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Eagledad

Value of Merit Badge Programs

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Good comments on a very important topic. I am a bit concerned by EagleinKY post about boys earning the majority of MBs in summer camp. IMHO this is too many, 20-30% in summer camp seems closer to ideal. Earning them at home is more trouble, the boys have to call counselors, the Troop needs to maintain a list of counselors, the parents have to drive them etc. But this is a "good sort of trouble". My experience is the higher percentage of badges earned at camp, the less mature and competent the scout. It also undermines troop morale and espirit de corps when these kids show up decorated like South American generals after a week at camp, but don't remember a thing they learned. Kids like that may have rank but have taken too many shortcuts, other kids resent them, their leadership ability is compromised.

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John D - I don't disagree, it's just the reality of the program that is there today. Now, I will clarify one thing. I don't think the majority are "earned" at Summer Camp. I would bet that about 1/2 of those were started at summer camp, the boys brought home partials, and then completed them on their own.

 

Also, we're a young troop (mostly 1st & 2nd yr scouts). The first year at summer camp they usually take Basketry, Indian Lore, Leatherwork, etc. Other than Swimming, they usually don't take anything hard. The older boys tend to not take as many Merit Badges because they ones they take require more work. Therefore, I think if you look at a first year scout, most of the MBs are from camp. Get to a 3rd year scouts, and it's probably closer to your 20-30%.

 

I'm not sure of the percentages. When I get a chance, I'll try to figure it out.

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I hate to sound silly, and don't really have anything meaningful to contribute to the discussion (other than some agreement) but I'm really moved by the general tone and quality of this thread...

And thanks for the BP link!

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EagleinKy,

 

Nice research on the B-P quote.

 

And, if I may lead the forum in a rousing song...

 

Happy Class III Physical To You

Happy Class III Physical To You

Happy Class III Physical dear Eaglein KY

Happy Class III Physical To You!!!

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by SemperParatus)

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Wow!! What a wonderful discussion.

I can't help think that we send our Scouts messages. The headline showing the Worlds Youngest Eagle or the Lad who has earned every Merit Badge. Seem to make these guys into hero's.

The troop that OJ joined originally had a change of leadership and the new guys turned everything into being about Merit Badges. Of course a kid isn't going to say "Heck No!! Don't give me that I haven't earned it!! OJ, stayed and the badges arrived in a steady stream. Rules and requirements, were bent,adapted,altered and changed. He came home with Coin collecting, because he had a couple of the new state quarters. model making because he had made pine wood derby cars. None of this was his doing. Things came to a head when he said that he didn't want to go to troop meetings. I asked why? and he said that the troop meeting was at so and so's farm the troop was doing Farm Mechanics merit badge and he just didn't want to go. Soon after he changed troops

I have to ask why?

Why do they do that?

As a District we put a lot of time and effort into the District Merit Badge list. We have in fact made becoming a merit badge counselor a lot more difficult in order to get away from the abuses that were going on.

Our summer camp is all about Merit Badges, the quality is not good, but the staff is young and the pay isn't high enough to attract older staffers.

I really wish we could get back to the idea of Scouts planning and plotting their own advancement path. Sure some Lads might need a friendly kick in the pants, while others might need to asked to take it easy.

Scouting shouldn't be the rush to Eagle, Summer Camp should be fun, not the rush from class to class.

Sure the troop will as it follows the annual plan, come across opportunities that lend themselves to completing parts or even maybe entire merit badges, but this should not be done by design.

Maybe there is even a good argument for easy merit badges. I see little harm in a little fellow coming home from camp with a fishing merit badge, even if the standard was incredibly low. If this helps to light the fire, I can live with that.

If a Lad has set his sights on becoming an Eagle, he may well need help, knowing what to do next and where to go. Adults who help him are the backbone of Scouting. We have been around to help and support for 95 years.

I have always thought that we need to do more with participation than just rush to hand out merit badges.

Sure I had Scouts who went out and were gung-ho for merit badges, but I also had others who were happy to do the stuff that they wanted to do. Scouts who liked hanging out at camp and doing fun type stuff.

Merit Badges do and can have value. But that value is diminished with the weekly merit badge class, unless that is what the Scout has asked for. Merit Badges that come in Crackerjack boxes are worthless and have no value. Why anyone would want to do this is beyond me.

Eamonn.

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Why would anyone want to do this?

 

Because that's what their parents subconsciously teach them. Their view of "achievement" is to make sure their little "Johnnie" gets more merit badges and makes Eagle as early as possible. Then they can move on to the next goal...soccer, football, drama, Tae Kwon Do, etc. From their earliest days, kids today are on a schedule. Both parents work, so the "after school" hours need to be tightly structured in order to "get it all in". Kids have no time to just be kids and "go outside and play". They don't have time to smell the roses along the scouting trail...they need to participate in too many different activities before they go off to college. The parents bring them to meetings on Monday night - that's our window of opportunity. Don't expect them to think Scouting on Tuesday or Thursday too...don't have time. IMHO, this leads to the mentality that "I just need the badge, I don't have time to work at it. I don't have time to do it over. I don't have time to meet with a counsellor on Saturday because that's soccer practice." So, I'll show up one hour a week and stay awake ... and at the end I expect a badge. If I don't get it the first time, forget it. I'm already on to the next "achievement."

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I'm sorry Scout leader, I have to disagree.

In our case OJ and his parents, had no part in this.

Sure Her That Must Be Obeyed and myself would over the moon and really proud if he decides to make Eagle Scout a goal. But it has to be his goal.

The idea of changing troops was his. He saw what was going on and wanted no part of it. I guess I played a part in making him see that there was no Merit in the badges he was getting.

He shares my view that Scouting should be fun. At times he is a lazy little toad. But every now and then something comes along that peaks his interest, that something can last a very short time or can be on going.

JLTC peaked as does the OA. He enjoyed being SPL. He has at times worked his tail off working on Eagle Scout projects that his pals are doing.

He toddled off to summer camp last year, had a great time being SPL, hung out with his pals from the OA. His SM told me that he was the best SPL that they have had in a long time. He came home with one Merit Badge. He was upset because who ever was in charge of one Merit Badge, wouldn't allow him to retake it. He wanted to retake it because he felt that he needed too.

Still when I look at him and what he is doing I'm proud of him and pleased to see that he is having fun. This summer he is off too Philmont and will be a Junior Staff member at the Jambo. He has not made Eagle Scout one of his goals, he doesn't care if he never gets another Merit Badge. Part of the fault must lay with these twits, who may very well have the best of intentions, but to my mind they are doing so much harm. Harm to the Scouts in their care. What message are they passing on to these kids? Harm to the program? Sure if we hand this stuff out it becomes meaningless.

What they are doing isn't Scouting. I'm not sure what it is? Sure they may have flocks of Eagles but these Lads are not Scouts. It makes my blood boil.

Eamonn

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I am interested in being a merit badge counselor in the Northwest District of Columbia in the National Capital Area Council.

I have not been involved in scouting in many years.

Can anyone give me an insight into the quality of the post first class advancement program in this area and does anyone have any suggestions in whom to contact.

Thanks,

 

Jack Person

202 403 4066

 

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I am new to being a MB councilor and feel a bit lost. I have not even recieved any offical OK from our Council as an MB councilor. We have been told that no response means we are OK. We don't get lists of area councilors to try to contact for the kids. It feels a bit like the council would rather the MB come form camps etc. I don't know if I should push to get some type of list from Council or try to wing itand find them by asking everyone if/what the teach.

 

I also get the impression from some of the area adults that expecting the kids to spend more time on a badge than they would in summer camp is unfair. I know what I think I should do (stand my ground and expect the work - specifically the Enviromental Science MB. "why waste the time when you can do it in a week at camp" is what I was told) but I would like to get some input from adults with more experence in dealing with these things

 

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For jackperson:

 

Contact the folks at http://www.boyscouts-ncac.org/ and they should be able to put you in touch with the right District Advancement person.

 

For FireKat:

Find out if your District or Council has a person who manages Merit Badge Counselors. Ask that person for the list. That way, you can see if you are on it, and see who else is on it as well.

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FireKat,

Merit Badges are managed by the District Advancement Committee. We have a Dean of Merit Badges. He keeps the list updated and in this age of high speed communication will E-mail a Scout the entire list if and when asked.

The list has Counselors who are willing to take on all comers and those that only want to work with their own unit.

You really should receive a card from your Council Registrar saying that you are a MB Counselor.

I would give the District Advancement Chairman a prod, wake him up and see what happens.

Eamonn.

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