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NobodyReally

Revoking Merit Badges?

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Personally, I'm not a fan of da Merit Badge Day thing.  If yeh have a gifted lad, I think he'd be better served by quality, not quantity.  He should be findin' real counselors and working hard beyond just da requirements, in keepin' with his talent.  No excuse for him not learnin' a topic so well that he knocks the socks off his troop and is ready to teach/lead in those areas.  Those to whom much is given, much is expected, eh?

 

I agree in that I think the best MB experiences are when the scout and counselor go beyond the requirements and both show an interest in the topic. 

 

BUT ... from what I've seen for years now ... most merit badges are earned in a group situation.  IMHO, it's sad.   Even when troops complain about merit badge fairs, the troops replacement is troop merit badge groups.  It's less about the fair and more about troop control and pacing.

Edited by fred johnson

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@@NobodyReally, you said the counselors are not reliable. Is that the troop's counselors or the district counselors? If you don't know about the district counselors, in a nutshell, they tend to be much more knowledgeable and passionate about a topic than the average counselor a troop comes up with. Your son might really enjoy working with them. And working with them one on one should quiet any talk about short cuts because of going to a MB fair.

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I hate to say this, but now that I'm active with a troop again, I am seeing this more and more.  Went to a MB college in which son took 2 MB classes, and earned both. While one was legitimately earned, the other wasn't. MBC not only didn't use the current requirements for the class, he didn't even complete the 5-10 year old requirements he was using. Son "earned" that MB, but me as a parent made him do the missing requirements. Worst part is, the requirements missing were the fun parts of the MB.  Same situation happened at camp. Son "earned" a MB that he didn't finish the requirements on. Heck the supplies for that MB were inadequate as folks had to be teamed up to do the projects, and they didn't have one project's supplies on hand at the camp at all. Long story short, Oldest has the missing supplies, and will be completing the MB. One Scout after a day at camp withdrew from the MB class. According to the report, he did all but 2 requirements in a day! I am an MBC for that MB, and I can say NO WAY CAN IT BE DONE IN AN HOUR!  And I am starting to see a few other Scouts "earning" MBs but didn't complete the work after this year's camp.

 

The new SM is writing a letter to the CD about this, and he has assigned the venture patrol with doing research on other camps to go to this summer.

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I hate to say this, but now that I'm active with a troop again, I am seeing this more and more.  Went to a MB college in which son took 2 MB classes, and earned both. While one was legitimately earned, the other wasn't. MBC not only didn't use the current requirements for the class, he didn't even complete the 5-10 year old requirements he was using. Son "earned" that MB, but me as a parent made him do the missing requirements. Worst part is, the requirements missing were the fun parts of the MB.  Same situation happened at camp. Son "earned" a MB that he didn't finish the requirements on. Heck the supplies for that MB were inadequate as folks had to be teamed up to do the projects, and they didn't have one project's supplies on hand at the camp at all. Long story short, Oldest has the missing supplies, and will be completing the MB. One Scout after a day at camp withdrew from the MB class. According to the report, he did all but 2 requirements in a day! I am an MBC for that MB, and I can say NO WAY CAN IT BE DONE IN AN HOUR!  And I am starting to see a few other Scouts "earning" MBs but didn't complete the work after this year's camp.

 

The new SM is writing a letter to the CD about this, and he has assigned the venture patrol with doing research on other camps to go to this summer.

 

Been there, good luck with that...write a letter to SE and National for all that it will help. Expect the BSA "nod and a wink" for your efforts.  :mad:

 

It is a rewarding experience for me when a scout refuses to turn in a signed MB because he felt the badge was not earned. Doesn't happen often but when it does it is Scouting.

Edited by RememberSchiff
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My son likes going to merit badge days because our troop never works on them as a group and many of the counselors are unreliable to work with individually. We have a lot of days around here, and if our schedule is free, we will let my son pick out a badge to sign up for.

 

We have gotten the signed blue cards, we have given the counselor's names, my scout will work on the requirements weeks or months in advance, and the troop is now giving my son a nasty attitude about getting these badges and going to the merit badge days. Every time he turns in a blue card the SM grills my son about every detail, when the SM does NOT do this to other boys (I volunteer, I know).

 

At his last meeting, someone came out and gave a speech about how, if they find fraud they'll revoke merit badges, even if the scout has had the badge for years. The next thing that happened was that my son was asked to step aside and be grilled again about every detail of an eagle badge he earned. From my perspective, they were looking for an excuse to not give my son the badge he earned and gave that speech to try and scare him. They did not get this excuse and my scout responded perfectly to everything he was asked, but I don't want to endlessly go through this nasty behavior every time. I'm sick of him getting grilled and it being implied that he's cheating the system somehow when he's not. The person who grilled my son tonight did so at the request of the SM and the head of the committee (the SM's wife).

 

They are also telling my son that any eagle badge he earns before Star rank won't count towards his rank requirements, which I believe is a lie to discourage my son from working on those badges.

 

I thought that a merit badge counselor signing off on a blue card was the final word on the matter. Is that accurate or not? Because if that is the case, then why are we being questioned constantly when the SM signs off on the blue card? Our SM even accused us of seeking out merit badge factories AFTER saying weeks before that he knew this or that person from that troop and they ran a good program!

 

I believe their issue stems from my son's motivation to work on merit badges right now (they are constantly telling him that he's done too many), and I am sick of getting this cold shoulder like my scout is doing something wrong when he always has proof of completing his requirements. So I would like some feedback on what the rules are for merit badge cards and revoking, because this constant badgering and threatening of my son is making him want to quit scouts.

You can't revoke it after it's been awarded.  However, before the SM signs it, he can doubt it. 

 

Eagle badges earned at Scout count toward his rank requirements. You need to give him a copy of the 2015 Guide to advancement.

http://www.scouting.org/Home/GuideToAdvancement/TheMeritBadgeProgram.aspx

 

 

A few merit badges have certain restrictions, but otherwise any registered Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or qualified Venturer or Sea Scout may work on any of them at any time. Before he begins working with a merit badge counselor, however, he is to have a discussion with his unit leader. That a discussion has been held is indicated by the unit leader’s signature on the Application for Merit Badge, No. 34124, commonly called the “blue card.†Although it is the unit leader’s responsibility to see that at least one merit badge counselor is identified from those approved and made available, the Scout may have one in mind with whom he would like to work. The unit leader and Scout should come to agreement as to who the counselor will be. Lacking agreement, the Scout must be allowed to work with the counselor of his choice, so long as the counselor is registered and has been approved by the council advancement committee. However, see “Counselor Approvals and Limitations,†7.0.1.4, for circumstances when a unit leader may place limits on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor.

 

 

If the SM thinks MB  counselors are being too slack, he should report it to the council.

 

 

In the event unit leaders or other volunteers discover that any merit badge counselors are not following mandated procedures regarding the use of blue cards or working with the requirements as they are written, they should complete and submit to the council advancement committee the Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns form 11.0.0.0 link-PDF.gif. Unit leaders should regularly review the policies and procedures related to the merit badge process with Scouts, parents, and leaders, and counsel them on proper methods as the need arises

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Been there, good luck with that...write a letter to SE and National for all that it will help. Expect the BSA "nod and a wink" for your efforts.  :mad:

 

It is a rewarding experience for me when a scout refuses to turn in a signed MB because he felt the badge was not earned. Doesn't happen often but when it does it is Scouting.

 

Yes I know, an uphill battle indeed. Sad thing is that I use to be a staffer at camp way back when, and am very disappointed.

 

The old SM apparently encountered this problem at the camp before, and essentially struck it off the list of camps the Scouts could chose from. Troop didn't go to that camp for 15 years (although the troop folded for 5 years and then was reborn).  The camp the Scouts had been choosing does a really good job with instruction, but does not have some of the resources that other camps have. Thus their programming is lacking a bit.

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I hear you that there can be big issues with merit badges done in groups, and I can really see the potential for shenanigans. But, like I said, this was not a polite conversation from the troop about what was done or not done. This was my son getting grilled, then months later indirectly accused of fraud in front of the troop, and then ambushed and grilled again. A conversation with a heads up to bring in his work would have been totally fine in my opinion. And, the fact is that the SM approves the merit badge days and then tries to say my kid is scamming them.

 

IF you believe a merit badge was not handled correctly, belittling and intimidating a 12 year old should not be the way to go about it as a 60+ year old adult. I double checked that all requirements get done right before he goes to the events so he doesn't get a partial, and I sit in on all these classes. They know this, I talk to these people for hours each week. I have yet to see a counselor at these events who signs off on everything for every kid. Most kids show up with no prep work and get partial completion, and that's what they've earned.

 

But, if we believe that camp is fine to do merit badges at, then I don't agree that merit badge days are bad. In our camp, you spend an hour a day for 4 days working on this badge in question. The merit badge day did it in 6 hours - 2 hours more than the camp setting allotted. So if you are encouraging kids to attend camp, I'm not seeing the difference in earning badges there versus at MB days. If you do the work and you are honest, then you have fulfilled your obligation. If an SM believes an MBC is dishonest or made a mistake, that seems to me like they should address that with the MBC or the Council instead of telling a scout he's a liar over and over. Because, had they called the MBC, he could have explained that only 2 of 20 kids completed their card and the SM could have stopped his witch hunt before making my son feel personally attacked.

 

We have decided that we are leaving the troop over this issue. Now I just have to worry that they will refuse to send his award information to the new troop. They have a rank and 3 merit badges currently waiting for the next CoH.

Edited by NobodyReally

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Yah, hmmmm...

 

@@cchoat missed da next part, eh?

 

Beavah, No I did not. I think the Scoutmaster is wrong.  Read what happened to the scout and what 7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges says. 

 

"From time to time, it may be discovered that merit badges could not actually have been earned. For example, a Scout who returns from summer camp or a merit badge fair with signed blue cards for an extraordinary number of badges could raise concerns. If, after consulting with those involved in the merit badge program—such as an event coordinator, the camp director, or a merit badge counselor—it becomes plainly evident that a youth could not have actually and personally ful lled requirements as written, then the limited recourse outlined below is available. It may result in a decision that some or all of the requirements for a badge could not have been ful lled, and thus, that the badge was not actually earned.

 

Now is the scoutmaster questioning the event coordinator or councilorsas to whether the scout has completed the requirements?  No.  What is happening...

 

"My son likes going to merit badge days because our troop never works on them as a group and many of the counselors are unreliable to work with individually. We have a lot of days around here, and if our schedule is free, we will let my son pick out a badge to sign up for. We have gotten the signed blue cards, we have given the counselor's names, my scout will work on the requirements weeks or months in advance,"

 

Weeks, or months in advance, the boy is working on the requirements.  So he is prepared when he sits down with the councilor, he has it down pat and the councilor credits him for the badge.  I bet if the scoutmaster had asked the councilor, he'd have learned that. So what should have been the second step if the scoutmaster, after questioning the councilor or event coordinator still had concerns?  The next paragraph in the regulation says:

 

"After such a consultation, the unit leader, in a positive environment similar to that of a unit leader conference, discusses with the Scout the circumstances under which a merit badge in question was approved. A parent or an assistant unit leader should attend as an observer. The young man shall not be retested on the requirements, but a conversation with him can reveal if he was present at the class and actually and personally ful lled all the requirements. Such a discussion could cover who taught a class, what sort of activities took place, where and when they occurred, how testing was done, what the Scout might have brought home from the class, and other similar process-oriented details. In most cases, with a fair and friendly approach, a young man who did not complete the requirements will admit it."

 

So what does the scoutmaster do...

"... the troop is now giving my son a nasty attitude about getting these badges and going to the merit badge days. Every time he turns in a blue card the SM grills my son about every detail, when the SM does NOT do this to other boys (I volunteer, I know). At his last meeting, someone came out and gave a speech about how, if they find fraud they'll revoke merit badges, even if the scout has had the badge for years. The next thing that happened was that my son was asked to step aside and be grilled again about every detail of an eagle badge he earned.

 

Not very positive for sure.  I did mention the following on my post: "there is a mechanism for unit leaders or others to report concerns to a council advancement committee on summer camp merit badge programs, group instructional events, and any other merit badge counseling issues— especially in instances where it is believed BSA procedures are not followed. See “Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns,†11.1.0.0 "  But in this case, based on the information provided by the parent, i do not see this applying.

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 ... We have decided that we are leaving the troop over this issue. Now I just have to worry that they will refuse to send his award information to the new troop. They have a rank and 3 merit badges currently waiting for the next CoH.

Sounds like the troop looses a really good scout.

 

Award information should be in the scout's hands. Your son should have his portion of the blue card for each MB. Also his handbook should have everything for that rank signed including-the board of review. Troop records are secondary.

 

In addition, SMs do talk to one another from time to time (at a club called round-table).

 

Between all of that, they should be able to get things squared away.

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He's got the book signatures and his third of each blue card, but I was under the impression that it was the troop's portion of the blue card that let's you purchase the badge at the scout shop now. Do I have the wrong information for that? If I do have my wires crossed, what, if anything, is required to purchase the merit badges now?

 

The organizer at one merit badge day was very apologetic for not having badges to hand out this year because the rules had changed and she said you had to show proof of completed requirements before the scout shop would sell them now. So if the scout keeps the part that has the requirements listed, then how do they verify what was completed at the store if it's not the troop's blue card section?

Edited by NobodyReally

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He's got the book signatures and his third of each blue card, but I was under the impression that it was the troop's portion of the blue card that let's you purchase the badge at the scout shop now. Do I have the wrong information for that? If I do have my wires crossed, what, if anything, is required to purchase the merit badges now?

 

The organizer at one merit badge day was very apologetic for not having badges to hand out this year because the rules had changed and she said you had to show proof of completed requirements before the scout shop would sell them now. So if the scout keeps the part that has the requirements listed, then how do they verify what was completed at the store if it's not the troop's blue card section?

I don't propose to speak for the scout-shop. But, the "applicant's record", by virtue of the two signatures therein, says that

1. The counselor said the boy completed the badge.

2. The unit leader has received the card determined the application to be complete.

 

From their portion of the blue card, the troop may submit an advancement report (can be done online) and use it to order badges in bulk.

So, it may be worth your time to ask the SM (or have your new SM ask on the scout's behalf) if they've already purchased the badges.

 

When Son #2 was coming up short on patches, I took his blue cards in to purchase the spare MBs.

Edited by qwazse

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Yah, as far as I know da blue cards don't matter to a typical scout shop.   Sales of restricted items depend on da ScoutNet record, as updated by advancement report forms from the troop.

 

Beavah

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Yah, as far as I know da blue cards don't matter to a typical scout shop.   Sales of restricted items depend on da ScoutNet record, as updated by advancement report forms from the troop.

 

Beavah

Same here.  While the local Scout shop here will sell the scout badges, they will check the ScoutNet before the sale.  Trust, but verify. 

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He's got the book signatures and his third of each blue card, but I was under the impression that it was the troop's portion of the blue card that let's you purchase the badge at the scout shop now. Do I have the wrong information for that? If I do have my wires crossed, what, if anything, is required to purchase the merit badges now?

 

The organizer at one merit badge day was very apologetic for not having badges to hand out this year because the rules had changed and she said you had to show proof of completed requirements before the scout shop would sell them now. So if the scout keeps the part that has the requirements listed, then how do they verify what was completed at the store if it's not the troop's blue card section?

Only advancement reports allow buying of badges at scout shops, so far as I know. 

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I was thinking I would take the signed blue cards in to the scout shop and pick up the badges he's completed so that way we could be less burdensome to the new troop.

 

After reading these responses, I looked in the troop master app, and it shows 2 of the 3 badges as accepted and one they haven't approved so far (oddly, the badge surrounding this recent drama has been accepted in this system for months), so I assume that ScoutNet would only show those two accepted badges. But the blue card for all 3 are already signed by the MBC and SM. I don't know if the troop is refusing to approve the 3rd badge until they grill my son about that one some more too, but what do I do in this situation if the troop doesn't forward the badge to the ScoutNet account?

 

Would the signed blue card trump all? Can a new troop input the badge in their system and become the final word on what was earned? Or is the badge at the mercy of the original troop approving it first?

 

Also, my son has a blue card for this weekend signed by the SM already. Since we won't be returning to that troop, will a new SM have any reason to not accept a completed blue card that another SM/troop approved? I am assuming my son would turn it in like normal and previous authorization will be good enough, but if I should be aware of any rules or issues, I'm all ears.

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