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fred johnson

BSA requirements are out of hand

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""New Improved Cooking Merit Badge"":

 

1) Trap, kill, butcher, cook and eat a rabbit, or other mammal of your choice  over a wood fire.   Add  vegetables (in season) as available.   Season to taste. Serve to your Counselor.  With prior Counselor approval , fish or shellfish may be substituted.  Don't forget beverages (fruit juice, milk, coffee, tea, iced or hot). 

2)  Provide proof to your MB Counselor that you survived the above process.

3)   Cook a breakfast for your family or friends , a group of at least  5 (including yourself),  on a home stove (electric or gas as available).  Include items OTHER than only oatmeal or Cream of Wheat or toast or pasta, such as bacon, beef, eggs, pancakes, Johnny Cake, sausage, hash,  home fries, omelets,  hush puppies, pan fried trout,  oven scratch biscuits ,  corn pone, or cream chip beef.  Include fresh fruit on your table, and other condiments as appropriate (maple syrup, salt and pepper, garlic powder, Rosemary, Paprika, etc.). Again, do not forget the beverages.  

4)  Provide to your Counselor testimonials from the group in #3 attesting to the fact they survived the meal.

5) After #1 and #3 above,  the previous activities, Clean up and put away all utensils and clean up all cooking and prep areas such that your grandmother would approve.  Acquire her signature on an affidavit attesting to such.  If a personal grandmother is not available, anyone's  grandmother  may be substituted for this requirement.

Edited by SSScout
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Yah, hmmm...

 

Good heavens, @@fred johnson.  I confess I hadn't read da new Cooking MB requirements, not being a counselor for that one.   Now I'm goin' to have to go look at all da other recent ones to see how badly we're screwin' this up across the board.   :p

 

I'm thinkin' folks on da various committees keep mixin' up the difference between teachin' and testin'.  When we teach da skills of a MB, we might do a lot of different things, eh?  Use "Myplate food guides" and discuss shopping lists and all that.  Those are part of mentoring a boy workin' on a badge.  Part of da whole "A Scout Learns" step that everybody seems to forget about nowadays.

 

Da requirements are supposed to be Step 2: A Scout is Tested.   Tests should be straightforward use-your-skills-and-knowledge events, eh?  Fun and challenging.   I like @@SSScout 's version.   Just show yeh have some solid competence in cookin' different stuff. 

 

Yah, "out of hand" is right, I reckon. :confused:

 

Beavah

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Requirements need to be manageable for the scouts.  IMHO, the current requirements are more for the merit badge counselor to think about what to talk about.  They are by no means something you should put in front of a scout.  

 

Requirements should be short, simple and straight forward.  

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I should mention.  Cooking is just an example.  I've been looking at rank and merit badge requirements since 2004.  They keep growing longer and longer.  I don't think there is more content.  It's just more pedantic and tightly bound.  

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Back in the day...scout skills were taught and learned in a logical sequence. A scout passed 2nd class cooking and earned 2nd class rank then and only then could he work on the more challenging 1st class cooking. And before starting Cooking MB, he had to be First Class scout. Common sense.

 

Cooking MB requirements and revisions from 50's to 60's. Keep It Simple Scout.

http://www.boyscoutimages.com/item/Cookin-F/Cooking-1961-68

Edited by RememberSchiff
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Cooking MB requirements and revisions from 50's to 60's. Keep It Simple Scout.

http://www.boyscoutimages.com/item/Cookin-F/Cooking-1961-68

That's simple.

 

I just did a planning campout with my PLC and we talked about MBs. The overwhelming response was there is way too much school work. Their words. MBs have become the bane of getting eagle. When a scout turns 18 and we talk about great memories nobody ever talks about MBs. The eagle project is hard but very rewarding. Scouts are usually happy about any POR. MBs are just a slog.

 

I think there should be a limit on the describe, discuss, and explain requirements. That's what's out of hand. Anything that can be done without sitting and just talking is usually good. Add 10% more requirements to cover safety and that should cover most of it. The rest is just feature creep that has little to do with the main topic, or is just some little detail that could just as well be dropped in the name of keeping the MB focused and fun. LNT does not need to be discussed in cooking MB. Neither does how many calories each scout requires. Those are covered elsewhere. Every MB has a discuss career opportunities requirement that could be dropped. If the scout had fun doing the MB he'll remember it when it comes time to picking a career.

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I should mention.  Cooking is just an example.  I've been looking at rank and merit badge requirements since 2004.  They keep growing longer and longer.  I don't think there is more content.  It's just more pedantic and tightly bound.  

"Pedantic".  I had to look up that one and as a result learned something today, thank you.  (Not sure if I earned a nap but if I was at camp I would be hitting the hammock contently.)

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I think the expansion of cooking requirements comes from four things:

  • No adult being challenged to earn the badge. {Insert standard rant: for-kids-only translates into make-it-like-school.}
  • The rise of the public health service. We now know how much harm can be done with what folks get fed. We also know that giving folks better knowledge enables them to "see" and avert health hazards.
  • Artisan cooking. My kids certainly take on more challenging recipes than I ever did until after college. I only watched The Galloping Gormet because it preceded the kids shows I didn't want to miss.
  • Single parenting or both parents working full time. My best cooks seem to come from broken homes. Moms are letting kids in the kitchen because they are the ones home first in the evening.

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IMHO, those requirements are only written for people who passed the bar.  Not a scout who wants to be active and learn.

 

 

As one who has passed not one but three bar exams, I wholeheartedly concur. If you expect the scouts to be the prime mover in taking on and earning the MB, you need to make the MB requirements understandable to the scouts. Since some scouts are 11 or 12, the type of language quoted in this thread is unconscionable.

 

I also concur with the "more doing, less talking" position stated above. I, too, have never heard a scout wax fondly over any MB. It's always the camping, or something else where they are "doing" rather than "explaining". The scouts get way too much "talking", "explaining", and "lecturing" in school.

 

One thing I think is missing is that the BSA has been watering down the program for years to require less "doing" in the sense of having to have access to the outdoors. I don't know why, but I suspect it is to make the program more accessible for inner city youth who have difficulty accessing outdoor venues for whatever reason. The same is true for the recent STEM emphasis. Trying to be all things to all people, they are rapidly turning the program into something nobody can really recognize anymore.

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Just looking at one point of one of the merit badges, I really think it could be drastically simplified to make it more useful.

 

CURRENT ... 


1. Health and safety. Do the following:


a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in cooking activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.


b. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur while preparing meals and eating, including burns and scalds, cuts, choking, and allergic reactions.


c. Describe how meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products, and fresh vegetables should be stored, transported, and properly prepared for cooking. Explain how to prevent cross-contamination.


d. Discuss with your counselor food allergies, food intolerance, and food-related illnesses and diseases. Explain why someone who handles or prepares food needs to be aware of these concerns.


e. Discuss with your counselor why reading food labels is important. Explain how to identify common allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, and shellfish.



 

 

POSSIBLE NEW

1. Health and safety. 

a. Earn the first aid merit badge.

b. Discuss 

     - cooking hazards and precautions

     - first aid for cooking injuries

     - food handling and storage

     - food allergies, intolerance and related illnesses

     - reading food labels 

 

 

If you need more than that, put it in a guide for the MBC to use.

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If the amount of discuss, describe, and explain elements were decreased in MBs then 2 things would have to happen. Scouts would actually have to do a series of skills and MBCs would actually have to test the scout on those skills. End result would be no more/greatly reduced merit badge fairs, and greatly decreased summer camp class sizes. This would slow the rush to Eagle and is not what the BSA wants. One can lecture and hold discussions with dozens of scouts at once. Hard to supervise dozens of cooks at once.

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 This would slow the rush to Eagle and is not what the BSA wants. One can lecture and hold discussions with dozens of scouts at once. Hard to supervise dozens of cooks at once.

 

And that is part of the problem, people at national having little or no experience as a youth in the program coming up with rules. Also there is a lot of pressure from parents, as well as leaders too. I had a leader at camp tell me one of my scouts was wasting his time because he was taking swimming MB a second time because he wanted to swim during the middle of the day, and the only way to do that was to take Swimming MB again, or Lifesaving MB again. OK I admit I wished he would have taken Lifesaving a second time, butonly because I wanted to be an active victim on him ;)

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Wow, those new Cooking requirements are tedious.   They've managed to take something as fun and rewarding as cooking outdoors, and turn it into a mind-numbing chore.

 

Once again, the scouts are just sitting around, spending more time "explaining" and "discussing" rather than actually demonstrating new skills.

Edited by desertrat77

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5) After #1 and #3 above,  the previous activities, Clean up and put away all utensils and clean up all cooking and prep areas such that your grandmother would approve.  Acquire her signature on an affidavit attesting to such.  If a personal grandmother is not available, anyone's  grandmother  may be substituted for this requirement.

 

 

 

Can we get this one or a version there-of attached to some of the other badges as well... LOL....    clean up, or the lack of has always been an issue with everything from tents, to cookware, and their own person.  Nothing like a full week of sweaty unwashed boys who feel no need to change clothes, socks, or underwear   (gross)

 

Edited by SouthPoleScout
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