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Adamcp

Merit Badge Counselors

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Some summer camps no longer use the blue cards, which tosses a wrench in the whole process for the boys.

 

And as an added note: Most of the MB reports that do get turned into the troop are incorrect.  Well, in our case ALL of the MB reports we have ever received have been incorrect in one fashion or another.  Totally unreliable.

Edited by Stosh

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"Put some ink in every space"  is the usual rule when filling out a form.   If the Scout totally  and correctly fulfilled the requirements, I fill out everything and sign .

If only SOME of the requirements fulfilled, I do not sign the final slot, but fill in the rest. In the requirements section I note which requirements are done (Okay) and strike a line and write "PARTIAL" across the rest as I initial those.  I give the Scout my note with my name and numbers on it and wait (!) for them to call to meet and finish the MB.  It does happen. 

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Some summer camps no longer use the blue cards, which tosses a wrench in the whole process for the boys.

 

And as an added note: Most of the MB reports that do get turned into the troop are incorrect.  Well, in our case ALL of the MB reports we have ever received have been incorrect in one fashion or another.  Totally unreliable.

 

Amen.

 

However, some camps are FAR better than others about that. One way to avoid this problem is to ask the counselors for a list of what was covered. This helps identify who was organized and who wasn't. Usually the latter are the ones we have issues with.

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While all the above is correct, and that section need only be filled out when the merit badge is a "partial" ...

1. If the merit badge is not completed in a single meeting, it's a good idea to complete that section and return the card to the scout - so that the scout can move on to a different counselor if something happens.

2. In many areas it seems to be tradition (both what I saw as a youth, what I did with the summer camp staff that worked for me, and what I see on most of my son's merit badge cards now - different councils, different decades) that if all the requirements are completed, the counselor will just write "all requirements completed" or similar across that section so that there is no ambiguity.

 

When filling out a partial, I know some counselors only fill out the requirement number and initial for the completed requirements - and I can understand why; however, With my summer camp staff I would encourage them to number all the requirements in order (1, 2a, 2b, 3a, ...) , even the ones that were not completed, so that it was easy to see what still needed to be done and what had been completed.

 

I have not being doing either, but they seem like a good idea.

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Some summer camps no longer use the blue cards, which tosses a wrench in the whole process for the boys.

 

And as an added note: Most of the MB reports that do get turned into the troop are incorrect.  Well, in our case ALL of the MB reports we have ever received have been incorrect in one fashion or another.  Totally unreliable.

We ran into this - and explained to the camp that we used them and required them from the camp.  As nwe had 73 Scouts in camp and they wanted us back, they complied - with BSA's rules.  

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I am little late to this convo, but I just wanted to make sure I understand this correctly..."There is no (realistic) way to know who is a MBC within a District/Council to allow a Scout to go an earn the MB"...does this sound about right? I am asking because my son is now in Boy Scouts and he is SUPER excited about everything Boy Scouts has to offer. He has read through a lot of the MB possibilities and some of the requirements for them. He then said he REALLY wants to earn the Chess MB. Then I think to myself, "I HIGHLY doubt there is anyone in the troop/district/council that would be the MB counselor for this" and then say "well I know that you have to work with a MBC (and explain what that is), so you will have to talk to your PL to help you get info on a Chess MBC". I am pretty sure that since he has been a Boy Scout (since end of February) he has asked me about that MB like 3 times...I just don't want him to lose interest because he is not getting what HE wants from Scouts.

 

I know Boy Scouts is BOY LEAD, but I want him to keep his motivation and want to be able to provide him with all the information he needs to find the answers to the questions he has. Does anyone know what can be done?

 

Also, I just thought of something...is it possible to set up "On-line" MB classes that Scouts can attend and earn their badges that way? (Kind of like an online class for college, if anyone has done that)....just a thought...

Edited by Prepared

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I am little late to this convo, but I just wanted to make sure I understand this correctly..."There is no (realistic) way to know who is a MBC within a District/Council to allow a Scout to go an earn the MB"...does this sound about right? I am asking because my son is now in Boy Scouts and he is SUPER excited about everything Boy Scouts has to offer. He has read through a lot of the MB possibilities and some of the requirements for them. He then said he REALLY wants to earn the Chess MB. Then I think to myself, "I HIGHLY doubt there is anyone in the troop/district/council that would be the MB counselor for this" and then say "well I know that you have to work with a MBC (and explain what that is), so you will have to talk to your PL to help you get info on a Chess MBC". I am pretty sure that since he has been a Boy Scout (since end of February) he has asked me about that MB like 3 times...I just don't want him to lose interest because he is not getting what HE wants from Scouts.

 

I know Boy Scouts is BOY LEAD, but I want him to keep his motivation and want to be able to provide him with all the information he needs to find the answers to the questions he has. Does anyone know what can be done?

 

Our unit is fairly blessed with active adults who teach MBs and locations around where we live that do the same. That said, my job as SM is to make sure my guys are safe and that they have the resources they need. Here is what we do. Perhaps you can ask your SM to do the same.

  • If a Scout wants to pursue a MB we do not teach, we first see if someone in the unit will act as counselor.
  • If we cannot find someone in the unit, we look around for organizations we know who may offer the MB.
  • If we cannot find anyone we know to offer the MB, we work with council and district to get a list of registered MBCs. We provide that list to the Scout and his parent. We sit down with BOTH of them and discuss YPT, no one-on-one meetings or communications, meeting in a common place like a library or coffee shop, etc. We make sure both know the rules.
  • If we still cannot find someone to teach the MB, usually I will work with them as a stand in.

The reason we go to these lengths is evident. Just read the papers in the last few weeks about leaders who were either unit members or MB counselors who are now under arrest for nefarious activities with kids.

 

As for chess, our unit happens to have a nationally ranked young man in the game. He and his dad have helped run a tournament for the unit, during which the boys were able to work on the MB. We followed all the processes to get the dad registered as an MBC.

 

Sounds completely bogus.

 

Every MBC is registered with a district or a troop within that district. The district advancement chair for the district should have a list that is made available to the SMs in that district.

 

Folks. If your SM cannot produce a list of MBC names and phone numbers for any MB in the district. Something is broken. Scream bloody murder until it's fixed.

Exactly!

Edited by Col. Flagg

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I am little late to this convo, but I just wanted to make sure I understand this correctly..."There is no (realistic) way to know who is a MBC within a District/Council to allow a Scout to go an earn the MB"...does this sound about right? ...

Sounds completely bogus.

 

Every MBC is registered with a district or a troop within that district. The district advancement chair for the district should have a list that is made available to the SMs in that district.

 

Folks. If your SM cannot produce a list of MBC names and phone numbers for any MB in the district. Something is broken. Scream bloody murder until it's fixed.

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@Col. Flagg's strategy for building up MBC depth is excellent. Every unit should be doing this regularly for their district.

 

Part of the problem, I think, is that some districts are now as large as councils used to be. That makes for a whole lot of MBCs for a district advancement chair to keep track of. I'm guessing our district (in the north of Pittsburgh) has an average of 10 MBC's for each MB ... that's at least 1,350 names, some repeated for multiple badges.

 

Needless to say, YPT compounds the challenge, but I bet it also helps thin the herd down to folks who really "get" scouting.

 

When I was growing up, there were maybe 6 troops in a small everybody-knew-everybody district with no more than a couple of counselors per badge. The list was typed up by some pastor or professor's secretary, copied, and pinned to the cork board of every scout house. A firm handshake guaranteed your name on that list for life (... and sometimes a few years afterword).

 

That made things manageable, but did nothing for YPT which wasn't required for MBC's until this decade. I still don't count on that requirement for MBC's. And like Flagg, I think well-trained parents and scouts is the best solution. I don't, however, put more faith in in-house counselors over district counselors.

 

Nowadays, the list is on a password-protected site. So, if a scout asks me about a MB, I print up the names listed for that MB, highlight the ones I recognize within a couple miles of the scout, then go over them with the SM/ASM's to make sure none of those have any red-flags. (Usually not YPT, but maybe someone's on vacation, counsels only at a particular high school, etc ...)

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There is no conspiracy as some seem to imply. There are two major requirements to a list, someone to develop the list and someone to maintain the list. Have you ever tried to maintain a list of hundreds of people who make no effort to join or quit. If the list is not at least maintained by a computer, it will struggle in a volunteer system because the integrity of the list depends on the efforts of a volunteer. Our district attacked the problem of creating and maintaining by providing a MB Counselor training course each year. A counselor didn't have to attend, but it was an easy way of getting the Youth Protection out of the way and learning how they were expected to do their responsibility. I would say 50% of counselors attended the training.

 

That works real well provided SOMEONE organizes training each year and develops the list. The reason it worked well when I was on the district is because the leaders of one Troop headed the training and the list. Sounds like a good idea, don't you think. One SM on this forum seems to blame all his ills on all adults outside his unit, this sounds like a good place to show off his, um, abilties.

 

However, the flaw in units doing the heavy work for multiple units is what happens when that unit changes leadership. I have watched countless district AND COUNCIL programs and activities just suddenly stop because that person who organized it for so many years left.

 

OK, District should support it, but they have a lot on their plate as well. And in our cause one skill that is sorely lacking at our district is recruiting. If they can't recruit, they are limited in their ability to manage responsibilities. MB Counselors are always way down the list of things that have to get done by district. 

 

Which leaves the advice I give troop leaders and works pretty good; find a couple of troops near your location and build your own list among the those troops. You get the bigger list than your own troop, but not so big that it can't be managed. Once the counselors work with a couple scouts from other units, the system start to get momentum.

 

MB Counselors didn't seem so hard before BSA required registration and YP, but National was forced that direction when most of the YP violations reported involved counselors. The BSA had to show an effort to not only protect the scouts, but the adults as well.  

Barry

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" A Scout(er) is Trustworthy."

 

If a responsible adult signs up (fills in the three pieces of paper, turns them in to the Unit Commish or District Adv Chair somehow, registers thereby and gets a BSA  ID number, takes the online YPT and maybe the MBCounselor online course) as a MBC, makes sure he/she is on the District/Council MBC listing, and answers his/her phone when the Scout (not the parent??) calls , we have a going concern.    

 

The number of possible MBCs should be cumulative and inclusive.   For comparison,  When I wanted a Aviation MBC, back in the days of Lilienthal gliders (!), I had to call the Council office, they gave me the names of the two (!!) in the entire Council and both were over the river in Virginia, maybe an hour drive from me.  I called one, was interviewed by him extensively  over the phone.  Later,  my dad took me over to his house, and I remember being his sole interest for maybe three hours, him and me and my "exhibits". 

Today, we can find a half dozen  Aviation MBC in our District, if we know who to call to get the list. That is the secret here, finding the listing.  The man I met way back when was a retired airline pilot.  Most of the MBC nowadays are "interested parents", who may/may not have a career/history in Aviation.  But they should, if the Scout is lucky,  require the Scout to fulfill the requirements in the most fulfilling way.   Could a responsible mother fill the role of a MBC for Nuclear Science?   I can't say from this distance.  "It Depends".  

Same with any MB.  It depends.....

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In our troop, we maintain a list much like what Col. Flagg describes.  Yes, as a result, we end up getting all our merit badges counselled in-house, but it works well.  Trying to navigate a district list is an unnecessary hassle.

 

If there was really interest in making this work in districts, the BSA would do:

- encourage every troop to identify a merit badge coordinator.

- have the troop merit badge coordinator manage the list of counsellors from their troop families.

- have the district advancement chair work with the troop merit badge coordinators to assemble a consolidated list from amongst the troops in the district.  

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In our troop, we maintain a list much like what Col. Flagg describes.  Yes, as a result, we end up getting all our merit badges counselled in-house, but it works well.  Trying to navigate a district list is an unnecessary hassle.

 

If there was really interest in making this work in districts, the BSA would do:

- encourage every troop to identify a merit badge coordinator.

- have the troop merit badge coordinator manage the list of counsellors from their troop families.

- have the district advancement chair work with the troop merit badge coordinators to assemble a consolidated list from amongst the troops in the district.  

 

In theory, all MBCs have to register and keep current YPT. Assuming the database works, you should be able to run a sort on MBCs with their YPT. There's no reason the software couldn't do the following if properly developed:

  • Supply a monthly list of MBCs in the council with current YPT to the district Key 3 and advancement chair.
  • Email MBCs with expiring YPT to remind them to update. 
  • Remove MBCs with expired YPT from the system.
  • Allow for an "opt out" or removal feature if an MBC does not want to be a counselor anymore (this removes their membership status).
  • New MBCs are automatically added to this resource pool.

This is a very, very basic type of customer management system. If the current BSA software does not allow such functionality then their CIO and systems division should be fired. This could be done quite easily and would provide a huge benefit to their members.

 

I'd rather they focus on this than more adult award ceremonies to hand out more knots and WB scarves.

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I had to register on SCOUTBOOK as an MBC this year.  SCOUTBOOK also has my YPT information, and if my troop ever decides to start using SCOUTBOOK, I think I can initial bluecards on line?  Maybe, haven't looked at it much.

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