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fred johnson

Merit badge turn off ... LAME ... LAME ... LAME

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Per BSA from http://www.scouting....selorGuide.aspx ... "As a merit badge counselor, your mission is to join fun with learning. You are both a teacher and mentor as the Scout works on a merit badge and learns by doing. Your hands-on involvement could inspire a Scout to develop a lifelong hobby, pursue a particular career, or become an independent, self-supporting adult." [Emphasis added]

 

Scouting is active.

 

  • The swimming MBC should be in the water with the scout.  
  • The astronomy MBC should be up late viewing the stars with the scout.  
  • The chess MBC should play chess with the scout.
  • The horseback MBC should ride a horse with the scout.

... or similar to accomodate the situation.

 

If the MBC's only job is to check progress, sign-off and/or be a resource when the scout is stuck, then the whole MB program is pretty lame and fairly worthless. 

 

 

 

I strongly disagree.  The MB program is a journey done together as a partnership between the scout and the counselor / mentor / teacher.  ... if nothing else, think of it as EDGE.  

 

Perhaps a confusion is with the long-term badges (personal fitness, personal mgmt, family life, communications, etc).  For example personal fitness, ... YES .. I believe the MBC should do some exercises with the scout (push ups, run laps, sit ups, etc).  Now if a requirement is do 12 weeks of exercise, yes of course it's the scout's job to do the 12 weeks and report back.  But I'd fully expect the MBC to use EDGE which includes doing some sit ups, push ups and running some laps at least to get the scout started down the right path.

 

If the Personal Fitness MBC counselor does it all sitting down, then it's a pretty lame experience.

 

It would be a piece of cake if all I had to do is teach, even if I were to use the EDGE method.  But when all is said and done, the real onus falls on the scout to learn.  My boys learn to learn when they take MB's from me.   I do not spew out knowledge and then expect them to regurgitate the information back to me in some lame "discuss" answer to the requirement.  I don't want the boy to just know the information, I want him to also know why this information is important to know.  

 

Are push ups strength building, aerobic or stamina exercises?  Great I can do 50 push ups.  Big deal unless you know why it's important to be able to do 50 push ups.   I would want my MBC to be able to answer those questions.  :)

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All these different ideals of the MB counselors approach and responsibility toward working with the scouts is the reason that the BSA says leave it up to the counselor. I think for the scout to get the most value out of the relationship with his counselor, the counselor has to want to get something out of the experience as well. And that desire is different for each of us. I guess that is why the guidelines are somewhat broad. Thank goodness.

 

Barry

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I miss "Skill Awards".  :cool:

...I was proud of my eight (?) skill awards, and I sounded like a rattling junk truck if I ran while wearing them! :)

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... I think for the scout to get the most value out of the relationship with his counselor, the counselor has to want to get something out of the experience as well. ...

 

Barry

 

Agreed.  ... I am just frustrated with MBCs that really have no topical knowledge, interest or drive.  It produces lame experiences.  

 

Essentially, it's the situation where one person says "WE A MBC for XXXX" and someone volunteers.  Well, if they are just a warm body acting as a MBC and not bringing anything to the table as an MBC, they should not be volunteering.

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I miss "Skill Awards".  :cool:

 

One of the few things I liked from the Improved Scouting Program on the 1970s.  I think those Skill Awards alllowed a Scout to focus on a skill, master it, and get immediate recognition for it while working on advancement.

 

I only wish I would not have traded my belt with all the Skill Awards I earned for that British neckerchief. But hey she was cute ;)

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Agreed.  ... I am just frustrated with MBCs that really have no topical knowledge, interest or drive.  It produces lame experiences.  

 

Essentially, it's the situation where one person says "WE A MBC for XXXX" and someone volunteers.  Well, if they are just a warm body acting as a MBC and not bringing anything to the table as an MBC, they should not be volunteering.

 

Agree 100% A MBC needs to have the knowledge, skills, and abiltities to cover all aspects of the merit badges

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One of the few things I liked from the Improved Scouting Program on the 1970s.  I think those Skill Awards alllowed a Scout to focus on a skill, master it, and get immediate recognition for it while working on advancement.

 

I only wish I would not have traded my belt with all the Skill Awards I earned for that British neckerchief. But hey she was cute ;)

Eagle, I agree.   The skill awards were designed to be handed out "right then."  SM kept a bunch in his brief case.

 

Skill awards for British neckerchief:   I think as a scout, I would have made the same trade!

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Agreed.  ... I am just frustrated with MBCs that really have no topical knowledge, interest or drive.  It produces lame experiences.  

 

Essentially, it's the situation where one person says "WE A MBC for XXXX" and someone volunteers.  Well, if they are just a warm body acting as a MBC and not bringing anything to the table as an MBC, they should not be volunteering.

I can't say that I disagree with you on that.

A MBC should have knowledge about the subject....

and @@Eagledad statement about the MBC wanting to get something out of it.... I agree with that too.  IMO I think they should want to get satisfaction of helping a scout along in that scout's journey.  I can't imagine a much better thing for a scouter than to be appreciated and remembered as a valuable mentor

.... but that's not the goal really, is it?  It's  all about the Scout's journey in learning and growth, right?

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You use swimming as an example so I pulled up the requirements.

I see "explain", I see "Discuss", I see "show".  I don't see anything that would necessarily require the MBC to be in the water.   They would have to be present and watching to confirm that the tasks were done, but not necessarily in the water doing.

 

I can perhaps see a need to demonstrate what is meant by 

      b. Do a headfirst surface dive (pike or tuck), and bring the object up again.

as an example

but I think most scouts would already understand..... especially considering that they have read the book which clearly shows it.

 

I must have missed your post originally.  Every badge is different to some degree.  Swimming is one of those badges there it is not too necessary to demonstrate as most kids learn to swim before taking the badge.  So scouts get the badge for something they can generally do before they approach the counselor.  But if the scout wants to learn the skill as part of earning the badge, then it really really helps and is almost expected that the MBC will be in the water.  

 

Otherwise, it's a check-in with the MBC, now go find another way to learn it and report back.  ... but .. the whole point was to have the MBC as a mentor for the badge.  

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I must have missed your post originally.  Every badge is different to some degree.  Swimming is one of those badges there it is not too necessary to demonstrate as most kids learn to swim before taking the badge.

 

 

Swimming is a good example.  If the requirement is to demonstrate, I would view that as having to demonstrate that to the MBC.

 

I am all in favor of allowing a scout knowledgeable in the subject matter to "test out" and just show, demonstrate, discuss, etc. with the MBC to complete the requirements.  These Scouts do not need the (maybe) prepared course of instruction that the MBC has, and as the MBC cannot make knowledge of the extra materials they teach a condition of earning the MB, this should not be a problem.

 

I also have no problem with an MBC putting together a quality instructional program (ideally a combination of learning and doing) for a small group of Scouts.  That course may be designed to inspire interest in the subject matter that goes beyond the merit badge requirements.  But in the end, the MBC needs to mark completions or partials based on the requirements of the badge not the extra materials.

 

As for the flexibility in the expectations, based on age and maturity of the Scout; that's a tougher call.  When I took swimming the first time, my Counselor (not summer camp) did not think that one of my strokes was "strong enough".  Did I do it? I think so, but did it meet his subjective expectations? clearly not.  Even today, with the given rules, I do not know what the right answer should have been - I did do it after all.  In the end I tried again some time later and did fine.  35 years later, I still remember that event, and for better or worse, I've been challenged to come back and try harder, and did.  I could just as easily see it going the other way and discouraging someone.

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I must have missed your post originally.  Every badge is different to some degree.  Swimming is one of those badges there it is not too necessary to demonstrate as most kids learn to swim before taking the badge.  So scouts get the badge for something they can generally do before they approach the counselor.  But if the scout wants to learn the skill as part of earning the badge, then it really really helps and is almost expected that the MBC will be in the water.  

 

Otherwise, it's a check-in with the MBC, now go find another way to learn it and report back.  ... but .. the whole point was to have the MBC as a mentor for the badge.  

 

 

In fact from my review, it seems to me that many of the merit badges, perhaps most of them, might fall into that category of things that the boy will very likely know about the topic going in, or will be easily self taught as he reads the book and studies it.

 

and again my eyes key in on the term "mentor".

teaching is of course an element of it, but to me it's not the entirety of it.

 

Maybe this isn't the complete, correct, and proper usage of the term, but here's an example to hopefully illustrate what I'm thinking

 

Imagine a licensed airplane pilot has a friend that is interested in learning the skill.

 

Now this pilot isn't certified as an instructor, but he can surely be a great mentor to his student pilot friend.

   he can help his friend find an instructor that he likes and that is a skilled instructor pilot 

   he can act as a trusted sounding board so that the student can gain a perspective a bit different than his instructor is giving him

   he can offer advice, tips, tricks..... perhaps in a different way than the instructor does

   he can encourage when the student feels like he's never gonna figure out the cross wind landing

   he can simply be an understanding ear over a beer, that understand the lingo his student uses as they share a beer after the lesson.

 

Can the instructor pilot do most or all of these things AND be the teacher..... Sure that's possible.... but having a different person as a trusted mentor can be helpful too!

 

By my thinking, the MBC can be the mentor and a very valuable part of the whole thing, while not actually be the teacher.

 

So a question....

Which of the Merit Badges would actually require that the MBC be the teacher?

The shooting sports come to mind..... because for the act of demonstrating you would need access to a range.... but even then, the MBC could in theory be a rangemaster while not actually teaching the boy to shoot.  Maybe the boy's dad taught him.

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So a question....

Which of the Merit Badges would actually require that the MBC be the teacher?

 

 

#1 Lifesaving.

 

#2 First Aid, especially when changes occur.

 

#3 Canoeing

 

Shall I go on?

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canoeing... nah.  

A boy could already know how to canoe going into it.

 

Yeah, the MBC would need to go canoeing to check him out..... or at least spend some time at waters edge with the scout...... but not necessarily teaching.

But I do concede that in the spirit of my question and in a similar way to shooting, the meeting is much more hands on and out of the classroom.... and the average scout would likely not know all the nuances of the requirements so a little demonstration might be necessary for an average scout.

 

Lifesaving.... nah.  A boy might already be a certified YMCA Lifeguard......  But again, ok I'll buy it for the average scout.....

 

But I think the theme is average scout that is not completely prepared.....

 

You could say the same for coin collecting too.

???

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You could say the same for coin collecting too.

 

Coin collecting is an interesting example.  I'd fully expect that a MBC for coin collecting would bring some coins.  Bring some valuation books.  Bring some guides on how to grade coins.  Bring interest and excitement to the topic.

 

There are merit badges I could council as an expert ... and ... my expertise and the resources I've acquired over the years as part of becoming an expert would allow me to extremely quickly do an interesting MB experience.  There are others because I know well, but I would really have to work hard for me to add value to the MBC experience.  

 

For those I know but I not an expert, I would not be adding much value except signing off requirements. 

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