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Revoking Merit Badges?


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#41 TAHAWK

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 12:15 PM

Pretty much the same here.

 

The PLC has had MBCs give 15 minute talks on the subject of a MB.  It's up to the Scouts to contact him or her to arrange to work on the MB.  

 

We have had themes that relate to MBs, such as wilderness survival, archery, pioneering.  Again, the Scout must contact a MBC to work on the badge.


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#42 Hedgehog

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 05:48 PM

The boys decided this year to do a couple of merit badges as monthly themes.  This month is Pioneering.  Our (the adults) requiirement is that the boys teach all the skills and do all the instruction.  The Merit Badge Counselor is there just to sign off on the requirements for those that want to pursue the badge.  I'll let you know how it goes.


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#43 TAHAWK

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 05:55 PM

The boys decided this year to do a couple of merit badges as monthly themes.  This month is Pioneering.  Our (the adults) requiirement is that the boys teach all the skills and do all the instruction.  The Merit Badge Counselor is there just to sign off on the requirements for those that want to pursue the badge.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Interesting change in MB requirements.  

 

I would hate it since I am a Pioneering MBC and get little enough work as it is due to Summer Camp mills and troop lists.


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#44 DuctTape

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 04:29 AM

What always seems to be missing in the discussions about merit badges is the expertise of the counselor. Before I get jumped all over, what I am referring to is the processes which ignore this expertise and use mbc as testers only. Merit badges are an amazing combination of methods, adult association and advancement. When processes ignore the adult association method the boys lose out on an amazing opportunity. The method of adult association and the opportunity for boy to learn ditectly from an expert is the reason why merit badges are separated from skills listed in rank advancement. Many current practices are viewing merit badeges as the same/similar. They are fundamentally different.
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#45 qwazse

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 05:21 AM

Interesting change in MB requirements.  
 
I would hate it since I am a Pioneering MBC and get little enough work as it is due to Summer Camp mills and troop lists.

i guess they'd have to lash you to a mast to keep you from counseling them!
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#46 Hedgehog

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 06:25 AM

Interesting change in MB requirements.  

 

The requirements for the MB remain the same.  The boys still need to demonstrate the requirements to the Merit Badge Counselor.  But rather than having the MCB "teach" the boys, we are having ohter boys do the teaching.  The requirements don't say how the boy is supposed to learn the skills.  In my opinion, the best way to master skills is to teach it.  The other option is to have the MBC run the meeting for a month and do the teaching... that wouldn't be very boy-led, would it?  I think that the experience of the SPL coordinating with the PLs to have each patrol teach part of the merit badge skills to the rest of the troop is an excellent leadership opportunity for all the folks involved.  We looked at the idea and asked, "what is the least amount of adult involvement?"  The answer is having adults as MBCs sign off on requirements when met to the satisfaction of the adults.

 

What always seems to be missing in the discussions about merit badges is the expertise of the counselor. Before I get jumped all over, what I am referring to is the processes which ignore this expertise and use mbc as testers only. Merit badges are an amazing combination of methods, adult association and advancement. When processes ignore the adult association method the boys lose out on an amazing opportunity. The method of adult association and the opportunity for boy to learn ditectly from an expert is the reason why merit badges are separated from skills listed in rank advancement. Many current practices are viewing merit badeges as the same/similar. They are fundamentally different.

 

 

Like anything else, there is a balance.  Having an adult who is an expert stand in front of the room and teach the skills to a group of scouts and then sign off on a merit badge for everyone in the room isn't the right way to do it.  Having the boy complete a worksheet and submit it to the MBC who checks the boxes on the blue card isn't the way either.  The process needs to be a joint effort between the adult and the scout, where the adult guides the scout in their own learning by working with the scout AFTER the scout has attempted to understand the material by discussing, demonstrating, testing and providing futher guidance regarding what the scout needs to do.  It is an individual endevor guided by an adult who has the responsibility to ensure that the scout properly learns the material.


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#47 DuctTape

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 06:35 AM

The requirements for the MB remain the same.  The boys still need to demonstrate the requirements to the Merit Badge Counselor.  But rather than having the MCB "teach" the boys, we are having ohter boys do the teaching.  The requirements don't say how the boy is supposed to learn the skills.  In my opinion, the best way to master skills is to teach it.  The other option is to have the MBC run the meeting for a month and do the teaching... that wouldn't be very boy-led, would it?  I think that the experience of the SPL coordinating with the PLs to have each patrol teach part of the merit badge skills to the rest of the troop is an excellent leadership opportunity for all the folks involved.  We looked at the idea and asked, "what is the least amount of adult involvement?"  The answer is having adults as MBCs sign off on requirements when met to the satisfaction of the adults.
 

 
 
Like anything else, there is a balance.  Having an adult who is an expert stand in front of the room and teach the skills to a group of scouts and then sign off on a merit badge for everyone in the room isn't the right way to do it.  Having the boy complete a worksheet and submit it to the MBC who checks the boxes on the blue card isn't the way either.  The process needs to be a joint effort between the adult and the scout, where the adult guides the scout in their own learning by working with the scout AFTER the scout has attempted to understand the material by discussing, demonstrating, testing and providing futher guidance regarding what the scout needs to do.  It is an individual endevor guided by an adult who has the responsibility to ensure that the scout properly learns the material.


I agree completely.
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#48 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 08:11 AM

At the boys request we compromised and run some Merit Badge sessions an hour before the Troop meeting for convenience. But boys are responsible for doing a lot on their own. We have had to do some 're-education' to some Webelos-3 well-meaning new adults.


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#49 TAHAWK

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 09:32 AM

I am a Merit Badge Counselor to counsel, not to be a school administrator.

 

The requirements are, of course, not all that is officially said about the B.S.A. Merit Badge Program.

 

"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.

. . .

"The required qualifications above for merit badge counseling and supervision not only assist in managing risk, but also give counselors credibility. Scouts will see them as people of importance they can look up to and learn from. A well-qualified counselor can extend a young person’s attention span: More will be heard and understood, discussions will be more productive, and true interest developed. The conversations can lead to a relationship of mutual respect where the Scout is confident to offer his thoughts and opinions and value those of his merit badge counselor. Thus it is that social skills and self-reliance grow, and examples are set and followed.

. . .

The National Council places no limit on the number of merit badges an individual may be approved to counsel, except to the extent a person lacks skills and education in a given subject. The intent is for Scouts to learn from those with an appropriate level of expertise.

...

[W]e often teach young people the importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with counselors beyond their families and beyond even their own units are doing that. They will benefit from the perspectives of many “teachers” and will learn more as a result. They should be encouraged to reach out.

. . .

Earning merit badges should be Scout initiated, Scout researched, and Scout learned. It should be hands-on and interactive, and should not be modeled after a typical school classroom setting. Instead, it is meant to be an active program so enticing to young men that they will want to take responsibility for their own full participation.

...

The sort of hands-on interactive experience described here, with personal coaching and guidance, is hardly ever achieved in any setting except when one counselor works directly with one Scout and his buddy, or with a very small group. Thus, this small-scale approach is the recommended best practice for merit badge instruction and requirement fulfillment. Units, districts, and councils should focus on providing the most direct merit badge experiences possible. Large group and Web-based instruction, while perhaps efficient, do not measure up in terms of the desired outcomes with regard to learning and positive association with adults.

...

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."

 

Guide to Advancement [emphasis added]


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#50 jr56

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 11:57 AM

My Troop has had Merit badge sessions in the past where any boys interested in doing the Merit Badge would come an hour before the meeting.   It would take 3 -4 weeks depending on the merit badge.  Obviously some of the requirements would be done by the boys on their own outside of the meeting, and some of the meeting would be spent having them present what they had done.


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#51 revdmv

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 03:23 PM

Same here we have an hour prior to the meeting set aside for Merit Badge activities. It's also the time used by the STEM group as well.


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#52 Beavah

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 05:29 AM

 

Like anything else, there is a balance.  Having an adult who is an expert stand in front of the room and teach the skills to a group of scouts and then sign off on a merit badge for everyone in the room isn't the right way to do it.  Having the boy complete a worksheet and submit it to the MBC who checks the boxes on the blue card isn't the way either. 

 

Yah, hmmm....

 

I'll certainly agree that those two ways aren't da right way to do it, eh?   That's just lazy adults bringin' up kids to be lazy.   Seems like lots of times it's also adults who don't have much experience, either with the topic (so they have to rely on da books and worksheets for knowledge) or workin' with kids (so they rely on school procedures for lack of real-world youth mentoring).

 

For most of da history of mankind, boys learned how to do things by apprenticeship.   That's the natural way to learn, eh?  That's what MB counseling should be like, I reckon, at least in a miniature way.  Or, to quote da official BSA policy:

 

"To the fullest extent possible, the merit badge counseling relationship is a counselor-Scout arrangement in which the boy is not only judged on his performance of the requirements, but receives maximum benefit from the knowledge, skill, character, and personal interest of his counselor."

 

So if da counselor is just checkin' off the requirements, we're doin' it wrong.

 

Beavah


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#53 fred johnson

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 10:49 AM

....

 

For most of da history of mankind, boys learned how to do things by apprenticeship.   That's the natural way to learn, eh?  That's what MB counseling should be like, I reckon, at least in a miniature way.  Or, to quote da official BSA policy:

 

"To the fullest extent possible, the merit badge counseling relationship is a counselor-Scout arrangement in which the boy is not only judged on his performance of the requirements, but receives maximum benefit from the knowledge, skill, character, and personal interest of his counselor."

 

So if da counselor is just checkin' off the requirements, we're doin' it wrong.

 

Beavah

 

I fully agree.  MBC should be similar to an apprenticeship.  Short term, but still like an apprenticeship.

 

The sad fact is that it's rare.  Some MBCs don't have enough experience or don't have the time to really do it well.  I steer our scouts away from MBCs that use the workbook.  Classes bother me less as long as it's not "class room" (aka sit at the desk) and more a group of scouts exploring a topic with an experienced mentor.  Most merit badges can be done well as a group ... as long as the setting is right.  


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#54 gumbymaster

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 12:09 PM

As a counselor, I generally leave it up to the scout(s) to tell me what they want from me.

 

If a Scout is already well versed in the subject matter, I am content to meet with them, go over and verify that they have the requisite knowledge and can demonstrate skills that require it.  We discuss topics together, again as the requirements dictate.  This does not prevent me as a counselor skilled in the subject matter from adding trivia or other experience to help bring the topic more to life - but generally is outside the requirements anyway. 

 

This also is usually the way I help scouts complete summer camp partials - While I may ask about prior requirements, I accept what the other counselor has signed off on.

 

At the request of Scouts (as a small group of friends, or by the unit plc/patrol) I will also conduct instructional courses in the material of a merit badge - if possible I will try to get skilled older scouts to do as much of the instruction as I can.  Over the course of several meetings with the group I will have confidence that I have taught them what they needed to know and be able to verify, for each individual, their explanation, demonstration or discussion of the respective requirements.  I try to keep these groups to about 4, maybe 6 (some topics can work better with slightly larger groups).  I don't get too many calls for these, maybe my reputation for making them earn it has leaked out :).

 

It also has to do with what the badge is about.  My standards for Space Exploration are much different than my standards for First Aid.  Some of the more academic, career, hobby, or interest topic badges can be completed relatively quickly in group settings.

 

My son has done some merit badge days, and I feel that he was able to satisfy the requirements when he as done them, but for me, that's not the type of session I like to run.

 

Back to the original topic ...

 

It saddens me when Troops need to play these types of power games with the scouts.  There are a lot of leaders out there who have a per-conceived notion of how old a boy has to be for this or that, or without any other considerations of what make the boys different from one another.

 

Some don't like it, but "one and done" is the rule for advancement.  As for revocation, as has been shown from the documents, it's only if the scout could not have earned the award, say not having enough camping days for camping, or hiking miles for hiking.  Even merit badges like communications that require visiting a city council meeting or the like can still be completed at fairs and summer camp(*) if the scout has prepared for these per-requisites before the camp/fair and done the requirement.

 

(*) Technically, some say to discuss with the counselor before going - so here you can either (1) Say this could not technically been done since you did not know/talk with the counselor before the event; or (2) Accept that the materials for the camp/fair indicated that the scout needed to do these per-requisites and thus that counts as having the counselor telling the scout to do it in advance.  Some will split hairs over the requirement term 'discuss'; I'll stay out of that one for now.

 

Failure to retain the information (which does not appear to be the case here) is not grounds for removal of the badge.  This does not mean that retesting is prohibited - it is permitted as a means for the SM to evaluate the effectiveness of the program (not your son) for future consideration, etc.  However, any such review needs to be conducted in a way consistent with the Scout oath and law (as well as all the other Scouter legalese).

 

Finding a better matching troop sounds like a good solution for your / your son's needs. Good luck, and I hope you do well.


Edited by gumbymaster, 17 October 2016 - 12:22 PM.

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#55 Ankylus

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 09:11 AM

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.

 

Late to the party, but here's my $.02.

 

From my experience, I suspect the troop is concerned--rightly or wrongly--that the Eagle rank be earned rather than gifted. We are all familiar with the 14 yo Eagle scout, who came into the troop, whizzed his way to Eagle without learning anything, and then left to pursue another entry on his resume for college. Your son's avid pursuit of MBs may have set off the alarm bells with this particular troop that he is going to be, you know, one of those.

 

You have already left the troop.  But another tack you could have taken was to pursue the Eagle required MBs in some way approved by the troop and leave the MB fairs for non-Eagle required MBs. After all, there's a whole lot more of those.

 

Not to say that the troop was handling things correctly. But you generally get more bees with honey than you do vinegar.


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#56 Ankylus

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 10:32 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.

 

It's not impossible, just very difficult. We very recently had a scout who earned all the avaiable MBs, including the 4 centennial MBs. But it was a very close thing with his 18th bday.


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