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FaithfulScouter

Merit Badge Counselors as Gatekeepers

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I have a Scout that reached out to another counselor to complete a merit badge because his original counselor, his Scoutmaster, has been completely checked out.  (My words, not his.) The Scout had the Scoutmaster's permission in writing, but was taken aback when he asked the Scoutmaster to provide a blue card for his partial.  He refused, because he didn't approve of the way the counselor helped him complete the OTHER requirements.   This other counselor is a very involved Scouter with a Council level position. The District Advancement Committee sided with the merit badge counselor and not the Scoutmaster, however the Scoutmaster keeps telling the Scout 'it's with Council' when he inquires if he needs to do anything else to satisfy his Scoutmaster.  I know that the Scoutmaster is lying to the Scout.  I have been told that the Scout may need to redo the requirements with the merit badge counselor, which is completely unfair.

The irony here is that this Scoutmaster has driven this Troop into the ground, and it will likely be dissolved at the end of the year.  This is not quality control on his part, it's about power and keeping this Scout from earning his last required merit badge just because he can. 

Why sign up to be a youth leader if you will not actually help the youth members?  Why are some counselors (and Scoutmasters) so ego driven that they forget why they signed up in the first place?  We're in a pandemic, and these kids have very few outlets, so why not encourage them?  Sorry...rant over...

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42 minutes ago, FaithfulScouter said:

... Scoutmaster keeps telling the Scout 'it's with Council' ...

Work with that newer councilor.  Move past the SM and just get it done.  It's sad when things like this happen, but in reality ya want your kid working with adults that want them to succeed.  And, the vast majority of scouters are that type of person.

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I've found that more often than not it is power mad SM's who are "Gate keepers" and insist on re-testing and reviewing the scout. I've had on several occasions had to remind SMs that the Guide to Advancement does NOT authorize the SM to second guess the MBC and that the solution if they have a problem is to file a complaint with the MBC's council (11.1.0.0 Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns).

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As a merit badge counselor myself I find it very upsetting.  This merit badge counselor is very experienced and dedicated.  This made me wonder what I would do if someone reported me to District & Council when I was just following the guidelines?  

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The experience with the SM brings up the question of who can dismiss the SM from their position?  If the SM isn't fulfilling their role as a guide in a youth-led program, then they need to go.

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10 minutes ago, Armymutt said:

The experience with the SM brings up the question of who can dismiss the SM from their position?  If the SM isn't fulfilling their role as a guide in a youth-led program, then they need to go.

The Chartered Organization Rep. I guess theoretically the Institutional Head could direct the COR to do it or do it themselves.

That's it.

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25 minutes ago, Armymutt said:

The experience with the SM brings up the question of who can dismiss the SM from their position?  If the SM isn't fulfilling their role as a guide in a youth-led program, then they need to go.

In my experience this is a challenging question.  It works differently in different units.

  • Technically the chartered organization is responsible for deciding who is and who is not a leader in the program.  So, many will say that the COR or IH can make that decision.
  • There are many units that follow the believe that the Scoutmaster reports to the Troop Committee.  As a result, the Troop Committee and perhaps even Troop Committee Chair could effectively dismiss a Scoutmaster.  Within forums and discussion groups you'll see the occasional discussion about this one.

But really, in my experience you never want to dismiss a Scoutmaster if you can at all avoid it.  Regardless of who can technically do it, it creates a very dangerous political climate in many units.  Units implode because of stuff like this.

I've always been a fan of a friendly adult beverage between the key decision makers in the troop when there are issues.  Having a discussion with the Scoutmaster about why he/she is doing what they are doing.  Even if it's wrong, see if you can find a way to make it work for everyone.  If something needs to change, find a way to change it by working with the Scoutmaster and other key leaders - not be getting rid of him/her.  

 

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I've never seen the "dismissal" of an SM. I've seen forced and shoved when the CC or parents (or both) have indicated they do not like what is going on. I've even seen an attempted palace coup (ASM approached Committee, in a meeting, and asked to take over as SM. That went well).

But never a dismissal.

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Sadly the Charter Org has known about the deterioration in program for more than a year, however no one would step up to take the Scoutmaster position.  The complaints were escalated to the CC, COR, and IH, so the correct procedure was followed.  As of this week the Unit is being dissolved and the Scoutmaster still will not respond to the Scout about his partial.  What a 'LEADER'...

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9 hours ago, FaithfulScouter said:

Sadly the Charter Org has known about the deterioration in program for more than a year, however no one would step up to take the Scoutmaster position.  The complaints were escalated to the CC, COR, and IH, so the correct procedure was followed.  As of this week the Unit is being dissolved and the Scoutmaster still will not respond to the Scout about his partial.  What a 'LEADER'...

I'm terribly sorry to hear about the loss of the troop.  Just reminds us all of how important developing a strong troop leadership team really is.

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If the unit is being dissolved, it's a moot point.  Get your scout transferred to a new unit and move on.  Whether the new MBC will accept the work already done is up to him/her and the unit leaders have no say, as mentioned above.

 

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Moot point?  Is it a moot point for the Scout who worked for years to complete this required merit badge?  Is it a moot point for the Council, who advised the Scoutmaster/Merit Badge Counselor that in their opinion, the requirements completed were acceptable?  Is it a moot point for the District Advancement Committee, who also advised the Scoutmaster/Merit Badge Counselor that the requirements completed were acceptable?  Is it acceptable that a supposed 'trusted adult leader' has lied to a Scout and now refuses to answer the young man?  

A global pandemic requires flexibility in order to encourage our Scouts to continue in the program. There are many ways to adapt while maintaining the integrity of the requirements, especially when you live in an area where camping has been PROHIBITED for the past seven months...

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1 minute ago, FaithfulScouter said:

Moot point?  Is it a moot point for the Scout who worked for years to complete this required merit badge?  Is it a moot point for the Council, who advised the Scoutmaster/Merit Badge Counselor that in their opinion, the requirements completed were acceptable?  Is it a moot point for the District Advancement Committee, who also advised the Scoutmaster/Merit Badge Counselor that the requirements completed were acceptable?  Is it acceptable that a supposed 'trusted adult leader' has lied to a Scout and now refuses to answer the young man?  

A global pandemic requires flexibility in order to encourage our Scouts to continue in the program. There are many ways to adapt while maintaining the integrity of the requirements, especially when you live in an area where camping has been PROHIBITED for the past seven months...

I think the point is that as horrible as the SM (who was serving as the MBC for the merit badge) has treated the scout that at this point, that if the unit really is folding and the SM really is simply refusing to work with the scout that no additional force will help. No one is going to physically take this person's hand and make them sign the card.

If the situation is as screwed up as you say, and the scout really did do all the work, then the next MBC in the next unit you go to will likely be willing to accept and sign off on the prior work (which they are allowed to under Guide to Advancement).

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