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SteveMM

Choosing merit badges for a Scout's first summer camp

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17 minutes ago, SteveMM said:

... Thankfully, it never seemed to bother him, and he always enjoyed camp.

Well, there you go.

As long as it meets the needs of the scout and is fun for him, his choices were the right ones.

There is never a "one size fits all" camp schedule that will work for every scout in the unit.

BTW:  Your son doesn't need to wait for "merit badge weekends that the troop" attends.  The time-honored way for scouts to earn merit badges is to work on them independently based solely on their own initiative and interests and to find local counselors to work with on a 1-on-1 basis.  Sadly, few scouts do it that way these days (and parents seem to expect the easy, instant check-off of merit badge class, even though these often offer inadequate time to do requirements, no options for independent exploration, and poor exposure to a subject).

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48 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Well, there you go.

As long as it meets the needs of the scout and is fun for him, his choices were the right ones.

There is never a "one size fits all" camp schedule that will work for every scout in the unit.

THIS is the truth, and the most important thing about summer camp.  My son is missing his first summer camp this year since bridging, but it's because he's in Philmont on a two-week trek right now.  As soon as he returns, he's going to go about getting his Eagle Board of Review scheduled.  I asked him a few weeks ago if he planned to keep going to summer camp, and he said he did.  He really enjoys it.  He's only 15 right now, so he has plenty of time.  He's talked about joining the staff of our local camp as well.

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13 hours ago, SteveMM said:

THIS is the truth, and the most important thing about summer camp.  My son is missing his first summer camp this year since bridging, but it's because he's in Philmont on a two-week trek right now.  As soon as he returns, he's going to go about getting his Eagle Board of Review scheduled.  I asked him a few weeks ago if he planned to keep going to summer camp, and he said he did.  He really enjoys it.  He's only 15 right now, so he has plenty of time.  He's talked about joining the staff of our local camp as well.

I was just talking to a scout in our Jambo troop (and his SM dad), and reminded him "No pressure, but there is something really cool about being able to wear that Eagle patch during last (or in your son's case, last two) summer camp.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, qwazse said:

I was just talking to a scout in our Jambo troop (and his SM dad), and reminded him "No pressure, but there is something really cool about being able to wear that Eagle patch during last (or in your son's case, last two) summer camp.

Very good point and I imagine it's oh so true.  My son got another piece of advice from a parent in our troop, which many around here may not like: "Congrats on finishing your Eagle project so young -- now you have a few years to just relax, have fun, and not worry about which merit badges you're taking."  I agree with it, but I'm sure some here would say that's what he should have been doing all along. 

Edited by SteveMM
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I am an advocate for letting them pick what they want.

When my son was an AOL I kept telling him,  "Just wait till you get to Boy Scouts, you can choose what you want to earn!".   Well we got the list of courses offered and he and I sat down and looked at them and the requirements for each badge offered.  We made a couple lists with 1st 2nd and 3rd choices for the schedule allowed (all of the 1st year scouts were going to do the TNT program in the mornings).  The Advancement chair also said that the first year boys need to take First Aid and Swimming.  I think the advancement chair didn't like me asking questions on why he HAS to take First Aid and Swimming why cant he choose to do what he wants?  She said with attitude that's just how we do it here.  He didn't get a single class he asked for. He was upset.  I also think she gave my son none of his choices out of spite. WTH? He was given First Aid (ok no biggie), Orienteering and Camping.   Orienteering is IMO not a 1st year scout MB.  And to my knowledge, none of the 9B options were offered at camp for the camping MB so I am not sure if it was worth it.

Well needless to say just after summer camp I replaced her as the advancement chair.  She claimed she had been waiting 5 years since her son had aged out for someone to come along and replace her. I said I would take over for her and when I kept asking to help on advancement stuff all I got was attitude. :mad: So I finally told the Committee that she either lets me do it or she can wait another couple years for someone other sucker to come along, I have no problem just going over and sitting with the other parents after volunteering for the last several years in the pack.  She was very ugly about it.  She pretty much brought in all of the advancement stuff and threw it on the table and walked out.  It was all very odd...

This year, I made sure the boys got what classes they asked for except for one boy who wasn't old enough for shotgun and another who had put down wood carving but didn't have his totin' chip yet so we had to go to alternative classes.   They still had a lot of fun.

Needless to say my son had a much better time this year at camp.  :)

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Our scouts, more often than not, came back with other MB credits that they signed up for while at camp. Can't scouts still ask to take classes at camp if it fits in their schedule and the class has an opening?

Barry

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3 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

He was given First Aid (ok no biggie), Orienteering and Camping.   Orienteering is IMO not a 1st year scout MB.  And to my knowledge, none of the 9B options were offered at camp for the camping MB so I am not sure if it was worth it.

Whatever we all disagree about, I think we would all say that it's monumentally stupid to take Camping at your first summer camp.  The Scout won't have the camping nights, and won't have any of the 9B requirements.  What you're left with is a partial that probably won't be finished for a year or more.  There's no point in bothering with this one until the Scout at least has the camping nights.  Once he has the camping nights, he'll likely have knocked out one or more of the 9B requirements as well, and can focus on figuring out ways to get the rest.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

I am an advocate for letting them pick what they want.

... The Advancement chair also said that the first year boys need to take First Aid and Swimming.  ...

Well needless to say just after summer camp I replaced her as the advancement chair.  She claimed she had been waiting 5 years since her son had aged out for someone to come along and replace her. I said I would take over for her and when I kept asking to help on advancement stuff all I got was attitude. :mad: So I finally told the Committee that she either lets me do it or she can wait another couple years for someone other sucker to come along, I have no problem just going over and sitting with the other parents after volunteering for the last several years in the pack.  She was very ugly about it.  She pretty much brought in all of the advancement stuff and threw it on the table and walked out.  It was all very odd...

Congratulations on the new job, and it sounds to me like you will do a MUCH better job at serving your bosses (the boys) than the previous Advancement Chair did.

I'm not even sure why an Advancement Chair is involved AT ALL in picking merit badges for a troop's summer camp.  It's just not part of the job...

Your experience though does reflect one of the fundamental lessons of being a volunteer in any organization:  when you complain about somebody else's job performance, you should be prepared to be appointed their successor. 

Edited by mrkstvns

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11 minutes ago, SteveMM said:

Whatever we all disagree about, I think we would all say that it's monumentally stupid to take Camping at your first summer camp.  The Scout won't have the camping nights, and won't have any of the 9B requirements.  What you're left with is a partial that probably won't be finished for a year or more.  There's no point in bothering with this one until the Scout at least has the camping nights.  Once he has the camping nights, he'll likely have knocked out one or more of the 9B requirements as well, and can focus on figuring out ways to get the rest.

What do you have against partials?

Barry

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IMO there is too much focus on mBs as "advancement " and checking off requirements.

When in comes to camping mB (and some others) I am a big fan of a scout getting started early on it with a local mB counselor who isn't part of their troop (at present). mBs provide such a unique opportunity  and often the opportunities are squandered by scouts primarily (exclusively?) doing them at camp, "colleges" or with troop adults. 

Camping mB is a great way for a scout to gain insight from a different adult, learn new techniques, share stories and ideas... and all the benefits which are supposed to be derived from the adult association method.

Camping (and other mBs) are perfect for scouts to interact and learn from an outside adult expert. Imagine how the patrol and troop would benefit from the scout doing a mB this way.

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8 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

What do you have against partials?

Barry

I think partials are a benefit to the scout. Rarely, if ever, should a scout have a blue card completed at the first meeting with the counselor. Partials should be standard operating procedure as a scout works through a mB over the course of time with the counselor.

 

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17 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

I'm not even sure why an Advancement Chair is involved AT ALL in picking merit badges for a troop's summer camp.  It's just not part of the job...

As pointed out in so many posts before now, people have a way of making changes and adding responsibilities; reasonable, legal, realistic, or otherwise.  

We have a CC who has alienated nearly everyone out of the committee. As such, most of the committee roles are done by ASMs. My only hope is that when their scout ages out this year, they move on too and we keep "that guy" out of it.  (we all have a "that guy" everyone knows to keep out of the Key 3 and other important posts)

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11 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

What do you have against partials?

Most of the time, partials are okay. It's a good way to "divide and conquer" the requirements list.

There's a few though that are a pain for the scout, parents, and leaders --- sometimes because of lack of available local resources, or lack of local qualified counselors.  My son still has partials from 5 years ago. Maybe he'll finish 'em, maybe not. None are required  MBs (but some are kind of cool). He's still got a couple years until he ages out, but he doesn't need any more merit badges, so we'll see if he ever loops around to finish them.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

What do you have against partials?

Barry

I don't have anything against partials, but in this instance it just doesn't make sense to me.  I think if the Scout walks away with a partial and won't actually complete the merit badge for more than a year (which could easily happen with Camping) then they should just wait to take the merit badge.  In this example, they could take a more enjoyable merit badge in their first summer camp and then take camping later, when they at least have the camping nights.

Edited to clarify: There are some badges where partials will just happen, and there's no pressure to even finish them if they're not Eagle-required.  My son has a couple of those, and may never finish them.  My issue is with this particular instance -- taking Camping Merit Badge in a Scout's first summer camp.  I think it would make a LOT more sense to wait on that one.

Edited by SteveMM

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12 minutes ago, SteveMM said:

I don't have anything against partials, but in this instance it just doesn't make sense to me.  I think if the Scout walks away with a partial and won't actually complete the merit badge for more than a year (which could easily happen with Camping) then they should just wait to take the merit badge.  In this example, they could take a more enjoyable merit badge in their first summer camp and then take camping later, when they at least have the camping nights.

Edited to clarify: There are some badges where partials will just happen, and there's no pressure to even finish them if they're not Eagle-required.  My son has a couple of those, and may never finish them.  My issue is with this particular instance -- taking Camping Merit Badge in a Scout's first summer camp.  I think it would make a LOT more sense to wait on that one.

Right you are, Steve.

There's nothing inherently wrong with getting a partial, but the guts of Camping merit badge is experience camping. A scout who waits a couple (or more) years to tackle Camping is better off because he's prepared to meet requirements like the nights of camping and the "experiences" (like rappeling, backpacking, paddling, etc.)  He's also better equipped to discuss things like equipment choices because he'll actually have experience with making equipment choices. A first-year scout probably doesn't --- all he's likely to have under his belt are a couple of car-camping weekends.

Most scouts will figure out on their own that Camping is better put off until a later date, but you never know when you'll bump into somebody who thinks, "Scouts camp, so Camping should be the first merit badge they do." The basics of camping are better taught by the troop as a scout pursues his trail to First Class. By then he'll have the basic skills down pat and will be more than prepared to delve in deeper via Camping merit badge.

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