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mrkstvns

Good merit badge classes "make it real"...

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As it gets easier and easier to find merit badge classes, it gets harder and harder to find GOOD merit badge classes.

Council-run summer camps increasingly expand their merit badge offerings into classroom subjects that they are ill-equipped to teach --- particularly in the inadequate time they allow. Merit badge universities (or colleges or midways) are sometimes even worse, with some events alotting as little as 2 hours to teach a subject that requires 6 hours or more to cover the requirements as written. Scouts are shortchanged with poor experiences.

That's why it's so refreshing to me to hear about groups or individuals who make the effort to create merit badge "experiences" in which scouts get an honest chance to see what a field is about. In a good merit badge class, they interact with adults with deep experience and expertise in a field. In a good merit badge class, they get a chance to do real, hands-on activities. 

Here's an example of a "good" merit badge experience....
https://www.dvidshub.net/news/323430/air-force-dentists-boy-scouts-team-up-dentistry-merit-badge 

 

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On 6/3/2019 at 8:39 AM, mrkstvns said:

As it gets easier and easier to find merit badge classes, it gets harder and harder to find GOOD merit badge classes.

Council-run summer camps increasingly expand their merit badge offerings into classroom subjects that they are ill-equipped to teach --- particularly in the inadequate time they allow. Merit badge universities (or colleges or midways) are sometimes even worse, with some events alotting as little as 2 hours to teach a subject that requires 6 hours or more to cover the requirements as written. Scouts are shortchanged with poor experiences.

That's why it's so refreshing to me to hear about groups or individuals who make the effort to create merit badge "experiences" in which scouts get an honest chance to see what a field is about. In a good merit badge class, they interact with adults with deep experience and expertise in a field. In a good merit badge class, they get a chance to do real, hands-on activities. 

Here's an example of a "good" merit badge experience....
https://www.dvidshub.net/news/323430/air-force-dentists-boy-scouts-team-up-dentistry-merit-badge 

 

Personally, except for Life Scouts working on Eagle in fear of aging out, I discouraged Scouts from working on "book-related" merit badges at Summer Camp. I don't think my sons ever took one at Summer camp. They took most of the aquatics badges, the activity badges (climbing, etc.), at Summer Camp.  Life's too short to spend hours at summer camp listening to a ill-prepared Scout teaching Citizenship merit badges.  

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28 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

Personally, except for Life Scouts working on Eagle in fear of aging out, I discouraged Scouts from working on "book-related" merit badges at Summer Camp. I don't think my sons ever took one at Summer camp. They took most of the aquatics badges, the activity badges (climbing, etc.), at Summer Camp.  Life's too short to spend hours at summer camp listening to a ill-prepared Scout teaching Citizenship merit badges.  

Precisely!

Summer camps provide "experts" in fields that are most closely related to the outdoor experience.  Boys can create meaningful memories if they stick to the topics that camps do best:  aquatics, shooting sports, camp craft, etc.  Take Horsemanship. Take Climbing.  Take Whitewater.  Take Archery.  Leave boring bookish classes like any Citizenship badge to the troop or to local merit badge workshops.  There's a right time and place for everything, and summer camp is no time to get bored.

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1 hour ago, perdidochas said:

Personally, except for Life Scouts working on Eagle in fear of aging out, I discouraged Scouts from working on "book-related" merit badges at Summer Camp. I don't think my sons ever took one at Summer camp. They took most of the aquatics badges, the activity badges (climbing, etc.), at Summer Camp.  Life's too short to spend hours at summer camp listening to a ill-prepared Scout teaching Citizenship merit badges.  


I know some adults who try to encourage Scouts to take Eagle-required merit badges at summer camp.  I think this is fine for some (swimming), but many of them are a lot like school and not really suited for the summer camp environment.  Why work on citizenship in the world at summer camp when you could be doing something fun with your buddies?  Kayaking, climbing, horseback riding, motorboating, etc.  I try to encourage Scouts to sign up for merit badges that they think will be fun or interesting (especially if we do not have a counselor for a particular merit badge in our troop).

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I am one of those opposed to paperpushing MBs at camp. Exceptions include Environmental Science (I hated the reports back in the day) Journalism, and Cinematography. The Journalism folks published one camp's newspaper, and the Cinematography folks did the closing campfire slideshow/movie.

11 minutes ago, Thunderbird said:

 Why work on citizenship in the world at summer camp when you could be doing something fun with your buddies?  

I've seen it done twice, and that was ages ago. Citizenship in the World MB was taught by an International Staff Program participant. Having an Aussie Scout teach me was cool and fun. m Otherwise i agree.

Sadly, my middle son is ignoring me on this one. He's doing 2 paperpushing ones for 1/2 of camp. at least the other half will be on the rifle range and a muzzle loading course.

 

 

 

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On 6/3/2019 at 8:39 AM, mrkstvns said:

... merit badge "experiences" in which scouts get an honest chance to see what a field is about. In a good merit badge class, they interact with adults with deep experience and expertise in a field. In a good merit badge class, they get a chance to do real, hands-on activities. 

Here's an example of a "good" merit badge experience....
https://www.dvidshub.net/news/323430/air-force-dentists-boy-scouts-team-up-dentistry-merit-badge 

 

So so cool.  That's the type of MB activity that I want my sons and my scouts plugged into.

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2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Precisely!

Summer camps provide "experts" in fields that are most closely related to the outdoor experience.  Boys can create meaningful memories if they stick to the topics that camps do best:  aquatics, shooting sports, camp craft, etc.  Take Horsemanship. Take Climbing.  Take Whitewater.  Take Archery.  Leave boring bookish classes like any Citizenship badge to the troop or to local merit badge workshops.  There's a right time and place for everything, and summer camp is no time to get bored.

 

I agree, except for the case of old Life Scouts (17 years old) that need the eagle MBs. 

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1 hour ago, Thunderbird said:


I know some adults who try to encourage Scouts to take Eagle-required merit badges at summer camp.  I think this is fine for some (swimming), but many of them are a lot like school and not really suited for the summer camp environment.  Why work on citizenship in the world at summer camp when you could be doing something fun with your buddies?  Kayaking, climbing, horseback riding, motorboating, etc.  I try to encourage Scouts to sign up for merit badges that they think will be fun or interesting (especially if we do not have a counselor for a particular merit badge in our troop).

I know some that do that also. I've had to correct them when it came to my own sons.  I don't have any problem with the Eagle Required MBs being worked on in summer camp, my problem is the book based ones (namely the three Citizenship badges, Sustainability, Personal Management and Family life) and Personal Fitness.  The rest can be started (or completed) at summer camp. Swimming/Hiking/Cycling, Lifesaving, Environmental Science, First Aid, Camping, Cooking and even Communication.  That said, camping and cooking couldn't be finished at summer camp. 

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