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Merit Badge Worksheets


Best Answer CNYScouter , 25 May 2017 - 05:57 AM

BSA discourages use of unofficial merit badge worksheets

https://blog.scoutin...dge-worksheets/

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#1 MzKelly

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 02:47 AM

When a Boy Scout is working on a merit badge does he have to have the printed merit badge worksheets for every badge or is that up to each individual merit badge counselor? The reason I ask is because our past troop said it's not required and our current troop says it is. It proves the merit badge was completed. I thought once it's turned in and you have a blue card signed it was proof enough. Thanks in advance!
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#2 RememberSchiff

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 05:16 AM

Welcome to scouter.com

 

Around here some merit badge counselors use various internet worksheets, but as far as I know there are no BSA "official" meritbadge worksheets.

 

You are correct about the blue card as stated in the Guide to Advancement

http://www.scouting....ogram.aspx#7003

 

7.0.0.2 About the Application for Merit Badge ("Blue Card")

It is important to note the blue card” is the nationally recognized merit badge record. It has been updated from time to time and carries the information needed for proper posting and for evidence and reference as needed later.

sec07_001.jpg

I


Edited by RememberSchiff, 25 May 2017 - 05:18 AM.

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#3 CNYScouter

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 05:57 AM   Best Answer

BSA discourages use of unofficial merit badge worksheets

https://blog.scoutin...dge-worksheets/


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#4 qwazse

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 05:59 AM

Boyscouts love paperwork!

 

No, the worksheets are not required. Nowhere in the MB requirements of any merit badge pamphlet ever written does it say they are.

IMHO, boys would be better off never even looking at a single worksheet, ever.

 

For advancement tracking, the blue card tells all the story that needs to be told.


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#5 Stosh

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 06:04 AM

We have found that the dreaded worksheets do help some of the boys, we make them available to those that want them.  Not all boys learn in the same way, but those who have used the worksheets have found them useful in focusing on what's important and clarifying many of the requirements.  But as I said, not everyone learns in the same way.  For us it's optional whether they use them or not.


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#6 MattR

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:21 AM

... you have a blue card signed it was proof enough.

Yes. The MB counselor decides when it's done. And that means nobody else needs to see a worksheet, or that one is required.

 

Just a hunch, but does this troop not use blue cards and uses a worksheet instead? The blue cards are the correct way to do it but ... if there's room for a counselor's signature on the worksheet then maybe your troop twists the rules just a bit for their own convenience. Sounds silly to me but there are much worse things.


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#7 Col. Flagg

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:47 AM

Our troop MBC's don't use the worksheets. Their use tends to reinforce the mind set that the MB is like a school class where, if you complete the worksheet, you get the badge.

 

Instead, we give our Scouts a piece of paper which is a series of quotes from the Guide to Advancement and the MBC Guide that outline how a MB is earned. We emphasis the concepts of "show", "discuss", "explain", etc., rather than focusing on completing a worksheet. Has worked well for us.


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:08 AM

We have found that the dreaded worksheets do help some of the boys, we make them available to those that want them.  Not all boys learn in the same way, but those who have used the worksheets have found them useful in focusing on what's important and clarifying many of the requirements.  But as I said, not everyone learns in the same way.  For us it's optional whether they use them or not.

 

I have no problems with a worksheet as an aid to a boy. The need for such aid can be decided by the counselor on a case-by-case basis.

 

I do have problems with it as a crutch for paranoid adults. How does a worksheet in someone's hand prove anything? Little sister could have filled it out for all we know. And, so what if Timmy borrows Johnny's worksheet?  When Timmy meets the counselor, they can decide if Johnny got an answer different from the MB pamphlet, then determine if Johnny knows something the BSA doesn't. Everybody learns.

 

Question @MzKelly: do they at least use the blue cards as spelled out on the card itself? (E.g., the scout holds onto his portion, the SM merely signs on it that he has received the unit portion.)


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#9 AltadenaCraig

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:11 AM

BSA discourages use of unofficial merit badge worksheets

https://blog.scoutin...dge-worksheets/

 

 

Thanks, CNYScouter; I hadn't seen these official BSA comments until your post.

 

Soapbox time:  IMHO the worksheet project is one of the most infamous examples of "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".  Soon after following my son from his cub scout pack into his troop, I felt like I'd discovered a gold mine when I found the cache of online worksheets.  Everything in one place and up-to-date, formatted consistently across all worksheets - wonderful!  Clearly a labor of love, I felt the author of the worksheets was a hero.

 

But over the years as I've seen them in practice, I've grown to despise the things.  I've seen too many merit badge "counselors" simply rely on submission of the worksheets rather than spend quality time with the scouts.  To be sure, the scouting program that I remembered - the one that offered a welcome respite from school that nevertheless provided its own effective, but completely different, educational experience - had now become an exact replication of school: onerous "paperwork", dry content, mandated by disengaged adults.  I hate the things, now, and discourage their use among our troop's merit badge counselors.  I'm pleased to see the official BSA position against them and will relay the link to our counselors as a reminder.

 

I do have a beef with verbiage in the link's official reply: that the problem with the worksheets is that they "emphasize speed over education"; they "can prevent struggling with requirements, when it is the struggle that can lead to retention of lessons learned"; and they are "a shortcut.".  Holy cow, I didn't know the merit badge program was intended to be so grueling!  Rather I think the BSA's position would be more effective simply emphasizing the merit badge program as a fun way to get exposure to a subject and learn more about it from a passionate adult.

 

Rant over.  Carry on.


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#10 qwazse

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:20 AM

... I do have a beef with verbiage in the link's official reply ... "... when it is the struggle that can lead to retention of lessons learned"; ... Holy cow, I didn't know the merit badge program was intended to be so grueling!  Rather I think the BSA's position would be more effective simply emphasizing the merit badge program as a fun way to get exposure to a subject and learn more about it from a passionate adult. ...

Lol ... sounds like jihad 101.  (By the way, blessed fast to our Muslim scouters.)

 

I'll admit, when I first read that policy, it came off like BSA trying to protect its publications market share.


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#11 NJCubScouter

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:36 AM

I do have a beef with verbiage in the link's official reply: that the problem with the worksheets is that they "emphasize speed over education"; they "can prevent struggling with requirements, when it is the struggle that can lead to retention of lessons learned"; and they are "a shortcut.".  Holy cow, I didn't know the merit badge program was intended to be so grueling!  Rather I think the BSA's position would be more effective simply emphasizing the merit badge program as a fun way to get exposure to a subject and learn more about it from a passionate adult.

 

I noticed those comments as well.  They are not from the GTA.  They are comments by the "team leader of the BSA's Content Management Team", and I am not sure what that position does. I guess the implication is that this is an authoritative statement from the BSA.  I have mixed feelings about what he is saying.  If a requirement says to "tell" the counselor something after the Scout has learned about it, there is no rule against the Scout taking notes about what he has learned, or to organize his thoughts in writing.  So what's the difference if the notes are taken on a printed workbook with a "blank" for that requirement?  But the post is correct in saying that the Scout should actually "tell" the counselor what the requirement requires, and not simply hand in a worksheet.  So I think the worksheets can be a useful tool, but not a substitute for the interaction between counselor and Scout.


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#12 Stosh

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 01:56 PM

As a further note on my first posting, I in no way meant to imply that 1) the MB Counselor uses the worksheets, 2) the boys have to fill them out if they don't want, or 3) it was anything resembling an "official record" of anything.

 

If a boy wants to take a MB and would like a worksheet to help him with it.  We print one off for him and hand it along with the blue card.  He's responsible for giving the blue card to the counselor, he keeps the worksheet for his own personal use, to focus on the subject, to take notes or if the class is especially boring, make an airplane. It's his to do with as he wishes.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#13 MzKelly

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 02:07 PM

Our troop does use the blue cards. They just want worksheets for every single merit badge to be completely filled out even the parts that say discuss. They said that this proves they completed the merit badge when it's time to go in front of the Eagle Board. So in other words I don't need to stress about past Merit Badges that I have no worksheets for because the national Boy Scouts won't require him to have them when it's time for him to earn his Eagle rank. This answers my questions and thanks so much!
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#14 frankpalazzi

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 02:20 PM

www.mertibadge.org is a helpful site for worksheets, but they are by no means required.  A completed blue card is all you need. Troop files advancement report. Advancement report goes to Council. Council enters information into database.  Done deal.

 

If your Eagle has saved any written work that accompanied any of his badges, it's always a good idea to bring that to the Board Of Review, but again, not required.


Edited by frankpalazzi, 25 May 2017 - 02:23 PM.

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#15 qwazse

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 02:27 PM

Our troop does use the blue cards. They just want worksheets for every single merit badge to be completely filled out even the parts that say discuss. They said that this proves they completed the merit badge when it's time to go in front of the Eagle Board. So in other words I don't need to stress about past Merit Badges that I have no worksheets for because the national Boy Scouts won't require him to have them when it's time for him to earn his Eagle rank. This answers my questions and thanks so much!

Either the first part of the scout law is for real, or you would need more than stacks of worksheets to prove what they want to prove ...

  • videos for the "demonstrate" types of requirements ...
  • chemical analysis of cooking samples from a certified lab ...
  • remote sensing of the heat signature from their footprints on the trails they hiked ...

Well, I hope you can talk your son's scouters out of this rabbit hole. It may have been because of a rotten MBC or a scout's forgery. But there is no point in micromanaging everyone else on account of a few incidents. We correct the errant individuals as we come across them and move on. It makes us all better people.


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#16 NJCubScouter

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 02:30 PM

Our troop does use the blue cards. They just want worksheets for every single merit badge to be completely filled out even the parts that say discuss. They said that this proves they completed the merit badge when it's time to go in front of the Eagle Board. So in other words I don't need to stress about past Merit Badges that I have no worksheets for because the national Boy Scouts won't require him to have them when it's time for him to earn his Eagle rank. This answers my questions and thanks so much!

 

Well... just because National says you can't require something doesn't mean some troops don't try to require it anyway.  It is still possible that when a Scout is at a Scoutmaster Conference or Board of Review for Star or Life or Eagle (if Eagle BOR's are done at the troop level in your council), someone might say he doesn't get credit for an MB because there is no worksheet.  I don't know if that will happen or not, but if it does, your son (if that's who we are talking about) may need to convince them otherwise (and all you have now is the advice of a few anonymous strangers on the Internet), and if that doesn't work, there is an appeal process but your son does not want to go through that if he does not have to.


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#17 jeanvaljean

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 06:49 AM

Being a MB counselor myself, I do like the scouts using the worksheets for couple of reasons:

 

1. It keeps them focused on what to work on, I try to keep my speeches short and direct

2. It gives them a record to work with since MB badges take more than one session to do

3. It helps give them certain things to do at home outside the MB sessions

 

this is my experience and I know some scouts like to keep the filled out forms in case they ever like to go back and look up a definition or info on a topic. 


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#18 jeanvaljean

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 06:50 AM

or a scout's forgery. 

Scout is not supposed to do that, it contradicts "honest", what's the point of being a scout if you are cutting corners and not following the law and the spirit ... Major fail in my opinion ...


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#19 qwazse

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 08:59 AM

Scout is not supposed to do that, it contradicts "honest", what's the point of being a scout if you are cutting corners and not following the law and the spirit ... Major fail in my opinion ...

Please understand that underneath our troop sign should be a subscript, "We take bad kids."

So, yes, we've had to deal with scouts fudging paperwork and counselors feeling pressured to sign off for fear it would otherwise ruin the scouts life. Fortunately, we've also had reliable informants and committee chairs who dug their heels in and would not countenance more BS than is already in the BS of A. We could deny the boy rank advancement, and it did him a world of good.

 

If you meet a boy who is a bit disorganized, and you think a worksheet would help, definitely suggest it.

If you've seen a large number of boys stumble over the badges you've tried to teach, maybe suggesting a worksheet for those badges is a good thing. Maybe it's not necessary to have a boy get out a blank sheet of paper and outline for himself what he needs to do.

 

But, would you really want somebody using a worksheet over your signature on a blue card as proof that the boy did or did not work through his requirements?


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#20 T2Eagle

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 09:04 AM

Our troop does use the blue cards. They just want worksheets for every single merit badge to be completely filled out even the parts that say discuss. They said that this proves they completed the merit badge when it's time to go in front of the Eagle Board. So in other words I don't need to stress about past Merit Badges that I have no worksheets for because the national Boy Scouts won't require him to have them when it's time for him to earn his Eagle rank. This answers my questions and thanks so much!

Before you relax, you, or your son, should probably have a discussion with someone in the troop about this.  As NJ mentioned, Eagle Boards can sometimes be full of people who have a very narrow and specific idea about how boards should be run, and that may not be in conformity with what the guidelines indicate.  If this is going to pose a headache for your son it would be better to find out and lay the groundwork for dealing with it now rather than a year or two from now when your son may be pushing up against his 18th birthday.


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