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Revoking Merit Badges?


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#1 NobodyReally

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 08:54 PM

My son likes going to merit badge days because our troop never works on them as a group and many of the counselors are unreliable to work with individually. We have a lot of days around here, and if our schedule is free, we will let my son pick out a badge to sign up for.

We have gotten the signed blue cards, we have given the counselor's names, my scout will work on the requirements weeks or months in advance, and the troop is now giving my son a nasty attitude about getting these badges and going to the merit badge days. Every time he turns in a blue card the SM grills my son about every detail, when the SM does NOT do this to other boys (I volunteer, I know).

At his last meeting, someone came out and gave a speech about how, if they find fraud they'll revoke merit badges, even if the scout has had the badge for years. The next thing that happened was that my son was asked to step aside and be grilled again about every detail of an eagle badge he earned. From my perspective, they were looking for an excuse to not give my son the badge he earned and gave that speech to try and scare him. They did not get this excuse and my scout responded perfectly to everything he was asked, but I don't want to endlessly go through this nasty behavior every time. I'm sick of him getting grilled and it being implied that he's cheating the system somehow when he's not. The person who grilled my son tonight did so at the request of the SM and the head of the committee (the SM's wife).

They are also telling my son that any eagle badge he earns before Star rank won't count towards his rank requirements, which I believe is a lie to discourage my son from working on those badges.

I thought that a merit badge counselor signing off on a blue card was the final word on the matter. Is that accurate or not? Because if that is the case, then why are we being questioned constantly when the SM signs off on the blue card? Our SM even accused us of seeking out merit badge factories AFTER saying weeks before that he knew this or that person from that troop and they ran a good program!

I believe their issue stems from my son's motivation to work on merit badges right now (they are constantly telling him that he's done too many), and I am sick of getting this cold shoulder like my scout is doing something wrong when he always has proof of completing his requirements. So I would like some feedback on what the rules are for merit badge cards and revoking, because this constant badgering and threatening of my son is making him want to quit scouts.
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#2 Beavah

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 07:58 AM

Hello @NobodyReally!  Welcome to da forums.

 

Sounds like a bit of a disconnect between you and your son's troop, eh?  

 

First thing to remember is that Boy Scouts isn't quite like Cub Scouts, where the lads spend most of their time in a group workin' together on awards.  Advancement Method is only 1/8 of Boy Scoutin', and it's meant to be done in a way that's integrated with da rest of da program. Advancement is like a suntan.  It's what yeh get from being outdoors with your patrol doin' things with your troop.  That's where all the real learnin' and character development happen.

 

The BSA's policy is that every lad should get the full benefit of the personal attention, skill, mentoring, etc. of a counselor.  That's a hard thing to do in a Merit Badge Day with a bunch of other boys.  So while Merit Badge days and group instruction aren't forbidden in da BSA, they're not exactly encouraged either.  Most MBs aren't really amenable to a Saturday morning treatment, and it's awfully hard for a MBC running a "class" to really check each lad individually on all the requirements.   So a lot of active Scouters think that MB days cheat the boys out of the best learning experience, and in some cases they just cheat.

 

Some troops don't allow 'em at all.  Per a rule change a couple of years ago that's technically not kosher any more, but it remains the reality.  If yeh want to be a scout in those troops, yeh do Merit Badges the regular way.  Lots of good troops allow 'em for some things like the rare/unique badges, but they want the more common badges to be done actively in da course of their program.  Some troops are open season, which is da current BSA recommendation, sort of. 

 

The Scoutmaster is permitted to ask a boy questions about the badge class, the work he did, and how he completed the badge, and to refuse to award the badge if it becomes obvious that da requirements clearly could not have been met in such a setting.  This should be a friendly discussion about Scout Spirit though, eh?  Not an inquisition.   Sometimes such conversations aren't about the boy and the badge at all, but rather to give feedback to the district or council running da MB event.

 

What's really goin' on here seems to be a disconnect between your expectations and the way your son's troop runs.  In that, yeh have a choice to either stay with that program or leave and find a troop that's more into badges and badge days, maybe where Advancement makes up more than 1/8 of da program.  I'd defer to your son on that.  If he does decide to stay, then I reckon it's best to go along with the troop's culture on merit badges.   Yeh might find out that while your son racks up less bling, he actually learns more and becomes more confident.  

 

Can I ask how your son is doin' rank-wise, and in other ways like outdoor skills and friendships in his patrol and whatnot?  Sometimes when a troop says that a lad is doin' too many badges what they're really sayin' is that he needs to be spendin' more time on da other 7/8 of Scouting in order to be well-rounded and get the most out of the program.  Consider that as a possibility as well.

 

Good luck with it!

 

Beavah


Edited by Beavah, 04 October 2016 - 08:03 AM.

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#3 NJCubScouter

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 08:36 AM

Beavah,

 

I see nothing in the original post to suggest that this Scout has not earned the MB's in question.  You seem to be assuming he hasn't, but you know what happens when you assume.

 

As for "So while Merit Badge days and group instruction aren't forbidden in da BSA, they're not exactly encouraged either."   Not exactly encouraged by who?  In our area it is usually the district (which is really the council) that runs the MB Day.  Even if it is being offered by a business or some other organization, there is usually a flier from the district notifying units of the event.  As for "group instruction", it takes place every day of the summer at many council camps.  So if BSA councils are holding these events, the BSA is encouraging it.  Whether it should or not is a different story.

 

The BSA tells the kids what they need to do to earn a merit badge.  If they do it (and that's the key word there, IF), we shouldn't be talking about "racking up bling."  It's not bling, it's a badge they earned and it's part of the program.

 

Aren't you the least bit concerned that this Scout is being told that Eagle-required MB's earned before the rank of Star "won't count"?  I am hoping this is a misunderstanding by the Scout and/or a miscommunication with the father, because otherwise it suggests that there is a real problem with this troop's administration of the advancement program.


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#4 NobodyReally

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 08:40 AM

My scout wants to earn all 180 badges, and I know that's not possible, but I'm not going to discourage him from making the attempt and figuring it out for himself. But, my son was always in the advanced and gifted programs in school and he is bored to death with how troop meetings are run, which is mostly sitting around talking, not planning but just the boys chatting, or loading/unloading the trailor for camping. I was a boy scout for years, and we were always working on badges, rank, or planning during most of our meetings.

With rank advancement, it has gone very slowly. There is rarely anyone who is willing to sign off on requirements, and they don't work on the requirements at meetings, so by the time my son can find someone, he has a lot of requirements to present. They tell him to slow down, he's moving too fast, every time. So he's working on badges to get the scout experience he wants. Now the troop is saying slow down with merit badges, threatening to take the ones he's earned away, and my son is losing his mind getting frustrated. But even when he shows or explains that he worked on the requirements long before showing up to the merit badge days, they are treating him like he's conning them. The troop keeps chastising me as well saying I'm going to burn him out on boy scouts, but my kid is legitimately the one wanting to do the work and he's picking what badges he wants to do and then putting in the work to complete them before the merit badge day happens.

I would love to do badges through the troop, it would be much cheaper for me, but they are not reliable, like I said. He went on one camp out a month ago that said they'd do everything for a merit badge except the essay part. Well, not only did the counselor sign off on nothing during the trip, my son wrote his essay by the next meeting, and that counselor has still not been findable since that trip. And that has been our experience with any badge he tries to do through the troop.
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#5 NobodyReally

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 08:54 AM

And I wouldn't have minded the questioning last time if it was done in a polite way. But not only was he already questioned about that badge by the SM, but then the SM came back months later and had someone else question him again, AFTER making a speech about fraud to everyone (which implies that's what they think he did), and they gave him no heads up so he could bring in his projects and workbook to go over it all. How many scouts get grilled on everything they did or learned 3 months after completing a blue card with no notice? Do you remember everything you did at work months ago without a refesher? I felt like they were looking for an excuse to trip him up, and we are contemplating not returning to that troop over this.

I asked why they grilled him again after the fact, and they said they were concerned because it was only a half day merit badge event. 1. My kid already said he worked in advance and came in just to present and get signatures, 2. the event was from 8am to 3pm, so they made up their excuse to go after him, and 3. none of that required a speech to the troop about how awful fraud is and how they'll revoke your badges over it.

We have nothing to hide, the person that questioned my son claimed to be quite impressed with his answers, but they haven't done this to anyone else since we've been there. I've even heard counselors, including the SM's wife, tell older scouts to "borrow the troop's book for _____ badge and copy the filled in answers for these requirements." How is that okay, but my kid is implied to be cheating with every badge?

Edited by NobodyReally, 04 October 2016 - 09:33 AM.

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#6 jr56

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 09:19 AM

Sad, this troop is so far off base it isn't even funny.  Unfortunately, I have had to deal with blowhards like this in the past.  They are right in their own minds, and giving them the facts is not going to change it.   Realistically, your sons choice is to grin and bear it, or find another troop that actually knows what is written in the advancement policy book.


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#7 qwazse

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 09:20 AM

My scout wants to earn all 180 badges, and I know that's not possible, but I'm not going to discourage him from making the attempt and figuring it out for himself. ....

I would love to do badges through the troop, it would be much cheaper for me, but they are not reliable, like I said. He went on one camp out a month ago that said they'd do everything for a merit badge except the essay part. Well, not only did the counselor sign off on nothing during the trip, my son wrote his essay by the next meeting, and that counselor has still not been findable since that trip. And that has been our experience with any badge he tries to do through the troop.

@NobodyReally, welcome to the forums!

The only reason it's impossible to earn 180 MBs is that there are currently only 136! There are scouts who legitimately earn them all.

 

Yeah, sounds like your troop's kinda doing it wrong too. The scout may master some skills for the MB on a campout, but nobody needs to sign off on each little thing. He gets a blue card, meets with any available counselor in the district, goes home/camping/touring etc ..., meets with the counselor again to cover what he did, counselor signs blue card. MB earned.

 

Here's the deal. If the boy feels like he is being unfairly challenged as to the program he received, he should ask the SM for a conference and share his perspective. When he is up for board of review, he can explain to the committee that the adults should be more affirming about skills mastered and last paranoid about shoddy counselors. Maybe they'll be able to explain to him about how some other boys or leaders who truly had "high-speed low-drag" attitude toward advancement disappointed them ... and between both sides, everyone will come to a mutual understanding.

 

Botttom line: it's his troop, not yours. So as a parent, you need to just keep encouraging him to interact with his adult leaders and ask them what they are really concerned about. At the same time, let him know that if he finds things to be truly insufferable, you'll take time to help him visit another troop.


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#8 Beavah

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 10:12 AM

Yah, hmmm...

 

Thanks for da additional information, @NobodyReally.

 

Some troops are pretty advancement-focused, some less advancement-focused.  Sounds like yeh have a less advancement-focused troop and a very advancement-focused youth (and dad, perhaps).  That's when yeh either look for a better fit program, or yeh use it as a learning experience for your son and let him negotiate da process as @qwazse suggests.  Lots of time in his future school and life da path won't be all laid out for him with superiors ready to assist.  Pushin' through obstacles and perceptions can be a good lesson for a lad who is a high achiever.  Your call, though.

 

I will say I'm not fond of da "fraud" talk to the troop thing.  That's bad pool in my book.  Yeh deal with lads individually, and reprimand in private if that's called for.

 

At the same time, the point of a badge is that the boy is able to do things, eh?  When a lad earns a First Aid badge, we expect that he'll be able to actually do first aid 3 months later when a situation suddenly arises with no notice.   Kids shouldn't be ambushed by obnoxious adults, but they should be confident in their skills.  That's why each lad is supposed to be tested individually on all da requirements for a badge, which often can't happen at a typical MB day.

 

Sounds to me like a troop that's become a bit comfortable with mediocrity, and is a bit taken aback by your son's go-get-em attitude.   How do you / your son feel about da rest of the program?

 

Beavah


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#9 meyerc13

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 10:13 AM

My son is tagged as 'gifted' as well.  Many people who haven't done the research don't understand gifted children.  I didn't even understand until I read up on the subject, even though in retrospect I would have probably been considered 'gifted' at that age had I been tested.  People think the label is all about grades in school or about parents wanting special treatment for their children.  There is a nugget of truth to that (special treatment), but it's not a 'want' it is a 'need.'

 

For those reading this who haven't done the research, the simplest explanation is this:  The average person needs to read/see/be taught something several times before they will truly learn and remember what they are being taught.  For a gifted child, learning comes much easier.  Often if they see or read something once, they will understand it and learn it.  My son, for example, taught himself to read.  True, my wife and I read to him every night before bedtime from the time he was a newborn until he taught himself, but we never really worked on teaching him to read.  It just came naturally to him.  LIkewise, in math class at school they often go over a topic day after day after day, with endless repitition.  Yet my son will understand it very quickly (often the first time it is explained, sometimes before the teacher finishes explaining it), and then he becomes bored with repeatedly having to redo the same thing for no apparent gain.  In fact, the more it repeats, the worse his grades will get because he won't continue to put in the effort and he'll start being distracted and won't finish problems.  I was reviewing his math homework last night, and after 5-6 days of going over the same topic, out of six problems he had finished one, two he had started but never finished, and three of them he completely missed although he thought he had finished the assignment.  If you test him on the topic he'll generally pass with 100%.  Trust me on this - having a gifted child is not a joyful experience.  I'm not bragging, just trying to explain.  The challenge is that teachers often have to spend so much time working with struggling students, that they don't have time to keep the work challenging for gifted students.  Also, many teachers don't understand how a gifted mind works.

 

The flipside to giftedness is that may gifted students also struggle socially.  Their emotional development doesn't keep pace with their mental development, and because their brains work differently they struggle to find common ground with others their age.  My son will happily talk for hours on a topic, not realizing that everybody has stopped listening to him.  When he was younger, he'd be talking to us in the car, but not realize we had gotten out of the car to walk around to the other side to let him out of his car seat.  He still does that at times - not realizing that someone doesn't care about what he is so passionate about.

 

Now, with all of that out of the way, I suspect if your son is gifted some of this may be coming in to play.  The Scout leaders don't understand the gfited mind, can't believe that someone can learn a topic in half a day.  Can't believe that someone would actually spend time researching a topic for weeks before a merit badge class.  I can believe all of that.  I wish I could give you an answer, but I'm not sure that I have one.  If the Scoutmaster is willing to read up on working with gifted children, maybe he'll lay off your son.  If not, then perhaps you should find a different Troop.


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#10 CNYScouter

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 10:25 AM

Did the SM know your son was doing the MB at the Merit Badge days?

I would think that this would have been part of the discussion between your son and his SM when he asked for a blue card.

 

In our council merit badge days/classes are highly discouraged.

There is a form you are supposed to fill out and get approved by the council advancement committee for any Merit Badge Day or for any time you are teaching more than 6 Scouts together.

 

Kind of off topic but you said that the SM's wife is the Troop Committee Chair?

Back in my Commissioner days, the units that had this kind of leadership (where the unit Key 3 are related), were the ones that seemed to have a lot of issues like this and as a ommissioner spent a great deal of our time dealing with them.


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#11 cchoat

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 11:02 AM

"Once a Scout has been tested and signed off by someone approved to do so, the requirement has been met."

 

Section 7.0.0.3 in the “Guide to Advancement” states the Scout must discuss the merit badge with his unit leader and get a signed blue card from him or her. The leader then proceeds to give the Scout contact information of a registered, approved merit badge counselor.

 

The unit leader authorizes those who may test and pass the Scout on rank requirements. They might include his patrol leader, senior patrol leader, an assistant unit leader, another Scout, or the unit leader himself.

 

Merit badge counselors teach and test him on requirements for merit badges.  Ultimately, it will be the counselor’s decision whether the requirement was fulfilled, or not.

 

As for "Merit Badge days", while I personally as a Scoutmaster am not to thrilled about them, BSA policy states:

7.0.3.2 Group Instruction

It is acceptable—and sometimes desirable—for merit badges to be taught in group settings. This often occurs at camp and merit badge midways, fairs, clinics, or similar events, and even online through webinars. These can be efficient methods, and interactive group discussions can support learning. Group instruction can also be attractive to “guest experts” assisting registered and approved counselors. Slide shows, skits, demonstrations, panels, and various other techniques can also be employed, but as any teacher can attest, not everyone will learn all the material. Because of the importance of individual attention and personal learning in the merit badge program, group instruction should be focused on those scenarios where the benefits are compelling.

 

7.0.4.6 Once It Is Earned, It's Earned

A Scout who has earned a merit badge from a registered and approved counselor by actually and personally fulfilling the requirements as written will have met the purpose of the merit badge program and the contribution to the aims of Scouting. The badge is his to keep and count toward his advancement. See “Personal Growth Is the Primary Goal,” 2.0.0.3. The same holds true if a Scout, without intent to violate national BSA procedures or policies, fulfills merit badge requirements with someone who is not registered and approved as a counselor. This could happen, for example, if a Scout, in good faith, contacts someone who has inadvertently been dropped from a unit or district charter or otherwise has an expired membership, but who remains on an approved list of counselors.

 

 

Finally, there is a mechanism for unit leaders or others to report concerns to a council advancement committee on summer camp merit badge programs, group instructional events, and any other merit badge counseling issues— especially in instances where it is believed BSA procedures are not followed. See “Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns,” 11.1.0.0

 

So, to answer your question, the Scoutmaster should not retest the scout, nor should he discourage the scout from seeking additional resources for advancement.


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#12 NobodyReally

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 11:20 AM

Meyerc13, thank you! I often struggle to describe how being gifted is different from just getting good grades and that his brain and motivation works differently. He struggles to find a place in groups and likes to work independently and be impressive as an individual, but there's also a huge neurotic side involved in that. And that doesn't mean he's a monkey that can perform on cue if you put him on the spot. It's not the same as having a photographic memory.

CNYScouter, yes, to get any blue card you have to tell the SM who the counselor is, where the merit badge day is, and what adult is going with you before he will approve a blue card. The SM also puts extra age or rank restrictions on some badges, and from experience, he will not budge on his restrictions. That is why I don't understand why he signs off on blue cards, knowing they are merit badge days, and then acts this way. This day they are being nasty about now was actually run by a troop that the SM said was fantastic and who ran a great merit badge day program (that troop also runs the council's merit badge day).

Beavah, I will recant a little and say that, yes, some badge work should stick with you forever. But, when they want dates, everything you did for a project, timelines, and group discussion details that you took notes on, not everything is going to stay fresh in your mind. If he could have sat down with his completed projects and workbook to have a conversation, that would have been different than being ambushed and indirectly accused of cheating in front of the troop. But even for things like swimming - you might remember how to do the strokes for life, but will you always remember the name of each stroke off the top of your head? And should you have a badge revoked if you need to be reminded which style freestyle was before you can demonstrate it? Because that seems to be the way they come at him. Luckily, this time my kid was on point, but if this continues in this way and they keep looking for any excuse to revoke his badges, they'll eventually find a way to do it. That's why I'm really curious to learn if a blue card being signed by an MBC is the final word on the badge or not.

Edited by NobodyReally, 04 October 2016 - 11:23 AM.

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#13 NobodyReally

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 11:22 AM

CCHOAT, thank you, that is exactly what I was wanting to know!
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#14 Beavah

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 01:27 PM

Yah, hmmmm...

 

@cchoat missed da next part, eh?

 

 

7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges

From time to time, it may be discovered that merit badges could not actually have been earned. For example, a Scout who returns from summer camp or a merit badge fair with signed blue cards for an extraordinary number of badges could raise concerns. If, after consulting with those involved in the merit badge program—such as an event coordinator, the camp director, or a merit badge counselor—it becomes plainly evident that a youth could not have actually and personally ful lled requirements as written, then the limited recourse outlined below is available. It may result in a decision that some or all of the requirements for a badge could not have been ful lled, and thus, that the badge was not actually earned.

52 | GUIDE TO ADVANCEMENT

After such a consultation, the unit leader, in a positive environment similar to that of a unit leader conference, discusses with the Scout the circumstances under which a merit badge in question was approved. A parent or an assistant unit leader should attend as an observer. The young man shall not be retested on the requirements, but a conversation with him can reveal if he was present at the class and actually and personally ful lled all the requirements. Such a discussion could cover who taught a class, what sort of activities took place, where and when they occurred, how testing was done, what the Scout might have brought home from the class, and other similar process-oriented details.

 

 

In most cases, with a fair and friendly approach, a young man who did not complete the requirements will admit it. Short of this, however, if it remains clear under the circumstances that some or all of the requirements could not have been met, then the merit badge is not reported or awarded, and does not count toward advancement. 

 

...

 

Unit leaders who nd it necessary to make use of this recourse must act quickly—if possible, within 30 days of discovery. It is inappropriate to delay a Scout’s advancement with anything less than a prompt decision.

 

If a Scout or his parent or guardian believes a unit leader has incorrectly determined a Scout has not earned a merit badge, or more than 30 days have passed without a reasonable explanation for the lack of a decision, they should address their concerns with the unit committee. They should rst, however, develop a thorough understanding of the merit badge requirements and that each one must be passed exactly as it is set forth. 

 

 

 

None of this changes da circumstances, eh?  If yeh come in as a parent and start quotin' BSA texts at people yeh might find that yeh are no longer welcome.  Courtesy in the face of discourtesy, eh?  That's the ticket, and the example to set for your son.

 

I can't for da life of me figure out why a Scoutmaster is havin' problems after the fact if he signed off on blue cards for da MB Day in the first place, unless he really thinks that cheatin' is going on.   This is somethin' that gifted lads have to deal with from time to time as well, sad to say.  If yeh do too well, folks start to get suspicious.  Remember da movie Stand and Deliver?

 

So we're back to lettin' your son navigate this to learn some valuable social and other skills that will be useful in his life, or findin' a different program.  Dependin' on how active a volunteer yeh are and how your relationship is with da Committee or Advancement Chairs, yeh can also approach them in a friendly way with your concerns.  

 

Personally, I'm not a fan of da Merit Badge Day thing.  If yeh have a gifted lad, I think he'd be better served by quality, not quantity.  He should be findin' real counselors and working hard beyond just da requirements, in keepin' with his talent.  No excuse for him not learnin' a topic so well that he knocks the socks off his troop and is ready to teach/lead in those areas.  Those to whom much is given, much is expected, eh?

 

Beavah


Edited by Beavah, 04 October 2016 - 01:29 PM.

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#15 fred johnson

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 01:46 PM

Be careful.  You will see scouters argue that "Once Earned it is Earned, it is earned" allows them to revoke ones that were not earned.  They see it as correcting a situation.  ... but ... that's not their place.  If a counselor signed off on it, it's done ... with-in the bounds of extreme fraud.  By that I mean, the scout who gets a signed blue card but the counselor and no one else put the title of the merit badge on it.  So he writes the name of the badge he needs.  But that's a different situation.  ... but I have seen adults look for an excuse to slow scouts down. 

 

Watch out for adults that want to slow scouts down.  Scouts advance at their speed.  And, if you slow them down to match others, they often start looking for other places to spend their time and their scout career comes to an end.  I've seen it.  It's sad.

 

RECOMMENDATION - Have heart to hearts privately with the scoutmaster and other leaders.  Develop MUTUAL understanding.  It is in the interest of your son.  Don't clear the path for him.  But it is important to recognize which battles are his and which are not.  His battles are his advancement and it's requirements.  His battles may or may not be fixing the attitude of the adult leaders.  Perhaps you should coach him or make suggestions how he can deal with it.  Perhaps the adult leaders are so off base or entrenched that they would not be fair with him.  IMHO, it's always a judgement call.  If you inject yourself too much, you can damage his experience and the benefits he can get.  If you don't, then the adults may bleed any excitement and interest in scouting.  

 

Good luck !!!!


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#16 fred johnson

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 01:50 PM

Personally, I'm not a fan of da Merit Badge Day thing.  If yeh have a gifted lad, I think he'd be better served by quality, not quantity.  He should be findin' real counselors and working hard beyond just da requirements, in keepin' with his talent.  No excuse for him not learnin' a topic so well that he knocks the socks off his troop and is ready to teach/lead in those areas.  Those to whom much is given, much is expected, eh?

 

I agree in that I think the best MB experiences are when the scout and counselor go beyond the requirements and both show an interest in the topic. 

 

BUT ... from what I've seen for years now ... most merit badges are earned in a group situation.  IMHO, it's sad.   Even when troops complain about merit badge fairs, the troops replacement is troop merit badge groups.  It's less about the fair and more about troop control and pacing.


Edited by fred johnson, 04 October 2016 - 01:52 PM.

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#17 MattR

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 02:01 PM

@NobodyReally, you said the counselors are not reliable. Is that the troop's counselors or the district counselors? If you don't know about the district counselors, in a nutshell, they tend to be much more knowledgeable and passionate about a topic than the average counselor a troop comes up with. Your son might really enjoy working with them. And working with them one on one should quiet any talk about short cuts because of going to a MB fair.
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#18 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 06:50 AM

I hate to say this, but now that I'm active with a troop again, I am seeing this more and more.  Went to a MB college in which son took 2 MB classes, and earned both. While one was legitimately earned, the other wasn't. MBC not only didn't use the current requirements for the class, he didn't even complete the 5-10 year old requirements he was using. Son "earned" that MB, but me as a parent made him do the missing requirements. Worst part is, the requirements missing were the fun parts of the MB.  Same situation happened at camp. Son "earned" a MB that he didn't finish the requirements on. Heck the supplies for that MB were inadequate as folks had to be teamed up to do the projects, and they didn't have one project's supplies on hand at the camp at all. Long story short, Oldest has the missing supplies, and will be completing the MB. One Scout after a day at camp withdrew from the MB class. According to the report, he did all but 2 requirements in a day! I am an MBC for that MB, and I can say NO WAY CAN IT BE DONE IN AN HOUR!  And I am starting to see a few other Scouts "earning" MBs but didn't complete the work after this year's camp.

 

The new SM is writing a letter to the CD about this, and he has assigned the venture patrol with doing research on other camps to go to this summer.


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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt


#19 RememberSchiff

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 07:16 AM

I hate to say this, but now that I'm active with a troop again, I am seeing this more and more.  Went to a MB college in which son took 2 MB classes, and earned both. While one was legitimately earned, the other wasn't. MBC not only didn't use the current requirements for the class, he didn't even complete the 5-10 year old requirements he was using. Son "earned" that MB, but me as a parent made him do the missing requirements. Worst part is, the requirements missing were the fun parts of the MB.  Same situation happened at camp. Son "earned" a MB that he didn't finish the requirements on. Heck the supplies for that MB were inadequate as folks had to be teamed up to do the projects, and they didn't have one project's supplies on hand at the camp at all. Long story short, Oldest has the missing supplies, and will be completing the MB. One Scout after a day at camp withdrew from the MB class. According to the report, he did all but 2 requirements in a day! I am an MBC for that MB, and I can say NO WAY CAN IT BE DONE IN AN HOUR!  And I am starting to see a few other Scouts "earning" MBs but didn't complete the work after this year's camp.

 

The new SM is writing a letter to the CD about this, and he has assigned the venture patrol with doing research on other camps to go to this summer.

 

Been there, good luck with that...write a letter to SE and National for all that it will help. Expect the BSA "nod and a wink" for your efforts.  :mad:

 

It is a rewarding experience for me when a scout refuses to turn in a signed MB because he felt the badge was not earned. Doesn't happen often but when it does it is Scouting.


Edited by RememberSchiff, 05 October 2016 - 07:21 AM.

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#20 perdidochas

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 07:53 AM

My son likes going to merit badge days because our troop never works on them as a group and many of the counselors are unreliable to work with individually. We have a lot of days around here, and if our schedule is free, we will let my son pick out a badge to sign up for.

We have gotten the signed blue cards, we have given the counselor's names, my scout will work on the requirements weeks or months in advance, and the troop is now giving my son a nasty attitude about getting these badges and going to the merit badge days. Every time he turns in a blue card the SM grills my son about every detail, when the SM does NOT do this to other boys (I volunteer, I know).

At his last meeting, someone came out and gave a speech about how, if they find fraud they'll revoke merit badges, even if the scout has had the badge for years. The next thing that happened was that my son was asked to step aside and be grilled again about every detail of an eagle badge he earned. From my perspective, they were looking for an excuse to not give my son the badge he earned and gave that speech to try and scare him. They did not get this excuse and my scout responded perfectly to everything he was asked, but I don't want to endlessly go through this nasty behavior every time. I'm sick of him getting grilled and it being implied that he's cheating the system somehow when he's not. The person who grilled my son tonight did so at the request of the SM and the head of the committee (the SM's wife).

They are also telling my son that any eagle badge he earns before Star rank won't count towards his rank requirements, which I believe is a lie to discourage my son from working on those badges.

I thought that a merit badge counselor signing off on a blue card was the final word on the matter. Is that accurate or not? Because if that is the case, then why are we being questioned constantly when the SM signs off on the blue card? Our SM even accused us of seeking out merit badge factories AFTER saying weeks before that he knew this or that person from that troop and they ran a good program!

I believe their issue stems from my son's motivation to work on merit badges right now (they are constantly telling him that he's done too many), and I am sick of getting this cold shoulder like my scout is doing something wrong when he always has proof of completing his requirements. So I would like some feedback on what the rules are for merit badge cards and revoking, because this constant badgering and threatening of my son is making him want to quit scouts.

You can't revoke it after it's been awarded.  However, before the SM signs it, he can doubt it. 

 

Eagle badges earned at Scout count toward his rank requirements. You need to give him a copy of the 2015 Guide to advancement.

http://www.scouting....dgeProgram.aspx

 

 

A few merit badges have certain restrictions, but otherwise any registered Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or qualified Venturer or Sea Scout may work on any of them at any time. Before he begins working with a merit badge counselor, however, he is to have a discussion with his unit leader. That a discussion has been held is indicated by the unit leader’s signature on the Application for Merit Badge, No. 34124, commonly called the “blue card.” 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. However, see “Counselor Approvals and Limitations,” 7.0.1.4, for circumstances when a unit leader may place limits on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor.

 

 

If the SM thinks MB  counselors are being too slack, he should report it to the council.

 

 

In the event unit leaders or other volunteers discover that any merit badge counselors are not following mandated procedures regarding the use of blue cards or working with the requirements as they are written, they should complete and submit to the council advancement committee the Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns form 11.0.0.0 link-PDF.gif. Unit leaders should regularly review the policies and procedures related to the merit badge process with Scouts, parents, and leaders, and counsel them on proper methods as the need arises


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