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JoeSmith

Cooking MB question (probably dumb question)

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Hi, I am new to the forum but have been involved in Scouting as a parent for a number of years. My son has been working toward his Cooking MB, but because our Troop does few campouts, has had to plan carefully to try to get the requirements for camping cooking done. He thought he had the opportunity at a recent campout, but others had the same idea. The SM therefore divided the few boys into groups of 3, including adults in each group. My son did the planning and got that signed off by the MB counselor. But at the actual campout, he was in a cooking group of himself and the SM. When he asked about needing to cook for 3 (which is what he was told the requirement was) he was told to cook for me, his parent, as well, and that would make up the group. As I read the MB requirements, though, Req 4d reads  " Serve all of these meals to your patrol or a group of youth."  My son (and then I) tried to ask about this with the SM but were shut down and told that the requirement was met. Maybe I'm being dim, but I don't get how this approach (serve all of these meals to yourself and two adults) squares with the wording in the requirement. I was told I was wrong, so I may be missing something, and I don't want to raise this with the MB counselor without additional input.  Suggestions welcome -- I admit I'm a relative newbie to all this but I'm doing my best to understand how it all works. 

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Posted (edited)

Ultimately the MB Counselor has the final say, not the SM. 

I assume you are talking about requirement 5d for outdoor cooking. 

I always teach MB Counselors to read the requirements, base passing the requirements on just what it says, nothing less, nothing more. Which is BSA policy.

In this case you read the requirements correctly.  Following the requirements as written means your son did not pass.

However, as I said, the final say is the MB Counselors. Is cooking for a group vs a group of youth enough to make a difference? Given the difficulty of getting youth on campouts in your troop, I can understand why the SM wants to count it. He is just trying to help the youth.

Personally, if I’m the MB Counselor, I say it is supposed to be a group of youth that he cooks for, not adults. If it is a group of youth along with some adults, I’m fine with it. But that is not the case here.

That said, read the requirement again. It says cook in the outdoors, it does not specify a campout. It would be easy enough to cook for a group of youth in any outdoor setting. It doesn’t require him to cook on a campout.

Edited by HelpfulTracks
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Ultimately the MB Counselor has the final say, not the SM. 

I agree - it's the MB Counselor's call.

 

2 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

In this case you read the requirements correctly.  Following the requirements as written means your son did not pass.

I take a different view.  For the purposes of this campout, if I read the OP's scenario correctly, the group for which the scout prepared meals WAS his patrol (even if it included adults).

 

2 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

However, as I said, the final say is the MB Counselors. Is cooking for a group vs a group of youth enough to make a difference? Given the difficulty of getting youth on campouts in your troop, I can understand why the SM wants to count it. He is just trying to help the youth.

Agreed.  Gotta love any SM who's looking to set scouts up for success as opposed to nit-picking requirements in search of technicalities to use as road-blocks.

Edited by AltadenaCraig
clarified that I understand it was an adult patrol.

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@JoeSmith, welcome to the forums. It's always sad to hear of a troop camping less frequently than expected. With the best of intentions, BSA's requirements were written with the expectation of a vibrant troop life.

He prepared to cook for youth, adults wound up eating it. Everybody lived. Grey area. I say pass.

When our troop was down to one patrol, the boys cooked meals for each other at meetings. Depending on if it was for a requirement, they might have cooked outside.

What the requirements don't want is for a scout to do his advancement on this badge completely in isolation from a patrol/troop. It seems like your son was doing his best to integrate his advancement with troop life. I think most counselors would respect him for that.

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4 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

@JoeSmith welcome to shooter.com. 

Good question.

I thought we were trying to play down the whole shooting thing.

  • Haha 1

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, AltadenaCraig said:

I take a different view.  For the purposes of this campout, if I read the OP's scenario correctly, the group for which the scout prepared meals WAS his patrol (even if it included adults).

Perhaps I misunderstood the OP, I thought he meant his son was cooking for 3 adults rather than his own patrol. 

Edited by HelpfulTracks

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I would have signed off on the requirement.  If you wanted to turn it more technically into a "group of youth" you could always always offer some to the other scouts there.  Most of my scouts are always willing to accept seconds.

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1 hour ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Perhaps I misunderstood the OP, I thought he meant his son was cooking for 3 adults rather than his own patrol. 

No, no, I think you read it correctly.  I'm being loose on the definition of "his own patrol".  While some troops I've seen are rather strict in their construction of patrols (duration, age-group, etc.), others I've seen are so loose as to cobble them together almost ad-hoc for every outing.  My own troop is somewhere in the middle, with established patrols supplemented by temporary "crews" for high-adventure summertime activities.

Accordingly in this instance I imagine the SM cobbling together an ad hoc "patrol", including himself, for the benefit of the scout.  Admittedly mine is a loose interpretation.

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Thanks all. To clarify, DS was told to prepare to cook for three people (himself, the SM and one unspecified other individual to be identified at the campout -- turned out to be me, although I'd been assigned to another group). No patrols at this campout as there were so few Scouts attending. Reading the responses, I think SM should probably have checked with the MBC before putting his own interpretation on the requirements, but his interpretation will trump MBC's in any event (that's the way this Troop goes -- it's not okay to question the SM if he's made up his mind). So I guess my issue with this is substantive in that the question is whether DS did meet the requirements (will check with MBC in any event) and procedural, in that I am not crazy about SM's refusal to sit down with DS and explain why his interpretation of "youth or patrol" is different from DS's, despite DS's polite request. 

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20 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

It says cook in the outdoors, it does not specify a campout. It would be easy enough to cook for a group of youth in any outdoor setting. 

I agree. It probably shouldn't be on a backyard patio/deck with a gas fired Weber grill. So long as the cookout uses the same equipment and skills as what would be typical on a camping cookout, any outdoor setting will do.

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4 hours ago, David CO said:

I agree. It probably shouldn't be on a backyard patio/deck with a gas fired Weber grill. So long as the cookout uses the same equipment and skills as what would be typical on a camping cookout, any outdoor setting will do.

This was my first thought. I'd rather see a scout successfully and sanitarily cook for adults in camping conditions than a scout cook for other scouts in backyard conditions.

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@JoeSmith, thanks for the details. The MBC could dig heels in and refuse to sign the blue card. But, I think he/she will approve the scout. When we see scouts face situations beyond their control, we don't blame the scout. If this comes up in our district, sometimes those of us who've been around for a while will eventually touch base with the SM about it and have a discussion. But getting around to having those discussions in a way that a scouter might rethink things takes time, and we wouldn't want a scout's advancement to be dragged out because the interaction of BSA's verbiage and the infrequent troop camping schedule puts the scout in a catch-22.

In your SM's case, we'd want to focus on increasing campouts (maybe partnering with a more active troop) rather than gate-keeping advancement.

That's not the same as being unduly charitable to a high-speed low-drag troop that constantly pushes scouts through loopholes or get's a "who's looking anyway" attitude. There, we scouters should get serious, and have those "conversations" sooner rather than later. The reason is that scouts going through such a program will likely hit walls when it comes to Eagle project approval and boards of review. They boys certainly won't be prepared for the real world where skill counts more than bling most hours of the day. This honestly doesn't sound like what's happening to your son.

So, breaking it down in your terms:

  • The substantive issue seems like the letter of the law was stretched for what the SM felt was the spirit of the law. It's not really about advancement. It's about not using the outdoors to the fullest with these boys.
  • The procedural issue could be a problem if the SM is doing this all the time with your son and other scouts. And I think your SM could have explained to your son that he really wished he could do better. Touching base with the MBC in advance would have helped. But, this might be a symptom of the larger problem: not enough camping so that these grey areas never pop up.

How can you help as a parent? I think the simplest is finding out if you have family or friends with a nice property nearby that can provide these scouts one more night in the woods. The troop may bite on your offer, they may not. But providing an extra camping weekend is a way that you can "relieve the pressure cooker" on the advancement method.

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