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#1 christineka

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:13 AM

How does to whole merit badge counselor thing work? I had thought the boys decided on a merit badge, then had to get a blue card and buddy, then track down a counselor, meet with counselor, get the work done, then meet with counselor again to get the card signed, then turn the blue card in to someone. Scout master guy of community troop told me last night that no counselor is needed for most badges. He said there were only a few badges that required a counselor. Is that right? I had been encouraged to become a merit badge counselor, but it seems there's no need because I don't do any of those badges that require a professional.
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#2 dg98adams

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:24 AM

Every Merit Badge REQUIRES a district approved councilor to sign the completed Blue Card (Scout Record) and provide Merit Badge instruction on THAT Merit Badge . Run, do not walk from this SM. The SM councils the Scout before starting ANY badge and provides or suggest concilor contact info. The SM signs a portion of the card to acknowledge the Scouts is starting the badge (not granting permission). Some require special certification like Rifle (NRA Rifle Instructor). The SM is not automatically authorized to sign Merit Badge cards jut because he is a SM... there is a Merit Badge applicaton for adults who are vetted by the District Advancement chair. Merit Badge Councilors are a District responsibility, not a SM one.
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#3 qwazse

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:33 AM

Sounds odd. Maybe he meant that he and members of the troop have counselors for every Eagle-required badge and lots of non-required ones. So, they don't muck about with a blue card system -- or registering their councilors with the BSA. Less paperwork for everyone involved. If I recall, my oldest brother's SM operated the same way. (This was back before blue-cards were in popular use.) Worked just fine until he achieved Life rank. Then SM moved away without a trace, and there was ZERO record of my brother's advancement, and no way form him to officially complete his Eagle requirements. My point is, there's no stopping an SM from doing things however he wants to do them, but there comes a point where what he does, although working fine for years, may wind up selling some boy short. That handbook you just got your boy -- it's his diary of scouting. As he earns an award, teach him to fill in the appropriate blank on the advancement section. Then, teach him to file away in a box or a binder the other paperwork that certifies he earned particular badges. Maybe you've heard that dogs love trucks? Well, boy scouts love paperwork! Regarding serving as a MBC to help some other boys in your district? Talk to the district commissioner.
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#4 christineka

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:03 PM

Sounds odd. Maybe he meant that he and members of the troop have counselors for every Eagle-required badge and lots of non-required ones. So, they don't muck about with a blue card system -- or registering their councilors with the BSA. Less paperwork for everyone involved.

If I recall, my oldest brother's SM operated the same way. (This was back before blue-cards were in popular use.) Worked just fine until he achieved Life rank. Then SM moved away without a trace, and there was ZERO record of my brother's advancement, and no way form him to officially complete his Eagle requirements.

My point is, there's no stopping an SM from doing things however he wants to do them, but there comes a point where what he does, although working fine for years, may wind up selling some boy short.

That handbook you just got your boy -- it's his diary of scouting. As he earns an award, teach him to fill in the appropriate blank on the advancement section. Then, teach him to file away in a box or a binder the other paperwork that certifies he earned particular badges.

Maybe you've heard that dogs love trucks? Well, boy scouts love paperwork!

Regarding serving as a MBC to help some other boys in your district? Talk to the district commissioner.

He explained the merit badge process to me and my son: go on meritbadge.org, look through the list, pick something of interest (or looks easy), print the worksheet, do the worksheet, then return it. He stated that he and a lady, who is the mother of one of the boys are emts, so they are qualified to teach first aid. he also stated he was a trumpet player, which qualified him for bugling. I asked about counselors and he said they weren't needed for most badges. His troop is of older boys. Not sure I want my barely 11 year old son around only 16-17 year old boys. They seem to be more of an adventure club than scouters, but maybe we caught them on an off night? They apparently camp once a month as well as do a merit badge once a month. I don't see them working on rank advancement for my son, though. My son did enjoy himself, making a pinewood derby car. It's the first time he was ever allowed to cut it himself. (I know he should have been able to before, but he wasn't allowed by his father.) I'll email the 11 year old leader to see if there are any other community troops. He has access to the database of them all.
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#5 Old_OX_Eagle83

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:52 PM

There's all kinds of bad information in play here. From the Scout's prospective: 1. The scout goes to his Scoutmaster with a request to work on a Merit Badge. 2. The scoutmaster assign's the Scout a Counselor. 3. The Scoutmaster issues the Scout a Blue Card 4. The scout presents to the Counselor with the Blue Card 5. Following all Youth Protection Rules of BSA, and the Scout's Charter Organization, the scout works with the appointed Counselor until completion, or either party can't continue. 6. Retaining his portion of the Blue Card the Counselor returns the remaining two updated portions of the Blue Card to the Scout 7. The Scout Returns to his Scoutmaster who will verify the Blue Card is completed correctly, and in doing so be put on notice that the scout is no longer working with the Counselor. 8. Retaining his portion of the Blue Card the scout delivers the remaining portion of the Blue Card to the Troop Advancement Chair. There are two flavors of Merit Badge Counselors: 1. Council 2. Unit The Council Counselor is registered in this position with the Council, has completed Merit Badge Counselor Orientation & Youth Protection Training, and has been approved for the specific merit badges in question by the Council AC. (The Council AC often delegates these duties and responsibilities to his District AC's). The Unit Counselor still needs to be registered as a Merit Badge Counselor, but has specified he wants to work with one unit only. He must still have: completed Merit Badge Counselor Orientation & Youth Protection Training, and have been approved for the specific merit badges in question by the Troop AC.(The Council AC can revoke the registration of Unit Counselors, but only does so in extreme cases) The Scoutmaster has ultimate authority on assignment of Scouts to Merit Badge Counselors, and his decision can't be overridden. However, the SM does not approve MB work, just the Counselor, and that only at the point of assignment. A Unit Advancement Chair can remove a Unit MB Counselor, but not reject a completed Merit Badge after the fact, just as a Scoutmaster cannot. I hope this clarifies things.
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#6 Old_OX_Eagle83

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:01 PM

Sounds odd. Maybe he meant that he and members of the troop have counselors for every Eagle-required badge and lots of non-required ones. So, they don't muck about with a blue card system -- or registering their councilors with the BSA. Less paperwork for everyone involved.

If I recall, my oldest brother's SM operated the same way. (This was back before blue-cards were in popular use.) Worked just fine until he achieved Life rank. Then SM moved away without a trace, and there was ZERO record of my brother's advancement, and no way form him to officially complete his Eagle requirements.

My point is, there's no stopping an SM from doing things however he wants to do them, but there comes a point where what he does, although working fine for years, may wind up selling some boy short.

That handbook you just got your boy -- it's his diary of scouting. As he earns an award, teach him to fill in the appropriate blank on the advancement section. Then, teach him to file away in a box or a binder the other paperwork that certifies he earned particular badges.

Maybe you've heard that dogs love trucks? Well, boy scouts love paperwork!

Regarding serving as a MBC to help some other boys in your district? Talk to the district commissioner.

Christineka,

Keep in mind this is no longer Cub Scouts, the Troop will not work on rank advancement for your son, that is his responsibility. If you son, not you, is unsure of what to do he need to go to his Patrol Leader for guidance (if he's in a young scout patrol he may have a Troop Guide instead of a Patrol Leader).

Those older boys are the troop leaders, it's good that they're there. Scoutmasters coach and mentor senior youth, they do not run the program.

Also keep in mind all those outings are where you so leans, grows, and as a byproduct advances. The outdoors are the learning lab for Boy Scouts.

Lots of older scouts, and an active outdoor program are signs of a healthy unit. There are some questions about advancement in the unit that need explored. Your contact is the New Parent Coordinator; if the unit doesn't have one speak with the Advancement Chair.
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#7 ScoutNut

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:03 PM

Sounds odd. Maybe he meant that he and members of the troop have counselors for every Eagle-required badge and lots of non-required ones. So, they don't muck about with a blue card system -- or registering their councilors with the BSA. Less paperwork for everyone involved.

If I recall, my oldest brother's SM operated the same way. (This was back before blue-cards were in popular use.) Worked just fine until he achieved Life rank. Then SM moved away without a trace, and there was ZERO record of my brother's advancement, and no way form him to officially complete his Eagle requirements.

My point is, there's no stopping an SM from doing things however he wants to do them, but there comes a point where what he does, although working fine for years, may wind up selling some boy short.

That handbook you just got your boy -- it's his diary of scouting. As he earns an award, teach him to fill in the appropriate blank on the advancement section. Then, teach him to file away in a box or a binder the other paperwork that certifies he earned particular badges.

Maybe you've heard that dogs love trucks? Well, boy scouts love paperwork!

Regarding serving as a MBC to help some other boys in your district? Talk to the district commissioner.

Wow - Just Wow.

Find another Troop. This guy is doing his own program, not BSA's.

As to a "database" of area Troops, you have access to one also.

https://beascout.scouting.org/

This is the BSA unit finder. Just go to "Boy Scouts", and plug in your zip code. It will give you a list of local Boy Scout Troops, as well as a map showing where most of the units in your greater area are.
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#8 christineka

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:08 PM

Sounds odd. Maybe he meant that he and members of the troop have counselors for every Eagle-required badge and lots of non-required ones. So, they don't muck about with a blue card system -- or registering their councilors with the BSA. Less paperwork for everyone involved.

If I recall, my oldest brother's SM operated the same way. (This was back before blue-cards were in popular use.) Worked just fine until he achieved Life rank. Then SM moved away without a trace, and there was ZERO record of my brother's advancement, and no way form him to officially complete his Eagle requirements.

My point is, there's no stopping an SM from doing things however he wants to do them, but there comes a point where what he does, although working fine for years, may wind up selling some boy short.

That handbook you just got your boy -- it's his diary of scouting. As he earns an award, teach him to fill in the appropriate blank on the advancement section. Then, teach him to file away in a box or a binder the other paperwork that certifies he earned particular badges.

Maybe you've heard that dogs love trucks? Well, boy scouts love paperwork!

Regarding serving as a MBC to help some other boys in your district? Talk to the district commissioner.

There are only older scouts. My son would be 5 years younger than the next youngest scout. The first community troop I found had only 11 year olds and so I kept looking to find a troop with a range of ages of boys. This troop is the opposite with only older boys. Next week they're doing an activity that is only for 12 and up,so my son can't participate. I do think that an active program is important. I apologize if it sounded like I thought camping and working on merit badges was not appropriate. To the contrary. They just sorta left out the part about saying the pledge or wearing any semblance of a uniform, or having boys as leaders or anything of that scout-y type stuff. ("Pledge" was pulling the folded flag out of the bag, raising it in the air and proclaiming that part to have been completed.) The boys were really nice and helped my son with his cutting. They let him have the clamp because he wasn't allowed to use power tools, as they were.
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#9 Tim in NJ

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:38 PM

In case you need it in writing: http://www.scouting....dgeprogram.aspx

I don't know what this "scoutmaster" is doing, but its not the Boy Scouts of America.
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#10 perdidochas

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 03:53 PM

Here's the way it's supposed to work: 1. Boy wants to work on meritbadge X. 2. He asks Advancement chair for blue card. 3. Then he asks Scoutmaster to sign blue card, and recommend a counselor. 4. He contacts the counselor. This can be easy--if MBC for Badge x is at troop meeting, or at a merit badge university, etc. 5. He meets with counselor (and at least one other person nearby for YPT). and begins work on requirements. 6. Meets as needed until badge is done. Then counselor signs off and keeps his part of blue card, and the SM signs of, then the Advancement chair gets one part of blue card, the scout keeps the remaining part. 7. Next Court of Honor, the scout receives badge and card.
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#11 jpstodwftexas

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:24 AM

As a Merit Badge Counselor I personally hate that Certain Troops have MBCs for Every Eagle and enough Easy other Merit Badges to get youths to Eagle, yet those Counselors only Work with their Troops..hate to say this but I am suspicious of their Ability and Willingness to actually teach a Subject.. As For the SM only allowing Scouts to work with a Counselor. I believe it should be the Youths Choice who they Earn the Merit Badge from not the Scoutmasters. I wish BSA would rule that Youths could not be Taught in House...No More Troop MBCs.
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#12 qwazse

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 11:28 PM

Some scouters get fed up with all of the "Byzantine bureaucracy." They get fed up of shelling out $ for pamphlets. I kind of agree. I would far prefer pamphlets that are low-budget, black-and-white books because that shows a good faith effort that BSA is trying to make scouting accessible to everybody. I'm not a big fan of worksheets, because ink and paper is expensive, and they could easily be produced for pennies on the dozen. So would it hurt the scout shop to have items that sell for a nickle? But they don't. So folks get fed up of MBs starting with a $3.50 purchase of a pamphlet, and chasing down adult applications, etc ... But they they also miss the point of going outside of the troop for a resource, or calling somebody and maybe have them come and present their career/hobby to them, or maybe arranging a visit to a location related to a merit-badge. Scouting was never meant to be an insular, go-it-alone endeavor. There are other missed opportunities. In this thread, the OP would like to be an MBC, and one troop basically shut the door on her. That's a shame. Because if one of those knuckle dragging boys would have said, "Mrs. C. would you like to council us on __ MB?" Maybe she would not be so apprehensive about the age difference between them and her son.
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#13 ScoutNut

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 12:06 PM

There's all kinds of bad information in play here.

From the Scout's prospective:
1. The scout goes to his Scoutmaster with a request to work on a Merit Badge.
2. The scoutmaster assign's the Scout a Counselor.
3. The Scoutmaster issues the Scout a Blue Card
4. The scout presents to the Counselor with the Blue Card
5. Following all Youth Protection Rules of BSA, and the Scout's Charter Organization, the scout works with the appointed Counselor until completion, or either party can't continue.
6. Retaining his portion of the Blue Card the Counselor returns the remaining two updated portions of the Blue Card to the Scout
7. The Scout Returns to his Scoutmaster who will verify the Blue Card is completed correctly, and in doing so be put on notice that the scout is no longer working with the Counselor.
8. Retaining his portion of the Blue Card the scout delivers the remaining portion of the Blue Card to the Troop Advancement Chair.

There are two flavors of Merit Badge Counselors: 1. Council 2. Unit

The Council Counselor is registered in this position with the Council, has completed Merit Badge Counselor Orientation & Youth Protection Training, and has been approved for the specific merit badges in question by the Council AC. (The Council AC often delegates these duties and responsibilities to his District AC's).

The Unit Counselor still needs to be registered as a Merit Badge Counselor, but has specified he wants to work with one unit only. He must still have: completed Merit Badge Counselor Orientation & Youth Protection Training, and have been approved for the specific merit badges in question by the Troop AC.(The Council AC can revoke the registration of Unit Counselors, but only does so in extreme cases)

The Scoutmaster has ultimate authority on assignment of Scouts to Merit Badge Counselors, and his decision can't be overridden. However, the SM does not approve MB work, just the Counselor, and that only at the point of assignment.

A Unit Advancement Chair can remove a Unit MB Counselor, but not reject a completed Merit Badge after the fact, just as a Scoutmaster cannot.

I hope this clarifies things.

A few corrections to the above -

The Troop AC has no say at all in which merit badges a person can counsel. All merit badge counselors are registered thru, and approved by, their Council/District Advancement Committee. It is that committee that approves which specific merit badges the person can be a counselor for - even for those merit badge counselors that have decided to work with only one Troop.

The SM does NOT have "ultimate authority on assignment of Scouts to Merit Badge Counselors". He CAN be "overridden". From the 2013 Guide To Advancement - Section 7.0.0.3 -

"Although it is the unit leader's responsibility to see that at least one merit badge counselor is identified from those approved and made available, the Scout may have one in mind with whom he would like to work. The unit leader and Scout should come to agreement as to who the counselor will be.Lacking agreement, THE SCOUT MUST BE ALLOWED TO WORK WITH THE COUNSELOR OF HIS CHOICE, so long as the counselor is registered and has been approved by the council advancement committee."

A Unit Advancement Chair can NOT "remove a Unit MB Counselor". That can only be done by the Council/District Advancement Committee. A unit SM, and Advancement Chair, can discuss with a Scout which counselors are good/bad for a specific merit badge. They can even, in some specific cases, limit the number of badges a Scout can earn from a single MB counselor. However, a unit can not "remove" a counselor.
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#14 JoeBob

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:28 PM

As a Merit Badge Counselor I personally hate that Certain Troops have MBCs for Every Eagle and enough Easy other Merit Badges to get youths to Eagle, yet those Counselors only Work with their Troops..hate to say this but I am suspicious of their Ability and Willingness to actually teach a Subject.. As For the SM only allowing Scouts to work with a Counselor. I believe it should be the Youths Choice who they Earn the Merit Badge from not the Scoutmasters. I wish BSA would rule that Youths could not be Taught in House...No More Troop MBCs.

JP, we're on the opposite ends of this one.

I won't sign off on many of the Merit Badge 'Clinics' or 'Fairs' for my scouts. These events are frequently fund-raisers and poorly run, with little interest in actually teaching the subject and meeting the requirements. (Some badges do lend themselves to clinics, so I have to judge each case separately.)

Whereas I know the counselors in my troop, and they know the boys that they're working with. We all toe the line about meeting requirements, and can discuss individual boys' needs.

You want the boys to approve their own counselors? It will be all clinics and 6 to 8 merit badges 'earned' a weekend.
At least with my troop MBCs I know that they're learning.
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#15 perdidochas

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:41 AM

As a Merit Badge Counselor I personally hate that Certain Troops have MBCs for Every Eagle and enough Easy other Merit Badges to get youths to Eagle, yet those Counselors only Work with their Troops..hate to say this but I am suspicious of their Ability and Willingness to actually teach a Subject.. As For the SM only allowing Scouts to work with a Counselor. I believe it should be the Youths Choice who they Earn the Merit Badge from not the Scoutmasters. I wish BSA would rule that Youths could not be Taught in House...No More Troop MBCs.

Well, I see both sides of the issue, but honestly, without the troop only option, many wouldn't be MBCs at all. I also have seen MBCs at camp vs. at troop, and the troop MBCs are much more thorough. The SM has the choice, because he can more easily see the quality of MBCs than youths. Why are you against in-house? To me, it turns MBs into part of the troop process, rather than an add-on.
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#16 perdidochas

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:53 AM

Some scouters get fed up with all of the "Byzantine bureaucracy." They get fed up of shelling out $ for pamphlets. I kind of agree. I would far prefer pamphlets that are low-budget, black-and-white books because that shows a good faith effort that BSA is trying to make scouting accessible to everybody. I'm not a big fan of worksheets, because ink and paper is expensive, and they could easily be produced for pennies on the dozen. So would it hurt the scout shop to have items that sell for a nickle? But they don't. So folks get fed up of MBs starting with a $3.50 purchase of a pamphlet, and chasing down adult applications, etc ...

But they they also miss the point of going outside of the troop for a resource, or calling somebody and maybe have them come and present their career/hobby to them, or maybe arranging a visit to a location related to a merit-badge. Scouting was never meant to be an insular, go-it-alone endeavor.

There are other missed opportunities. In this thread, the OP would like to be an MBC, and one troop basically shut the door on her. That's a shame. Because if one of those knuckle dragging boys would have said, "Mrs. C. would you like to council us on __ MB?" Maybe she would not be so apprehensive about the age difference between them and her son.

Have you bought paperback books/magazines lately? The price of MB pamphlets is reasonable, IMHO. The pamphlets aren't necessary. Instead of worksheets, you can print out a single sheet of paper that has just the requirements without all the extra blanks.


http://www.scouting....es/mb-CAMP.aspx
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#17 christineka

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 12:53 PM

Some scouters get fed up with all of the "Byzantine bureaucracy." They get fed up of shelling out $ for pamphlets. I kind of agree. I would far prefer pamphlets that are low-budget, black-and-white books because that shows a good faith effort that BSA is trying to make scouting accessible to everybody. I'm not a big fan of worksheets, because ink and paper is expensive, and they could easily be produced for pennies on the dozen. So would it hurt the scout shop to have items that sell for a nickle? But they don't. So folks get fed up of MBs starting with a $3.50 purchase of a pamphlet, and chasing down adult applications, etc ...

But they they also miss the point of going outside of the troop for a resource, or calling somebody and maybe have them come and present their career/hobby to them, or maybe arranging a visit to a location related to a merit-badge. Scouting was never meant to be an insular, go-it-alone endeavor.

There are other missed opportunities. In this thread, the OP would like to be an MBC, and one troop basically shut the door on her. That's a shame. Because if one of those knuckle dragging boys would have said, "Mrs. C. would you like to council us on __ MB?" Maybe she would not be so apprehensive about the age difference between them and her son.

So, you don't need either worksheets or the merit badge books? I am not particularly fond of worksheets.
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#18 christineka

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 12:55 PM

Also, I did become a merit badge counselor for two unpopular badges. I've just begun the process of applying for 5 more and was wondering what the use was. I think several of them would be more popular. (I have the form filled out- just need to scan and send to the district guy.)
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#19 qwazse

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 02:06 PM

Some scouters get fed up with all of the "Byzantine bureaucracy." They get fed up of shelling out $ for pamphlets. I kind of agree. I would far prefer pamphlets that are low-budget, black-and-white books because that shows a good faith effort that BSA is trying to make scouting accessible to everybody. I'm not a big fan of worksheets, because ink and paper is expensive, and they could easily be produced for pennies on the dozen. So would it hurt the scout shop to have items that sell for a nickle? But they don't. So folks get fed up of MBs starting with a $3.50 purchase of a pamphlet, and chasing down adult applications, etc ...

But they they also miss the point of going outside of the troop for a resource, or calling somebody and maybe have them come and present their career/hobby to them, or maybe arranging a visit to a location related to a merit-badge. Scouting was never meant to be an insular, go-it-alone endeavor.

There are other missed opportunities. In this thread, the OP would like to be an MBC, and one troop basically shut the door on her. That's a shame. Because if one of those knuckle dragging boys would have said, "Mrs. C. would you like to council us on __ MB?" Maybe she would not be so apprehensive about the age difference between them and her son.

perdi,

I know how much stuff costs. A black-and-white cover costs less. Our best monographs in my field (statistics) are 2-color at best. Why? Because very little of value gets conveyed via color, and it is more important to ensure accessibility to members of the field with limited resources. If BSA wants to get back in touch with cost-conscious parents, they need to convey that with a show of minimalism in their publications.

Christine, as a counselor, you should get the book. The content is really designed to help boys who are new to the material. But, you may have a better book or magazine (or know of one in your local library), and you can suggest it. Point is, if you have the book, you will have an idea of how important it may be for the boy to have it. Worksheets are tangential to the boy earning the badge. They are just an organizational tool. Some boys really need them for some badges, but in most cases, they just get in the way. A notebook or tablet would do just as well.

Like Perdi said, knowing the current requirements is the main thing. Sometimes a boy will call you and say something like "I have a partial blue card and need to complete requirement 2c." Although you should always have him tell you the requirement in words, it's a good idea to have a reference, just to be sure you're both on the same page!
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#20 perdidochas

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 03:03 PM

Took a survey about the new digital merit badge books. Will be interested in seeing how they turn out. Christine--if you want "business" as a merit badge counselor, choose some of the less common Eagle required badges. Our troop, for example, is in need of more Family Life counselors.
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