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Phrogger

First class required for Cooking?

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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.

Nobody actually said it was required. Parents were sent a confusing schedule to sign up for and one of the options was "first year camper," so I assumed it was required. Even if not, I'd be afraid that he'd miss out on something important if he doesn't. There aren't any descriptions for the class except that it works on certain merit badges. I surmised that it might also contain "tips for first year campers" and extra help learning how to set up camp and such. This really is his first year at a sleepaway camp of any kind and I want him to have the best opportunity for success, whatever that looks like. I don't care about merit badges. I'm just sad he can't take the Movie Maker badge or do the Archery/Rifle classes because of it (he might still get to do the Open range though). There are pros and cons to both. I want him to have fun and do things he likes, but if he misses some crucial area of instruction in the First Year class it might not be the best idea.

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When Cooking became an Eagle required MB, I had a Life Scout come to me to work on it.  I asked him to set up a group of no more than 6 (max I thought I could work with at a time).  Due to the # of Scouts that signed up, we (the Scout & I) gave priority to Scouts based on rank.  

 

Since this is the internet and we are only getting 1 side of the story, something similar may be happening.

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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.

First, I have no problem with Scouts earning most MBs when below First Class.  I actually think it would be an ideal time to start Cooking, as it's an involved badge that takes a lot of time. That said, if I knew a Scout wasn't ready physically or emotionally for working on a badge, I wouldn't agree to be his MBC for that badge. For example, if I were a Climbing MBC, and a boy in the troop was 5' tall, 300 lbs and weak physically, I wouldn't agree to be his counselor.  There is no requirement that an MBC be a particular boy's counselor.  Volunteers can't be forced. 

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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.

 

I agree totally about setting up a swim test.  Before a kayaking trip, we had several boys who were new to the  Troop (before their first summer camp) that hadn't taken a swim test.  The SPL (and the ASMs) had a swim test for them before things began. 

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In general I think more of the scout skills type mb's should have pre-requisites. Perhaps not the full 1st class rank, but the sections pertaining to that skill. One of the commonly discussed issues here is scouts "forgetting" or never truly learning, or one-and-done, etc... The idea of having these skills as a progression which (if required) to fulfill in order and the previous being a pre-requisite of the next provides a system by which a scout will demonstrate their experience multiple times, over a period of time thus strengthening and growing each time. This would provide the scout a more enriching opportunity and decrease the complaints of one&done, etc... It would not eliminate, but at least the system would not encourage it. And lastly it would be consistent with the original goal of scouting for boys to learn to do things for themselves and others.

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@@Phrogger,

 

The quick answer to your question is "no".

 

There is the theoretical, and there is the practical.

 

The literal, theoretical answer to your question lies in the MB requirements. Do the requirements for the Cooking MB anywhere in them state that the scout must be a First Class scout before taking the MB? No, they do not. And so the answer to your question is "no". For a counter-example, look at Lifesaving MB which requires a scout to first, "Complete Second Class rank requirements 5a through 5d and First Class rank requirements 6a, 6b, and 6e."

 

Also on the theoretical side, the SM is given some level of discretion in permitting any particular individual scout from taking certain MBs. For example, Lifesaving MB (again) requires as scout to, "Recover a 10-pound weight in 8 to 10 feet of water using a feetfirst surface dive. Repeat using a headfirst surface dive." If a scout is a non-swimmer, or a poor swimmer who is slightly built, the SM might decide that Lifesaving MB is not a good choice at this point in his scouting career.

 

Also in theory, requirements over and above those stated in the national program cannot be "added" by any individual or unit. That includes MBs and earning them. This circumscribes the SM's discretion described in the paragraph above. So, what he cannot do is say something like, "A scout must be First Class to work on Eagle-required MBs."

 

Finally, a unit may NOT artificially retard, inhibit or hamper a scout's advancement. Every scout advances at his own pace. This is closely tied to the rule that units and leaders cannot 

 

So, now let's talk practice. 

 

Every troop I have ever seen that says something like, "A scout must be First Class to take Eagle required MBs" is trying to intentionally retard the scouts' advancement. The goal is to make sure that they don't have any 14 yo Eagles, or some such other prohibited rationale. Every single time without exception. And if you look at it more, I am willing to bet that other aspects of their policy will have that same effect. They also typically control the Positions of Responsibility for the same reason and with the same effect.

 

As a practical matter, this is not necessarily all bad. I agree that most 14 yo Eagle scouts aren't really ready and that they typically don't get the most out of scouting that they can. They typically also drop out of scouting instead of giving back, running off to check yet more boxes and add yet more things to their "college resume". Also, Eagle-required MBs are indeed usually a bit more intensive and require more effort, which means that it is more likely to he will earn only a partial at Summer Camp rather than the whole badge. And, he can focus more closely on earning First Class if he's not working on MBs.

 

But it is not fair to the scout and it perverts the program. The justifications in the previous paragraph also prevent the scout from learning valuable life lessons about over-reaching one's abilities and overcoming failure. These things, too, are part of the scouting program. 

 

Whether this is a problem for you and your scout depends on you two. Perhaps you are willing to put up with it because the program is so good. Or, perhaps it really meshes well with your scout's personality.

 

I will tell you that the few times I have seen scouts and their parents push on these points it has never ended well for anybody. The scout usually ends up transferring troops anyway.

 

In my opinion, good first year at camp MBs include Swimming, First Aid, Leatherworking, Wood Carving, Indian Lore, Horsemanship, Forestry, Geology...lots of good ones. 

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Yeah,  not worried about 14 year old Eagle here, since I have a major procrastinator. But I don't want to put it off either (assuming we even last that long). In a neighboring troop we had a scout who was trying to get Eagle done basically skip school to do 7 merit badges in a week right before he aged out. Did he learn anything from that? I seriously doubt it. A few merit badges a year and Eagle at 17 sounds more like it.

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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.

 

Find merit badges that will promote great experiences.  To be honest, it's supposed to be HIS CHOICE and HIM PURSUING.  But I'm guilty too of nudging my sons in certain directions.  If you do this, I'd be tempted to screen / feel out / try to learn about what the experience will be.  Weed out the work book MBs.  Weed out the lectures and large classes.  Look for experiences that will inspire him and make him want to continue.

 

I've seen too many scouts that give up early on MBs because of just way too lame of experiences.  

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On that note, what would be a good merit badge to start out with? 

 

Metalworking, if the Troop can find a counselor that does the blacksmithing variant.  Fire, loud noises, banging on things with hammers, threat of bodily injury - all the things boys like.  

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AND.... you get to play in the fire and no one is going to yell at you?

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