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swilliams

Completed Blue Cards? Maybe, maybe not.

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I very much dislike it when I feel the need to question a scout or parent, but sometimes it happens.   This one is a biggie, and I've reached out to our CC, but wanted to get some other opinions - opinions and advice from those who don't know the scout.  Last night at our troop meeting, a Life scout handed me a stack of completed blue cards.  I sat down this morning to get them entered, and after recording two of them, realized that they all (9 of them) had been signed by someone with the same last name as the scout, on the same day.  In one case, the original subject of the blue card had been crossed out and Cooking written in its place.  

Thoughts?  If this is something that should be questioned (and in my mind it should), how do you approach the scout?  Oh, one more part of this is that dad is an ASM, so maybe he knows something I don't, since I'm new-ish to troop-level scouting?  Or maybe not.

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1 hour ago, swilliams said:

Oh, one more part of this is that dad is an ASM

Might start there.

And, as an ASM, that dad should have known the suspicion this was going to create and should have discussed with you in advance. Additionally, many of those MBs, like Cooking, should be verifiable from other sources. Such as, did the scout do the required cooking on a campout? That should be verifiable without the need to confront the scout or the ASM.

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Read section  7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges in Guide to Advancement for what official option(s) you have.  
 

Did the unit leader sign the blue card and assign the MBC?  

We publish clear policy to our scouts and parents (though this case sounds like it is not a parent):

Parents can always be MBCs in group settings (like a MB clinic)

Parents cannot be a MBC for Eagle required MBs (outside the MB clinic)

Parents are discouraged from being a MBC for non requires MBs

Parents can only be MBCs for a max of 3 MBs for their son/daughter.

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1 hour ago, swilliams said:

Thoughts?  If this is something that should be questioned (and in my mind it should), how do you approach the scout?  Oh, one more part of this is that dad is an ASM, so maybe he knows something I don't, since I'm new-ish to troop-level scouting?  Or maybe not.

First question would be, is the person who signed all 9 cards a registered MBC for each of the MBs?  It is amazing at times how many registered adults do not understand that just because they are an ASM or a SM, they are not automatically authorized to sign off on what ever MB they choose.

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Our SM would never accept a BC that had the original class crossed out.  He signed the card based on the original scout request for the BC.  The intent is not to scratch it out and then do whatever you want (unless this has something to do with a scout being signed up for a specific class and then being forced to take a different one because of cancellation or similar).

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7 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

First question would be, is the person who signed all 9 cards a registered MBC for each of the MBs?  It is amazing at times how many registered adults do not understand that just because they are an ASM or a SM, they are not automatically authorized to sign off on what ever MB they choose.

I don't know, as the town where this person lives is about an hour from us and is in a different council.  To be clear, it wasn't his dad that signed them, but the someone with the same last name.  The blue cards date back to 2016, but only two of them have any partials recorded on other dates.  They're all marked the same day in November of last year for completion.  Six of the nine are for Eagle required merit badges.

I haven't heard back from our CC.  I'm leaning toward just emailing the scout and his dad and asking them about it, but I don't even know what to say.  "Excuse me, but are these fake news?"  LOL.  Seriously, though, this seems very shady.  If the scout says (as I expect he might) that they're all legit, then what?  Should I find out which council it is and call first?  Ugh.

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8 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

Might start there.

And, as an ASM, that dad should have known the suspicion this was going to create and should have discussed with you in advance. Additionally, many of those MBs, like Cooking, should be verifiable from other sources. Such as, did the scout do the required cooking on a campout? That should be verifiable without the need to confront the scout or the ASM.

As far as verifying some of the requirements, he is active in the troop and I'm sure has done a lot of the requirements through participation.  I'll see what I can find out.   Still troubles me that almost nothing was signed off prior to November.

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57 minutes ago, swilliams said:

 I don't even know what to say.  

I certainly wouldn't phrase it as an accusation.  I would simply tell them that certain questions are bound to be raised when the scout is up for eagle, and it would be better to organize the answers now, rather than putting them off until the review.  Be Prepared.

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DavidCO is right, there is no accusation to be made, but it's unusual and you can inquire about it.   I would email the dadASM and scout and say I just received nine MB cards from Scout and they're all the same merit badge counselor and all signed the same day, this is really unusual, could you tell me more about this.  Then see what they have to say.

Maybe an uncle or cousin is actually a MBC for the badges in the other council, and maybe there's a half decent explanation for it all.  The best way to approach it is to refrain from making any kind of accusation or insinuation that anybody did anything wrong, but rely on the BSA's rules that MBs can only be approved by a registered MBC.  The MBC can be from another council, but you need to be able to verify that in order to represent them as completed in reporting them to your council for recording.

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23 hours ago, swilliams said:

... Oh, one more part of this is that dad is an ASM, so maybe he knows something I don't, since I'm new-ish to troop-level scouting?  Or maybe not.

 

22 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

... And, as an ASM, that dad should have known the suspicion this was going to create and should have discussed with you in advance. ...

I'm an ASM, and I didn't know a thing about my son's MBs or blue cards. I might have known a few of their counselors, but that's about it. By the time they were Star scouts, they were operating independently. No harm in asking though.

I'd call the counselor ... especially about what is on record for the crossed out badge.

No ham in the scout learning that sloppy paperwork gives people pause.

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58 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I'm an ASM, and I didn't know a thing

Speaking for Scoutmasters everywhere, I am pleased to hear an ASM finally admit it.

(I am watching the impeachment trial.  Taking people's words out of context is apparently allowed this week.)

 

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So - just to clarify, OP noted 

On 1/22/2020 at 8:14 AM, swilliams said:

  Last night at our troop meeting, a Life scout handed me a stack of completed blue cards.  I sat down this morning to get them entered, and after recording two of them, realized that they all (9 of them) had been signed by someone with the same last name as the scout, on the same day.  In one case, the original subject of the blue card had been crossed out

There would need to be 4 signatures on a blue card

  1. Unit leader on the front part: Application for Merit Badge
  2. MB Counselor on the part signing off the MB (backside of the Application part)
  3. MB Counselor on the Applicant record
  4. Unit leader on the application record

What part of the Blue Card did the (possible) relative sign that is causing concern?  Agree that an MB counselor for 9 merit badges may raise an eyebrow

As a aside, in our unit family does not serve as an MB counselor for their Scouts unless it is a troop wide session offered to multiple Scouts.  For our SM son we had other leaders sign as Unit Leader when he started an MB.

 

Image result for bsa blue card

Related image

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9 minutes ago, qwazse said:

@Jameson76, I think the OP was given the applicant's portion.

There should be two separate signatures; Unit Leader and MB counselor.  Assuming OP is indicating the same name is the MB counselor

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34 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

There should be two separate signatures; Unit Leader and MB counselor.  Assuming OP is indicating the same name is the MB counselor

True, contacting the former unit leader would be a good idea as well. I'm pretty sure we're talking about the scout's portion because they had the side with partials.

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