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unfortunately we have to walk away


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#1 jeanvaljean

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 09:09 PM

Please feel free to criticize me if you think I am wrong, I am not venting, I am very disapointed and angry that my kids will have to pay for some adults' incompetence and power trip.

 

I have been posting about couple of things and everytime I encounter a situation I come here for advice and I read the BSA rules etc. I thought I was over the hump with the SM about a first year earning MB, and he allowed him to work on 2, which my son did finish. He came with his older brother asking for another card for a MB that won't be offered at their troop and once again he was denied. the MB coordinator had a fit about how come we are going to the outstide to earn the badge blah blah blah. I asked the SM what's the problem and he started telling me about how we need to investigate who these outside MB counselors are, I said, the person that my son asked to help is a MB for another troop, apparently he did not like this answer. At that point my blood started to boil, so I chose to walk away, maybe it was disrespectful of me, but I did not want to get angry and make a scene, I simply chose to walk away and leave.

 

Now I am convinced that this troop is not for us, and I should have moved away at the first signs of drama and politics, but I did not. I won't be able to join the new troop until most likely the fall, which means all my kids plans on working on MBs this summer won't happen, since they won't have any signed blue card. To make matters worse, I alreayd paid for their summer camp in July, so not sure how that will impact our situation.

 

I am so disapointed that things came to this, I always believed that scouts is about the kids and giving the kids the opportunities they ask for.


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:49 PM

Contact the camp and get your son enrolled as a provisional scout in a different troop.  I can't imagine them not working that out for your boy.  It just might be that a troop geographically located near your residence is available for him to "check them out" on their turf at summer camp.

 

If your calendar is a bit flexible you may be able to find a close troop that is going to summer camp on a different week that the camp can accommodate a switching the week for your son.

 

I wouldn't write this off as a lost cause for the summer, start asking questions and see what's available.  Start with the camp and with potential new troops in your area.  One will need to be doing that anyway next fall, might as well start out now so your son doesn't miss out.


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#3 qwazse

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:29 AM

This SM is creating a we/they scenario that most of us don't live by.
Give other troops in your district a call. I'm sure one of them will welcome you on short notice.
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#4 cyclops

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:04 AM

Contact the camp and get your son enrolled as a provisional scout in a different troop.  I can't imagine them not working that out for your boy.  It just might be that a troop geographically located near your residence is available for him to "check them out" on their turf at summer camp.

 

If your calendar is a bit flexible you may be able to find a close troop that is going to summer camp on a different week that the camp can accommodate a switching the week for your son.

 

I wouldn't write this off as a lost cause for the summer, start asking questions and see what's available.  Start with the camp and with potential new troops in your area.  One will need to be doing that anyway next fall, might as well start out now so your son doesn't miss out.

I agree with Stosh on this. Do the provisional and see if there's a better troop option. Do what's best for your family.


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#5 allangr1024

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:12 AM

There are a few discussion items here.  

 

The first is the fact that Merit Badge Councilors are chartered not by the troop but by the district or council.  The are supposed to be independent from the troop, to allow the scouts to have a broader experience in interacting with adults.  The SM should get a list of district vetted councilors for each MB and give the scout the name and  phone number of the councilor.  The scout then contacts the councilor and they set up meetings and activities to work on the MB, outside of the troop setting.  It sounds like this particular scout did this.

 

In the modern era, the reality is that this system does not work well.  The need for 2 deep leadership or no one to one contact with adults, plus the attitude of modern parents about their need to protect their children, have led troops to get their adults to do MB's in the troop.  It is a good way to give all the adults standing around something to do.  Add to that the fact that in some councils (like mine, name withheld) the councilor lists are so badly maintained that getting a name from the councilor list is impossible.  Out council summer camp offered a Com posit materials badge that the camp could not finish.  I tried to find a councilor for it, and called everyone on the list, and none of the councilors had been involved in scouting for five years.

 

Troops that run MB programs have taken up the slack, but the merit badge program was never intended to be done by the troop.  There is precious little about merit badges in the early Scoutmaster handbooks.  He was primarily urged to lead a good outdoor program, and to get the patrol method up and working.  The scouts do advancement at their own pace, and most advancement skills were about camping.  I wish we could republish the 1930's and 1940's era Scoutmaster handbooks and require them to be read by any potential Scoutmaster.


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#6 Scout12

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:49 AM

You don't have to wait-find one now and transfer,you can get whatever merit badge is offered by a certified MB consular at any time, anywhere.


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#7 Hedgehog

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 08:51 AM

Also, there is no reason your son can't start LEARNIING about the merit badge topics he is interested in on his own this summer.  I love it when a Scout comes to me and says, "i've worked through all the requirements on my own and I'd like to meet with you to discuss them."  Granted, there are parts of merit badges that require approval by the counselor and parts that require doing things once you started the merit badge, but a large amount of the learning can (and should) be done independently.

 

As a side note, get your son a copy of the BSA Fieldbook -- great summer reading.  

 

Focus on knowledge, not just patches.


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#8 Col. Flagg

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 09:13 AM

It sounds like the troop and SM's understanding of the rules governing MB work are a bit misplaced, and they should be compelled by district or council to adhere to these rules.

 

That said, however, maybe their application of the rules may have something to do with these issues?

  • Ensuring the Scout is working with a certified MBC. This is spelled out as a requirement of the SM in Section 7.0.0.3 of the GTA. The SM and Scout are to come to agreement on this and, failing 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." So, is the MBC a registered counselor? Did the SM know?
     
  • The SM may impose a limit on the number of MBs earned by a Scout from a single MBC as provided under 7.0.1.4 of the GTA, which states "...in situations where a Scout is earning a large number of badges from just one counselor, the unit leader is permitted to place a limit on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor, as long as the same limit applies to all Scouts in the unit." Maybe the SM knew of this MBC? Maybe the SM has reason to believe he's teaching too many MBs meeting this single source issue?
     
  • Lastly, Section 7.0.4.6 might be in play here. Maybe the SM has reason to believe that the other troop's MBC may fall in to a scenario outlined in this section. If the SM believes that to be the case, the SM does have every right to execute the section as written:
    • "In cases where it is discovered that unregistered or unapproved individuals are signing off merit badges, this should be reported to the council or district advancement committee so they have the opportunity to follow up. But it is also the responsibility of unit leaders to help Scouts understand that only registered and approved counselors are to be used. Because background checks, Youth Protection training, and merit badge program quality control are involved, BSA registration and council advancement committee approval are mandated procedures. If a Scout to whom this mandated procedure has been made clear has ignored it, then unit leaders may require the youth to work with other counselors who are properly documented who will verify that requirements were met and sign the blue cards. A unit leader should discuss any potential follow-up counselors with the Scout and provide the name of at least one, but Scouts must be allowed to work with registered and approved counselors of their choice as outlined in “About the Application for Merit Badge (“Blue Card”),” 7.0.0.2."

@allangr1024, Section 7.0.2.3 does allow units to establish their own list of counselors "who may or may not opt to work with youth in other units." So while the council may own the registration process, the GTA does allow units to have their own approved list.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 05 June 2017 - 09:14 AM.

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#9 CalicoPenn

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 03:23 PM

I'm with Stosh - contact the Council about setting your son(s) up with the provisional Troop for the week of Summer Camp that you paid for - Council should have a record that you paid for Summer Camp and most will be just fine with accommodating you.  While you're talking to the Council, ask them what their policy is on letting the Provisional Scoutmaster sign blue cards - some council's won't allow it but others will, and even if a council's policy is not to allow it, they'll often become remarkably flexible about it when they are told that your son(s) are transferring Troops in the fall or dropping out of Scouts.


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#10 fred johnson

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 04:42 PM

As for summer camp you already paid for ... is it a troop run camp or a council run camp the troop attends?  If a council run camp, then the troop only faces losing their deposit.  And they only lose the deposit if they don't have any late sign-ups.  My experience is if the troop manages it well, they can be out zero dollars and could refund you.  Or at worst, refund you what they would lose.  

 

But as CalicoPenn says ... if you can't get your money out, explain it to the council and indicate that you have already paid for camp and would like to camp with another troop as you've already paid.  

 

My key point ... The dollars should not be the stopping point.  Money can be worked out.  Just decide earlier than later so the troop doesn't spend the money.  


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#11 SSScout

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:13 AM

Ditto all the above.   Sometimes the king must be reminded of the agreement given in Magna Carta. 

 

Scoutmasters are "A" boss, but might not be  'THE" boss of the Troop.  "it depends...." 

 

Why do what should be done?  We have BSA policy, well established and published and TRAINED ?  We have a Troop Committee and lots of tradition (cue Fiddler on the Roof music) which is very important, but sometimes gets in the way of being "fair " and  in the boy's best interest.   We have the "Boy Led" aspect, which should always be considered first, except when BSA standards are involved (rank requirements?  Safe Scouting?  Scout Promise and Law?  ) 

 

It is always embarrassing when a Scout (or his parents?)  brings a BSA book to show the Scoutmaster (or Committee Chair or Advancement Chair or...)  something that does not jibe with what has just been said or declared (" you must do it THIS way").  

 

Talk over the seeming disagreement between what is "read" and what is "heard"  with others in the Troop community , then ask the Scoumaster to meet with you after the meeting, in the hallway, over a cuppa in Fourbucks   and politely ask about this mismatch between his way and the BSA way....   Give him an "out".  Try not to back him into a corner, but allow that his heart is in the right place, just maybe not how he wants to guarantee the best program for the Scouts.

 

See you on the trail.


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#12 Stosh

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:42 AM

Ditto all the above.   Sometimes the king must be reminded of the agreement given in Magna Carta. 

 

Scoutmasters are "A" boss, but might not be  'THE" boss of the Troop.  "it depends...." 

 


See you on the trail.

 

No, the SM is NO BOSS.  If he is to be a servant leader, he has to be there to serve, help, inspire, encourage the boys, not throw up road-blocks to keep them from being successful.

 

SM's that are in the program only to serve their own egos have no place in Scouting.  Service to others is not a learnable skill, it's something that is innate to the nature of the person.  If they have no desire to help other people at all times, then there's really nothing that can be done to instruct them.  It apples to the adults as much as it does to the scouts.


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#13 Back Pack

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 09:02 AM

"SM's that are in the program only to serve their own egos have no place in Scouting."

Exactly why we should do away with knots and just stick to service stars. Nothing says experience like a guy wearing a 20 year service star.
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#14 SSScout

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 03:18 PM

Stosh:  Well, yeah,  I agree , when the ego gets in the way of the Scouting , the SM needs an attitude adjustment.  But sometimes, sometimes, the SM is the boss.  In setting the example, in encouraging good Scouting, in saying "hey, I don't think throwing THAT into the campfire is a good idea."  and like I said, when the SM decides that BSA established policy (he had the training, yes?) is not his way of doing things,  maybe he does need to be taken aside and ,

as we say in the Quakers, "Eldered" a bit .


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#15 Stosh

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 05:03 PM

:)  When it comes to safety, anybody is the BOSS.  Absolute, no questions, Safety First.  I don't care if a first year scout calls out a tenured SPL on a safety issue.  The newbie is the BOSS!


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#16 JasonG172

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 12:12 PM

Some troops are just really strict on WHO does these MB classes.  My son's troop is very much on top of providing "Quality" MD Councilors for the boys.   

 

This is NOT a race to see how many one can receive right?  Rules at our troop, no Eagle required MB (except for Swimming) are allowed by anyone under 1st class.  Troop also looks down on Merit Badge colleges (puppy mills if you will) To ea there on. 


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#17 Col. Flagg

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 12:15 PM

This is NOT a race to see how many one can receive right?  Rules at our troop, no Eagle required MB (except for Swimming) are allowed by anyone under 1st class.  Troop also looks down on Merit Badge colleges (puppy mills if you will) To ea there on. 

 

How do they stop a Tenderfoot from taking First Aid at a local MB college?


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#18 Stosh

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 12:25 PM

How do they stop a Tenderfoot from taking First Aid at a local MB college?

 

No signature from the SM.....?


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#19 Col. Flagg

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 12:35 PM

No signature from the SM.....?

 

Under what reason? If a certified counselor worked with the Scout there's no reason to turn the kid down.

 

I am no fan of MB colleges, but that's BS for an SM or troop to do. You can't tell a Scout they can't work on a MB that interests them. Might as well tell a kid you won't sign off on his rank because you think he's moving too fast.


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#20 Stosh

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 02:34 PM

Granted it might be a stupid rule, but with a spot on the blue card for the SM's signature saying he's on board with scout taking the MB, it doesn't leave much wiggle room for discussion.  Unfortunately in this case, specific policy has been clearly defined....and yes, I think it's a stupid rule.


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