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ItsBrian

Educating New Scouts on Merit Badges

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To respond to all at once, they know about merit badges, but they want nothing to do with it. I figured if we gave them a “step by step†(or something like that) so to say,

The CC really wants us to do a presentation... Funny thing is, we have most of our troop MBCs have most eagle required ones (before someone says it’s no good, the MBCs have no Scouts in the troop). They are willing to help them but refuse to do a troop “classâ€, which is great because I hate them too.

Then, at the COH last night we were talking about how all scouts that aged out have earned eagle, then the new scouts say “Guess I’m breaking itâ€, so they have no motivation either. But, they want to earn it so it’s a big cluster of issues.

They like the activities and camping better and doesn’t want to do the MBs, advancing, etc. (who doesn’t?)

As a recent scout I’d offer a few thoughts. First, why is the CC saying anything to the scouts? That’s the SM’s role. Second, the handbook provides a good route for how to begin the mb process. Third, any handout you develop might discuss the virtues of doin an mb on your own (with a buddy as the book says), in a Troop class, at summer camps or at a mb event like a college or something like it. Our plc even had the process on the sheet. But you don’t need a presentation or big book. A sheet that summarizes the process and mb options is fine and links up nicely with the handbook.

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Curious to why you give them a binder when it's already in the scout handbook?

The Binders stay at our meeting location.  The scout could lose his handbook so it is a 2nd location  besides his handbook to record what the scout has completed.

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As a recent scout I’d offer a few thoughts. First, why is the CC saying anything to the scouts? That’s the SM’s role.

We are a small troop, our CC gets involved in everything, also because we don’t have enough parent volunteers, a SM and1 ASM.

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We are a small troop, our CC gets involved in everything, also because we don’t have enough parent volunteers, a SM and1 ASM.

 

Great opportunity for the boys to step up. The folks here are right, the BSA Handbook has all you need to know. Next is the Guide to Advancement which has the rest. A cheat sheet, as has been mentioned, would be a great idea. If you council/district has it, a list of MBCs would round out all that information. I cannot think of anything more you might need.

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I think a binder is a good idea. A lot of boys end up with binders for their Merit Badge paperwork anyway. Good if helps some get better organized.

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I think a binder is a good idea. A lot of boys end up with binders for their Merit Badge paperwork anyway. Good if helps some get better organized.

This is how our boys use them 

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Whoever had mentioned a cheat sheet, that’s what I meant by a handout. Didn’t know exactly how to word it.

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I will bring that up to the committee, we just did fantastic on our clothing drive so I think we can afford it.

Our unit is able to afford it by getting and using old binders that are going to be tossed out with the trash by the company I work for and the company our Scoutmaster works for.  Our unit might not have started using binders if we would have had to buy.  As a unit leader you look for resources where ever you can find them. 

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Our unit is able to afford it by getting and using old binders that are going to be tossed out with the trash by the company I work for and the company our Scoutmaster works for.  Our unit might not have started using binders if we would have had to buy.  As a unit leader you look for resources where ever you can find them.

 

Only the SPL haha.

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 they know about merit badges, but they want nothing to do with it. I figured if we gave them a “step by step†(or something like that) so to say,

 

....

They like the activities and camping better and doesn’t want to do the MBs, advancing, etc. (who doesn’t?)

I was tired of the MB fair things and I asked the scouts if they'd rather camp at a cabin and go skiing instead. Of course they wanted to do that. Then I told them they'd have to figure out how to do the MBs on their own, but I'd help them. Now they have some motivation.

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"2.0.0.1 It Is a Method—Not an End in Itself

Advancement is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is one of several methods designed to help unit leadership carry out the aims and mission of the Boy Scouts of America. See the inside front cover for text of the aims and mission.

. . .

2.0.0.2 Advancement Is Based on Experiential Learning

Everything done to advance—to earn ranks and other awards and recognition—is designed to educate or to otherwise expand horizons. Members learn and develop according to a standard.

. . .

Experiential learning is the key: Exciting and meaningful activities are offered, and education happens. Learning comes from doing. For example, youth may read about first aid, hear it discussed, and watch others administer it, but they will not learn it until they practice it. Rushing a Scout through requirements to obtain a badge is not the goal. Advancement should be a natural outcome of a well-rounded unit program, rich in opportunities to work toward the ranks.

. . .

Learning Scout skills and concepts through active participation is a vehicle for personal growth, but it is not the primary goal. For example, learning how to tie a knot, plan a menu, swim, or administer first aid may turn out to be critical in one’s life, but they are secondary to the goal of personal growth that comes with learning. As a Scout learns a skill and then is tested on it, and reviewed and recognized, he develops confidence. He comes to realize he can learn and do other similar things. The retention of Scouting skills and knowledge is important, of course; but for retention to take place, it will be because Scouting skills and knowledge are used in our programs.

. . .

Advancement is the method by which we promote and encourage the ongoing involvement and commitment that keeps members coming back for more. It works best when it is built into a unit’s program so that simply participating leads to meaningful achievement and recognition—and to a continually improving readiness for more complex experiences.

. . .

Advancement, thus, is not so much a reward for what has been done. It is, instead, more about the journey: As a Scout advances, he is measured and he grows in confidence and self-reliance, and he builds upon his skills and abilities.

. . .

The Merit Badge Program

. . .

7.0.0.1 The Benefits of Merit Badges There is more to merit badges than simply providing opportunities to learn skills. There is more to them than an introduction to lifetime hobbies, or the inspiration to pursue a career—though these invaluable results occur regularly.

 

It all begins with a Scout’s initial interest and effort in a merit badge subject, followed by a discussion with the unit leader or designated assistant, continues through meetings with a counselor, and culminates in advancement and recognition. It is an uncomplicated process that gives a Scout the confidence achieved through overcoming obstacles. Social skills improve. Self-reliance develops. Examples are set and followed. And fields of study and interest are explored beyond the limits of the school classroom.

. . .

Earning merit badges should be Scout initiated, Scout researched, and Scout learned. It should be hands-on and interactive, and should not be modeled after a typical school classroom setting. Instead, it is meant to be an active program so enticing to young men that they will want to take responsibility for their own full participation.

. . .

The sort of hands-on interactive experience described here, with personal coaching and guidance, is hardly ever achieved in any setting except when one counselor works directly with one Scout and his buddy, or with a very small group.

 

B.S.A., Guide to Advancement (2017)[emphasis added]

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" Earning merit badges should be Scout initiated, Scout researched, and Scout learned. It should be hands-on and interactive, and should not be modeled after a typical school classroom setting. Instead, it is meant to be an active program so enticing to young men that they will want to take responsibility for their own full participation.]

Then why is there merit badge fairs, they imitate the scout, not the scout himself. He isn’t imitating by contacting a MBC, talking to SM, etc.

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Because many Scouters do not know what they are doing and BSA does not hold them the account, "them" including paid Scouters.

 

I got sucked into a mass merit badge program last Winter - three weekends, each weeks apart, plus an assurance that the candidates would have to earn the merit badges. 

 

Few Scouts did the necessary to personally pass requirements, as mandated by the G2A (I offered to go to them at any location - home, school, library, CO - at virtually any day to work with them - and at very little advance notice. ).  I started to receive nasty  telephone calls and emails from unit Scouters: why had I not done "my job" so their Scouts received their merit badges?  I explained and was cursed.  One of them told me he had gotten all the blue cards signed by another MBC - by mail.

 

Had I told them they needed to individually pass as required?  Yes - repeatedly.  Each of the three "classes" (yech!) I told them what was required by BSA and handed the rules to them in writing.  Any questions about requirements? Not a one.  You know what you need to do?  Silence.

 

What did we do in "class"?  We discussed the requirements (some horribly written) and information and ideas that could be used to meet those requirements.  I repeatedly pleaded with them to meet with me to pass the requirements.  Three did.  Thirty-two did not.

 

It's a corrupt - or corrupted - system and those with power have been unwilling to end the corruption.

 

Seneca District, Great Trail Council.

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