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BSA requirements are out of hand


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#21 Stosh

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 05:09 PM

Oooh, that might be a fun day trip if we start early enough.  Thanks!


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#22 DuctTape

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 06:43 PM

I recently finished up with a boy working on his hiking MB. At the end of the process as I was signing his blue card I asked him if there were any changes  to the requirements he would recommend to HQ. He said it should be required that the counselor actually go hiking with the scout as the real test and possibly "fake" some scenarios for the boy to respond to in real time. Personally I loathe the workbooks and worksheets and even the explain. Too much like school.

 

As to the the camping 50 nights. I think that was the requirement in the original Camping MB along with 2 maybe 3 other requirements.


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#23 bsaggcmom

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 07:40 PM

Thanks for the offer Hedgehog, but we live in the Great Lakes state. New MBC lists are due out this fall. Maybe he'll get lucky and find the counselors he needs.


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#24 qwazse

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 06:14 AM

They are around - but they might not want to fill out the paperwork to be a registered leader and on a Council list. There are a few I know that are happy to help out a few Scouts at a time, but they don't want their phone or email regularly buzzing.

Here I thought it was just the PA laws that were making adding volunteers so tough.
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#25 Hedgehog

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 06:32 AM

I recently finished up with a boy working on his hiking MB. At the end of the process as I was signing his blue card I asked him if there were any changes  to the requirements he would recommend to HQ. He said it should be required that the counselor actually go hiking with the scout as the real test and possibly "fake" some scenarios for the boy to respond to in real time. Personally I loathe the workbooks and worksheets and even the explain. Too much like school.

 

 

I've banned the use of workbooks and worksheets in for the Merit Badges I'm a counselor for.  I like when the boys do the "active" part of the merit badge - the hiking, the backpacking and the camping - and then discuss the "learning" requirements.  It provides them with the ability to think about the answers and to put any learning into a context.  When we have merit badge seminars, I've stopped giving them the requirement list and we just talk about and do things related to the topic.  At the end of the seminar (which may take place at meetings over several weeks), they have covered everything without going through a checklist.


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#26 Hedgehog

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 06:32 AM

Thanks for the offer Hedgehog, but we live in the Great Lakes state. New MBC lists are due out this fall. Maybe he'll get lucky and find the counselors he needs.

 

The best of luck to him.


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#27 CalicoPenn

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 06:49 AM

There has to be counselors for these badges.
Archeology professors, county agricultural agents, forest rangers, Native American leaders ...

Where did all these people go?

 

They whithered away when Councils and Districts, with the wink and nudge of National, started accepting Troop-only Merit Badge Counselors as acceptable practice - once that gate was open, there was no way to stop the practice from becoming Only-Troop Merit Badge Counselors.


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#28 CalicoPenn

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 06:54 AM

 

 

As to the the camping 50 nights. I think that was the requirement in the original Camping MB along with 2 maybe 3 other requirements.

 

Let's keep in mind that the original merit badges weren't also part of rank requirements - you didn't need to earn so many, or certain, merit badges to advance in rank - these were all extras beyond rank.  For those unfamiliar, back then in 1911, the top rank was First Class.  Star, Life and Eagle, when first intorduced were NOT ranks - in fact, they were much more like Palms - they were awards for earning a certain number of Merit Badges - there were no required merit badges - if you earned 5 Merit Badges, you were given a Star award.  Your rank was still First Class.


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#29 perdidochas

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 08:17 AM

 

BSA requirements are out of hand.  Pedantic.  Verbose.  Cryptic.  Legalistic.  Youth excitement is killed immediately when they see two pages of small print requirements.  Rank or merit badge.  It gets worse each year and each handbook.  IT DRIVES SCOUTS AWAY.  
 
I was reminded of the issue when I opened the following web page.  
 
 
I really like the old requirements compared to current requirements.  Short and to the point.  We recently worked on the cooking merit badge and that is one of the worst.  New scouts coming in also face multi-page, small print, lengthy requirements for early ranks.  ARGH !!!!  
 
SUGGESTION - Scouts should get short direct requirements.  Leaders and merit badge counselors should have guidelines and work instructions that explain requirements and help guide working with the scout on the requirement.  But what the scout receives should be short and sweet.

 

 

Well, in terms of the Cooking merit badge, blame rules lawyers.  Basically speaking, the rules have to be spelled out exactly, or slackers will be slack. 


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#30 perdidochas

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 08:20 AM

It's funny.  Many people talk about raising the bar for Eagle so it means something more than it does now.  I very very much would like simpler requirements, but there is one change I would like to see.

 

I'd like to see camping go from 20 nights (one long term week) to just 40 or 50 nights.  IMHO, I've seen many of what others call paper Eagles be the guys who skim by on the camping requirement.  That's the whole place where you learn to help others, learn your own independence and where you grow.  IMHO, I would not mind seeing the camping requirements look much more simple but increase the nights to 40 or 50.

 

I'd like to see all ther verbose stuff moved to a counselor guide too.  Keep the scout facing requirements simple.

 

I agree with you on that.  Camping is where the boys lead and learn the most.  Most of our better Scouts are in that category--50+  nights camping.  I would probably add that your better Scouts will also try out different methods of camping.  Your mediocre scout is happy in the tent every campout.  Your better scouts will try out hammocks, tarps, sleep on picnic tables, etc., as well as tents. 


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#31 perdidochas

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 08:23 AM

There has to be counselors for these badges.
Archeology professors, county agricultural agents, forest rangers, Native American leaders ...

Where did all these people go?

If your son or troop is interested in these, bring the forms to one of the above, and recruit them.  The paperwork is simple. 


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#32 meyerc13

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 09:01 AM

Again, I would argue are we better off now?  My son took Cooking Merit Badge at summer camp this year.  I asked what he cooked and he is telling me things like Grilled Cheese sandwiches.  I asked which meals he cooked, breakfast, lunch, or dinner?  He told me they did the cooking during the afternoon slot for his merit badge class.

 

I remember when I took Cooking Merit badge at summer camp in the late mid to late 80's.  We cooked our meals instead of going to the dining hall for those meals.  I don't remember everything we cooked, but I know for a fact that on family night we cooked an entire Chicken for dinner - I know this because it took longer than expected and took away time we could have spent with our families.  I seem to recall another meal was spaghetti with meat sauce.

 

While some merit badge counselor at camp may have signed off on my son's Cooking merit badge, I don't believe he learned how to cook.  Something is very wrong when more emphasis is placed on the paperwork and theory than on the actual doing. 

 

Since it's an important outdoor skill, I know I'll be challenging him on future family campouts to take the lead on our meal preparation and cooking.


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Yours in Scouting,

 

Chris Meyer

 

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#33 Stosh

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 09:09 AM

If I'm not wrong, I think some of the Cooking MB now has parts where the boys are to cook meals at home?????

 

If that be the case, it makes it kinda hard to finish at camp.


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#34 fred johnson

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 09:45 AM

Again, I would argue are we better off now?  My son took Cooking Merit Badge at summer camp this year.  I asked what he cooked and he is telling me things like Grilled Cheese sandwiches.  I asked which meals he cooked, breakfast, lunch, or dinner?  He told me they did the cooking during the afternoon slot for his merit badge class.

 

I remember when I took Cooking Merit badge at summer camp in the late mid to late 80's.  We cooked our meals instead of going to the dining hall for those meals.  I don't remember everything we cooked, but I know for a fact that on family night we cooked an entire Chicken for dinner - I know this because it took longer than expected and took away time we could have spent with our families.  I seem to recall another meal was spaghetti with meat sauce.

 

While some merit badge counselor at camp may have signed off on my son's Cooking merit badge, I don't believe he learned how to cook.  Something is very wrong when more emphasis is placed on the paperwork and theory than on the actual doing. 

 

Since it's an important outdoor skill, I know I'll be challenging him on future family campouts to take the lead on our meal preparation and cooking.

 

Well said !!!!!!!!!


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#35 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 09:56 AM

Yes, they need to cook some things at home now. Glad when oldest took it, he had to plan a non-refrigerated menu. Glad I had a backpacking cookbook for him to use.


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#36 Stosh

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 10:32 AM

Gee, I just wandered through my garden this morning and have a ton of non-refrigerated items to make meals with.  Steamed green beans, wax beans, broccoli and peas to go along with corn on the cob.  A massive handful of raspberries for the cereal this morning. (oops, I used milk on my cereal)

 

Tonight it'll be zucchini, onion stuffed acorn squash along with fresh picked tomatoes for desert.  I'll probably have another ear of corn to go with that.

 

From now until October I really don't go to the store much.


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#37 clemlaw

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:36 PM

They whithered away when Councils and Districts, with the wink and nudge of National, started accepting Troop-only Merit Badge Counselors as acceptable practice - once that gate was open, there was no way to stop the practice from becoming Only-Troop Merit Badge Counselors.

 

About five years ago, when my son was in Cub Scouts, I decided it would be a good idea to sign up as a merit badge counselor.  There was a training session at University of Scouting, so I went to that.  Nobody told me that there were "troop counselors" now, so I was quite surprised when people asked what troop I was with, and I told them I wasn't with one.  Most of the discussion focused on how they did things in their troop.  Some of them were actually surprised to learn that you didn't have to be connected with a troop.

 

None of my merit badges are Eagle required, and so far, I have yet to receive a single call from a scout.  I have done two of them in a "merit badge university" context, but that's only because those two are among the rare ones where I think they can be meaningfully done in a class, and all of the requirements meaningfully completed in one day.  The other 3 or so that I counsel don't fit in that category, and I've declined offers to "teach" a class.

 

In our district and council, there is a merit badge counselor list, but it's a closely guarded secret list that can only be looked at on a need to know basis.  In fact, for the first few years, I didn't know for sure which ones I was the counselor for.  Even though I might be qualified for a few more, I thought it would be best to limit myself to just a few.  So on the application, I listed the ones I wanted to counsel, but also listed a few others and let them know they could put me in one of those slots if they needed me.  Since the list was a top secret document, I never found out whether they wanted me for any of those.

 

I suspect that there are a lot of people in the community who would be eager to serve as counselors.  One untapped pool is Eagle Scouts.  I suspect most of them would be happy to be a counselor for a badge that relates to their profession or hobbies.  Having them sit through a one hour training course, and then watching the YPT videos at home probably isn't too big a burden if a district put on the sessions at reasonable times.  

 

One thing that prospective counselors don't have to worry about is their phone ringing off the hook.  I've received a grand total of zero phone calls from scouts wanting to do a merit badge.  In fact, the district's counselor list is such a closely guarded secret that I suspect that many scoutmasters don't know it exists, or if they do know about it, they use it only as a last resort.  I asked the other MBC's in my troop if they had ever gotten a call, and most of them hadn't.  The only exception was the counselor for Environmental Science, who occasionally gets calls from scouts in other troops who got a partial at summer camp.


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#38 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 09:42 AM

My district is in the same shape, only a handful of MBCs will work with anyone. It has caused me to do something I not only dislike, but discourage: "officially" sign off on my son's MBs.  I'm an MBC for several MBs, including two my son got partials in at summer camp. Looking at the MBC list, I'm the only  MBC who will work with anyone, everyone else will only work with folks in their troop. Way I handle it is to get him to do the work with one of the ASMs, and when they say he's done it, then sign off.

 

In the 24 years as an MBC, I've had 4 people contact me, either by phone or in person at a camporee. Bulk of my counselor work has been summer camp, and MBUs.


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#39 TAHAWK

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 09:48 AM

They whithered away when Councils and Districts, with the wink and nudge of National, started accepting Troop-only Merit Badge Counselors as acceptable practice - once that gate was open, there was no way to stop the practice from becoming Only-Troop Merit Badge Counselors.

One of my councils has barred troop-only MBCs.   :D


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#40 BrazilScoutMom

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 01:00 PM

Since living in Brazil and practicing as a Lone Scout, it is very difficult for us if not impossible to find a merit badge counselor to complete badges partially earned at summer camp.  When I asked how to handle this, I was told that the Scoutmaster for the troop is allowed to act as the merit badge counselor and sign off on all requirements completed after the Scout has returned from camp.  So as long as the Scout can accomplish the requirements on his own and show proof of this to his Scoutmaster, there is no need to find a local merit badge counselor.  I have had this information from two different councils in two different states. 


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