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Prerequisites For Mbs At Summer Camp.

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The original question is an interesting one.  Upon my initial read I went back and forth a few times.  I can see both perspectives.  However, in this case I would be ok with the swimming MB as a prereq.  Technically it is a prereq to take the course and is not a prereq to earn the badge and therefore isn't adding to the requirements.  In a camp setting there is certainly a mass element to the badges and it's reasonable to expect for some objective criteria to be in place as an initial screen.

 

In a traditional setting, if a scout went to a MBC and asked to work on the lifesaving MB, it would be reasonable for the counselor to ask if the scout was a strong swimmer.  If the answer was no, there would be nothing out of line if the MBC turned the scout away.  Because in a camp there are so many more scouts, that initial screen needs to be a little more formal and asking for a swimming MB sounds like a reasonable approach to me.

 

Unfortunately that his not a true correlation.  Just because one has earned the Swimming MB does not mean they are a strong swimmer. (and vice-versa)   :)

 

My experience:

  • In life-saving, speed and quick-wits matter more than size or maturity.
  • In life-guarding maturity matters more than speed, size, or quick-wits.

A lifesaving class might just be what a swim-like-a-fish 11 year old needs to help him grab what he needs to make that rescue.

The drowning victim you will never ask the age of his/her rescuer.

 

Here's the thing: if you do have a couple of boys who earn lifesaving in their first year ... you want to strongly encourage them keep their skills sharp. That might mean leaning on them to earn BSA guard or Red Cross Lifeguard when they are 14.

 

Or they can take the advice my Mother gave me.  If you have the knowledge you can always save someone's life, if you have the certificate you can do the same thing, but while you stand on the dock watching, everyone else will be in the water having a good time.  I did not get my certification because I ended up 10 yards short on my mile swim.  :)

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Thanks to all that posted to the discussion. I've got a much better idea of all the ins and outs of this issue, which was my point in posting here in the first place. Your help is appreciated.

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Follow-up to the question that initiated my request for a discussion. The camp, when queried, said that the requirement for Swimming MB prior to taking the Lifesaving MB was an error.

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Follow-up to the question that initiated my request for a discussion. The camp, when queried, said that the requirement for Swimming MB prior to taking the Lifesaving MB was an error.

 

Really?  My son's taking lifesaving at camp this year.  It had a pre-req. of swimming.  I wonder if it's the same camp?  Or if it's a typo as well.  My son has completed swimming, so it doesn't really matter, unless he actually has to have the badge.  Swimming is one of the badges that the card seems to have disappeared before he finished.

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Really?  My son's taking lifesaving at camp this year.  It had a pre-req. of swimming.  I wonder if it's the same camp?  Or if it's a typo as well.  My son has completed swimming, so it doesn't really matter, unless he actually has to have the badge.  Swimming is one of the badges that the card seems to have disappeared before he finished.

 Not unless your son is traveling to the midwest for summer camp this year.  ;)   Someone else I talked to said that swimming used to be required, but isn't anymore. I don't think he will know for sure that he is taking Lifesaving until he arrives at camp in a few weeks.

 

I remember reading about your son's blue card problems. That is a tough one. Perhaps he will meet a sympathetic counselor.

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Once upon a time, Swimming MB was a prerequisite for Lifesaving MB. That changed in 2001 when I think a lot of laws were create that affected teenagers and lifeguarding certification programs.

 

I know back when I got BSA Lifeguard, youth needed to have as prerequisites First Aid, Swimming, Lifesaving, Rowing, and Canoeing MBs. Adults needed to have the skills to complete those MBs.

 

But again, a lot of laws got put in place that do not allow 18 and under to do waterfront lifeguarding. Hence the reason why BSA Lifeguard no longer covers waterfronts and boating rescues.  You gotta take the Aquatics Supervision: Safe Swimming certification for waterfront skills and Aquatics Supervision: Paddle Sports for boating rescue .

 

 

Now could an 11 year old take the class? Will they pass, possibly. I'm in a similar situation with a 12 year old wanting to take Lifesaving MB. He did first year camper last year and has Swimming MB.  I advised him that it's a tough class, and that if he gets a partial, we'll find folks to work with him.

 

As to size of victims, " Size matters not"  until you try to get them on the deck. ;)  I had a 16.y.o. petite, 5'1" female who barely weighed 100 pounds soaking wet tow me all over the place when I was certifying her to be a lifeguard. Yes she failed the first time, but took advantage of of the opportunity to retake the class. Worked on her skills and technique, and that did the trick. Only problem she had with the retest was getting the person out. She was able to do it, but it wasn't pretty.

 

Personally I say first year camper, but it's the SCOUT'S DECISION, (emphasis, not shouting) and no one elses,. not even the mom's.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
  • Upvote 1

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In response to the original question:  I sent an email to the national advancement committee regarding a similar situation with "pre-requisites" for a special MB Eagle Encampment at a summer camp with age and rank ":pre-requisites".

 

I received a timely response that it was not adding to requirements for the MBs and it is OK for MB counselors to choose who or what type of scouts they want to work with using criteria like that

 

I'd tell mom that swimming is definitely require for Eagle while Lifesaving is optional with E-Prep as it's option.  Let's see how well the scout does in the water first.  He may not want lifesaving after taking swimming. 

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Perhaps your correspondent didn't think this issue through as well as one might.

 

I suggest that the difference between "adding requirements" and "prerequisites" is only a difference in the label used, not the effect.

 

I have always -- truly -- felt that the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge should require: 

 

that the candidate be First Class

 

that the candidate have the Camping Merit Badge

 

that the candidate have the First Aid Merit Badge

 

that the candidate be able to start a one match fire three out of four times in fair weather using natural materials, including natural tinder (Why work on advanced fire-starting using field-expedient methods if the candidate lacks the ability to start a fire at the basic level?)

 

that the candidate know the nine needs for survival in the wilderness.  (The survival needs drive the skills and tools needed; e.g. 98.6 dictates being able to use the tool we call "fire,"  as does signaling.)

 

I'll just make them "prerequisites."  Like a prereq of passing Plane Geometry before being allowed to take Algebra. Ya; that's the ticket. 

 

They will certainly have a different experience.  

 

 

Is the real difference that the person making the supposed distinction agrees with the "prerequisites" and not with the "additions"?

 

 

 

Merit badge counselors help Scouts meet the requirements for the merit badge. They may expand on the information in the merit badge pamphlet based on their knowledge, experience, and expertise in the subject. They are encouraged to tell about their own experiences that positively reinforce the subject matter, but new requirements or additional work may not be added. The Scout is expected to meet the requirements for the merit badge as stated—no more and no less.
Edited by TAHAWK

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that the candidate be able to start a one match fire three out of four times in fair weather using natural materials, including natural tinder (Why work on advanced fire-starting using field-expedient methods if the candidate lakes the ability to start a fire at the basic level?)

 

I like that.  My WildSurv class for the summer has already done one fire.  Some used battery and steel wool, and some used a striker.  If they have as much trouble with friction as I'm anticipating, I'll change the requirement to starting 3 of 4 one match fires in the wild. 

If you're gonna have dryer lint,  a battery, steel wool, a magnifying glass and/or a striker; surely you'll have a match!

***

 

Somones knockin' at my door?

Somebody's ringin' a bell.

What's that siren I hear?

Merit Badge P'lice after me!

Do me a favor; open the door; let 'em in!

Edited by JoeBob

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JB, doncha' love the 6 volt batteries, copper wire, and packages of 000 steel wool at some summer camps?  Last summer, they had 6" diameter magnifying glasses.  Now that's real typical gear in the wilderness. 0___0

 

And notice that it's sans match, not "primitive."  The requirement can be met by butane lighters, piezoelectric propane stoves, highway flares,  and electric bbq starters (if the extension cord is long enough).  Real wilderness survival stuff!

 

I do stick to the requirements, as I am sworn to do.  But I explain the many errors in the pamphlet and the requirements.  For example, informing the Scouts that fire and STOP are tools, not needs, and pointing out the needs that those tools help meet is just giving additional information.  Probably the most important life lesson is that that no one, not even BSA, can tell you in advance what your most important priority will be when the boot comes down.  That's more important than informing them that BSA illustrates a ferro rod and scraper in the MBP and then gives directions not for using the ferro rod but incorrect directions for using natural flint and steel that will ,most likely, break the ferro rod.  They may never need to start a fire in a crisis, but 99.9999 they will have to deal with crisis.

 

At present, the only MB Police are "troop leaders," whoever that is.  BSA continues to assert that it has no way to enforce the rules.

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At present, the only MB Police are "troop leaders," whoever that is.  BSA continues to assert that it has no way to enforce the rules.

 

   The MB program, as any advancement is based on an "honor" type system. The scout promises to do the requirements and the MBC promises to uphold the requirements (no add ons). What do you think BSA needs to do to enforce the rules?

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Perhaps your correspondent didn't think this issue through as well as one might.

...

 

Um, duh? There is a certain loosening of definitions with National that makes them interpret what scouters do in the best possible light.

 

A prerequisite is generally used to speed along the class of boys who will show up at camp wanting to earn a MB in one week. So, probably, someone sits and thinks "Well, if the week starts out stormy and these boys can't hit the water, if they have Swimming, we can sign-off on the swim requirements, and they can start in on that 400 yards as soon as the sky clears." This is a convenience for the instructor, but as we've seen, it can come off sounding like "don't even bother showing up," from the mouth of the kid's advancement coordinator. Later this kid is the one eleven year-old whose family's boat capsizes and he's the only one concious with some rope and floats and no clue how to remedy the situation.

 

Same for the wilderness survival. Some kid wants to dive in learning steel wool and batteries. You'd like to think that the kid (say an SPL) would have learned how assmble tinder and start a one-match-fire (rather than, say, using his ASM's entire box ... not that the ASM would be bitter about it 10 years after the fact :confused: ). But that's often not the case, and you would really like to speed training along. So, tell kids they should have have lit a few one-match fires, and sure a few might come better prepared for the course. But, somewhere there's an SM or advancment chair who won't let little Smokey take the class because he has not demonstrated sufficient skill with phosphorous sticks. And wouldn't that be the kid who finds himself stranded... needing to stave off hypothermia in a battery powered golf cart with a carton of steel wool, but no matches because dad begged off smoking that year?

 

We always explain to the boys, if they haven't met the pre-requisites for camp, expect a partial either because they will have in effect missed a requirement or won't have the skill down pat enough to demonstrate it by the end of the week. There are plenty of young adults (my sons included) who will attest to the consequences of leaving too many loose ends.

 

Counselors, strike while the iron's hot and teach whoever is willing, give partials to whoever comes up short.

Advancement chairs, never take the word "pre-requisite" too literaly.

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   The MB program, as any advancement is based on an "honor" type system. The scout promises to do the requirements and the MBC promises to uphold the requirements (no add ons). What do you think BSA needs to do to enforce the rules?

 

Not sure what you mean by an "honor system."  But it is critical to note that, as a MBC, I may not simply accept a candidate's word that he has passed the requirements.  While I may accept a note from a leader or an adult that he engaged in some activity, when he is required to "explain," "discuss," "demonstrate, or "show," he must so those things to or with me or with another registered Merit Badge Councelor.

             

Each council camp is assessed annually by BSA to determine if it meets BSA "national camp standards" [sic]  If it meets or only slightly deviates (a "deviation") from all the standards , it will likely receive BSA National Camp Accreditation.  Too many slight deviations ("weaknesses") may result in a "conditional" accreditation.  If a standard is clearly not met, a council can seek a variance (permanent) or a one-year waiver from that standard due to an unexpected problem.

 

"The national camp standards [sic] are the foundation of the National Camp Accreditation Program, which assesses council and camp conformance with the requirements set forth in the national camp standards [sic]. The national camp standards [sic] consist of standards, which are mandatory when applicable, and recommended practices, which represent best practices recommended for all camps. All camps that are operated by a Boy Scouts of America council are required to meet the standards that fit the type of camp being operated."[italics and lack of capitalization in original]

 

Denial of accreditation is extraordinarily rare and very serious.

 

"A camp may be denied accreditation if:

 

1. Any applicable standard, term or commitment of its Authorization to Operate on its score sheet, or the conditions of any variance or waiver is scored “noncompliant†and

 

2. Either the camp is already conditionally accredited or the camp poses an imminent danger to life or health, and this danger cannot be eliminated by closing parts of the camp or program.

 

If the camp assessment team believes that denial of accreditation may be appropriate, it must consult immediately with area leadership. Area leadership will work with council leadership to develop a corrective action plan to restore either conditionally accredited or fully accredited status.

 

A camp that is denied accreditation is not required to close during its current season, unless there is imminent danger to life or health, but it may not reopen the following season using the name, trademarks, or trade dress of the Boy Scouts of America without approval from the area and region. Any denial of accreditation is subject to automatic review by the regional camp accreditation committee."

 

Standard PD-107 provides, in pertinent part:

 

"All advancement must be consistent with BSA advancement policies.

 

Advancement is not the primary objective of the program. Recognizing that an important part of the merit badge program is that the Scout meets with a qualified counselor, due care is taken to ensure that all merit badge requirements are met. Some merit badges may not be appropriate for offering at summer camp. Advancement offered and camp personnel instructing advancement programs are approved, as appropriate, by the council advancement committee.

 

VERIFICATION:

• Observation of proposed program implementation

• Written approval from council advancement committee (may be part of general program design approval pursuant to Standard PD-112)

• Discussion with camp director and/or staff."

 

 

As noted in previous threads, BSA policy requires that a merit badge requirement is only passed for any purpose when a registered merit badge counselor certifies that the individual candidate has passed that requirement as a result of interaction between the counselor and the candidate.

 

 

If BSA were to enforce existing national camping standards, a council camp that allocates no time for interaction between a registered merit badge counselor and candidates for a given merit badge cannot be found to in compliance with BSA advancement policy because zero time is insufficient to allow the merit badge counselor to determine and certify that a candidate has met any requirement for the respective merit badge.

 

The council camp that my troop attended the last two years allocated zero time for interaction between merit badge counselors and candidates for dozens of merit badges.  The same was true in 2010 and, I am told by multiple sources (including the camp's Program Director) , in 2011.    I have witnessed the same practice in others camps in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

 

If the National Camp Standards were applied, those camps should have been given the choice of dropping the merit badges in question or being denied accreditation.

 

Further, Recommended Practice RP155-1 provides

 

"RECOMMENDED PRACTICE: There is an on-site visit by the council advancement committee or other relevant council committee personnel, as appropriate, to meet, review example programs, and counsel advancement program counselors to ensure quality, appropriateness, and consistency with BSA advancement policies."

 

Recommended Practice RP 155-1 should be made a National Camp Standard.  History tells us that council employees at the level where decision are made often cannot be trusted to follow BSA policy when it comes to merit badge millery.

 

 

"Just because you were doing something wrong for a long time doesn't mean it's right.  We're Boy Scouts, and once we become aware of the rules. we follow the rules -- even if we've been ignorant of them or there's been an intentional disregard in the past."

 

Steve McGowan, General Council, Boy Scouts of America

Scouter, May-June 2015, at p. 6

 

If that is not enough, consequences for deliberate flouting of BSA advancement policy should follow.

Edited by TAHAWK

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