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fred johnson

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

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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. 

very true @@fred johnson.  I don't disagree here either.... but showing some interesting coins and such and adding excitement and interesting, while teaching a trick or two perhaps isn't necessarily teaching the whole syllabus.


There are certainly MB's that I know about but yet didn't register for for exactly the reason you described,so I think we're saying almost the same thing....

Shooting for instance.  I grew up hunting, and shooting rifles, shotguns, pistols.... and have enough knowledge to teach any of it..... but currently I'm not a rangemaster and don't have easy access to a range.  Safe bet the scout won't either, so it would be rather difficult to pull that one off.


One thing about which I think we both would agree, is that the ideal perfect world situation would be to have a working expert in the field to council every badge.... even if they aren't literally teaching

an Andrew Skurka ultimate backpacker type for backpacking

a certified CFII for aviation

an MD or RN or EMT for 1st aid 

and so on.....


and the MBC would not be a person with little or no interest in the subject (notice I didn't write knowledge)


But I'm thinking for the majority of the badges, a person with an avocation (which to me implies interest + some knowledge) is fine.

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I wonder how many of the boys go into a MB totally clueless as to what's going on with it?  Maybe they know a bit about it from doing Google searches on the subject.  YouTube does well with instructional videos, too.  Some things are a bit more hands on than others.  Bugling one has to practice.  If they are a trumpet player in band, they pretty much don't need a lot of "teaching" or "mentoring".  Learn the song and teach it to the boys so they know what to do when they hear it.

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


ACTUALLY I had my YMCA Lifeguard Instructor register as a MBC so I could get that MB.


And even if a Scout was a certified lifeguard, SOMEONE taught him.

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Regardless of the knowledge and skill a scout brings with him when he first meets with a MBC, a good counselor will illicit ways for the boy to learn more and grow while working on the requirements. When I first meet with theboys, I use those first discussions to gauge what they know and are able to do. I then counsel them through the badge providing adult insight based on my experiences and knowledge of the MB. Almost always when the time to "test" comes along the boy will have a greater understanding, a fresher perspective, more insight, and a finer appreciation into the MB than when he first showed up. This is true even if he "filled in the workbook" prior to our first meeting. The adult interaction, and helping the boy grow is how I view my role as a counselor. Of course I could not do this without a rather in depth knowledge of the MB to begin with.

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This thread brings up two issues that are particular to the Cycling MB.

  1. Personal Competence. 

How are other Cycling MBCs handling the current road bike or mountain bike options?


So far I have been asked to counsel only for the road biking option, but the day will come when a scout wants to pursue the mountain biking option.  Road biking is both my passion and my retirement gig.  Mountain biking is not my area of expertise.  I can get someone excited about mountain biking, but I am not the best person to help the scout on trail rides.  While I will be delighted to act as counselor to scouts seeking the road bike option, I believe it best for me to refer those seeking the mountain bike option to another counselor


2 Parental Permission.  


One of the Cycling MB requirements is to

“Take a road test with your counselor and demonstrate ..: (a bunch of stuff)â€

How do you avoid a situation where instructions about best riding practices from the Merit Badge booklet or from you are at odds with the parent’s expectations?   


I talk with parents about bike condition and road riding safety, either as part of a bike safety presentation at a troop meeting or by meeting with parents individually.   I also arrange a Smart Cycling class for interested parents and scouts who want to know more about cycling, but are not pursuing the Cycling Merit Badge . The parent class is separate from the scout’s road test.



Edited by Recycle

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