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Earning Cooking MB without doing any cooking.

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Ok, this one is a puzzler.  A first class scout goes to summer camp where the merit badge Cooking is offered.  After five days of instruction, he is awarded the badge by the camp.  The camp has a computer generated blue card that shows all the requirements checked off.  The card is given to the troop advancement coordinator, who enters the earned merit badge into the Troopmaster software.  The badge is earned, right?

 

The Scoutmaster sees the merit badge earned on a list from summer camp, and realizes that there is no way the scout did the cooking requirements described in the book.  He asked the scout how much cooking the scout did at summer camp.  The scout says he has not done any cooking to get the badge.  He has none of the paperwork or planning materials he should have produced, and cannot tell the scoutmaster much about the classes.  The Scoutmaster wants him to take the merit badge again, with a regular councilor.  

 

I am both a Troop ASM and a cooking MB councilor.  I can only think that the camp councilor went through the MB planning and cooking requirements and asked if the scout had done patrol cooking on a camp out, and then marked the requirements as done.  But since camp is all over, the councilors have dispersed to their colleges for the start of the fall semester.  The camp only has the records they submitted to us.  

 

I know that technically speaking, the scout has earned the  badge, even though the scout has not really done anything much to complete the requirements.  As a councilor, I cannot depend on the fact that the scout has done cooking on a camp out, since the requirements specifically state that cooking for other rank and MB requirements cannot be counted for the Cooking MB requirements.  And I would not want to do that anyway, since I want the scout to get more experience cooking anyway.

 

What do we do?  The Scoutmaster either wants the scout to take the badge over, or informally do all the requirements for the badge again.  I want make sure the scouts actually do the requirements as stated in the book.  I will allow older scouts to use prior patrol cooking duties as long as they are well documented and the scout can thoroughly discuss each event with me.  I also want the troop to not allow the scouts to sign up for stuff like this again.

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

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This situation is discussed in the Guide to Advancement, 7.0.4.7.  The first step is for the SM to have a discussions with the scout about the MB experience.  Hopefully, the Scout will agree that the requirements were not completed as written, and a plan can be devised to get them done.

 

I'd also be sure to let the camp director and council advancement committee (for the camp) know what was going on.

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GTA 7.0.4.7 is correct, but it's not the only answer.  Dozens and dozens of kids would have taken that MB at that camp this summer.  Do they get the badge, but only this scout is "held accountable".   

 

The MB sessions at summer camp could be viewed as a "patrol cooking on a campout".  The MB session is an effective structured group.  The summer camp is a camp out.  

 

Personally, I'd do it informally.  Summer camp MBs are never 100% clean and it's a big negative to use GTA 7.0.4.7 for an adult and a council / camp screw up.  Leave him the positive of having the badge and informally without him knowing just do the requirements again with him.  IMHO, cooking MB should strongly overlap with how a troop functions anyway.  

 

I'd only use GTA 7.0.4.7 when the scout or his parents are trying to short circuit advancement and get things quick and easy.  That was  not the case here.

Edited by fred johnson
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GTA 7.0.4.7 is correct, but it's not the only answer.  Dozens and dozens of kids would have taken that MB at that camp this summer.  Do they get the badge, but only this scout is "held accountable".   

 

The MB sessions at summer camp could be viewed as a "patrol cooking on a campout".  The MB session is an effective structured group.  The summer camp is a camp out.  

 

Personally, I'd do it informally.  Summer camp MBs are never 100% clean and it's a big negative to use GTA 7.0.4.7 for an adult and a council / camp screw up.  Leave him the positive of having the badge and informally without him knowing just do the requirements again with him.  IMHO, cooking MB should strongly overlap with how a troop functions anyway.  

 

I'd only use GTA 7.0.4.7 when the scout or his parents are trying to short circuit advancement and get things quick and easy.  That was  not the case here.

 

Disagree with the highlighted section, Fred. 

 

We had a similar case with First Aid, where it was 8 hours of Powerpoint and no hands on work and the full badge awarded. As a unit we did the following:

  • Contacted the MB College to register our complaint. 
  • Followed the GTA and reported the issue to district and council.
  • Contacted the Scouts affected and their parents to have a meeting. We told them they did nothing wrong (except the one Scout who attested to having done a pre-req he could not possibly have done), we reviewed the GTA and their rights outlined in that doc.
  • We offered a solution: We got all the medical personnel in the troop (parents) to run a one-day, hands on class that covered the MB in full.

Everyone agreed to take the class. It was so much fun it became an annual affair which we still do today. BTW, we do the same thing with Cooking. ;)

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I disagree with Fred on this one, given that the SM and the scout have already talked.

 

The badge was issued in error. Hold it until the boy completes it under the guidance of a trusted counselor, such as yourself (we presume). Make the process of actually completing the requirements as fun as possible for the boy and his family -- as it should be with this particular badge. As Flagg suggests, incorporating some troop activities along the way can really boost your program,.

 

Unless the camp has a general store where the boys can purchase the ingredients for their patrols to cook their specific menus, this was a grievous error on the camp's part. Real camp directors (like my former SPL, shout out to Tim) stopped offering this MB in camp.

 

Inform other volunteers, and if this camp is in your council, consider bringing the issue up at round table.

 

Help the SM determine if this happened with more than just this MB. Start collecting brochures for other camps. Let the camp director know you are considering going elsewhere next summer.

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I disagree with Fred on this one, given that the SM and the scout have already talked.

 

My experience is scouts often don't represent what happened very well.  Often, they can't defend their situation especially if being asked by an adult who has an assumption it did not happen as said. 

 

IMHO, absolutely take it up with the council advancement team that owns the camp.  Absolutely pursue his learning.

 

I just hate seeing badges "revoked" after a MB counselor has signed it off.  Especially in situations where dozens of scouts and official camp staff were involved.  But then again, I'm not 100% that strong on this.  If you can make it a positive experience when you take it back, fine.  I've just seen too many where it's a big negative and just another story on the bad scouting experience.  

 

Help him get the experiences.

 

I love the idea of a troop annual first aid day and a troop annual cooking day.  Great ideas.  First timers should be moving toward first aid and cooking MBs.  Older scouts could help teach.

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Ok, this one is a puzzler.  A first class scout goes to summer camp where the merit badge Cooking is offered.  After five days of instruction, he is awarded the badge by the camp.  The camp has a computer generated blue card that shows all the requirements checked off.  The card is given to the troop advancement coordinator, who enters the earned merit badge into the Troopmaster software.  The badge is earned, right?

 

The Scoutmaster sees the merit badge earned on a list from summer camp, and realizes that there is no way the scout did the cooking requirements described in the book.  He asked the scout how much cooking the scout did at summer camp.  The scout says he has not done any cooking to get the badge.  He has none of the paperwork or planning materials he should have produced, and cannot tell the scoutmaster much about the classes.  The Scoutmaster wants him to take the merit badge again, with a regular councilor.  

 

I am both a Troop ASM and a cooking MB councilor.  I can only think that the camp councilor went through the MB planning and cooking requirements and asked if the scout had done patrol cooking on a camp out, and then marked the requirements as done.  But since camp is all over, the councilors have dispersed to their colleges for the start of the fall semester.  The camp only has the records they submitted to us.  

 

I know that technically speaking, the scout has earned the  badge, even though the scout has not really done anything much to complete the requirements.  As a councilor, I cannot depend on the fact that the scout has done cooking on a camp out, since the requirements specifically state that cooking for other rank and MB requirements cannot be counted for the Cooking MB requirements.  And I would not want to do that anyway, since I want the scout to get more experience cooking anyway.

 

What do we do?  The Scoutmaster either wants the scout to take the badge over, or informally do all the requirements for the badge again.  I want make sure the scouts actually do the requirements as stated in the book.  I will allow older scouts to use prior patrol cooking duties as long as they are well documented and the scout can thoroughly discuss each event with me.  I also want the troop to not allow the scouts to sign up for stuff like this again.

 

What do you think?

 

Has the Scout earned the Badge? Did the SM approve of the badge work, which is part of the blue card. Has it been entered into Internet Advancement?  I would say the Scout should be required to do the home, camp and trail cooking, but the SM needs to figure out a way to finesse it so it seems like it's the Scout's idea.  

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My experience is scouts often don't represent what happened very well.  Often, they can't defend their situation especially if being asked by an adult who has an assumption it did not happen as said. 

 

IMHO, absolutely take it up with the council advancement team that owns the camp.  Absolutely pursue his learning.

 

I just hate seeing badges "revoked" after a MB counselor has signed it off.  Especially in situations where dozens of scouts and official camp staff were involved.  But then again, I'm not 100% that strong on this.  If you can make it a positive experience when you take it back, fine.  I've just seen too many where it's a big negative and just another story on the bad scouting experience.  

 

Help him get the experiences.

 

I love the idea of a troop annual first aid day and a troop annual cooking day.  Great ideas.  First timers should be moving toward first aid and cooking MBs.  Older scouts could help teach.

Have you read over the requirements for Cooking merit badge?  http://www.scouting.org/filestore/Merit_Badge_ReqandRes/Cooking_2016.pdf  It requires making one breakfast, one lunch one dinner and one dessert at home (using at least 5 of 10 cooking methods);  cooking two meals (using two different cooking methods) on stove/fire at camp, a dessert or snack; and one meal using either a Dutch oven or foilpack or kabobs for ; and cooking two mails and a snack on the trail.  Those are important requirements, and are the hardest part of the badge.  A Scout would remember doing that much cooking.  

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Has the Scout earned the Badge? Did the SM approve of the badge work, which is part of the blue card. Has it been entered into Internet Advancement?  I would say the Scout should be required to do the home, camp and trail cooking, but the SM needs to figure out a way to finesse it so it seems like it's the Scout's idea.  

 

From what I understand,  the SM did not want anyone to take this badge at camp, since he wants the scouts to actually learn to cook.  The SM lead a high adventure trip this summer, so an ASM lead up the normal summer camp trip.  The scout got one of the adults to change his class list.  The camp generates a blue card on their computer for each badge earned and sends them as a packet with the adult leader.  

 

Are you suggesting that the scout has not earned the badge because he did not follow the normal blue card procedure?  if he did not get SM approval, does the MB have to be awarded?  

 

The GTO 7.0.4.7 seems to tell us that in the case above, upon conferring with the scout, and agreeing that the requirements are not met, the SM can determine that "merit badge is not reported or awarded, and does not count toward advancement. The unit leader then offers the name of at least one other merit badge counselor through whom any incomplete requirements may be finished."  So we can treat this as an incomplete badge.

 

That would work.

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I have exactly this scenario in my troop. I've talked to all the boys who took the MB at camp, and told them they still need to do the meal planning and cooking requirements. They know they didn't do those requirements, they never claimed they did them. The camp staff member who was in charge of the class (likely) just didn't understand the requirements, asked the kids if they cooked at home and on campouts, and in his mind accepted that as fulfilling the requirements.

 

None of the scouts mind that they still have to cook, they've been eating everybody else's MB or advancement required cooking for the past couple years and understand that's what they need to do now too.

 

The key, I think, is not to place any blame on the scouts or imply that they did something wrong. Especially at camp they aren't following along with the list of requirements and making sure they check each requirement and sub requirement, they're just doing what the camp staff tell them to do. The smaller a deal you make of this, the better off everyone will be.

Edited by T2Eagle
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From what I understand,  the SM did not want anyone to take this badge at camp, since he wants the scouts to actually learn to cook.  The SM lead a high adventure trip this summer, so an ASM lead up the normal summer camp trip.  The scout got one of the adults to change his class list.  The camp generates a blue card on their computer for each badge earned and sends them as a packet with the adult leader.  

 

Are you suggesting that the scout has not earned the badge because he did not follow the normal blue card procedure?  if he did not get SM approval, does the MB have to be awarded?  

 

The GTO 7.0.4.7 seems to tell us that in the case above, upon conferring with the scout, and agreeing that the requirements are not met, the SM can determine that "merit badge is not reported or awarded, and does not count toward advancement. The unit leader then offers the name of at least one other merit badge counselor through whom any incomplete requirements may be finished."  So we can treat this as an incomplete badge.

 

That would work.

Bottom line: it really stinks to be on phone with a fresh 18 year-old whose CC refused to sign his Eagle app -- unsatisfied with the credibility of a blue card -- and be the first guy to say "Answer me this, did you complete the requirements as written?"

 

Do everything in your power to make sure nobody has to be "that guy" on account of how anybody else failed to counsel your scouts.

Edited by qwazse

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From what I understand,  the SM did not want anyone to take this badge at camp, since he wants the scouts to actually learn to cook.  The SM lead a high adventure trip this summer, so an ASM lead up the normal summer camp trip.  The scout got one of the adults to change his class list.  The camp generates a blue card on their computer for each badge earned and sends them as a packet with the adult leader.  

 

Are you suggesting that the scout has not earned the badge because he did not follow the normal blue card procedure?  if he did not get SM approval, does the MB have to be awarded?  

 

The GTO 7.0.4.7 seems to tell us that in the case above, upon conferring with the scout, and agreeing that the requirements are not met, the SM can determine that "merit badge is not reported or awarded, and does not count toward advancement. The unit leader then offers the name of at least one other merit badge counselor through whom any incomplete requirements may be finished."  So we can treat this as an incomplete badge.

 

That would work.

I'm saying that a MB isn't a MB until the SM signs the card. If the SM has reason to think the MB was awarded incorrectly (which in this case it was), he can refuse to sign, and the MB is not complete.  I do agree, this is an incomplete badge. I say this just because the cooking requirements for the cooking MB are the hardest part of the MB. If they are skipped, there is no reason for the Scout to have this MB.  

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... the SM did not want anyone to take this badge at camp, since he wants the scouts to actually learn to cook. ...

 

Yeah ... This sounds like the real trigger.  Their council adv committee and camp staff came up with what they thought was reasonable to offer the badge.  The scoutmaster disagrees on whether the requirements were met.  IMHO, it sounds more like a battle between the scoutmaster and the camp staff and the scout pays the penalty.  That's why ... depending on the exact details ... I'd let it go and find a way to get the scout the skills and experience without inferring he did not earn the badge.  I would still take it up with the council that oversees the camp.

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The key, I think, is not to place any blame on the scouts or imply that they did something wrong. Especially at camp they aren't following along with the list of requirements and making sure they check each requirement and sub requirement, they're just doing what the camp staff tell them to do. The smaller a deal you make of this, the better off everyone will be.

 

Exactly.  Well said.  

 

... Except I'd pursue this with the overseeing council advancement committee.  It's their job to get this stuff straight.  I'd emphasize it strongly so that they do their job making sure the camp is doing their job.

Edited by fred johnson

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... Did the SM approve of the badge work, which is part of the blue card. ... 

 

The scoutmaster does not "approve" the badge work.  Never has.  The unit leader signature is on the "applicant" section of the card to prove the scout handed the card in.  The MB counselor portion can also be used to prove the scout is done and it has no scoutmaster signature.  The unit portion also has no scoutmaster signature.  The idea is if the scout has the unit leader signature on his section, then he did hand it into the troop.  

 

Yes, there is a GTA path for if the scout clearly did not earn the badge, but there is no built-in scoutmaster approval for badges. 

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