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JosephMD

Merit Badge Class . My Thoughts

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It does sound like camp merit badges are of various quality levels.

5 of the boys last year earned Swimming and I heard they worked hard on it, and it's hard to ignore those requirements.

My boys have done some easy merit badges -- Mammal Study was finished at camp his first year but he came home with homework for  Geocaching and Sculpture, and they didn't get done until February.

This year they came home with no partials, and I question the Chess badge my oldest received.  We'll have to play some chess over the holidays.

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18 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

 

If BSA National started pushing more rigorous requirements they would likely face a backlash and push-back from many Troops - look how many 'go rogue' over other issues. 

We already know what National will do if there is pushback on tougher requirements: CAVE IN (emphasis).

I say that because National caved in on the new Cub Scout requirements less than 18 months after they came out. National also caved in on the camping requirements for Second and First Class within 18 months of them becoming required. And National caved in on the Eagle Palms TWICE! First time they ignored 94% of those polled who believe strongly or very strongly that palms should not be awarded instantly and the 3 months tenure is important. Then when people were upset with the arbitrary deadline, they decided to retroactively award all the palms for current Boy Scouts as many demanded.

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1 hour ago, WisconsinMomma said:

This year they came home with no partials, and I question the Chess badge my oldest received.  We'll have to play some chess over the holidays.

Chess is a lot more than setting up  a board and playing 3 games. It's about history, strategies, maneuvers, etc. Both of my Scouts have been playing competitvely for years, and some of the requirements they knew nothing about until they started teaching it at meetings. Oldest still doesn't know Scholar's Mate.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

We already know what National will do if there is pushback on tougher requirements: CAVE IN (emphasis).

I say that because National caved in on the new Cub Scout requirements less than 18 months after they came out. National also caved in on the camping requirements for Second and First Class within 18 months of them becoming required. And National caved in on the Eagle Palms TWICE! First time they ignored 94% of those polled who believe strongly or very strongly that palms should not be awarded instantly and the 3 months tenure is important. Then when people were upset with the arbitrary deadline, they decided to retroactively award all the palms for current Boy Scouts as many demanded.

The "caving in" started toward the end of the last century, when identity was confounded with achievement:

  • "Boy Scout camping" instead of any camping nights of a large number for camping MB.
  • "Invite a friend" requirement for 1st class ... instead of having a 1st Class Journey to brag about.
  • EDGE method instead of a proper Pedagogy merit badge.
  • A bizarre dichotomy between Ranks and Awards ... rather than seeing ranks as Awards.
  • I could add more, but that speculation on my part takes us off topic.

I think Venturing arose partially because boys in troops needed someplace to find their identity away from these self-serving requirements. (Venturing bronze requirements were directed toward serving organizations outside of the crew.)  I think Exploring had a similar, but more nuanced, justification for its existence.

But, regarding MBC's. It's not on national to enforce their quality. That falls to us via training our fellow scouters at round tables and cracker barrels, training our parents act CoH's and committee meetings, phoning the district when it seems that a scout skated by, etc ...

Edited by qwazse

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On ‎12‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 9:36 AM, Eagle94-A1 said:

When I told the SM and ASM about what happened, ASM told me his story about when he taught a MB at the MBU previously. Long story short, class advertised as a partial. Scouts came in expecting completions to the points they rudely demanded the MBCs teaching the class to "Just sign off the freaking MB."

 

 

Sadly, I had a very similar experience...and that's why I don't counsel MBs at Pow-Wows or MBUs anymore.

 

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27 minutes ago, an_old_DC said:

 

Sadly, I had a very similar experience...and that's why I don't counsel MBs at Pow-Wows or MBUs anymore.

 

Not as rude but once I explained the rules got few takers. Not invited back. Well less work for me.

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National Camping Standards require that a Camp be "certified" by BSA only if the camp has a Merit badge Counselor for each MB offered.

I have attended numerous council camps over the last twenty-five years.  Not one had Merit  Badge Counselors for a majority of the MBs offered.  That is on the paid Scouters who run the camps and National that elects to ignore its own standards.  "Why if we did that, we could only offer a couple of dozen badges."

Truly, if unit Scouters were doing there jobs and being "trustworthy," most camps would either stop cheating or close for lack of victims. So the volunteers share the blame for this on-going scandal.

"The 'caving in' started toward the end of the last century, when identity was confounded with achievement:

  • 'Boy Scout camping" instead of any camping nights of a large number for camping MB.
  • "Invite a friend" requirement for 1st class ... instead of having a 1st Class Journey to brag about.
  • EDGE method instead of a proper Pedagogy merit badge.
  • A bizarre dichotomy between Ranks and Awards ... rather than seeing ranks as Awards.
  • I could add more, but that speculation on my part takes us off topic.

I think Venturing arose partially because boys in troops needed someplace to find their identity away from these self-serving requirements. (Venturing bronze requirements were directed toward serving organizations outside of the crew.)  I think Exploring had a similar, but more nuanced, justification for its existence.

But, regarding MBC's. It's not on national to enforce their quality. That falls to us via training our fellow scouters at round tables and cracker barrels, training our parents act CoH's and committee meetings, phoning the district when it seems that a scout skated by, etc ..."

 

I grabbed the closest "old" Handbook.  Turns out it is the 1940 product ("Revised Handbook for Boys First Edition").  Camping Merit Badge required fifty days and nights under canvas or in an "approved shelter" "under conditions in harmony with the standards for Camping of the Boy Scouts of America."  So not quite "any." 

And no camping was required to achieve First Class.  (It was assumed you would be camping every month - or more.  I did int he 1950s.) A hike or trip by boat of fourteen miles with another Scout was required: the "First Class Hike." 

It was not enough in 1940 to invite someone to a meeting.  First Class required that you "enlist and train a boy as a Tenderfoot...."

The "First Class Hike" ("Journey" in the UK)  of fourteen miles afoot or afloat disappeared in B.S.A. requirements during WWII, not at the end of the last century.  It is not a requirement in the 1949 Handbook.  There is, however, a camping requirement for First Class.  The "First Class Camp."  Not much - twenty-four hours with your patrol or some Scout. That  campout was the only camping requirement through First Class in 1949.  Today's Scout could not make Tenderfoot with no camping.

EDGE does not replace any Merit Badge.  

For thirty years before EDGE, Wood Badge used a slightly different approach to teaching "Manager of Learning"/"Effective Teaching":

1) define objective - what should be learned and why teach this skill/information? (Those familiar with EDGE will note the similarity, in part, with some of "Explain.");

2) "Guided Discovery" - leading the learners to  discover for themselves why they should want to learn this skill/information.  EDGE simply has the leader/teacher tell the learners why.  I think that is easier but less effective.  The concrete example when I took this version of WB was the difficulty ,in teach a boy to hit a baseball if he thinks he is  Babe Ruth.  I believe the old way was better, but I also believe that the decline of Scouting can hardly be attributed to the difference.

3) Teaching/Learning - the learner is taught/shown and then tries/practices the skill with the teacher as coach.  That would be Demonstrate and Guide.  The "teacher" is ideally another Scout but has to have relative expertise.

4) Application = Enable.  The learner does his thing, asking for help as he sees the need.

5) Evaluation - by the learner and by the teacher.  EDGE does not explicitly have this step.  Note sure why as evaluation, by a variety of names, is part of planning/working the plan as taught by BS for generations.  

 

BSA has struggled about what to do with "older boys" for many years.  I got caught in the middle of yet another "new Exploring program" in 1959.  AMong the several changes, what burned me was that I was forced to chose between the cool green uniform and my troop (troop Exploring crews went).  I stayed with Troop 43 and became a "Senior Scout."   Exploring stopped being high adventure-based and became (entirely?  mostly?) vocationally-based.  The Troop had no problem keeping older Scouts around as it had enough resources to run a great high adventure program within the Troop.

I concluded that the "problem" was resources and no tinkering with structure would solve the problem.

Exploring today, from the little I have seen as a guest instructor, gets the needed human resources from outside Scouting.

Venturing seems to be floundering as part of a movement, allied with a corporation, chronically short of human resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As a parent/sub teacher/Scout Leader/MBCounselor/First Day Teacher/Work Leader I have always known that if someone is given  a standard to meet, they will either try to meet that standard or go to someone whose standard is lower, less stringent. 

Why does anyone complain that they did not "get" the award?  Is it the "bling" or the skill and pride of ownership of that skill?    Do we really want to fly to our vacation on a plane that is maintained by a mechanic that does "gudnuf" work? 

"Oh, just sign the card."   How many Astronomy Belt loop Cubs have at least been brought outside on a clear night and urged to look up?

We  (we, the Scouters)need  to set that standard and just watch the Scouts meet it.  Every Scout whose  Bugling Merit badge card that I sign has played the calls.  They may not be Maynard Ferguson,  but they have at least played the calls.

 

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