Jump to content
fred johnson

BSA requirements are out of hand

Recommended Posts

... Boys learn by doing. ...

 

Agreed.  Years ago I raised my eyebrows when I heard that a local scoutmaster would award the canoeing merit badge to all the scouts that went on the troop multi-day canoe trip.  Back then I was surprised as it did not check off all the requirements.  But on the flip side, they did many many miles and probably 20+ hours in the canoe.  It seems only right.  IMHO, at that point it's up to the counselor to cover the appropriate things.  The requirements should be as simple as go on a 30+ mile overnight canoe trip (or something similar).  During it, the merit badge counselor can mentor all the skills and techniques.  IMHO, that's better than the current 47 categorized requirements. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just as a curiosity, I have been kayaking for over 20 years now.  I can safely say I could not teach kayaking MB.  I have no idea what the different parts of the kayak are other than the part one keeps wet and the part that one tries to keep dry.  In my 8' kayak there's no way I could paddle 25 yards in a straight line, in whitewater rapids I couldn't stop it within a boat's length.  Doing a 360o with a sea kayak is not the same as doing it in a whitewater kayak.

 

b. Review the differences in the design between recreational, whitewater, and sea or touring kayaks. Include how length, width, stability, and rocker are involved in the design of each type.

 

One of my kayaks is a Transitional kayak.  That's not even mentioned in the list.

 

Yep, the Mrs. confirms it.  She's been kayaking for a lot longer than I have and has done everything from sea kayaking in Alaska to the whitewater rapids around our area..... She kayaks 2-3 times a week and she told me that without studying she'd be unable to pass the kayaking MB, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm beginning to like Mrs. Stosh...maybe Sainthood for her for that matter...considering....

Edited by cyclops

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There has to be counselors for these badges.

Archeology professors, county agricultural agents, forest rangers, Native American leaders ...

 

Where did all these people go?

They are around - but they might not want to fill out the paperwork to be a registered leader and on a Council list. There are a few I know that are happy to help out a few Scouts at a time, but they don't want their phone or email regularly buzzing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an interesting situation this past week.  All the boys in the week at camp that took the Indian Lore MB got partials.  How this could ever happen is beyond me, but I was kinda stunned.  Does anyone know just how hard it's going to be to find a non-summer camp counselor to sign off on an Indian Lore MB?

I think I recall you being from beyond the cheddar curtain.  If you're not too deep into the woods, the Burpee Museum in Rockford used to offer Indian Lore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oooh, that might be a fun day trip if we start early enough.  Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently finished up with a boy working on his hiking MB. At the end of the process as I was signing his blue card I asked him if there were any changes  to the requirements he would recommend to HQ. He said it should be required that the counselor actually go hiking with the scout as the real test and possibly "fake" some scenarios for the boy to respond to in real time. Personally I loathe the workbooks and worksheets and even the explain. Too much like school.

 

As to the the camping 50 nights. I think that was the requirement in the original Camping MB along with 2 maybe 3 other requirements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the offer Hedgehog, but we live in the Great Lakes state. New MBC lists are due out this fall. Maybe he'll get lucky and find the counselors he needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are around - but they might not want to fill out the paperwork to be a registered leader and on a Council list. There are a few I know that are happy to help out a few Scouts at a time, but they don't want their phone or email regularly buzzing.

Here I thought it was just the PA laws that were making adding volunteers so tough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently finished up with a boy working on his hiking MB. At the end of the process as I was signing his blue card I asked him if there were any changes  to the requirements he would recommend to HQ. He said it should be required that the counselor actually go hiking with the scout as the real test and possibly "fake" some scenarios for the boy to respond to in real time. Personally I loathe the workbooks and worksheets and even the explain. Too much like school.

 

 

I've banned the use of workbooks and worksheets in for the Merit Badges I'm a counselor for.  I like when the boys do the "active" part of the merit badge - the hiking, the backpacking and the camping - and then discuss the "learning" requirements.  It provides them with the ability to think about the answers and to put any learning into a context.  When we have merit badge seminars, I've stopped giving them the requirement list and we just talk about and do things related to the topic.  At the end of the seminar (which may take place at meetings over several weeks), they have covered everything without going through a checklist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the offer Hedgehog, but we live in the Great Lakes state. New MBC lists are due out this fall. Maybe he'll get lucky and find the counselors he needs.

 

The best of luck to him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There has to be counselors for these badges.

Archeology professors, county agricultural agents, forest rangers, Native American leaders ...

 

Where did all these people go?

 

They whithered away when Councils and Districts, with the wink and nudge of National, started accepting Troop-only Merit Badge Counselors as acceptable practice - once that gate was open, there was no way to stop the practice from becoming Only-Troop Merit Badge Counselors.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

As to the the camping 50 nights. I think that was the requirement in the original Camping MB along with 2 maybe 3 other requirements.

 

Let's keep in mind that the original merit badges weren't also part of rank requirements - you didn't need to earn so many, or certain, merit badges to advance in rank - these were all extras beyond rank.  For those unfamiliar, back then in 1911, the top rank was First Class.  Star, Life and Eagle, when first intorduced were NOT ranks - in fact, they were much more like Palms - they were awards for earning a certain number of Merit Badges - there were no required merit badges - if you earned 5 Merit Badges, you were given a Star award.  Your rank was still First Class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

BSA requirements are out of hand.  Pedantic.  Verbose.  Cryptic.  Legalistic.  Youth excitement is killed immediately when they see two pages of small print requirements.  Rank or merit badge.  It gets worse each year and each handbook.  IT DRIVES SCOUTS AWAY.  
 
I was reminded of the issue when I opened the following web page.  
 
 
I really like the old requirements compared to current requirements.  Short and to the point.  We recently worked on the cooking merit badge and that is one of the worst.  New scouts coming in also face multi-page, small print, lengthy requirements for early ranks.  ARGH !!!!  
 
SUGGESTION - Scouts should get short direct requirements.  Leaders and merit badge counselors should have guidelines and work instructions that explain requirements and help guide working with the scout on the requirement.  But what the scout receives should be short and sweet.

 

 

Well, in terms of the Cooking merit badge, blame rules lawyers.  Basically speaking, the rules have to be spelled out exactly, or slackers will be slack. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny.  Many people talk about raising the bar for Eagle so it means something more than it does now.  I very very much would like simpler requirements, but there is one change I would like to see.

 

I'd like to see camping go from 20 nights (one long term week) to just 40 or 50 nights.  IMHO, I've seen many of what others call paper Eagles be the guys who skim by on the camping requirement.  That's the whole place where you learn to help others, learn your own independence and where you grow.  IMHO, I would not mind seeing the camping requirements look much more simple but increase the nights to 40 or 50.

 

I'd like to see all ther verbose stuff moved to a counselor guide too.  Keep the scout facing requirements simple.

 

I agree with you on that.  Camping is where the boys lead and learn the most.  Most of our better Scouts are in that category--50+  nights camping.  I would probably add that your better Scouts will also try out different methods of camping.  Your mediocre scout is happy in the tent every campout.  Your better scouts will try out hammocks, tarps, sleep on picnic tables, etc., as well as tents. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×