Jump to content
SummerFun

What to do about MB Card integrity / signings?

Recommended Posts

Right off the bat I want to say that I have already called our district officer about my 'issue' and was told us that we need to deal with it internally. That is a particular problem since our troop is an 'old boys club' where women / those that don't hold scout calling are dismissed or ignored.

 

My concern: There is a huge push to get LDS boys to Eagle quickly due to the church dropping the program for older boys.

  • A skilled trade member of the church "taught" his perspective on a MB subject then signed cards. He isn't a MB councilor but the council just auto signed the cards and the boys were awarded the MB.
  • This week we had one scout that only needed the Swimming MB in order to be ready for is Eagle BOR, so the Troop Master asked him "Do you know how to swim?" The scout said "Yes" so the leader took the boys card and signed it himself. He is NOT a MB councilor for anything.
  • Then our son is working on another Eagle MB with his patrol... The leader there wants them to completely do the packet and turn it in. From there that leader will mail them to a MB councilor he knows in another state and get the cards signed for the scouts. I am totally NOT ok with this. Not just because of the principle but because this is a building block MB that leads to other MB's that depend on having the foundation knowledge / ability (to demonstrate it).
  • The scouts are camping soon with the intent to work on an outdoor MB. No leader going is a MB councilor and the course requires that the leader be officially trained due to the liability issue (they are not trained either). The intent is that this leader will sign MB cards at the end of the camp.

 

There is more but my head hurts and I have no power. In the end Eagle is not a patch, but no one will listen. I come off looking like a know-it-all and sour grapes that other scouts are "reaching" goals.

 

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Edited by SummerFun
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Due to the new software I suspect many people might not be seeing this.

All I can say is you're doing the right thing. The Scoutmaster should not just ask a question and sign off a MB. Nobody should just talk about a subject and then sign off cards. The point of a MB is to do the work. What you're describing is a complete disregard for the advancement method. You have to ask yourself what Eagle means under such circumstances. Well, it sounds like you already have, but what can you do about it? What we usually tell parents in situations like this is talk to someone outside the troop. Talk to the DE (district executive). I'm not sure what the relationship is between the troop and the church is, but do they know what's going on? Another thing we tell parents with these types of problems is find another troop. Is that even possible for you?

Your initial comment, that the LDS church is going to drop the program is news to me. Maybe that's a rumor? If it is then there are some problems that need to be fixed in your troop. If it's not a rumor then Eagle means much less to the LDS church then it used to. If it still means something to you then maybe you can find another troop.

Honestly, I'm sorry to see someone have to deal with these types of problems. Scouting should be about watching your son grow. Good luck.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MattR - thank you.

The LDS church is keeping their younger scouts in the program but have created a new program for the 14 & over year old scouts. They will still pay to keep the scouts in BSA if that is the youth's desire, but are not keep up with usual troop activities since time will now be spend on their new program. This change was suppose to take place in Jan 2018 - but the transition to the new YM program has already started in many wards (LDS locations). http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/11/health/lds-teens-boy-scouts-trnd/index.html

We will probably move to a new Troop but the backlash at church might be difficult for our sons. They are expected (culturally & religiously) to keep to a very defined path. Sadly, that path colors a picture that is not in the BSA book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I knew the 14 and older program was going away. I thought you meant they were pulling out of Boy Scouts as well. What I didn't understand is how this will impact the 14 and older boys. Is the push to get everyone to Eagle before they're 14? The BSA likes that but I sure don't.

The backlash is a shame, especially given how poorly the troop is being run. Honestly, what's to say the new program will be better than the old, given the people that are running it?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Guide to Advancement, page 52 (7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges) lays out what you can do. Forget your district. They don't want to help obviously. If it is like my district it is run by LDS folks, so they may not want to make waves for their LDS units.

Call Council. Talk to the advancement chairman. What this unit's adults are doing is essentially giving way Eagle like it's a rec sports participation trophy. Council needs to know what is going on.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, MattR said:

I knew the 14 and older program was going away. I thought you meant they were pulling out of Boy Scouts as well. What I didn't understand is how this will impact the 14 and older boys. Is the push to get everyone to Eagle before they're 14? The BSA likes that but I sure don't.

The backlash is a shame, especially given how poorly the troop is being run. Honestly, what's to say the new program will be better than the old, given the people that are running it?

 

Here's the rub with LDS units pushing their 14 year olds to Eagle: Most LDS units that manage their Scout-to-First Class boys have ZERO clue on how to manage Star-to-Eagle. Why? Because S-to-FC is one distinct LDS unit type with leaders trained in managing that segment. The Star-to-Eagle guys are managed by a different set of leaders who know the whole Eagle process. 

Unless the LDS units send those leaders experienced in navigating the road to Eagle, those leaders who don't have the experience will make things up as they go along.

We have gotten a few transfers from LDS units over recent years. Once they spent time with our unit, each kid said their old units literally just signed off on stuff. Maybe my unit was just lucky enough to get those few LDS Scouts who were not well trained or managed. Or, just maybe, it is a larger issue. I suspect the latter given my interactions with other unit leaders over the years.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

The Guide to Advancement, page 52 (7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges) lays out what you can do. Forget your district. They don't want to help obviously. If it is like my district it is run by LDS folks, so they may not want to make waves for their LDS units.

Call Council. Talk to the advancement chairman. What this unit's adults are doing is essentially giving way Eagle like it's a rec sports participation trophy. Council needs to know what is going on.

Col. Flagg - Thank you again.

Our troop is doing a "final push" for any boys that fall into the 14+ age group. They were told that they need to finish up Eagle by January, period. Of course this means that several of them are wink-winking it when non-councilors sign off on cards. In our Ward (probably like most other LDS pack/troops), Webelos is 1 year long then the 11 years old's cross over and fall into their own group of being scouts - but not really part of the troop. I was told that this has to do with being the age to receive the Priesthood - forgive me if this isn't totally correct. With this gap year and the church's new position, our Ward will produced a lot of "patch Eagles" by 13.

I don't want to the MB police - but the Scout Law is the Scout Law. Stepping off my soap box and going to the link given by Col. Flagg...

  • Thanks 3
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi SummerFun, so sorry for what you are experiencing.   It sounds like the organization is set in their ways and it is doubtful that you will have much influence on your sons' troop --- but, thankfully you have influence in your family.  Can you help your sons do things the right way and learn the merit badge material the way it should be?  Is lone scouting an option?   If advancement is messed up where you are, then perhaps the boys can continue their work independently of whatever the troop pushes on them.    You should be able to reach out to real merit badge counselors -- does your council have a list of the right people for the right badges?    Do the best you can with what you have to work with and take care of your boys and if possible, some of their friends will be interested too.  Good luck! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Back Pack said:

Shouldn’t the boys be reaching out to the counselors and not mom or dad?

This is LDS. Their program differs slightly due to their CO placing additional restrictions/ rules.  Example of the all the  11 year olds in their separate patrol with a TG and 11 year old ASM (unique POR for LDS units) citef above, and how they get to First Class in a year led to the NSP program back in 1989. Sadly these issues appear to be ingrained in some, not all, LDS units.

Talking to several experienced, long time LDS Scouts, part of the challenge is that  being a Scouter is a "calling" and you are appointed to the position, whether you want it or not. I've seen major issues in those LDS units with Scouters who are called and do not want to be there really. On the other hand, you got LDS units with experienced Scouters who are not only called, but are willing to do the job. Those units tend to do a heck of a lot better.  The other challenge according to one LDS Scouter is that " the further away from Salt Lake City a troop is, the more likely the differences in program."

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/10/2017 at 11:06 AM, Eagle94-A1 said:

This is LDS. Their program differs slightly due to their CO placing additional restrictions/ rules.  Example of the all the  11 year olds in their separate patrol with a TG and 11 year old ASM (unique POR for LDS units) citef above, and how they get to First Class in a year led to the NSP program back in 1989. Sadly these issues appear to be ingrained in some, not all, LDS units.

Talking to several experienced, long time LDS Scouts, part of the challenge is that  being a Scouter is a "calling" and you are appointed to the position, whether you want it or not. I've seen major issues in those LDS units with Scouters who are called and do not want to be there really. On the other hand, you got LDS units with experienced Scouters who are not only called, but are willing to do the job. Those units tend to do a heck of a lot better.  The other challenge according to one LDS Scouter is that " the further away from Salt Lake City a troop is, the more likely the differences in program."

So the LDS program is more adult-led with Scouts being discouraged from taking the lead and making contact?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LDS scouter here.

Report this to your District Commissioner, District/Council Advancement chairs. This shouldn't be happening regardless of unit.

It's unfortunate that BSA doesn't have a verification system in place for merit badges and counselors signing off for blue cards, because then parents, random adults and basically anyone else who can hold a pen can print merit badges for boys like they're monopoly money.

In our unit, I produce a blue card each time the boy is wanting to work on a merit badge, and I provide them with the contact information for MB counselors using the district and council lists that I request from our district. I then say "you have to contact them, set up appointments, do the work, etc. Don't come back to me until you're done or unless you need a new counselor" (like if the one I gave them won't return calls/follow up/isn't interested in meeting).

I am quite glad for the 14+ change in the church's youth programs because at that age we lose most of the young men anyway due to people not implementing the program as directed by both BSA and the Church. I flat out told the parents and scouts numerous times this past year that it is "opt-in" and that only those with a real desire to work consistently towards Eagle will get there. It's not our job as leaders to give them an award that they didn't earn because it cheapens its worth and teaches the lesson to the scout and family that they can get through life that way.

It's things like this that give LDS--or any other chartered org--a bad name in scouting. It's a shame that people forget that it's the climb towards Eagle, not the award itself, that makes these boys into men.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×