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swilliams

Any Scouters Here from Central Florida Council?

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We are now two months since my son did an online merit badge class. He was never given credit for the last day of work, and other than a confirmation email (with the missing day four work) we still haven’t received any formal record showing his partials.

The last email I got was over a week ago. Each week, the emails have been saying ‘we’ll get it taken care of next week’, but now we don’t even get that. 

Email requests/questions get an automated response, and the phones go to voicemail. We’ve been trying to be patient, but I’m frustrated beyond reason. He’s done the 30 day portion - that was done last month - but he hasn’t tried to contact a local counselor because we were waiting on the partials from Central Florida. 

What do we do?  He doesn’t even have a record of his work, other than two drawings, because they asked the scouts to use a link to a form to submit their work. 

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Talk to the scoutmaster? If I were the scoutmaster I'd ask the scout what he did for each requirement and, giving him the benefit, fill out a blue card saying the scout had completed those reqs if he sounded even close. Then I'd have the scout call another counselor to finish the badge.

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

 

Talk to the scoutmaster?

 

I think that is pretty good advice. Scouts are never supposed to be punished for the failings of adults. I had to do that this last summer since our camp did not complete our blue cards. 

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Scoutmaster suggested contacting our District MB Dean, which I did. Not only did he say “I can’t help you”, he said he doubts anything acceptable, as far as Sustainability goes, can be done in an online class. Great. 

More worrisome in terms of MBs in general, is that he said our council is “vigorously debating” whether to sign off on any requirements for their upcoming online MB offerings. What the heck?  Call me crazy, but why would a teenager sit through an online class (debate whether that’s a correct term, or not, but to kids it is) if there’s nothing accomplished from it: if they still have to meet with someone else for the requirements to be signed?

Feeling very fed up with this whole Covid situation. I wouldn't be surprised if we come out of this with half the number of scouts we had prior. 

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Posted (edited)

He folks, he's coming around!

On 5/25/2020 at 2:17 PM, swilliams said:

...  Call me crazy, but why would a teenager sit through an online class ...

No little round medallion is worth sitting through a class to earn! The only reason that the MB pow-wow that I attended as a scout was interesting is that it was in a college science building, and along the halls were museum-quality exhibits.

Guess how many classes, online or otherwise, the two Eagles who I spawned sat through (outside of summer camp)? None. Zip. Nada. Why? Because that was the last thing they needed for their personal growth. What they needed was to learn to call counselors and work out how they were going to complete the requirements.

This is exactly what our scouts need to do in this pandemic.

Infection control protocols? No excuse. Contact your counselor and figure out how to make it work.

Summer camp closed? No excuse. Make a plan B. Make some calls. Include your PL and SM on the plan.

Aquatics areas not open? Schedule some land-shark MBs. I can think of no better time to work on Personal Fitness, Hiking, or Cycling. Get outside and expose your water droplets to solar radiation.

You know who really cares about getting your MBs signed off? Your scout, and your counselor. So much can be done from a balcony or front porch. Make it work.

SMs, get your scouts in touch with counselors who you've met and whom you trust. Get the troop librarian in control of the library. If you're troop is still a Red Zone, arrange dead drops for pamphlets.

Edited by qwazse

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16 hours ago, qwazse said:

He folks, he's coming around!

No little round medallion is worth sitting through a class to earn! The only reason that the MB pow-wow that I attended as a scout was interesting is that it was in a college science building, and along the halls were museum-quality exhibits.

Guess how many classes, online or otherwise, the two Eagles who I spawned sat through (outside of summer camp)? None. Zip. Nada. Why? Because that was the last thing they needed for their personal growth. What they needed was to learn to call counselors and work out how they were going to complete the requirements.

This is exactly what our scouts need to do in this pandemic.

Infection control protocols? No excuse. Contact your counselor and figure out how to make it work.

Summer camp closed? No excuse. Make a plan B. Make some calls. Include your PL and SM on the plan.

Aquatics areas not open? Schedule some land-shark MBs. I can think of no better time to work on Personal Fitness, Hiking, or Cycling. Get outside and expose your water droplets to solar radiation.

You know who really cares about getting your MBs signed off? Your scout, and your counselor. So much can be done from a balcony or front porch. Make it work.

SMs, get your scouts in touch with counselors who you've met and whom you trust. Get the troop librarian in control of the library. If you're troop is still a Red Zone, arrange dead drops for pamphlets.

I'm going to be a little argumentative here.  While I agree with what you wrote, it has been my experience - through the scouts in our troop - that this is easier said than done.  We have been having major issues with getting MB counselors hooked up with scouts.   Far higher numbers of counselors than usual are completely unresponsive to scout inquiries.  For example, a Gardening MB counselor said he was doing a call with a group of scouts this past weekend, yet never emailed our two scouts who were interested with information regarding time or manner of call.  When the scouts were given the number of the second counselor in our district (we only have two), the scout reported that the phone rang continuously without ever going to voicemail.   Anyway, that's slightly of off the main meat of the online course issue not being accepted.

Our council (through the Scoutmaster, so not first-hand) has indicated that it won't accept partials from outside councils/online courses for completion at their summer camp.  At the same time, they are planning on hosting their own online courses.  Given this from Guide to Advancement, how does that square?  As to the very last part, if that guideline is followed - and this is what it looks like you are saying above - it would negate summer camp sessions, merit badge fairs, jamborees, and any sessions our council is hosting.  Definitely needs clarification and seems somewhat contradictory. 

"The unit leader and Scout should come to agreement as to who the counselor will be.  Lacking agreement, the Scout must be allowed to work with the counselor of his or her choice, so long as the counselor is registered and has been approved by the council advancement committee."
 
"It is acceptable for a counselor registered in one council to approve merit badges for Scouts in another.  This is an important consideration, especially in areas where counselors are scarce, when Scouts are away from home and want to continue advancing, or when merit badge experiences include web-based components provided by someone in another council."
 
"Large group and web-based instruction, while perhaps efficient, do not measure up in terms of the desired outcomes with regard to learning and positive adult association."
 

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Oh, it is much harder to get MBC's in general now. The paperwork someone has to do just to be registered probably consumes the equivalent of a few counseling sessions.

Coupled with a culture that just won't answer the phone, and our boys have a hurdle 10 times the height that I did.

A good district commissioner should help you hunt down that unresponsive MBC. There might be some real-life support that we as scouters could offer someone. Heck, in this case, the person might be an essential employee, and one of us could go till his garden for him/her!

I am very grateful that my son's counselors got back to them right quick. One even stopped by the house because her office was chaos due to relocation, but she wanted to get Son#2 in right away rather than wait for her life to be settled. I know that doesn't always happens.

But, this is the world that our scouts will have to live and work in. Shaking trees is a life skill.

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