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Reason’s not to do MB’s at Troop Meetings

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I decided to spin-off a new thread just to get these in one place.

 

Going through the responses to wiseskier about Merit Badges at Meetings I got the following:

 

1) What do you do with Scouts that either have the MB or dont want to do the MB?

2) If you then start up a game for the scouts doing nothing, the scouts doing MBs want to stop and play the game.

3) The MB program is something for each boy to explore as he finds need and interest. MB should not be done in a group setting.

4) Doing MBs in Troop meeting distract from what the meeting is about - to practice leadership and prepare for Troop activities.

 

Any more?

 

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When you do a merit badge during a Scout meeting, look at all the phases of the merit badge program that are eliminated.

 

The scout doesnt look over the merit badge list, he just gets the merit badge du jour

 

The scout doesnt go to the scoutmaster and get a signed blue card and the name of an approved scoutmast, the counselor is assigned

 

The scout doesnt call the counselor of otherwise make arrangements for meeting, that all taken care of before the sessions start.

 

The whole dynamic of what the merit badge program is about it is short circuited when you do them at meetings PLUS the scouts dont learn what it take to run interesting meetings.

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To me, the big missing element is personal accountability/ownership. The scout comes to the meeting, does some homework, and has this little round patch handed to him in the end. That's the way many of them go. I realize that counselors can be tougher than that (and many are), but that is the impression many scouts have of the MB program.

 

When I look back at partials from Summer Camp, I'm amazed and dismayed at how many don't get finished. I've got scouts that only need to write a single page report to complete mammal study, or weave a stool bottom to get basketry, or cook a meal to complete cooking, etc. It's amazing how they won't follow-thru to finish them. I could make it easy and line up all the MB counselors every week and let them check them off, but I don't see that as contributing to the best outcome of the program.

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EagleinKY writes: "When I look back at partials from Summer Camp, I'm amazed and dismayed at how many don't get finished."

 

OK I admit that this makes me a little crazy too. Half the time it seems like, with another 20 minutes of work, they could be all done. Without crossing the line and pushing too hard, what (if anything) do you do about this? Does anybody do a sort of periodic check in with scouts in their troops to see how (or if) things are progressing? If you're a MB counselor, do you ever contact scouts with whom you had been working to see what's going on? And if you're a parent...do you engage in any gentle prodding? Or not?

 

Lisa'bob

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Summer camp partials can be annoying. We tell the Scouts they must try to finish their summer camp partials by the next summer camp or they must try to complete them their. We've had pretty good success this way.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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>>Summer camp partials can be annoying. We tell the Scouts they must try to finish their summer camp partials by the next summer camp or they must try to complete them their. We've had pretty good success this way.

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But Ed, that's not the BSA policy. (But please don't confuse me with your old buddy). I don't want to hijack this thread to discuss Summer Camp partials, my reason for saying it is that it demonstrates the lack of motivation on most of the scouts.

 

Of the handful of scouts that do wrap up their partials, they fall into one of three camps. (1) The overachievers that follow through (oh how I wish we had more of them :)). (2) The prodded by parents kids. These guys usually turn out well too. Mom & Dad just have to give them a kick every now and then. (3) The overprotected. I don't know what these are called. But these are the kids whose parents do most of the work for them and then pass it off as their sons work. I've got one right now that falls into this camp.

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In our troop, twice a year we print an individual scout record from troop master that includes personl info, advancements, completed merit badges, and partials with a list of what's needed to complete the badge. It's a simple process using troop master. The Scouts are given this handout at the August and February COH. They are told to look for mistakes to be corrected but it also serves to refresh their memories on how close they are to that badge. Within a couple weeks after the COH, we have a fresh new batch of completed merit badges. Seems to work like a charm.

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Our son aged out of the troop we are registered with a year ago. I am still on the troop committee and go to TC meetings. Boy scout troops are dynamic beings. They change with the people that are currently in them. Boy, has our troop changed! Anyway, about two years ago, the troop started having merit badge classes during troop meetings. The skills presentation part of the meeting went the way of the doo-doo bird in a hurry. Then came camporee. Not surprising that our guys did very poorly in all of the scouting skills competitions. Last place in one; next to last in another; last place in the next. And I mean last place overall in the district. But, hey, our guys were completing merit badges like crazy.

 

Then it happened. At a TC meeting several months ago the ASM brought up the troop's terrible showing at camporee, and we needed to get back to having skills demonstrations to prepare for camporee (It's in March.). Two of the TC members were in favor of maintaining the merit badge classes for the higher rank advancement requirements. Debate insued. I had been keeping my mouth shut on this one. Then my Wood Badge beads started feeling awfully heavy. So I waded into the fray.

 

I pointed out that not having skills presentations at troop meetings short-circuits the purpose of having a troop meeting in the first place, and short-changes the boys by eliminating the responsibility of putting together a skills demonstration. We have six patrols and a monthly calendar of topics for the months. It is published as a email sent out to the families' email addresses. The patrols have six months(!) to prepare demonstrations that could " . . . end up on Broadway.", to coin a phrase. But no. They don't even try to put on a demonstration. At the same time, merit badge classes at troop meetings short-circuits the merit badge program and one of the methods of scouting, "Adult Association". You know, where the boy gets the name of the counsellor, calls him/her on the telephone and starts the process.

 

You could hear the air molecules bumping into each other it got so quiet.

 

I told the SM that he needed to have a SM's Conference with the SPL to get the demonstrations going. He and the SPL had a little chat. It did no good. Fortunately, we have had an SPL elections since then; the new SPL is trying to get skills demonstrations going again. But troop meeting merit badge classes is a powerful narcotic, very powerful! The boys "earn" merit badges, get closer to the next rank, and who cares how the troop does in scout skills demonstrations at once-a-year camporees?

 

Do not fall into the merit badge class trap. Tell your SPL's what can happen, none of it any good in the long run. Sign me . . .

 

Not the most popular guy on the troop committee,

 

G.B.

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Well I recently lost a boy and a good ASM to a MB @ Troop meetings Troop. Dad had been on me since the Troop started to do this but I've stood my ground. However, I have 4 boys who are in the school band including my own. One meeting the boys wanted to discuss the MB program I thought cool they're getting it. They were looking over the poster of MB's and picking ones they were interested in by looking in the requirements book. These guys came across music and noticed that they pretty much had completed the requirements from their participation in band. They asked if they could work on music so I completed cards for them contacted council for a list of counselors, placed their names and numbers on the board and 9 months later not a one called any of the counselors. Fast forward to the end of the year when renewal of counselor sheets were turned in. These couselors did not renew so there were none for music. Since I'm a band booster too I signed up for this one and council accepted my applicaiton. Now I didn't tell the boys I was a counselor that is until the meeting before christmas when two of the band boys were looking at the MB poster (my son and his best friend) they noticed music again as did the other band members in the Troop. Then they looked at the board and noticed the names erased and said "hey you took the names off." I informed them that those people no longer counsel the music MB they had waited too long and missed the opportunity. They all said darn now we won't get that one. I asked them if they truely wanted to earn that MB and they said yes. So I issued new blue cards with my phone number on it and told them to call this counselor but not for two days as I know him and he will be attending a concert the next evening (their holiday concert). They didn't notice my number not even my son until he picked up the phone wednesday dailed the number and said "dad this number for the counselor is busy." I told him to check the number to make sure he dailed it right then he realized it was ours. I received three other calls that night. We worked on the badge after the next Troop meeting and finished it that night.

 

We have done similar with scholar and reading but they guys haven't completed their reports nor brought in their grades.

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As Advancement Coordinator I will typically bring in my laptop with Troopmaster on it to Troop meetings. About a month or so before a COH I'll make an announcement that any boy that wants to see what partials they have and connect with an MBC to finish up a badge before the COH to see me after the meeting. It's a gentle nudge and usually works with 3-4 scouts every COH.

 

Funny thing though. Over the years I've noticed the scouts that complete their advancement through Eagle don't earn many partials, and if they do, complete them relatively quickly without the nudging.

 

SA

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Some mb lend themselves to troop or patrol focus what counclor wants to keep track of 20 nights of camping but the sm or patrol leader in larger troop does this as a part of his job. For camping mb. It is amusing to see summer camps offering camping as one of their mb's how do they cram 20 nights into 1 week.

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>>It is amusing to see summer camps offering camping as one of their mb's how do they cram 20 nights into 1 week.

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Can I try a different tack?

 

I appreciate the comments about MBs at Troop meetings, and think that they are well-founded.

 

What are your thoughts about a patrol wanting to take on an MB as a patrol, outside of the Troop meeting?

 

We have many problems with our patrol method, better left to other topics. One of our patrols has met a couple of times outside of the Troop meeting, often just for fellowship - going to the movies, etc. The badge suggested was proffered by the quietest member of the patrol, and the one having the most difficulty with advancement. It seems like a positive opportunity to keep him in the program.

 

Are any of your concerns allayed by this being done by a patrol on their own time?

 

 

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I'd be ok with a patrol doing it on their own time.

 

For everyone (and it seems to be unanimous) who says we shouldn't do MBs at troop meetings: What do you do if the PLC decides that they want to do merit badges during the troop meeting? Do you overrule them?

 

Oak Tree

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