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Revoking Merit Badges?


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#21 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 08:07 AM

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.

 

Yes I know, an uphill battle indeed. Sad thing is that I use to be a staffer at camp way back when, and am very disappointed.

 

The old SM apparently encountered this problem at the camp before, and essentially struck it off the list of camps the Scouts could chose from. Troop didn't go to that camp for 15 years (although the troop folded for 5 years and then was reborn).  The camp the Scouts had been choosing does a really good job with instruction, but does not have some of the resources that other camps have. Thus their programming is lacking a bit.


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#22 NobodyReally

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 10:39 AM

I hear you that there can be big issues with merit badges done in groups, and I can really see the potential for shenanigans. But, like I said, this was not a polite conversation from the troop about what was done or not done. This was my son getting grilled, then months later indirectly accused of fraud in front of the troop, and then ambushed and grilled again. A conversation with a heads up to bring in his work would have been totally fine in my opinion. And, the fact is that the SM approves the merit badge days and then tries to say my kid is scamming them.

IF you believe a merit badge was not handled correctly, belittling and intimidating a 12 year old should not be the way to go about it as a 60+ year old adult. I double checked that all requirements get done right before he goes to the events so he doesn't get a partial, and I sit in on all these classes. They know this, I talk to these people for hours each week. I have yet to see a counselor at these events who signs off on everything for every kid. Most kids show up with no prep work and get partial completion, and that's what they've earned.

But, if we believe that camp is fine to do merit badges at, then I don't agree that merit badge days are bad. In our camp, you spend an hour a day for 4 days working on this badge in question. The merit badge day did it in 6 hours - 2 hours more than the camp setting allotted. So if you are encouraging kids to attend camp, I'm not seeing the difference in earning badges there versus at MB days. If you do the work and you are honest, then you have fulfilled your obligation. If an SM believes an MBC is dishonest or made a mistake, that seems to me like they should address that with the MBC or the Council instead of telling a scout he's a liar over and over. Because, had they called the MBC, he could have explained that only 2 of 20 kids completed their card and the SM could have stopped his witch hunt before making my son feel personally attacked.

We have decided that we are leaving the troop over this issue. Now I just have to worry that they will refuse to send his award information to the new troop. They have a rank and 3 merit badges currently waiting for the next CoH.

Edited by NobodyReally, 05 October 2016 - 10:47 AM.

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#23 cchoat

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 10:46 AM

Yah, hmmmm...

 

@cchoat missed da next part, eh?

 

Beavah, No I did not. I think the Scoutmaster is wrong.  Read what happened to the scout and what 7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges says. 

 

"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.

 

Now is the scoutmaster questioning the event coordinator or councilorsas to whether the scout has completed the requirements?  No.  What is happening...

 

"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,"

 

Weeks, or months in advance, the boy is working on the requirements.  So he is prepared when he sits down with the councilor, he has it down pat and the councilor credits him for the badge.  I bet if the scoutmaster had asked the councilor, he'd have learned that. So what should have been the second step if the scoutmaster, after questioning the councilor or event coordinator still had concerns?  The next paragraph in the regulation says:

 

"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."

 

So what does the scoutmaster do...

"... 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.
 

Not very positive for sure.  I did mention the following on my post: "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 "  But in this case, based on the information provided by the parent, i do not see this applying.


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#24 qwazse

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 11:23 AM

 ... We have decided that we are leaving the troop over this issue. Now I just have to worry that they will refuse to send his award information to the new troop. They have a rank and 3 merit badges currently waiting for the next CoH.

Sounds like the troop looses a really good scout.

 

Award information should be in the scout's hands. Your son should have his portion of the blue card for each MB. Also his handbook should have everything for that rank signed including-the board of review. Troop records are secondary.

 

In addition, SMs do talk to one another from time to time (at a club called round-table).

 

Between all of that, they should be able to get things squared away.


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#25 NobodyReally

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 11:52 AM

He's got the book signatures and his third of each blue card, but I was under the impression that it was the troop's portion of the blue card that let's you purchase the badge at the scout shop now. Do I have the wrong information for that? If I do have my wires crossed, what, if anything, is required to purchase the merit badges now?

The organizer at one merit badge day was very apologetic for not having badges to hand out this year because the rules had changed and she said you had to show proof of completed requirements before the scout shop would sell them now. So if the scout keeps the part that has the requirements listed, then how do they verify what was completed at the store if it's not the troop's blue card section?

Edited by NobodyReally, 05 October 2016 - 12:25 PM.

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#26 qwazse

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 02:46 PM

He's got the book signatures and his third of each blue card, but I was under the impression that it was the troop's portion of the blue card that let's you purchase the badge at the scout shop now. Do I have the wrong information for that? If I do have my wires crossed, what, if anything, is required to purchase the merit badges now?

The organizer at one merit badge day was very apologetic for not having badges to hand out this year because the rules had changed and she said you had to show proof of completed requirements before the scout shop would sell them now. So if the scout keeps the part that has the requirements listed, then how do they verify what was completed at the store if it's not the troop's blue card section?

I don't propose to speak for the scout-shop. But, the "applicant's record", by virtue of the two signatures therein, says that

1. The counselor said the boy completed the badge.

2. The unit leader has received the card determined the application to be complete.

 

From their portion of the blue card, the troop may submit an advancement report (can be done online) and use it to order badges in bulk.

So, it may be worth your time to ask the SM (or have your new SM ask on the scout's behalf) if they've already purchased the badges.

 

When Son #2 was coming up short on patches, I took his blue cards in to purchase the spare MBs.


Edited by qwazse, 05 October 2016 - 02:48 PM.

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#27 Beavah

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 06:27 PM

Yah, as far as I know da blue cards don't matter to a typical scout shop.   Sales of restricted items depend on da ScoutNet record, as updated by advancement report forms from the troop.

 

Beavah


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#28 cchoat

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:07 AM

Yah, as far as I know da blue cards don't matter to a typical scout shop.   Sales of restricted items depend on da ScoutNet record, as updated by advancement report forms from the troop.

 

Beavah

Same here.  While the local Scout shop here will sell the scout badges, they will check the ScoutNet before the sale.  Trust, but verify. 


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#29 perdidochas

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:41 AM

He's got the book signatures and his third of each blue card, but I was under the impression that it was the troop's portion of the blue card that let's you purchase the badge at the scout shop now. Do I have the wrong information for that? If I do have my wires crossed, what, if anything, is required to purchase the merit badges now?

The organizer at one merit badge day was very apologetic for not having badges to hand out this year because the rules had changed and she said you had to show proof of completed requirements before the scout shop would sell them now. So if the scout keeps the part that has the requirements listed, then how do they verify what was completed at the store if it's not the troop's blue card section?

Only advancement reports allow buying of badges at scout shops, so far as I know. 


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#30 NobodyReally

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:47 AM

I was thinking I would take the signed blue cards in to the scout shop and pick up the badges he's completed so that way we could be less burdensome to the new troop.

After reading these responses, I looked in the troop master app, and it shows 2 of the 3 badges as accepted and one they haven't approved so far (oddly, the badge surrounding this recent drama has been accepted in this system for months), so I assume that ScoutNet would only show those two accepted badges. But the blue card for all 3 are already signed by the MBC and SM. I don't know if the troop is refusing to approve the 3rd badge until they grill my son about that one some more too, but what do I do in this situation if the troop doesn't forward the badge to the ScoutNet account?

Would the signed blue card trump all? Can a new troop input the badge in their system and become the final word on what was earned? Or is the badge at the mercy of the original troop approving it first?

Also, my son has a blue card for this weekend signed by the SM already. Since we won't be returning to that troop, will a new SM have any reason to not accept a completed blue card that another SM/troop approved? I am assuming my son would turn it in like normal and previous authorization will be good enough, but if I should be aware of any rules or issues, I'm all ears.
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#31 perdidochas

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:52 AM

He's got the book signatures and his third of each blue card, but I was under the impression that it was the troop's portion of the blue card that let's you purchase the badge at the scout shop now. Do I have the wrong information for that? If I do have my wires crossed, what, if anything, is required to purchase the merit badges now?

The organizer at one merit badge day was very apologetic for not having badges to hand out this year because the rules had changed and she said you had to show proof of completed requirements before the scout shop would sell them now. So if the scout keeps the part that has the requirements listed, then how do they verify what was completed at the store if it's not the troop's blue card section?

 

The  Scout's third is proof of completion. Any of the three parts of the Blue card are proof of completion.  The Applicant's record has the signature of the Counselor and unit leader (Scoutmaster) that says the requirements have been completed.  The back side of it has the actual record of the completion. That is why it's in three parts. The   Scout, the Troop and the Counselor all have proof of completion.  Any one of the three that has been filled out is proof of completion. 

 

Does your Troop not buy the merit badges and present at a Court of  Honor?  The only MB patches I bought for my sons were for lost ones. 


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#32 perdidochas

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:55 AM

I was thinking I would take the signed blue cards in to the scout shop and pick up the badges he's completed so that way we could be less burdensome to the new troop.

After reading these responses, I looked in the troop master app, and it shows 2 of the 3 badges as accepted and one they haven't approved so far (oddly, the badge surrounding this recent drama has been accepted in this system for months), so I assume that ScoutNet would only show those two accepted badges. But the blue card for all 3 are already signed by the MBC and SM. I don't know if the troop is refusing to approve the 3rd badge until they grill my son about that one some more too, but what do I do in this situation if the troop doesn't forward the badge to the ScoutNet account?

Would the signed blue card trump all? Can a new troop input the badge in their system and become the final word on what was earned? Or is the badge at the mercy of the original troop approving it first?

Also, my son has a blue card for this weekend signed by the SM already. Since we won't be returning to that troop, will a new SM have any reason to not accept a completed blue card that another SM/troop approved? I am assuming my son would turn it in like normal and previous authorization will be good enough, but if I should be aware of any rules or issues, I'm all ears.

If they are signed by the SM and the Counselor, they are complete, and the Counselor and SM have said so. A blue card signed by the previous SM is a record.  Just talk to the new Troop's Advancement person and make sure it's all straightened out.  The duel signed Applicant's record third of the blue card is sufficient proof that a MB has been completed. 


Edited by perdidochas, 06 October 2016 - 08:55 AM.

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#33 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 10:32 AM

We had a similar situation where a Scout transferred into the troop from a folded one. His SCOUTNET records were completely messed up as they showed him with NO rank or MBs. Using his BSHB and blue cards, we reconstructed his records.

 

ALWAYS KEEP COPIES OF RECORDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( caps for emphasis, ok maybe a little yelling at the top of my lungs in warning ;) )

There have been several instances that I have been personally involved with where records were messed up by the council, and I had to either reconstruct or help reconstruct them. Worse were the training records for adults. Not fun telling a Philmont Trainer Center Staffer who has been involved with BSA for over 50 years he's "untrained" according to training records.


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#34 Beavah

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 03:37 PM

I was thinking I would take the signed blue cards in to the scout shop and pick up the badges he's completed so that way we could be less burdensome to the new troop.
 

 

Yah, they won't let you.  New troop should have no problem though, eh?

 

 

I was thinking I would take the signed blue cards in to the scout shop and pick up the badges he's completed so that way we could be less burdensome to the new troop.

After reading these responses, I looked in the troop master app, and it shows 2 of the 3 badges as accepted and one they haven't approved so far (oddly, the badge surrounding this recent drama has been accepted in this system for months), so I assume that ScoutNet would only show those two accepted badges. But the blue card for all 3 are already signed by the MBC and SM. I don't know if the troop is refusing to approve the 3rd badge until they grill my son about that one some more too, but what do I do in this situation if the troop doesn't forward the badge to the ScoutNet account?

Would the signed blue card trump all? Can a new troop input the badge in their system and become the final word on what was earned? Or is the badge at the mercy of the original troop approving it first?

 

I reckon most new troops will accept da blue card and take care of things for yeh.  Same goes for gettin' your son badges and awarding at their next Court of Honor.  

 

The thing yeh need to do up front as you're lookin' for a new troop is to ask about this sort of thing, eh?  Troops have different styles and different approaches to the Advancement game.   You're clearly lookin' for a rapid-advancement / advancement-focused sort of style that is willin' to deal with badges comin' fast and furious on the quest for 136.   That's not every troop, eh?  So if yeh want to find a good fit, yeh need to be up-front in your inquiries.

 

 

Also, my son has a blue card for this weekend signed by the SM already. Since we won't be returning to that troop, will a new SM have any reason to not accept a completed blue card that another SM/troop approved? I am assuming my son would turn it in like normal and previous authorization will be good enough, but if I should be aware of any rules or issues, I'm all ears.

 

Yah, probably OK, but if there's an opportunity to do so I'd encourage your boy to talk to the new Scoutmaster first and pick up a card from the new troop.   Just easier and clearer all around, plus a good opportunity for da SM and your son to start things off on the right foot.

 

Beavah


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#35 TAHAWK

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 08:01 PM

As of last year, if a unit leader determines that a MB cannot in fact have been earned, the unit leader may decline to award the MB.

Guide to Advancement 7.4.0.7.

 

A MB can only be earned through individual "actually and personally" completing each requirement as witnessed and certified by a registered Merit Badge Counselor.

 

"It all begins with a Scout’s initial interest and effort in a merit badge subject, followed by a discussion with the unit leader or designated assistant, continues through meetings with a counselor, and culminates in advancement and recognition. It is an uncomplicated process that gives a Scout the confidence achieved through overcoming obstacles. Social skills improve. Self-reliance develops. Examples are set and followed. And fields of study and interest are explored beyond the limits of the school classroom."

 

"[A] boy may begin working on a merit badge at any time after he is registered. It is the counselor’s decision whether to accept work or activities completed prior to the issuing of the signed blue card.."

 

"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."

 

"There must be attention to each individual’s projects and his fulfillment of all requirements. We must know that every Scout—actually and personally—completed them. If, for example, a requirement uses words like “show,” “demonstrate,” or “discuss,” then every Scout must do that. It is unacceptable to award badges on the basis of sitting in classrooms watching demonstrations . . . ."


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#36 NobodyReally

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 09:58 AM

For anyone interested, we have gone around to different troops this past week. Low and behold, they have all said, almost identically, "yeah, troop _____ has a reputation for being controlling and awful to their kids." These other places also work on rank and badge requirements during meetings, and actually encourage kids to work ahead if they feel motivated, so it seems like any one of them will be a much better fit for my scout. Now he just has to pick one.
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#37 fred johnson

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 10:53 AM

For anyone interested, we have gone around to different troops this past week. Low and behold, they have all said, almost identically, "yeah, troop _____ has a reputation for being controlling and awful to their kids." These other places also work on rank and badge requirements during meetings, and actually encourage kids to work ahead if they feel motivated, so it seems like any one of them will be a much better fit for my scout. Now he just has to pick one.

 

Just be careful.  One of the ugly sides of troops competing for scouts is that the us-versus-them attitude causes many troops to knock other troops.  They may not be as different as they think or want to represent.


Edited by fred johnson, 11 October 2016 - 11:01 AM.

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#38 qwazse

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 01:07 PM

For anyone interested, we have gone around to different troops this past week. Low and behold, they have all said, almost identically, "yeah, troop _____ has a reputation for being controlling and awful to their kids." These other places also work on rank and badge requirements during meetings, and actually encourage kids to work ahead if they feel motivated, so it seems like any one of them will be a much better fit for my scout. Now he just has to pick one.

Fred said everything I would say about "back room dish" on other troops.

 

How to pick? Well, he first needs to get some more data. Specifically, who decides which topics a troop will work on?

  • If the committee has a routine schedule that covers only Eagle-required badges, then that's a no-go for your son. It sounds like he's well on his way to knocking those out with or without the troop's encouragement; therefore, what would benefit him is a troop willing to go after obscure MBs just for the fun of it.
  • If the boys in leadership positions plan what merit-badges the entire troop does for certain meetings, that's better. Your son can give feedback, and maybe an obscure one gets on the docket.
  • If the responsibility for MBs courses falls on the patrol, that's even better. It's far easier to get 8 guys to agree to try an obscure badge ... plus, if four patrols are going after four different badges, they might be flexible enough to swap members who might want to try a MB being considered by a different patrol. What that means is increased odds that at any given time he'll have a buddy (or eight) to work on MB's with.

Now, in the end, he may see earning MBs as an individual sport. In that case, the only thing that matters is a troop full of welcoming boys who have fun during the meetings and an SM who likes signing blue cards frequently.


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#39 TAHAWK

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 01:30 PM

How about  troop that lets a Scout's interests drive what MBs he pursues?


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#40 qwazse

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 09:19 AM

How about  troop that lets a Scout's interests drive what MBs he pursues?

I think that boils down to the "individual sport" strategy. I.e., no MB classes during meetings, no working on MBs during meetings (although, I think most troops with that strategy still grant boys a few minutes to meet with their counselors by appointment during opening games or patrol break-out sessions -- for the sake of youth protection), brief conversation with the SM regarding blue cards, touch base with the librarian about pamphlets, and that's it. Activities planned for their own sake without regard to any MB that could be earned in the process. It's on the boy to connect the dots and maybe influence program toward a badge of his interest.
 
That's basically how I had my boys operate. Mainly because every attempt at MB class during a meeting led to eyes rolling into the backs of their little heads when we got to handing out worksheets and school-type requirements.

 

Now, having one or two boys bring in a demonstration as part of a requirement for a badge (e.g., cooking supper in the church kitchen, lighting and extinguishing grease fires in the parking lot, etc ...) ... THAT resonated very well with the rest of the boys.  Completing their badge, however, was left up to each scout on his own time, and only a percentage of the boys did that.

 

It works for us, but none of our scouts earn Eagle quickly, and their sashes aren't overly burdened with round medallions. I don't think NobodyReallySon would like our troop at first blush.

 

@TAHAWK, if you've experienced another way of a troop "letting a scout's interests drive what merit badge he persues" do tell. Because, the OP has a kid who's nuts about earning MBs (usually an indicator of broad interests) and they would surely like to fall in with a troop who will make that a possibility.


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