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No Recognition for Merit Badge Councelors

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I am a registered Merit Badge Counselor in the Balboa Oaks district specializing in Rifle and Shotgun training.

 

As a counselor I am sure that many other counselors have committed themselves to countless hours of training and educating of scouts to earn their merit badges.

 

I find it a shame that their is NO RECOGNITION ie: patch or "knot" to recognize those dedicated people who have served the scouting organization as counselors giving up many a weekend and night time to help educate and train scouts in their respective advancement.

 

I suggest that a MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR PATCH or KNOT be integrated into the recognition program to recognize the valued efforts of these individuals without whom thier would be no way for a scout to earn their merit badges.

 

Some form of recognition is due to the counselor. I myself conduct 16 hour classroom courses and personally pay for the scouts to learn and earn their Rifle or shotgun merit badges and have given countless courses traveling several miles to a qualified range.

 

In addition many of us have paid for expensive and time consuming training trough private organitations to become more efficient and qualified in our preffered catagory of training.

 

Shouldnt the BSA recognize our efforts with a counselor Patch or Knot?

 

Kindly

Lester Salay

NRA/BSA certified Instructor

 

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I have heard some adult leaders claim "I am not in this for recognition" and use this argument to criticise scouters with two to three rows of knots. I generally dissagree with this point of view. I have come accross very few scouters that were not extreemely dedicated, and perfectly willing to sacrifice their own resources without any compensation or recognition.

 

I think there should be more recognition awards (Knots) for scouters. The Cub program offers about 5 (from memory), and they make a clear distinction for each position held. (ie: Tiger Coach, DL, Weblos DL, CM, & Cub Scouter) I think that many MB counselors probably hold some other position that would qualify them for the Scout Leader Award. There should be some distinction between service as a MB counselor, Committee member and ASM.

 

CE

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Scoutinggus,

 

You should commended for your time, effort and money spent in assisting young people. You are also helping teach the responsible and safe use of guns, a task that we are all glad to know about.

 

I think that if you feel you would be satisfied by having a Merit Badge Counselor Knot for all of your hard work then it should be so. I am not in a position to grant such wishes, so it may not happen. I personally don't feel that it would fill the bill.

 

Something else seems wrong. If there are fees for the shooting range, buying bullets and targets, then the Scouts should be charged for those basic fees.

 

As for your certification expenses, hopefully, you are doing that because it is your hobby or your part-time job. If you have a basic fee that you charge for instruction, then that also might be charged to the Scouts.

 

If you are doing this all out of your own pocket, then you are justified in the thought that someone is simply taking a free ride. Scouts pay their own way and they should be informed about the basic expenses.

 

Now, if you want to give all of this without any fees, then people should be informed, so that they could have the opportunity to give you some type of recognition. If you have not been recognized in some way, then it is time to stop and have a talk with the District Key three. Your frustration is evident and you will most likely stop helping if not recognized.

 

I know that it would make you feel worse to speak to someone about your lack of recognition but you are important to us in today's world. What you are doing is valuable and needs to be recognized. I hope that you are able to solve this problem.

 

FB

 

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Scoutingus, I share your concerns that those who volunteer as MBC's are not recognized enough. I became the District Advancement Chair in a two year old district last year. When the new district was carved out of the old, all the existing district level positions stayed with the old district and we had a key three as the entire district committee. In those two intervening years, there were NO MBC's registered in the district at all. Yes, somebody dropped the ball, but that's a 'whole nuther story'.

 

In the last year, working with scouters and the public, we're almost to a position where we've got at least one MBC for every merit badge in our district. Those we don't have covered, such as Oceanography and Whitewater, are badges that are rather unlikely to be earned locally.

 

The idea of a MBC uniform knot for scouters isn't a bad idea, and I would support that. However, not all MBC's are uniformed scouters, and those individuals need recognition as well.

 

What I've proposed at the District level, and plan to propose at the next Council advancement committee meeting is that we order patch 8801CH (at the bottom half of the Custom Design page 3 in the 2004 BSA Leaders Edition catalog). This patch consists of the Timeless Values logo on a blue background with a yellow border. They can be customized with two lines of text. My thought is to have them embroidered "Merit Badge Counselor" over the top, and our council or district name across the bottom.

 

Uniformed scouters could wear them on their right pocket, civilian MBC's could wear them with a pocket clip on their shirt or jacket pocket. Unless I'm told this is against some policy or rule somewhere, I hope to do this, at least in our district (and probably at my own expense), and hopefully council wide.

 

I have one gentleman who has taught Auto Mechanics for our merit badge camporee the last two years. I went to him and scheduled next years camporee a week or so ago. He called me into his office and pointed to the wall. Next to his ASE certificates, his training certificates from every major automotive company in the world, and his University diploma are two framed BSA certificates of appreciation, and two Staff patches from our camporees.

 

Recognition helps to keep good volunteers, and if it can't or won't be done on a national level, a little creativity at the local level might fill the bill.

 

MTDScouter

 

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A few years ago, we invited the local Astronomy club to work with our troop on Astronomy MB. They registered as MBC, as required. At the COH where the badge was awarded, we invited them and also recognized them with a BSA "Thanks" pin and a Certificate of Appreciation. One of the counselors also asked me for a MB that she could sew on her ball cap, but Council wouldn't sell me one without an Advancement report. :-( With a little searching, I found one on eBay.

 

I don't disagree with establishing a knot for registered Scouters who do outstanding MBC service. I would also like to see knots for things of major accomplishment, such as BSA Lifeguard, 50 Miler Award, Historic Trails Award, etc.

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More knots? You have got to be kidding! There are too many now.

 

The Cub knots are a joke. When I see Scouters with three or more of these, I just laugh. Only 2 are legitimate, the Cubmaster Award and the Cub Scouter Award. The other three are redundant and ridiculous. Other Cubbie positions should be recognized with the Cub Scout Award, just like multiple Scouting positions are recognized with the Scouter's Training award.

 

Knots for BSA Lifeguard, 50 Miler Award, Historic Trails Award? There are already proper insignia to recognize those achievements. I have also seen suggested knots for Wood Badge, Philmont, the Vigil Honor, the Founder's Award and many other things. As before, proper insignia already exist for these honors and achievements as well. New knots would only be redundant.

 

Oh, and before you accuse me of just being jealous of Scouters with tons of knots, I have five of my own, as well as having earned or been honored with many of the suggestions in this thread.

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No, actually I wasn't kidding. This being a free country, Scouters are free NOT to wear any knot that they feel is a "joke". That's what I feel about the James E. West Fellowship knot that can be purchased for $1001.25.

 

The side-effect of my suggestion is that youth would also be eligible to wear those knots, in addition to the Religious Award knot that is currently authorized. More recognition can only be a good thing.

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Dear Blade,

 

I am sorry that you think that "knot" recognitions are a joke. As a Vietnam veteran I take pride in the "rows" of ribbons that I have earned in support of our country. I am sure many soldiers with 7 rows of distinction appreciate the "HONOR" of wearing and having EARNED them.

 

As for the "knots" specifically, they represent the same dedication and willing to achieve a higher standard as do any Police, Military or other "Badges of Honor" recipients.

 

I personally am in awe of those with 3 rows of "knots" as many of them have to be earned over several YEARS of commitment to our youth and Scouting.

 

If you look at what many of the knots represent they DO IN FACT have a legitimate merit, show self sacrifice, and true decication to the Scouting oath of doing their best ... AND THEN SOME.

 

I am again sorry that you feel knots or recognition is a joke. You yourself have admiited to having 5 and I can only reiterate was was written before.

 

If you think they are a joke WHY WEAR THEM?

 

If as an individual you APPRECIATE the accolades and pride of achievement above and beyond the call of duty ... I say WEAR THEM PROUDLY as do our soldiers, police and other public sevants.

 

God Bless Our troops ... Scoutingus

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A couple of things come to mind.

I know of very few uniformed Merit Badge Counselor's that hold that as their primary position.I suppose if there was a need National could come up with a position patch.

Merit Badge Counselor's are eligible for the District Award Of Merit and could be eligible for the Silver Beaver.

As for wearing or not wearing the recognition knots.I don't have a problem with them. I have gone out of my way to ensure that everyone who has met the requirements in our District has been recognized. If they chose to wear it or not is up to them. Over the years I have earned a lot of these knots. I have some uniform shirts that have all of them glued and sewn on. Some shirts that have a few and some with none.

As a District we present a James E. West Award , each year to an outstanding Scouter. So while some of us have donated the $1,000.00, others have been presented as a sign of appreciation.

Eamonn

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Just curious...if the West Fellowship award is presented by the District, where does the thousand bucks come from? As far as I can tell, the award can be "donated" to honor an individual, but the money must still go into the Endowment fund.

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I find it ironic that adults who voluntarily accepted the opportunity to share their joy and knowledge for an activity, now not only want a recognition for their benevolent activities, but they want to determine what award others should be giving them to recognize them for their donation.

 

We take years to teach a boy the value of doing good turns for others for no other reward than the satisfaction of having done their best to help others at all times....but don't expect an adult to do that without a patch.

 

If a person feels that they need a reward in order to feel appreciated for helping a child to grow, then this perhaps is not the organization for them to align themselves with. To graciously accept apprection shown to you by others is one thing, To expect an specify how that gratitude should be shown to you is something else entirely.

Just a thought.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Scoutingus,

you read more into my post than was there. I didn't write, nor did I imply, that knot insignia are a joke, only the majority of the Cub knots. The honors and awards that other knots represent are certainly no joke. I wear my knot insignia with pride and, I hope, humility. I hope every Scouter who chooses to wear such insignia will do the same.

 

Why bring military or police honors into this topic? What I wrote didn't mention or in any way reference such honors, nor do they have anything to do with this thread.

 

Knot insignia represent major achievements, awards and honors, Eagle Scout, religious emblems, Silver Beaver, Hornaday Award, Scoutmaster Award of Merit and others. BSA Lifeguard, 50 Miler Award, Historic Trails Award, etc., while fine achievements, just aren't in the same category. And, as previously mentioned, they already have insignia for recognition, nothing else is needed. Even honors that ARE in the same category as the aforementioned, specifically the Vigil Honor and the Founder's Award, do not have accompanying knot insignia, nor should they. They have other means to denote their recipients.

 

I have to go along with BW on his comments. Certainly we all like a pat on the back, but that's not why we are here. I am currently working with new Scouters, just over 2 years of experience, who are some of the finest people and hardest workers I've ever been associated with. More than likely none of them will ever receive the District Award of Merit, Silver Beaver or any other award beyond the Scouter's Training Award. The beautiful thing is they hardly know what these awards are, they aren't motivated by the desire for recognition. They're here for the boys.

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Well said Bob

As (our) Scouts take their skills and knowledge into the world, they offer us a far greater return than any knot or award can bestow. To know that there are youth out there that will remember working with you (and they will!) is the highest reward that one can ask for. Hold to your heart the idea that you have added a small piece of yourself as a contribution to a unique young man - and find that sufficient.

 

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It seems to me that merit badge counselors deserve thanks for what they do--my suggestion is that the boys should be reminded to thank the counselor. Personally, I would much rather have a note from a boy thanking me than a knot or certificate from the organization. Similarly, a thank-you letter from the unit would probably also be welcome. I'm going to put that on my list of things to do as advancement guy.

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