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MattR

Limit Merit Badges At Summer Camp?

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It's dishearting seening all the "I have this rule" and "I limit this kid from doing"  and "I have this policy".....   Aren't we here to challenge and support kids? Aren't we here to allow kids to be individuals that are able think and do on their own? Maybe some don't really get why the merit badge program even exists.

 

MB quality at the majority of BS camps have always been and always will be a crap shoot. Summer camps are more for councils to generating revenue than they are about employing quality/experienced staff capable of educating kids.  My advise for every troop is every few years, take a year off from camp and do your own week long program or go to a camp that isn't affiliated with the BSA.  It's quite eye opening.

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I was annoyed at my son for taking Chess and Game Design both at camp, but he was following what most of his troop was already doing.  At least he got them out of the way and won't take them next year.  He also did Fish and Wildlife Management/Mammal Studies, and Beginners Swimming Lessons. 

 

But he also got in plenty of aquatics, boating, fishing, service project, rifle and shotgun, archery, climbing, team building, handicrafts, and more through out troop and free time.  It was a good experience.

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It's dishearting seening all the "I have this rule" and "I limit this kid from doing"  and "I have this policy".....   Aren't we here to challenge and support kids? Aren't we here to allow kids to be individuals that are able think and do on their own? Maybe some don't really get why the merit badge program even exists.

 

MB quality at the majority of BS camps have always been and always will be a crap shoot. Summer camps are more for councils to generating revenue than they are about employing quality/experienced staff capable of educating kids.  My advise for every troop is every few years, take a year off from camp and do your own week long program or go to a camp that isn't affiliated with the BSA.  It's quite eye opening.

 

:)

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It's dishearting seening all the "I have this rule" and "I limit this kid from doing"  and "I have this policy".....   Aren't we here to challenge and support kids? Aren't we here to allow kids to be individuals that are able think and do on their own? Maybe some don't really get why the merit badge program even exists.

 

With my own son, yes I do limit him. I do not want him taking MBs he can do at home. I told him point blank "no paperpushing MBs for you!" On the plus side, he realizes that and agrees with me.;)  With the exception of Orienteering, he picked every single MB on his own. He asked for another MB to take, and I said 'If you like geocaching, you'll love orienteering since it's old school geocaching."  And he did.

 

Problem is that the camp we've been to limits who can take the 2 MBs he really wants to take: Rifle Shooting and Shotgun Shooting.

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With my own son, yes I do limit him. I do not want him taking MBs he can do at home. I told him point blank "no paperpushing MBs for you!" On the plus side, he realizes that and agrees with me. ;)  With the exception of Orienteering, he picked every single MB on his own. He asked for another MB to take, and I said 'If you like geocaching, you'll love orienteering since it's old school geocaching."  And he did.

 

Problem is that the camp we've been to limits who can take the 2 MBs he really wants to take: Rifle Shooting and Shotgun Shooting.

 

I encouraged my son to take camp type badges, but also let him make his own choices.  It didn't help that our troop was not on top of things and signed up late, so the options were not so many.  he took lifesaving, basketry, archery, rifle shooting, wilderness survival, archaeology, and art.  He could have done archaeology and art at home, but he managed to get them done at camp (and before, since they had pre-requisites.)  

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I looked at the list of merit badges available at camp and was surprised what was on the list.  I never was a boy scout, but was a girl scout, and did attend a boy scout family camp every spring for years.  I think camp should be full of fun camp kinds of stuff- like boating, swimming, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, nature and nature-y type stuff, shooting sports, as well as the typical camp crafts, like leather work or basketry.  I let my son choose what he wished, though.  I expected partials.  He has now completed all camp badges, except archery, which he may just have to retake at camp until he gets it.  At girl scout camp I earned badges, too, but was having so much fun in the outdoors, I didn't know I was earning them and really didn't care either.

At our camp there really are few choices the scout can do outside of the merit badges. For example I dont see any "free" or "open" time for say lakefront, the climbing tower, the gun range, the bmx course, or the pool where Scouts can just go down and have fun there. It would be cool if say some Scouts could say check out a boat and just go water skiing. The only real open activity is just hiking.

 

It would be fun to say at breakfast "ok everyone, today is on your own. Form small groups, decide what you want to do, and then just go have fun. Just be back for supper". 

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Depending upon the camp, Archeology may be a awesome choice. I remember the camp I was working at the year Archeology MB came out. One of our staffers was either an archeology major or grad student, and was able to coordinate with his department college credit for working at the camp. There was a very strong suspicion that the camp was once a Tuscarora town, and the college had an interest in doing excavations at the camp. So the staffer and the Scouts were doing some of the actual work.

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Just because he already has a certain badge doesn't mean that he can't sign up for that class again. If he likes to sail, he can take sailing again just to keep his skills sharp and spend more time in a boat. If he has a willing counselor, he might even be able to assist in running the class. Sound like an opportunity to become a better leader within his Troop?

 

How about finding other Scouts in the same situation and having them do a service project for the camp? Relacing tents? Clearing some brush? How about working with the first year campers (if your camp has a first year program)- give them some one on one time with a more experienced Scout? There are ALWAYS things that need doing at Camp.

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