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ItsBrian

Can parents serve as merit badge counselors for their scout?

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Just my 2 cents: Your job as a MBC is NOT to "teach" a Merit Badge. If you look at the requirements, very often they say "discuss with your counselor" or "do the following". In none of these cases is there any expectation that the MBC is lecturing to a group of Scouts. The Scouts are supposed to become familiar with the subject matter through things like reading the Merit Badge pamphlet, or looking things up on the Internet. Your job as a MBC is to then make sure that they know the information. Now, you can certainly use the EDGE method for things- a perfect example would be Home Repairs. But lectures and tests should remain in school. As for Troops giving Scouts opportunities to earn Merit Badges, these are supposed to be in addition to the Troop Program, not an integral part of it. If you take a way the Adult Association method by having Scouts work either individually or in twos or threes with trained MBCs, you aren't part of a Boy Scout Troop

Hmmm, I get the spirit of what you mean but I think the concept of not "teaching" the MB is incorrect. I am MBC for all shooting sports MBs, as well as many of the outdoor skills MBs (pioneering, orienteering, wilderness survival, etc). Many of those MBs have skills that must be taught for safety reasons. It's not something you want to leave to laymen, well-meaning (but unskilled) adults or some Scout googling the answer or using Wikipedia to find their answer.

 

An MBC *can* "teach" an MB and still put the onus on the Scout to dig deep and learn, even teach himself...but it takes preparation and time.

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Basically some of you are talking about PERSONAL experience. Not everyone is the same right?

Well, that is why you need to talk to your SM.

We don't know the people in your troop or district, and he may have had to deal with issues in the past that would want him to send you to a non-parent.

No SM or Advisor likes to get a phone call from the council registrar questioning their scout's rank application. My first post on this forum once upon a time was about our registrar challenging Son #1's position as a crew president on his eagle application because he was filing the application through his troop.  When the boy's SM heard about it, he went livid until I told him a call to national then and there corrected the staffs' assumptions.

 

On the other hand, your SM may have been wanting your mom to be a cycling MBC for a while. And, even if you don't need to have her counsel you for this badge (we cleared that up in my previous reply), you're just the "excuse" he needs to get her signed up so that other boys will have someone he trusts available to counsel them.

 

Honestly, you won't know until you ask him his opinion. And despite all of the rule parsing (which we will no doubt continue long after you make rank), respecting his opinion is probably the most efficient way to knock out this badge.

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Hmmm, I get the spirit of what you mean but I think the concept of not "teaching" the MB is incorrect. I am MBC for all shooting sports MBs, as well as many of the outdoor skills MBs (pioneering, orienteering, wilderness survival, etc). Many of those MBs have skills that must be taught for safety reasons. It's not something you want to leave to laymen, well-meaning (but unskilled) adults or some Scout googling the answer or using Wikipedia to find their answer.

 

An MBC *can* "teach" an MB and still put the onus on the Scout to dig deep and learn, even teach himself...but it takes preparation and time.

 

There are certainly exceptions to what I said, but the rest of them should be exploring a subject area. The MBC can guide the Scout to find the answers without lecturing...

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I couldn’t find anything saying that they can’t, but if you guys do or know please let me know.

 

I really want to do the cycling merit badge with my mom since it’ll make life easier ( and I’d rather not do 50 miles with someone I don’t know ).

 

As others have pointed out, your mom could certainly be your Cycling MB Counselor.  But even if she is not acting as the MB Counselor, she could still ride with you on the any of the rides.  It doesn't matter if the route is one of your own design or if it is the 50 mi. route of an organized ride.     You must to report to the MBC on the rides.  The MBC is not required to accompany you. (Though I think he or she should,)

 

 

 

From the Cycling Merit Badge Pamphlet  .  Requirement 7.A.
7.  A. Road Biking
(a) Take a road test with your counselor and demonstrate the following:
[snip]
this was about road rides, so the road test demonstration and explanation requirements aren't quoted here
[/snip]
 
 
(b) Avoiding main highways, take two rides of 10 miles each, two rides of 15 miles each, and two rides of 25 miles each. You must make a report of the rides taken. List dates for the routes traveled, and interesting things seen.
 
(c ) After completing requirement b for the road biking option, do ONE of the following:
 
(1) Lay out on a road map a 50-mile trip. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in eight hours.
 
(2) Participate in an organized bike tour of at least 50 miles. Make this ride in eight hours. Afterward, use the tour’s cue sheet to make a map of the ride.

 

When counseling, I accompany the scouts and buddy(ies) on the 50 mi. ride plus a couple of the 15 or 25 mile rides because I want to ensure they're riding safely ... but  it's not required.

Edited by Recycle

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Just my 2 cents: Your job as a MBC is NOT to "teach" a Merit Badge. If you look at the requirements, very often they say "discuss with your counselor" or "do the following". In none of these cases is there any expectation that the MBC is lecturing to a group of Scouts. The Scouts are supposed to become familiar with the subject matter through things like reading the Merit Badge pamphlet, or looking things up on the Internet. Your job as a MBC is to then make sure that they know the information. Now, you can certainly use the EDGE method for things- a perfect example would be Home Repairs. But lectures and tests should remain in school. As for Troops giving Scouts opportunities to earn Merit Badges, these are supposed to be in addition to the Troop Program, not an integral part of it. If you take a way the Adult Association method by having Scouts work either individually or in twos or threes with trained MBCs, you aren't part of a Boy Scout Troop

 

maybe teach was not the right word, but the meaning is the same, when a scout is looking for a nuclear science, or digital tech etc MB, they can't just grasp the concept by reading or researching, as a MB I think it is my duty to explain, guide and yes sometimes lecture so they can understand the concept.

 

Maybe you are right and I am wrong. I don't know, I just volunteer to help the scouts learn about something new and hopefully one day it will be their job or a hobby.

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Having been the Merit Badge Counselor Trainer for my District, I am here to say:

 

As stated above, a parent may counsel their own child.

 

A parent counseling their own child is absolutely, positively not a best practice!

 

It defeats the Adult Association Method!

 

A child knows exactly where the buttons of his parents are. 

 

In addition, what happens when he's 16?  He goes to Mikkie Dees, Ozark Auto Lube, or Fillerup and Go quick shop and asks:
"Mr (Ms) Smith, may I work for you?"

 

How does being counseled by his own parents prepare the Scout for exposure to adult strangers???

 

Inquiring Scoutering minds...
 

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A child knows exactly where the buttons of his parents are. 

 

In addition, what happens when he's 16?  He goes to Mikkie Dees, Ozark Auto Lube, or Fillerup and Go quick shop and asks:

"Mr (Ms) Smith, may I work for you?"

 

How does being counseled by his own parents prepare the Scout for exposure to adult strangers???

 

 

For many if not most of merit badges, I don't think that concern would be overly relevant. For the relevant requirements, a scout still has to approach an adult working in the field to perform the interview and if I am the Merit Badge counselor for say Dog Care (and especially if I am not a vet), then my son would still have to complete:

 

8. Visit a veterinary hospital or an animal shelter and give a report about your visit to your counselor.

 

He would have to do that with an adult stranger. Me being the Counselor doesn't alleviate that requirement. Even if I was a vet, he would still be required to visit.

 

Your concern might be an issue for a single profession where the parent works in that profession but for all other merit badges that require interviewing a professional in that specific field, such should not be a concern.

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Can parents? Absolutely. Should parents? Perhaps.

 

@@ItsBrian, you state you would prefer your mom to counsel you in the Cycling Merit Badge to make your life easier and to avoid a stranger for requirement 7c. In my neck of the woods, we encourage (enforce is a little too strong of a word) Merit Badge Counselors to counsel Scouts inside and outside the Troop they are registered with. To @@John-in-KC's point of adult association, were your Mom to counsel you, you would loose out on that method. Your posts indicate someone who can articulate his thoughts well and communicate with adults with apparent ease, so a little less adult association via a Cycling Merit Badge isn't the end of the world. Just step out of that comfort zone from time to time. An encourage your Mom to counsel all Scouts interested in Cycling.

 

merit badges that require interviewing a professional in that specific field

Now I'm wondering what percentage of Merit Badges have this requirement.

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Good question. Of the merit badges my son has started or finished:

 

Whether or not the MB requires some form of contact of an adult (and likely) stranger:

 

Citizen in the Nation - yes

Climbing - no

Collecting - no

Cooking - no (a bit of a surprise)

Dog Care - yes

Family Life - no

First Aid - no

Gardening - no - requires a visit to a location but no required interaction.

Home Repair - no (and the requirements of this one needs to be fixed otherwise there is virtually no way this is completed correctly unless the counselor is a parent).

Leatherwork - no, must visit a place of business but no required interaction.

Music - no

Physical Fitness - no, requires a doc visit but no interview.

Reptiles and Amphibians - no

Salesmanship - yes

Scholarship - yes

Skating - no

 

Not a lot of professions on that list so this isn't likely representative but still only 4 solid yes' out a list of 16. I would guess that less than half of all merit badges have a requirement to speak to a stranger. Probably quite a few that require learning about a profession or visiting the place of business without actually requiring the scout to speak to someone working in that profession (e.g. Gardening and Leatherwork)

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Can parents? Absolutely. Should parents? Perhaps.

 

@@ItsBrian, you state you would prefer your mom to counsel you in the Cycling Merit Badge to make your life easier and to avoid a stranger for requirement 7c. In my neck of the woods, we encourage (enforce is a little too strong of a word) Merit Badge Counselors to counsel Scouts inside and outside the Troop they are registered with. To @@John-in-KC's point of adult association, were your Mom to counsel you, you would loose out on that method. Your posts indicate someone who can articulate his thoughts well and communicate with adults with apparent ease, so a little less adult association via a Cycling Merit Badge isn't the end of the world. Just step out of that comfort zone from time to time. An encourage your Mom to counsel all Scouts interested in Cycling.

 

 

Now I'm wondering what percentage of Merit Badges have this requirement.

@@Chadamus

Sorry for the confusion!

 

She’s not only doing my me, she’s also registering for other merit badges.

 

My councils application says would you want to do your troop only, or the whole council. She checked off the whole Council. It’s also not only because of a stranger, but the counselors around me (from what I heard) don’t actually do the ride with you. They just wait at the end.

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Good question. Of the merit badges my son has started or finished:

 

Whether or not the MB requires some form of contact of an adult (and likely) stranger:

 

Citizen in the Nation - yes

Climbing - no

Collecting - no

Cooking - no (a bit of a surprise)

Dog Care - yes

Family Life - no

First Aid - no

Gardening - no - requires a visit to a location but no required interaction.

Home Repair - no (and the requirements of this one needs to be fixed otherwise there is virtually no way this is completed correctly unless the counselor is a parent).

Leatherwork - no, must visit a place of business but no required interaction.

Music - no

Physical Fitness - no, requires a doc visit but no interview.

Reptiles and Amphibians - no

Salesmanship - yes

Scholarship - yes

Skating - no

 

Not a lot of professions on that list so this isn't likely representative but still only 4 solid yes' out a list of 16. I would guess that less than half of all merit badges have a requirement to speak to a stranger. Probably quite a few that require learning about a profession or visiting the place of business without actually requiring the scout to speak to someone working in that profession (e.g. Gardening and Leatherwork)

For the climbing, cooking, and first aid merit badges, they should require adult interaction.

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@@Chadamus

Sorry for the confusion!

 

She’s not only doing my me, she’s also registering for other merit badges.

 

My councils application says would you want to do your troop only, or the whole council. She checked off the whole Council. It’s also not only because of a stranger, but the counselors around me (from what I heard) don’t actually do the ride with you. They just wait at the end.

This is why things should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

 

Here's a scout who is recruiting a counselor for his district ... basically because he knows she will mentor and come-along-side scouts who might want someone to closely supervise them on big challenges.

 

The scout has leveraged his desire for a parent-child activity to recruit that counselor.  Now that need could have been met, and he could have used an existing MBC who would, per his/her modus operandi, met him and mom at the end of the cruise, do a quick after action review, and sign-off on paperwork. But, that might not have gained the district a devoted MBC who will go the extra mile .. times 50!

 

One stone, two dead birds.

 

In the flip side @@ItsBrian, you're gonna owe your mom some flowers and chocolate for every patrol she helps to "get their cruise on." :wub:

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For the climbing, cooking, and first aid merit badges, they should require adult interaction.

 

They don't require the interaction of a stranger. For example, you are not required to go interview someone in the cooking profession for cooking. Adult interaction is different that being required to communicate with a stranger.

 

Some merit badges require a scout to seeking out an adult stranger and interview them - and such was one of the core tenets of the MB Program:

 

 

The purpose of the merit badge program is to allow Scouts to examine subjects to determine if they would like to further pursue them as a career or vocation. Originally, the program also introduced Scouts to the life skills of contacting an adult they hadn't met before, arranging a meeting and then demonstrating their skills, similar to a job or college interview. Increasingly, though, merit badges are earned in a class setting at troop meetings and summer camps

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merit_badge_(Boy_Scouts_of_America)

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Having been the Merit Badge Counselor Trainer for my District, I am here to say:

 

As stated above, a parent may counsel their own child.

 

A parent counseling their own child is absolutely, positively not a best practice!

 

It defeats the Adult Association Method!

 

A child knows exactly where the buttons of his parents are. 

 

In addition, what happens when he's 16?  He goes to Mikkie Dees, Ozark Auto Lube, or Fillerup and Go quick shop and asks:

"Mr (Ms) Smith, may I work for you?"

 

How does being counseled by his own parents prepare the Scout for exposure to adult strangers???

 

Inquiring Scoutering minds...

 

There are cases when it's the best choice.  My sons inherited/were taught my love of nature.  I worked with them on Environmental Science and Fish/Wildlife management, and Nature. I was without a doubt the best and most thorough counselor they could have gotten for those badges.  That said, other MBs that I was a counselor for, that had alternative counselors, they worked with other counselors. 

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