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goodkidsmom

"Do one of the following" - who chooses?

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Grumpy is correct in that the orientation guide says the Scout and the counselor together will decide the projects. It does NOT say the counselor will dictate the options the Scout must take. It does not say the counselor has the last word. Why would a counselor not want to help the boy pursue the options that interest him?

 

The merit badge program is one of Scoutings character building tools. Boys learn skills that may help them choose their lifework. They may develop hobbies that will stay with them their entire lives. I think counselors should be facilitating this growth and encourage the boys to choose their own goals and to pursue them. How does eliminating options the counselor doesnt like help this growth process?

 

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I fully agree that the counselor should not exclude an option he doesn't like. But there may be options he can't counsel. Examples:

1. A Citizenship in the Community MBC says: "I want you to go to the city council meeting, not the school board meeting, because the council meetings are more educational." Wrong.

2. A Snow Sports MBC says, "I'm happy to counsel you, but I can only sign off downhill or crosscountry skiing, not snowboarding. I don't know enough about snowboarding to approve those." This is different--I suppose we could question whether that person has the proper qualifications to be a Snow Sports MBC, but I don't think he's doing anything wrong as long as he's up front about it. Would anybody disagree with that?

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Hunt's examples sound good to me.

 

How about this one, for Coin Collecting:

"I know you already gave a talk about coin collecting at your school [10c], but I want you to go to a coin show with me [10b]. I'm the merit badge counselor and I'll decide what I will and will not approve."

 

That was GoodKid's experience (not for coin collecting, but the example is nearly identical) with a badge counselor with whom he'll never do another badge; when we checked with various troop adults including the SM and CC, the strong consensus was that this was the MB Counselor's prerogative.

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Just out of curiosity, when did he give the talk?

 

Did he do it while working on the MB?

 

The reason I ask is, there are some people that will only sign off on things done since starting the MB. Is this right? I don't really know, but if that is what they decide to do, there isn't any way to make them sign something they don't want to.

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As I understand it, the MBC is the last word on what he will or will not approve, and there's really no recourse other than to go get another MBC--I suppose the council would remove a MBC if it got enough reports of actions violating procedures. What we're really talking about here is what the MBC should do.

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FScouter: the MBC is the SM (Previous SM as GK switched troops), chosen because it seemed reasonable to choose the SM to do a MB with.

 

Proud Eagle: The talk was done after starting the badge, for the purpose of the badge, and by the scout's choice when reading over the requirements. GK had not discussed with the SM/MBC that he wanted to do it this way, he just went ahead and did it.

 

In this particular instance we pointed out over the course of several MB meetings that GK had already done 10c (talk) and that 10b(show) would be difficult to fit in our busy schedule, and eventually MBC signed off.

 

 

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"Working with a merit badge counselor gives Scouts contact with an adult with whom they might not be acquaianted. This is a valuable experience." - BSA

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As a Personal Management MBC, here's how I've hadled this question.

 

In the old requirments, with which I am more familiar at this point, requirment 3 gave Scouts the option to prepare a personal budget for three months -or- prepare a list of the costs associated with living on ones own. Both are valuable requirments, and frankly, I'd applaud if the MB required both. But they were an either / or proposition, and I feel so strongly that learning how to plan a budget is an important life skill, I would emphasis this requirement as I was speaking with the Scout the first time. My spiel would go something like: "Requirment #3 asks for you to prepare a budget. What do you understand a budget to be? Good. Yes, it's a plan, and then the recording you will do is just the scorekeeping. Now, do you understand yet what the differences between fixed and variable expenses are? OK, well, when you read the pamphlet, you'll understand better, but here's a basic description... Now, in which catagory would "pay yourself first" belong? Yes, that's right. In order to make sure you're on the right track, make sure you show me your budget before you get too far into the record keeping".

 

I hope by this method, the Scout gets a good understanding of the reason he is asked to do a budget, and hopefully, recognizes that I feel it's an important life skill to practice.

 

Now, if he come back to me next week with his list of expenses for living on his own written out, and if they are acceptable, we'd discuss those, and I'd sign him off. He completed the requirement. I'd never make him do the one I think he should. But I've never had any of the over 25 Scouts I've counseled on this badge do that. They all plan a budget. And every single one has thanked me for opening their eyes to the value of this.

 

Once again, a 600 word post when probably 300 would have sufficed. But I hope it helps.

 

Mark

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Thanks for all the responses - and Mark, I appreciate the full explanation.

 

One thing I still don't know is if and/or where the BSA directly addresses this.

 

GKM

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