Yes, I was on reddit.
Can someone walk me through the process when a MB camp / MB college is involved?
Are blue cards "supposed to" be issued by the Troop and given to boy in advance of merit badges they will be taking at one of those events? In my experience, some Troops do that, some don't.
THE BLUE CARDS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HANDED TO THE SCOUT BY THE SCOUTMASTER, WITH HIS/HER SIGNATURE, TYPICALLY BEFORE THE SCOUT BEGINS WORKING ON THE MB HE HAS SELECTED BUT NOT ESSENTIALLY BEFORE. B.S.A., GUIDE TO ADVANCEMENT AT P. 43.
Are the blue cards "supposed to" be written on by the camp's MBC staff? IME, you don't get that service done for the unit; you just get an email or a print out.
NORMALLY, THE BLUE CARDS ARE WRITTEN ON BY THE SCOUTMASTER, THE SCOUT, AND ONE OR MORE REGISTERED MERIT BADGE COUNSELORS. STAFF STATUS IS NOT RELEVANT. THE CRITICAL WRITING IS THE CERTIFICATION OF COMPLETION OF REQUIREMENTS SIGNED SOLELY BY THE REGISTERED MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR WHO TESTED THE SCOUT ON THOSE REQUIREMENTS.
NO COUNCIL IS AUTHORIZED TO USE ANY OTHER SYSTEM FOR REPORTING PROGRESS ON A MERIT BADGE.
So, assuming the unit only gets a printout, is the Troop advancement person or SM supposed to fill out the blue card based on the printout? Or is the correct process that the Troop and the Scout work together to track down another official MBC to have them do the signoffs for what was done, then hopefully, subsequently, do the signoffs for the not-yet-completed requirements if it was a partial? In my experience, nothing like this is happening. In fact, IME, the boys don't even have blue cards that are partially filled out, with individual requirements that were done, when they get partials.
THE ONLY PERSON AUTHORIZED TO SIGN FOR COMPLETION OF ANY OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR EARNING A MERIT BADGE IS A REGISTERED MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR FOR THAT MERIT BADGE. COMMITTEE STATUS, STAFF STATUS, OR STATUS AS A SCOUTMASTER IS NOT RELEVANT. A COMMITTEE MEMBER OR OTHER SCOUTER COMPLETES THE ADVANCEMENT REPORT THAT IS SUBMITTED TO THE SCOUT'S COUNCIL.
YOU ARE EXPERIENCING VIOLATION OF THE MANDATORY RULES OF BSA. WORSE THAN COUNCILS MAKING UP THEIR OWN PAPERWORK IS THAT MERIT BADGES ARE COMMONLY AWARDED WITH NO TESTING BY, OR NO INVOLVEMENT WHATSOEVER OF, A REGISTERED MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR FOR THE MERIT BADGE, WHICH IS INVALID. THE MERIT BADGE HAS NOT BEEN EARNED IN THOSE CASES.
I didn't intend for this discussion to retread Ye Ole' Boy-Led Versus Adult-Led ground, but rather a discussion on what best practices are for the leaders or the MBC staff, for those things that fall under the adults' purview.
Last question: What's the lifetime of the blue card? Is it effectively useless when finished -- i.e. is the boy supposed to retain a copy of the blue card to indicate he has done the MB for his eventual Eagle BOR, or is the awarded white merit badge certificate card sufficient for this purpose?
THE BLUE CARD IS EVIDENCE OF COMPLETION OF REQUIREMENTS. IT IS SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT REPORT SUBMITTED TO COUNCIL BY THE UNIT, WHICH REPORT IS THE FINAL, OFFICIAL RECORD. IN COME CASES WHERE ADULTS DROPPED THE BALL, THE BLUE CARD HAS ALLOWED AN ADVANCEMENT REPORT TO BE FILED AFTER THE SCOUT'S 18TH BIRTHDAY TO "SAVE" HIS EAGLE. THIS IS WHY ONE COPY IS TO BE WITH THE SCOUT, ONE WITH THE COUNSELOR, AND ONE WITH THE UNIT - JUST IN CASE..