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Who signs off partial MBs?

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A number of Scouts in my son’s troop have partial MBs from both summer camp and a local MB University. The troop committee chair has been signing off completed requirements for the Scouts, as they complete them.  Is this acceptable or should a new MB counselor be found if the original counselor is no longer available?

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A registered MB counselor needs to sign them off.  The goal is to have the scout pursue and drive his own advancement.  I fully believe this is how it is to be done.

With that said, sometimes MB counselors will coordinate with the troop and say something like ... If the scout shows you this, sign it off.   I've had that before where the MBC works with the scout and the scout has one or two things left.  Then, the MBC lets me know that if the scout shows XXX, then sign off the badge.  

Overall, we're trying to broaden the scout's experiences and we want the scout to have a good experience.  As such, sometimes flexibility is taken.  But the idea is a registered MBC is the signer of the badge.  

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All jokes aside about a Scout Master being a wildcard MB counselor, all requirements should be signed off by a registered counselor. There's no national rule saying that an SM can't also be an MBC, but some would argue that it cheapens the adult association method of Scouting. 

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Merit badge requirements must only be signed off by approved merit badge counselors. The committee chair is not authorized to sign them off unless he or she is also an approved counselor for the badge cited on the application. 

Finding the original counselor is not a problem; just make sure a new counselor is found ASAP, and that that individual is district-approved. 

Edited by The Latin Scot
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From the Guide to Advancement...

7.0.3.3 Partial Completions
A Scout need not pass all the requirements of one merit badge with the same counselor. It may be that due to timing or location issues, etc., he must meet with a different counselor to finish a badge. The Application for Merit Badge has a place to record what has been finished— a “partial.” In the center section on the reverse of the blue card, the counselor initials for each requirement passed.
In the case of a partial completion, the counselor does not retain his or her portion of the card. A subsequent counselor may choose not to accept partial work, but this should be rare. A Scout, if he believes he is being treated unfairly, may work with his unit leader to find another counselor. An example for the use of a signed partial would be to take it to camp as proof that the camp’s prerequisites have been met. Partials have no expiration except the Scout’s 18th birthday. Units, districts, or councils shall not establish other expiration dates for partial merit badges.

 

Edited by John-in-KC

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On 1/29/2019 at 9:32 PM, Saltface said:

There's no national rule saying that an SM can't also be an MBC, but some would argue that it cheapens the adult association method of Scouting. 

Im one of those people. Someday Johnny Smith is going to approach Ms Jones for a job. The more adults he’s met, the better chance he’ll understand how to form a complete, coherent answer. 

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6 hours ago, John-in-KC said:

Im one of those people. Someday Johnny Smith is going to approach Ms Jones for a job. The more adults he’s met, the better chance he’ll understand how to form a complete, coherent answer. 

I agree. It’s just a lot of fuss if all you need to do is something simple like turn in your endangered species essay for Environmental Science or report that you cooked at home for Cooking. 

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On 1/29/2019 at 9:32 PM, Saltface said:

There's no national rule saying that an SM can't also be an MBC, but some would argue that it cheapens the adult association method of Scouting. 

IMHO, a Scoutmaster SHOULD be a merit badge counselor for the badges in which he has skills and knowledge. Although I agree 100% that scouts need to learn to associate with a variety of adults, I see no problem with the scoutmaster being ONE of those adults. Sometimes it's the Scoutmaster who is the best person for the job.

I can think nobody better to be merit badge counselor for Camping merit badge (or Hiking or Backpacking) than a Scoutmaster.  Who else in the troop camps as often?  Probably nobody...so why deny a scout the chance to have a counselor who actually knows what they're talking about?

By all means encourage other adults to become merit badge counselors, and by all means encourage the scouts to associate with many different adults....but do give the scouts the best quality experience you can, even if that means the Scoutmaster might have to put on a 2nd hat once in a while.

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11 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

IMHO, a Scoutmaster SHOULD be a merit badge counselor for the badges in which he has skills and knowledge. Although I agree 100% that scouts need to learn to associate with a variety of adults, I see no problem with the scoutmaster being ONE of those adults. Sometimes it's the Scoutmaster who is the best person for the job.

I don't agree with "SHOULD". Coming from the troop of 100 scouts, I believe the SM's primary responsibility is to manage a quality program. If a SM can fit in MB counseling, great. But "SHOULD"? 

Barry

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11 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I don't agree with "SHOULD". Coming from the troop of 100 scouts, I believe the SM's primary responsibility is to manage a quality program. If a SM can fit in MB counseling, great. But "SHOULD"? 

If you've got 100 scouts, then you have 200 potential merit badge counselors.  I would hope you could find lots of potential counselors so the Scoutmaster doesn't feel any need to pinch hit.

But for things like Camping, the Scoutmaster is pretty much always THE guy who knows most about being outdoors, plus he's aware of what his scouts have and have not done. He really is THE expert for that badge and none of the other adults come close to matching his expertise. 

Why would you not want the best possible counselor for your troop's scouts?  (Assuming, of course, that the Scoutmaster is willing to do it.)

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Just now, mrkstvns said:

If you've got 100 scouts, then you have 200 potential merit badge counselors.  I would hope you could find lots of potential counselors so the Scoutmaster doesn't feel any need to pinch hit.

But for things like Camping, the Scoutmaster is pretty much always THE guy who knows most about being outdoors, plus he's aware of what his scouts have and have not done. He really is THE expert for that badge and none of the other adults come close to matching his expertise. 

Why would you not want the best possible counselor for your troop's scouts?  (Assuming, of course, that the Scoutmaster is willing to do it.)

Refer to your post yesterday about delegating. I'm only disagreeing with your should. 

Managing a quality program may not require 1 of the 10 adult camping experts. I can see it in a small troop, but one benefit of a big troop is the large pool of resources. 

Barry

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On 2/2/2019 at 12:10 AM, Saltface said:

I agree. It’s just a lot of fuss if all you need to do is something simple like turn in your endangered species essay for Environmental Science or report that you cooked at home for Cooking. 

I'm also wondering, how much more of a "fuss" is it really? If your SM is having a busy couple of meetings, so if you try to get him to sign of then, it may take a week or two to get him to go over your En.Vi.Sci. essay or review your Cooking recipe.

My SM was the Music MB counselor for the district. He was also the church organist. Furthermore, he wasn't about to derail the scout meeting (and the committee meeting afterword) for the sake of your advancement. That meant that to complete the badge, you had to arrange an appointment with him usually after school or on a Saturday when the troop wasn't camping -- just like any other scout in the district.

Same would apply for any other scouter from another troop. When you were at a meeting, you were supposed to be at the meeting, not knocking off requirements. Now, that has had to change a little for the sake of youth protection and post modern nomadic culture. (E.g., some of our adults counsel their MBs during meetings. It maintains two-deep while saving them or parents drive time.)

21 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

... But for things like Camping, the Scoutmaster is pretty much always THE guy who knows most about being outdoors, plus he's aware of what his scouts have and have not done. He really is THE expert for that badge and none of the other adults come close to matching his expertise. 

Why would you not want the best possible counselor for your troop's scouts?  (Assuming, of course, that the Scoutmaster is willing to do it.)

We've found that former SMs who've kept up camping well into retirement years are our best counselors for the outdoor badges. The boys really seem to enjoy what the old-timers have picked up over the years. (Remember, the poor SM is spending most of his time camping with Jr. High kids who design their own program. That's not necessarily the best environment for a repertoire of skills beyond the 8th grade level.)

On the other hand, if yours is an SM/CC who was an avid outdoorsman before picking up the patch, let him be a counselor. But part of the unwritten deal is that you all maintain a pool of ASMs/MCs who will take up the slack of bringing up a troop of 1st Class Scouts.

Bottom line: if you want to make sure each scout receives quality counseling for each MB they try to earn, somethings got to give.

Edited by qwazse

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3 hours ago, qwazse said:

I'm also wondering, how much more of a "fuss" is it really? If your SM is having a busy couple of meetings, so if you try to get him to sign of then, it may take a week or two to get him to go over your En.Vi.Sci. essay or review your Cooking recipe.

Well, our council camps have stopped handing out blue cards and the 100 word essay is often the only requirement left undone for Enviro. Sci. I find it easier to just read the essay myself and record it in ScoutBook. Heck, reading the essay gives me something to do while I wait for ScoutBook to load.

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Just now, Saltface said:

Well, our council camps have stopped handing out blue cards and the 100 word essay is often the only requirement left undone for Enviro. Sci. I find it easier to just read the essay myself and record it in ScoutBook. Heck, reading the essay gives me something to do while I wait for ScoutBook to load.

If you are a counselor for En.Vi.Sci., I think that's great. Then you could talk with the boy about something interesting he may have written in the essay that touches on your career or hobby.

But, if you aren't committed to doing that with each essay, then you are denying the opportunities that a scout could have with a counselor who is passionate about the topic.

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