirements 4, 5, and 6 will count only toward fulfilling those requirements and will not count toward rank advancement or other merit badges. Meals prepared for rank advancement or other merit badges may not count toward the Cooking merit badge. You must not repeat any menus for meals actually prepared or cooked in requirements 4, 5, and 6.

So the answer is yes, sometimes.  But it depends on safety, the intent behind the requirements, and how the requirements are written.

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