Jump to content
mashmaster

Interesting discussion last night

Recommended Posts

So, last night we had our committee meeting.  And there was a long discussion about how come the scouts aren't getting more merit badges.  Why aren't we doing merit badges at meetings, cover the 11 Eagle MBs every year during the meetings.  I seemed to be the only one that got the fact that getting merit badges and ranks are not the primary point of scouting.  That most of the time, the parents care far more about them than the boys.  If the boys want to earn merit badges they can but being active and having fun it the most important part.  

Do you run merit badges at your troop meetings?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will continue to beat the drum that if you want more merit badges, do more activities and fewer (or no) classes.

Get on a river or lake and show a Scout how to canoe. They will meet the requirements with a few exceptions. (And that is true for most merit badges). They will engage because they are having fun, if they want the badge it will be easy enough to earn. If they don't then they will still have fun.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We tried doing 3 merit badges within a year for one year. Then we never did it again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We added a merit badge/STEM time prior to the weekly meeting. We've rotated through the Cit's and a couple of the STEM badges. We invited scouts from other troops to join us. 

On the plus side it's kept the badge class out of the troop meetings, on the minus side it was tough to see some of the scouts beat feet out to their parents cars after the merit badge session and skip the troop meeting.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We let the boys vote on whether they want weekly meetings to sometimes take the form of merit badge classes. They voted that we should *sometimes* focus on the Eagle-required merit badges. They had no interest in spending weekly meetings working on non-required merit badges (even if the merit badges are so called “easy ones” that could be knocked of relatively quickly). So that is what we do. Over the course of a year, we might tackle 3 or 4 Eagle-required merit badges during weekly meetings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great Scott I'm not alone!

 

Yes we had parents, now all registered as committee members,  trying to change plans and work on MBs. The new batch of parents want everything advancement oriented.

SSSSSSOOOOO I suggested to my boys, who were teaching that month, that they do Chess MB by the book. It was the boringest meetings. Only thing that got their attention was when it came time for gametime; playing chess. After that expereince, the PLC said working on skills is fine, MB are a heck no. If Scouts want MBs, they can find the time to finish them on their own.

 

Mission accomplished.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sat through several very similar meetings and conversations in my tenure as a scouter.

It was fun sometimes to point out that my son just didn't want them.  that wasn't really why he enjoyed scouting.... (and this was before he lost interest)

Our troop did run some MB meetings but as I recall not a lot.  Those they did do that I can remember were done outside of the regular meeting time..... "let's meet an hour before the troop meeting"  Sometimes they would do this over a several week span to get through it all.  As far as I could tell it was always adult suggested/offered....as in, "several of you guys need Emergency Preparedness.  I'll teach a class starting next week."....never a group of boys getting together saying, "hey I'd like to work on ___, Mr. BLW2 would you be willing to counsel us?"  In fact in my time with the troop, I was registered (still am) as counselor for a whole passel of badges....some of which, such as SCUBA or Aviation, it seems would be difficult to find....others such as "Pulp and Paper"  I'd be shocked if anyone was interested in....never not once have I been asked to do one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We don't do MB meetings, but sometimes there may be some overlap with the monthly theme.  So if some boys want to work on a badge they could.  For example we could be working on rope skills, and some boys may start on Pioneering.  But there would still be extra stuff for them to do--the goal of hte meeting was the skill, not the MB signoff.

Like some others have said we'll sometimes set up a MB session if there is interest, but at a different time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

Do you run merit badges at your troop meetings?

As a general rule, no. This was defined by the PLC.

That said, we do activities that can count toward rank or MBs but it is up to the Scout to follow-up with their MBC or Instructors. For example, on one camp out we did wilderness survival shelters for fun. Some guys went to their MBCs for credit, some didn't.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my first days as Scoutmaster many years ago, there was a tendency to have all Scouts in the Troop sit around a table and be lectured by an expert.  The goal was to earn Merit Badges during Troop meetings.  The Scouts were bored, as many here have stated from their own experience, as well they should have been.  These young men sit through school all day and then come to a Troop meeting only to have more lessons?  I explained to the Troop Committee that I didn't want to see this anymore and one MC asked, "But when are they supposed to earn Merit Badges?"  Well, on their own time, I said.  They can do that at Summer Camp, on Saturday, tomorrow night, etc.  

As an aside, I also suggested that the Troop meetings take place outside during summer months (it's cold the rest of the time here :p) and they Troop Committee thought I was nuts.  "Why should we sit out here when there are tables and chairs inside?"  Oh brother...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

I will continue to beat the drum that if you want more merit badges, do more activities and fewer (or no) classes.

Get on a river or lake and show a Scout how to canoe. They will meet the requirements with a few exceptions. (And that is true for most merit badges). They will engage because they are having fun, if they want the badge it will be easy enough to earn. If they don't then they will still have fun.

Well... that is true for some merit badges.  I don't know about "most."  And perhaps more to the point it is probably not true for most of the Eagle-required badges, depending on how you count some of them.  I counsel the 3 Cits and Communications.  You are not just going to happen to meet the requirements for those through participation in traditional Scouting activities.  You have to make a "special trip" to meet those requirements. And I don't know a single Scout who has ever had "fun" doing those particular badges.  They do them because otherwise they do not make Eagle.

I am not advocating for merit badge classes in troop meetings.  The right way is still to call a counselor and make arrangements to do the badge, with a buddy.  But it's not "easy," and it's not supposed to be "easy."

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same as LeCastor, when I started as SM they had a few MB meetings. I pointed out to the scouts that less than 10% of the scouts that sat through those meetings actually completed the MB. I asked if maybe doing the fun parts and making the boring parts available with a counselor might not be better. They agreed. Now that I've stepped down there has been a surge is efficiency in planning meetings (they just pick a MB). Seems great but it's been 6 months and now it's starting to be not so much fun. Why it's taken this long is another very good question.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, well it seems that us Scoutmasters agree.  I will continue the path.  I did point out that this last weekend when we went climbing, they offered to cover some merit badge requirements for the boys, only 2 were interested, the rest just wanted to climb and rappel.  

  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have the same discussions. I'm having to deal with parents pushing the MB Colleges. They think that it's the best way to earn MBs. I asked my son if he would like to go so that I could see for myself what MB College was all about. He said that he would rather take MB's at Summer Camp with his buddies. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, .40AET said:

We have the same discussions. I'm having to deal with parents pushing the MB Colleges. They think that it's the best way to earn MBs. I asked my son if he would like to go so that I could see for myself what MB College was all about. He said that he would rather take MB's at Summer Camp with his buddies. 

My son has been to one twice.  They are good for the classroom merit badges like the cit's.  Of course with any classroom style merit badge your mileage may vary about how involved the boys are.

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

×