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SemperParatus

Limits on MB Counselors

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In our council, and I thought this was a general requirement of BSA National, the boy's Eagle Notebook is open to the Eagle Board of Review as evidence of his work. The notebook contains the application forms and all the write-up materials on the Eagle Project, and all the merit badge cards, with blue card stubs attached, that the boy has earned. The notebook is not approved without the original blue card stubs... this is why there is so much emphasis on the boy not losing them. The BOR members can easily see who signed all the blue card stubs, and if most of them are by mommy and daddy of course they would be concerned.

 

The merit badge program is supposed to broaden the boy's knowledge and experience in the real world, not just have his parents provide everything. We don't have a limit on parental signoffs here and if a parent did something like Art, Woodcarving, and some other general interest merit badges it would not cause a big problem. But the Eagle BOR is especially mindful of the Eagle Required merit badges, which are taken very seriously in meeting the exact requirements.(This message has been edited by KA6BSA)

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Are these limits on parent counselors and number of badges per counselor written up anywhere in the Boy Scout Handbook or the Eagle workbook? How would the boy know about these rules, and why did BSA leave them out of the books?? What should the Eagle board do when the encounter a boy that has too many badges from one counselor??

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For crying out loud folks, let common sense rule. You may have a dedicated Advancement Committee person who manages and/or upkeeps the dreaded merit badge counselor list(s) (whether it be the Troop's, District's, Council's, or all three). He/she can clearly manage the merit badge application process and can see trends of counselors involved way too much (parents included). The Scoutmaster also has to sign the blue card before the Scout(s) start(s) their merit badge work. He/she can also manage who goes where depending on work load, program, etc..

You folks are really trying to make this merit badge thing more complicated than it really is.

 

sst3rd

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KA6BSA,

"In our council, and I thought this was a general requirement of BSA National, the boy's Eagle Notebook is open to the Eagle Board of Review as evidence of his work. The notebook contains the application forms and all the write-up materials on the Eagle Project, and all the merit badge cards, with blue card stubs attached, that the boy has earned. The notebook is not approved without the original blue card stubs... this is why there is so much emphasis on the boy not losing them."

 

A general requirement? Its not even in any of the advancement rules anywhere.

 

What happens if a scout loses them? what happens if more than 2 is signed by the same councilor? Would they reject a scout?

 

First off your council is adding requirements to the eagle process. If your council has checked the application and verifired that the MB's listed on form are recorded, Thats all the proff he needs. I could see national in an appeal if your council rejected a scout. They would approve an appeal so fast on this.

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nlds - I agree. Furthermore, what happens when a scout transfers from a council that is not as strict (such as mine) to KA's council? Our council doesn't even require blue cards! Scoutmasters are supposed to verify that the process is followed, but no one follows up. I encourage the boys to keep the blue cards in a safe place, but there's no real penalty if they do lose them. What happens if they move to one of these strict councils? What happens if they do keep them, and they find four MBs signed by the same counselor?

 

I'm with sst3rd, they are making this out to be far more complicated than it needs to be. MBs are supposed to be fun and give the boy exposure to different aspects of life. They are not meant to turn them into politicians, EMTs, Lifegaurds, dentists, or any other profession. Let the guys have fun, make sure that the MB Counselors aren't "giving them away", and let go!

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If every merit badge the Scout earned was signed by the same counselor, what's the big deal? There is nothing in the BSA rules & regs that prohibits this. And if the Eagle candidate is turned down for this reason, then the advancement committee is adding to the requirements which is prohibited. And the Eagle candidate should appeal and will win.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

A blessed New Year to all!

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This may come as a small shock to some, but some Districts, like ours, don't use Blue Cards. Nearly all the merit badges earned by scouts in the troop I serve are earned at summer camp, Merit Badge Univerisities, or ocaisonnally offered at the Troop level or sometimes a specific camporee. None use Blue Cards. Like Eagle in KY there is no list of District MBCs for scout to go to beyond the Troop level. There is a Merit Badge Application that is filled out and turned in and signed by the MBC when the MB is complete. These, I keep with the Troop files. The only documentation that is asked for on Eagle Applications, that I've ever been asked for as the Advancement Chair for the Troop I serve is usually a signed copy of the Individual Advancement Report from Troopmaster. It only shows the dates of MB completion. I've sat in on a couple of Eagle BORs and have asked the question if the scout has ever taken the initiative to earn a MB outside of camp, an MBU, Camporee or the troop and usually get a blank stair, like "How else would you earn a MB.?"

 

 

I don't like this arrangement but it is the way it is at the District Level. It's not a matter of an individual unit "tweaking" the program. To most scouts and scouters in this district this is the way it's been for so long, this is considered the way it's supposed to be.

 

 

 

SA

 

 

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Barry,

 

Your're absolutely right, I agree with everything you've said and you've correctly described what I should do. First, since the corrupt system was so widespread, it took me a while to figure out that the District was doing things differently than other Districts. Second, right after I started to realize how messed up things were, a new District Advancement Chair had been appointed, and I had a discussion with him after one of the Eagle BORs. He recognized the problem, and indicated he would be makeing some changes. I told him if he needed help or support to give me a call. That was 18 months ago. However, while I was willing to help, I confess my first reaction had been, phew! finally someone will do something and I don't have to feel as guilty for just letting things go. We now also have a new DE so I'm hoping things will change. They probably will, but I'm reminded of the term, "Glacial Speed".

 

For my part, I have concentrated my efforts on how the Troop approaches MBs. We no longer have extended MB classes at Troop meetings. Occaisonally there will be a group activity coordinated by and MB counselor such as a visit to a facility or something but there are not classes, per se. I have tried to get the scouts to pursue MBs on their own or in small groups and coodinate with one of the troop counselors. The result has been fewer MBs awarded, but a wider variety. In past years a typical COH might have 20 scouts earning the same one MB, outside summer camp or the MBU . This year we had 4 First Aids, A couple of Citizen MBs, and one or two others, many completion of partials earned at summer camp.

 

And while I recognize the advancement issue, frankly I derive more satisfaction and fun out of helping with the Troop's outdoor program. This year we will be taking a trip to High Knoll and the experience will help the scouts meet the requirements of the Camping and Backpacking MBs. The primary purpose of the trip is to have fun, but we can meet many of the requirements for these MBs along the way. This maybe selfish of me, but it keeps me involved in scouting.

 

I can only slay so many windmills at a time and so far I still try to do a real job and maintain a real life at the same time. But, I appreciate the reminder and promise to bring the issue up again with the District Adv. Chair.

 

And I do love this scouting stuff as well.

 

Hope this hasn't side tracked the thread. For the record, I don't think advacement policies should differ from District to District. Whether its the use of Blue Cards or setting a limit on the number of badges an MBC can counsel.

 

SA

 

 

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My Council has a local rule: No more than six merit badges per counselor.

 

I'm old school here. MB program used to be a forced opportunity at socialization for youth. It forced them to do the very things they'll have to do later in life at job interviews.

 

There are times and places for a troop having a healthy "in-house" MB capability (rural units come to mind) ... but for urban/suburban/exurban units ... push the youth to new experiences.

 

My $0.02.

 

 

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Recently there was a Merit Badge day in our area that I thought took a good middle ground. It was sponsored by the Jewish scouting committee, but was open to all scouts. A list of counselors was posted, with the MBs they were counseling, and the scouts (not the parents) had to call the counselor to sign up. Although I publicized this to my son's troop, my son was the only one who made the call and signed up.

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Since we are making rules:

 

All MB counselors must have expertise in the area(s) that they are to teach. This can be demonstrated through prior training or experience.

 

Limit each MB counselor to 4 related badges, required or not.

 

Mom and Pop are out but can be a MB Counselor for 2 badges for other Scouts and selected instances with SM approval. This gives an exception rule that can be used cautiously.

 

This accomplishes several things. It shares Scouting responsibilities with many in the community. It reaches out to the community and brings many into Scouting that would never be there. It allows the Scout to reach out to the community and share the message that boys are still Scouts today. This program could be the best way to bring people back into Scouting.

 

Mom and Dad can be part of the Troop committee that supports the overall program and not just one element. It allows the Scout to act on his own rather than having parents that do it all for him. Having a Scout that does the work himself by working with others can be the best product for parental pride.

 

Hey this is kind of fun.

 

FB

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I see no one hear has ever dealt with the WHITE CARDS.

 

They are used by Greater St. Louis Area Council, I think.

 

On those merit badge applications, they actually require:

SM approval to start badge

couselor signature at start of badge

counselor signature on completion of badge

SM signature on completion of badge

 

and to top it all off...

 

The signature of the council's Scout Executive.

 

 

 

 

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White cards? - I got to believe that the Scout Exec signature is a rubber stamp applied by the clerk in the council office. No way he is signing thousands of cards a year. Sounds like a joke to me.

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I fall into what Eaglenky wrote-- I teach 7 MB classes with many yrs of background for each. -- I have never been contacted by any scouts from another troop in my district in 6 yrs.-- I feel like I could add some more but, I'm hoping that some other new members will step up to the plate. If they would like to make a new rule on limits maybe every adult should teach at least one Mb min. I know----- it's hard just getting someone. Good night RM

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