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DRAFT: DE&I merit badge requirements


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20 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Let's re-write requirements to be worded for scouts, not lawyers

I don't like the wordiness either, but there are ADULTS who work hard to find an easy out. I got into a polite argument with a district & NYLT staffer who insisted that if a Scout set up a tent in a cabin, it would count for rank advancement if they slept in it. I said, no, no it wouldn't, not in my troop; as the SM, that wouldn't fly. They went on to say that they checked with the council commissioner and that it was legit. I said, that, well, in my troop, that is not what we do. I then used it as a SM minute. I asked the troop to think about doing that, that was that the intent, and that would they all like me to sign them off on their next two ranks and go to the council office and buy them the badges? 

Then there is the other side. I met a SM this summer who said he wouldn't sign off on any first class scout who couldn't do 6 basic knots in under 1 minute. 

My thought is that the legal-eese of the requirements is to stop either these "supper loose" interpretations or the "supper stiff" interpretations. 

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One of the Scouting FB groups that had these requirements posted, took down the post and 153 (last time I looked) comments down and is asking folks to report anyone who does post them. Sounds Orw

Careful please. Don't mistake my views vs. those of others. As I said, I believe as a MBC I could work with this MB. I can also very much see/know/observe in the Reddit and Facebook groups and ev

Impossible.  ... We value making connections with our scouts.  To make connections, we talk.  Maybe a few can discuss this topic at the ideal concept level.  But most will bring their politics into it

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17 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

My thought is that the legal-eese of the requirements is to stop either these "supper loose" interpretations or the "supper stiff" interpretations.

Anyone who wonders "why does it sounds like lawyers wrote this?" is because they know that someone, somewhere is going to try something you've never considered. So you have to be VERY specific and VERY broad at the same time.

See, for example, Youth Protection Training.

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1 hour ago, mrjohns2 said:

My thought is that the legal-eese of the requirements is to stop either these "supper loose" interpretations or the "supper stiff" interpretations. 

 

57 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Anyone who wonders "why does it sounds like lawyers wrote this?" is because they know that someone, somewhere is going to try something you've never considered. So you have to be VERY specific and VERY broad at the same time.

Expressed another way,  they don't trust us as adults, volunteers, or even as parents.

My $0.02

 

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9 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

They don't. Or, to be more specific, they don't trust ALL adults, ALL volunteers, and ALL parents.

Well if they put in even half an effort to ensure the mB counselors were in any way qualified in the topic they might have more than zero trust.

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10 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

Well if they put in even half an effort to ensure the mB counselors were in any way qualified in the topic they might have more than zero trust.

Who has time to do that? Seriously. My district and council basically check the employment background and criminal background checks (to avoid legal liability) and then just trusts that the adult is being honest when they fill out the part.

Not only that but the professional staff don't even always get involved and have pushed the criminal and reference checks down to advancement chairs and such.

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Be recognized as having the skills and education in the merit badge subjects covered and hold any required qualifications and training as outlined in the Guide to Safe Scouting or the Guide to Advancement—or use others so qualified.

Who has time to start examining resumes and checking professional references for hundreds of MBCs?

EDIT: There's a council that I will not reference that puts its entire MBC roster online. Put aside for a moment that this is in direct violation of Guide to Advancement ("The council or district counselor list is reproduced for distribution to troops, crews, and ships. Scouts should not have access.")

I just pulled their roster. There are 1035 MBCs.

 

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25 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

They don't. Or, to be more specific, they don't trust ALL adults, ALL volunteers, and ALL parents.

At that point, distrust goes both ways. 

Another $0.02

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3 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

At that point, distrust goes both ways. 

Another $0.02

So, National and Councils should just do, what, exactly? Not put out requirements at all? Let each unit decide how/when to award the Camping merit badge (for example)?

These MB rules are overly lawyered because of the small percent of parents and adults who, left to their own devices would screw up out of ignorance or maliciously.

I also suspect that the MBs are written in reaction to questions that the PRIOR set of rules generated.

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I know some have mentioned that no Scout has to earn Eagle.  That is well and good but the Scouts that have stuck with our Troop through this terrible year do want to be Eagle.  Some are moving along very well.

What happens when a parent says NO to this merit badge and rank requirements?  They say that it has no place in the BSA.  They say they will not subject their Scout to this indoctrination agenda.

But they have to if the Scout wants to become Eagle or the Scout suffers.

Unfortunately I see this as a breaking point.  The mighty oak will only bend so far before it snaps.  If this goes against a family's teachings and moral values how can they reconcile with this?

The BSA is throwing an ultimatum down, saying you must do this if you want that.  But this is a myriad of hot button topics that conjure deep feelings on both sides.

Will there be a large crop of Life Scouts that never see Eagle?  Maybe.  The Scouts may not even get that far depending on what the new rank requirements are.

For those that want to reach Eagle, the BSA is about to throw down the gauntlet to them and the families that support and nurture these Scouts.  Will those affected once again swallow it down and keep quiet or will there be a backlash?  Hard to say.

Everyone of the parents and guardians in my Troop will know about this merit badge and rank requirements.  They will have to make the best decision for their Scout and their family.  I will have to do the same.

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17 minutes ago, tnmule20 said:

Will those affected once again swallow it down and keep quiet or will there be a backlash?

They'll swallow it and work around it.

SMs for troops where the parents express concern will pencil whip their scouts through.

MBCs who disagree with the premise or individual elements ("sexual orientation" "gender identity") will pencil whip their scouts through.

Any parent who says something will be accommodated.

But I will bet MOST parents are NOT reading merit badge requirement books and/or rank advancements. And so they won't even be aware of the details.

And that will be that.

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2 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

Who has time to do that? Seriously. My district and council basically check the employment background and criminal background checks (to avoid legal liability) and then just trusts that the adult is being honest when they fill out the part.

Not only that but the professional staff don't even always get involved and have pushed the criminal and reference checks down to advancement chairs and such.

Who has time to start examining resumes and checking professional references for hundreds of MBCs?

EDIT: There's a council that I will not reference that puts its entire MBC roster online. Put aside for a moment that this is in direct violation of Guide to Advancement ("The council or district counselor list is reproduced for distribution to troops, crews, and ships. Scouts should not have access.")

I just pulled their roster. There are 1035 MBCs.

 

Current reality:

-registered adult leaders already "passed" background and are in system.

-some (many?) only will counsel for their own troop.

-zero vetting of qualifications for mB counselors.

-mB counselor application does not ask for qualifications.

IMO the current reality requires nothing from district or council. They have de facto allowed any registered adult to sign off on any mB as long as the adult sent in extra paperwork. And even then does anyone even check to see if the mB counselor on the blue card is approved? If the district/council cannot even look at an application which requires some background of experience to qualify the mBcounselor, they certainly are not looking at sumbitted blue cards and cross referencing them. 

Anyway, most of the problems which have been discussed could be resolved by having truly qualified mB counselors.

Perhaps the district/council folks could spend a little time checking basic qualifications of potential mB counselors instead of arranging mB fairs and universities? 

The whole system is a mess. Some simple things could improve it. 

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46 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

Current reality:

-registered adult leaders already "passed" background and are in system.

-some (many?) only will counsel for their own troop.

-zero vetting of qualifications for mB counselors.

-mB counselor application does not ask for qualifications.

This may be your reality. It isn't mine at least as to points #1 and 4

1) If the MBC is not already in some other position, no, they did not pass the background check and are not in the system. Thus they have to be background checked.

4) The application does in fact "ask for qualifications". https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34405.pdf

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For each merit badge, list qualification(s) that support your request. Qualifications could include college degrees, formal training certificates, positions held, and specific life experiences.

Then there's this

46 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

IMO the current reality requires nothing from district or council.

In fact it does; someone has to do reference check, make sure YPT is in compliance, etc.

46 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

Anyway, most of the problems which have been discussed could be resolved by having truly qualified mB counselors.

I agree. Do you have someway to do it? All I have heard for YEARS is that MBCs are impossible to come by because a) no one wants to help or b) no one wants to help outside their troop or c) no one is interested in having to take 1-1.5 hours of YPT training AND in many councils now an additional 1 hour of MBC training; my council for example mandated 2 years ago all MBCs must be position trained.

As for crosschecking: the real push will come in March 2021 when Scoutbook becomes the national, official repository of MBCs across the nation. No more troop MBCs that never submitted paperwork or council lists that may or may not be updated.

 

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@DuctTapeand others,

Let's remember the original purpose of merit badges...to expose scouts to various topics that they find interesting. If a scout takes First Aid merit badge, the goal is NOT an official first aid certification, rather to get the scout exposed to the basic concepts. I have first aid certification through the Red Cross for work and that includes being able to demonstrate CPR and how to use an AED. This MB falls short of that, yet there are unit leaders and MBC that add to the requirements of the MB, because the view it as some sort of certification. 

It is good that scouts are exposed to first aid principals almost constantly in the program and they will get many opportunities to actually need to use them. But to expect scouts to be paramedics can be over the top.

My district advancement coordinator also noted the lax enforcement of MBC approvals. Nobody verifies that the councilor on the blue card is actually a registered MBC and there is no process in place to verify that the scout did everything that the MBC signed off on. Though, as scoutmaster, I have some power given the blue card needs my final signature. However, a scout can find a MBC that I do not know via the scout office, so I have no idea if the MBC is trustworthy. I generally trust the MBC unless I have good evidence that the MBC signed off on requirements without the scout doing them. And even if I have the evidence, I will sign off the scout anyway, but I will report the MBC to the district and council advancement chairs. I can verify myself that the councilor is registered via scoutbook. (Though councilors at camp are never in scoutbook, so I have to trust the camp leadership on that one.) 

The aim of scouting is not the Eagle Rank, rather it is the growth of scouts in character, citizenship, leadership, and physical fitness. As long as the MB causes growth, is it the end of the world if a scout truly does not understand some of the requirements? Or in the case of must of my scouts, they forget much of the information they learned in the MB about a year later. 

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4 minutes ago, Owls_are_cool said:

(Though councilors at camp are never in scoutbook, so I have to trust the camp leadership on that one.) 

That will end in March 2021. At that point if they aren't in Scoutbook, they are not a registered MBC.

Conversely, if they are in Scoutbook you'll know they are valid.

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