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Phrogger

First class required for Cooking?

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Sounds to me like the real issue is that this scout is not enjoying scouts. My guess is that a lack of fun with friends is the issue, not advancement.

 

Phrogger, does he have friends in the troop? Just my opinion but finding something fun to do with other scouts should be the focus. Friendships are important.. Are there other scouts roughly his age in the troop? Does he do anything with them? If the older scouts are doing cooking MB, what is the program for the younger scouts? If there's really no program for the younger scouts then I can see him being bored.

 

Just a thought, but if there are other young scouts that are bored, and there is not much for them while the older scouts are doing camping, why not get them together and have them pick one MB that they'd like to do. Take your son to the scout store and show him the rack of MB books. Flip through them and show him the pictures and see if he gets excited about them. Have him pick 3 or 4. Get the scouts together and have them pick one. Help your son make the call to the MB counselor. That gives your son some ownership, helps create a fun activity between the boys (somewhat similar to cubs), and, most importantly, might create some friendships.

 

If he has friends then he'll likely get more interested in camping.

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Sounds to me like the real issue is that this scout is not enjoying scouts. My guess is that a lack of fun with friends is the issue, not advancement.

 

The other "real issue" is adults adding requirements and mis-reading the GTA. That's equally as concerning.

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I was visiting a troop recently and I heard the scoutmaster telling the scouts that they would be responsible for their own food if nobody signed up to cook at their next camp out. Several new scouts spoke up and said they would cook. The SM yelled at them and told them they were under no circumstances going to cook on their first camping trip. I'm glad I'm not part of that troop. 

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On that note, what would be a good merit badge to start out with?  He's going to Ransburg for summer camp so they'll be working on the Tenderfoot and Second Class requirements there.

For 1st Year Scouts going to Summer Camp, I always recommend 1st Aid & something aquatic (swimming?).  Depends on how many MB time slots are available to go with the Trail to First Class.  

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The very first Boy Scout activity I went on (I was still wearing my Cub Scout uniform) I was visiting the troop.  It was a 10 mile hike, five miles out, and five miles back.  While we were out there we stopped in the woods.  I made a fire and cooked my meat and potatoes lunch in my mess kit.  No one offered to help the new guy... :(    I did just fine. 

 

I had the advantage of camping out with my family since 4 years of age.  Not many scouts have that opportunity, but the point is, at age 10-11, the skills needed to cook are learnable.  As I found out, learnable before one even gets to that age.

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Well, the "First Year Camper" class is required and unfortunately it takes up 2/3 of the schedule. I hope they let them have some fun time too.

 

Who is requiring "First Year Camper"?  I don't think it's the Scout Camp.  Their website gives no indication at all that they require it.

 

It sounds like the Troop is requiring it - and given what you've already mentioned about the Troop, that would be a second (maybe even third) strike against them and I'd be looking for a new Troop. 

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My son recently signed up for the Cooking merit badge which is being offered with a group in my son's troop. I received an email from the organizer who told me it was only for First Class scouts and up and it would be "too hard" for him because it is Eagle required.

 

My son is almost done with his Scout rank and has not had any merit badge opportunities yet. I read the requirements and didn't think they sounded too hard, especially since the troop expects him to do more difficult things on his own during campouts.

 

Is this reasonable? Or is the organizer just trying to weed out the younger ones for his own convenience? I can't find anywhere that it says you have to be First Class to work on that badge.

Well, there is no  restriction per BSA, but if the counselor doesn't want to teach Cooking MB to younger boys he shouldn't have to.  That said, as a Cooking MB counselor, I don't see what the problem would be. 

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On that note, what would be a good merit badge to start out with?  He's going to Ransburg for summer camp so they'll be working on the Tenderfoot and Second Class requirements there.

First Aid and Swimming are good choices to begin with. 

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Well, there is no  restriction per BSA, but if the counselor doesn't want to teach Cooking MB to younger boys he shouldn't have to.  That said, as a Cooking MB counselor, I don't see what the problem would be.

 

Bull! What reason can he fall back on that doesn't violate what he's required to do under his role as MBC?

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I was visiting a troop recently and I heard the scoutmaster telling the scouts that they would be responsible for their own food if nobody signed up to cook at their next camp out. Several new scouts spoke up and said they would cook. The SM yelled at them and told them they were under no circumstances going to cook on their first camping trip. I'm glad I'm not part of that troop. 

What?  If it were up to me, I'd have all new scouts cook on their first camping trip.

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Bull! What reason can he fall back on that doesn't violate what he's required to do under his role as MBC?

He's a volunteer, and if he doesn't want to work with a particular boy he doesn't have to.

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The trick, here, is to discourage MBC's from discriminating against boys based on age or rank.

If a boy decides his trail to Eagle is going to start with earning 100+ MBs -- after which he will attend to the tedium of T2FC, so be it. Work with the boy, and every 10 MBs or so acquired, mention, "Hmmm, wouldn't you like a new oval patch on your left pocket?"

 

I think that's the real issue in @Phrogger's troop. They have an advancement "meat grinder" that works perfectly for 7 of 8 boys. For the 8th kid it's "Sorry, Square, that hole we drilled doesn't have any corners."

 

In my troop, I've seen this happen a few times (one in eight), but I've also seen boys stick up for the out-of-place scout. They wouldn't attend the class until they were sure the odd man out was welcome. That's the problem as troops become boy-led, they pretty directly question your crazy schemes. :laugh:

 

Edited: I'm changing my advice: Talk to the MBC. Explain to him the situation and ask if he could play this one by the book. If you explain that your boy is losing interest in scouting fast, and you think this time with his fellow scouts might be a game-changer -- even if he comes away with a partial -- might help turn that attitude around.

Edited by qwazse

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He's a volunteer, and if he doesn't want to work with a particular boy he doesn't have to.

 

Then he shouldn't be an MBC. What reason can the MBC give for not working with a Scout other than "I am busy" or "You live too far away"? Those work *if* they are the truth. If they are a lie to cover up a prejudice of not working with younger Scouts, then he's not upholding his role as MBC.

 

In the example above, the MBC is clearly discriminating against the boy due to age/rank and that is not honest or Scout-like.

Edited by Col. Flagg
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I would encourage this young Scout to also complete the cooking requirements for Rank, since they are a logical progression from assisting another cook to preparing a meal for themselves and finally serving as the Patrol cook for 3 meals.

I was told not to push him on advancements. He's been working on Scout most of the year. I have had to gently encourage him to make progress, as he isn't inclined to on his own. I guess I could suggest that.

 

Sounds to me like the real issue is that this scout is not enjoying scouts. My guess is that a lack of fun with friends is the issue, not advancement.

 

Phrogger, does he have friends in the troop? Just my opinion but finding something fun to do with other scouts should be the focus. Friendships are important.. Are there other scouts roughly his age in the troop? Does he do anything with them? If the older scouts are doing cooking MB, what is the program for the younger scouts? If there's really no program for the younger scouts then I can see him being bored.

 

Just a thought, but if there are other young scouts that are bored, and there is not much for them while the older scouts are doing camping, why not get them together and have them pick one MB that they'd like to do.

You are right, he isn't enjoying it, There is no program for younger scouts. He does have friends his age that he crossed over with, but they are split into different patrols and not all are present at the activities he goes to. I think it's a good idea to have the younger scouts pick a badge, but I don't really have any role in the troop yet and my work doesn't make time for it. I was very involved in Cubs in the past, I plan to help out again in the future, I just can't do it now,

 

The very first Boy Scout activity I went on (I was still wearing my Cub Scout uniform) I was visiting the troop. It was a 10 mile hike, five miles out, and five miles back. While we were out there we stopped in the woods. I made a fire and cooked my meat and potatoes lunch in my mess kit. No one offered to help the new guy... :( I did just fine.

 

I had the advantage of camping out with my family since 4 years of age. Not many scouts have that opportunity, but the point is, at age 10-11, the skills needed to cook are learnable. As I found out, learnable before one even gets to that age.

The only camping I did with my family growing up was the four of us sleeping in a tent at the beach because we couldn't afford a hotel. So camping was never something I thought of as "fun." Ironically, Both me and my spouse were Marines, so I have done enough camping to be competent but I still don't find it enjoyable. We both have tried hard not to let our dislike rub off on our son, but I haven't exactly jumped at the chance to go camping with him either. The first event we went on in the troop was a "Family Campout." 90 degrees in July in an open field with no shade. They wouldn't allow him to use a kayak because he hadn't gone to summer camp and passed the swim test (this despite the fact that siblings not part of the troop were allowed to do it). They do a lot of "primitive" camping and long hikes too, so yeah, I would say it is not younger-Scout friendly.

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I was told not to push him on advancements. He's been working on Scout most of the year. I have had to gently encourage him to make progress, as he isn't inclined to on his own. I guess I could suggest that.

....

 

The only camping I did with my family growing up was the four of us sleeping in a tent at the beach because we couldn't afford a hotel. So camping was never something I thought of as "fun." Ironically, Both me and my spouse were Marines, so I have done enough camping to be competent but I still don't find it enjoyable. We both have tried hard not to let our dislike rub off on our son, but I haven't exactly jumped at the chance to go camping with him either. The first event we went on in the troop was a "Family Campout." 90 degrees in July in an open field with no shade. They wouldn't allow him to use a kayak because he hadn't gone to summer camp and passed the swim test (this despite the fact that siblings not part of the troop were allowed to do it). They do a lot of "primitive" camping and long hikes too, so yeah, I would say it is not younger-Scout friendly.

Here's the deal, IF HE WANTED ON HIS OWN TO TRY THIS MB, he's ready to give it a go. You were absolutely right not to push on advancements. That's his patrol leader's job. And, it really depends on what the scout is doing. So, if they are going to a waterfront and one member hasn't passed a swim test, then the PL busts hump to line up a swim test so his guy who missed camp can qualify to use a kayak. That has nothing to do with advancement, it has to do with safe swim defense. A tall order for a PL, but one that helps a scout feel taken care of.

Now, this is another opportunity for a scout to be part of the group. Lean on that MBC and ask him to allow your son in the class like the GTA says he should. But, more importantly, so this caring adult could help you and his SM make this boy feel like he really is a scout (the concept, not the patch), appealing to the 4th point of the scout law.

 

BTW, you are not the first soldier who I've met who would rather not camp and hike. I've known WW-II vets who when they came home vowed to never spend a night under stars again. (Vertical warfare in the Alps will do that to a fella.)

 

I'll admit that some of those camp outs my first year were really rough. (Dad/brothers never came with me, either.) But, coming back the second year having learned how to enjoy myself -- ultimately sealed the deal. So, pardon me if I read into this, but your son might be just the kind of guy this troop needs ... if they can keep him engaged until he gains his footing.

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