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Scouting Urban Legends

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"If the US flag touches the ground, you HAVE to burn it"


It is really good for Sea Scouts, and boaters in general, that this isn't true. The number of times I have dropped the flag, or seen someone drop the flag because the deck was moving, well lets just say that the flag making companies would be really happy if all of those flags had been burned.

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That you must have a BSA trained lifeguard anytime that scouts are swimming (when questioned about this, he amplified that being at a pool with on duty certified lifeguards wasn't enough - the BSA lifeguard had to be there too).


That there is a limit to how many merit badges one counselor could sign up to counsel (I think it was the DE that told me this one).


That the patch worn in the temporary patch position on a boy scout shirt had to be one that the entire troop had earned (ie, Klondike or summer camp).


That the troop elected den chiefs and that the pack didn't have a say in accepting them.


That there were BSA rules about who could hold leadership positions in the troop (As in BSA dictating that PL or SPL had to be a particular rank or age or have certain attendance at troop events. If the scouts want to set some parameters, I have no beef with that. But when a scouter tells me that scout A has to be the next SPL because they can't serve back to back terms and this scout is the only one who meets the requirements being imposed by the scouter (not coming from the PLC or the scouts), that is adding quite a bit to the BSA requirements).


There was one scouter in a previous council that I started calling the Berean Scouter because after any roundtable or training that I'd been at with him, I would go home to search the handbook and G2SS to see if it was true.

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Sebastian a lady,


Actually, in the Council I serve, the Advancement Committee and Registrar, with the blessing of the Executive Board, have limited the number of Merit Badges a Counselor may counsel.


Is it against ACP&P? Yes.


Is it a fact? Also, yes.

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Most un-true BSA rules, if you trace them back are simply troop policy, that with good intent was created by a committee long ago, most of that committee got replaced and the rules were carried on by the new people with the belief they were BSA, not committee policy. And yes a committee can add to the policies of the BSA, to amend gaps, they just can't remove BSA rules. The ability to add to rules to fix problems in your troop is a good thing. (Who signs off on Merit Badges is just one committee rule). It's not good the line of committee/BSA rules gets hazy but it happens.


A bad reason that false BSA rules happen, is by someone who wants to impart his own control on a troop, so makes his own rules and states to the troop leadership that it is BSA rules. Shame on those who are troop leaders and have not taken time to be trained, or if trained, but never heard the rule, does not question it.


When my boy crossed over from cub to Boy scout we were in just a troop. And I was untrained. We moved to a different troop before a complete year was up. By the time I was trained I needed extra training to remove all the "false" BSA rules.


Here are some of the BSA rules I had to un-learn.


1) A boy can not make Eagle rank unless he has served 6 months as SPL. The SM gets to approve what boys can run as SPL before the election. (The SM, wanted to make sure anyone he thought was unworthy of Eagle rank never got the position).


2) The Board of review had to be a hard and gruelling test of what the scout knows. You can flunk the scout if he does not know enough. (It was rare to be passed on the first board, one boy was flunked 5 times. Again those boys who were thought to be unworthy had a much more difficult board.) We were told this got them ready for the EBOR which was brutal.


3) If the Scout lost his blue card, he had to do the meritbadge over from scratch. (Did not matter if the meritbadge was logged into counsil correctly, or if the counselor had his copy. If the scout lost his card, he had to redo the meritbadge.)


There were others, but it was a long time ago. These were the ones I remembered. It took a lot of retraining for my husband & I to see the merit of not making a BOR difficult. Now my husband is the District Advancement Chair... Good thing he got retrained! I had to laugh last week when he stated his disbeif over hearing that there were troop in our district that made the BOR very difficult.. I had to remind him we were of the same belief due to the first troop we joined, and that when we were truely trained that was something we thought the troop had right and the BSA were being too soft about. It brought home the fact that this was a problem, and something he would have difficulty re-educating the troops that practiced this belief so that they would see the error of their ways.


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Oh I forgot the urban legends around the Eagle project.


1) Your project must be at least 100 hours. In fact the workbook states "No minimum number of hours is required.".. This may be a rule of thumb for those approving the project in the first place to see if the project will offer enough substance to show the scouts leadership qualities. But, if the project is completed with less then 100 hours it does not make the project invalid. (Ex. a scout has a gardening project that has turning over and enriching the soil. His proposal is to do so by hand which he estimates to be 200 hours. After the project is approved, he gets offers of rototillers or better yet, a bobcat.. Work takes less then 100 hours, but the project is done exactly as promised, maybe even a little better then promised.) The project is valid. I was shocked when one of our scouts stated his eagle project was under 100 hours and someone on the eagle board questioned it's merits. Luckily the head of the Eagle board went to the project (though he was not from the troop) and stated it was worth merit regardless of the time.) So even people on the eagle board get this confused.


2) You must have a fundraiser in your Eagle project. You don't, but again our EBOR members do like to see it. There are statements in the workbook of what limitations are on a fundraiser if you do one. But nothing that states you must have a fundraiser built into the project.

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Summer Camp merit badge counselors must be registered as merit badge counselors (code 42) with the Boy Scouts of America; Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures.




2010 National Standards for Cub Scout/Boy Scout/Venturing Resident Camps, M-73: ...A letter from the council advancement committee is provided approving merit badge counselors.


Since council camps must comply with the mandatory camp standards which do not require registration of counselors under code 42 many do not and will not register them.


Sauce for the gander anyone?

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