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Can parents serve as merit badge counselors for their scout?


Best Answer The Latin Scot , 09 September 2017 - 09:34 AM

Absolutely; it's not "recommended," per se, but its absolutely permissible. Here's the link: 

 

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

 

Just as an added note, the blog at scoutingmagazine.org, "Ask Brian" is one of the best sources for information out there. Many of my questions have been answered after a quick sweep of his posts. Just like searching here! Hope this is helpful.  ;)

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#21 John-in-KC

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 09:15 AM

Having been the Merit Badge Counselor Trainer for my District, I am here to say:

 

As stated above, a parent may counsel their own child.

 

A parent counseling their own child is absolutely, positively not a best practice!

 

It defeats the Adult Association Method!

 

A child knows exactly where the buttons of his parents are. 

 

In addition, what happens when he's 16?  He goes to Mikkie Dees, Ozark Auto Lube, or Fillerup and Go quick shop and asks:
"Mr (Ms) Smith, may I work for you?"

 

How does being counseled by his own parents prepare the Scout for exposure to adult strangers???

 

Inquiring Scoutering minds...
 


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#22 Hawkwin

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:38 AM

A child knows exactly where the buttons of his parents are. 

 

In addition, what happens when he's 16?  He goes to Mikkie Dees, Ozark Auto Lube, or Fillerup and Go quick shop and asks:
"Mr (Ms) Smith, may I work for you?"

 

How does being counseled by his own parents prepare the Scout for exposure to adult strangers???

 

 

For many if not most of merit badges, I don't think that concern would be overly relevant. For the relevant requirements, a scout still has to approach an adult working in the field to perform the interview and if I am the Merit Badge counselor for say Dog Care (and especially if I am not a vet), then my son would still have to complete:

 

8. Visit a veterinary hospital or an animal shelter and give a report about your visit to your counselor.

 

He would have to do that with an adult stranger. Me being the Counselor doesn't alleviate that requirement. Even if I was a vet, he would still be required to visit.

 

Your concern might be an issue for a single profession where the parent works in that profession but for all other merit badges that require interviewing a professional in that specific field, such should not be a concern.


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#23 Chadamus

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 12:18 PM

Can parents? Absolutely. Should parents? Perhaps.

 

@ItsBrian, you state you would prefer your mom to counsel you in the Cycling Merit Badge to make your life easier and to avoid a stranger for requirement 7c. In my neck of the woods, we encourage (enforce is a little too strong of a word) Merit Badge Counselors to counsel Scouts inside and outside the Troop they are registered with. To @John-in-KC's point of adult association, were your Mom to counsel you, you would loose out on that method. Your posts indicate someone who can articulate his thoughts well and communicate with adults with apparent ease, so a little less adult association via a Cycling Merit Badge isn't the end of the world. Just step out of that comfort zone from time to time. An encourage your Mom to counsel all Scouts interested in Cycling.

 

merit badges that require interviewing a professional in that specific field

Now I'm wondering what percentage of Merit Badges have this requirement.


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#24 Hawkwin

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 01:30 PM

Good question. Of the merit badges my son has started or finished:

 

Whether or not the MB requires some form of contact of an adult (and likely) stranger:

 

Citizen in the Nation - yes

Climbing - no

Collecting - no

Cooking - no (a bit of a surprise)

Dog Care - yes

Family Life - no

First Aid - no

Gardening - no - requires a visit to a location but no required interaction.

Home Repair - no (and the requirements of this one needs to be fixed otherwise there is virtually no way this is completed correctly unless the counselor is a parent).

Leatherwork - no, must visit a place of business but no required interaction.

Music - no

Physical Fitness - no, requires a doc visit but no interview.

Reptiles and Amphibians - no

Salesmanship - yes

Scholarship - yes

Skating - no

 

Not a lot of professions on that list so this isn't likely representative but still only 4 solid yes' out a list of 16. I would guess that less than half of all merit badges have a requirement to speak to a stranger. Probably quite a few that require learning about a profession or visiting the place of business without actually requiring the scout to speak to someone working in that profession (e.g. Gardening and Leatherwork)


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#25 ItsBrian

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:35 PM

Can parents? Absolutely. Should parents? Perhaps.
 
@ItsBrian, you state you would prefer your mom to counsel you in the Cycling Merit Badge to make your life easier and to avoid a stranger for requirement 7c. In my neck of the woods, we encourage (enforce is a little too strong of a word) Merit Badge Counselors to counsel Scouts inside and outside the Troop they are registered with. To @John-in-KC's point of adult association, were your Mom to counsel you, you would loose out on that method. Your posts indicate someone who can articulate his thoughts well and communicate with adults with apparent ease, so a little less adult association via a Cycling Merit Badge isn't the end of the world. Just step out of that comfort zone from time to time. An encourage your Mom to counsel all Scouts interested in Cycling.
 

Now I'm wondering what percentage of Merit Badges have this requirement.


@Chadamus
Sorry for the confusion!

She’s not only doing my me, she’s also registering for other merit badges.

My councils application says would you want to do your troop only, or the whole council. She checked off the whole Council. It’s also not only because of a stranger, but the counselors around me (from what I heard) don’t actually do the ride with you. They just wait at the end.
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#26 ItsBrian

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:38 PM

Good question. Of the merit badges my son has started or finished:
 
Whether or not the MB requires some form of contact of an adult (and likely) stranger:
 
Citizen in the Nation - yes
Climbing - no
Collecting - no
Cooking - no (a bit of a surprise)
Dog Care - yes
Family Life - no
First Aid - no
Gardening - no - requires a visit to a location but no required interaction.
Home Repair - no (and the requirements of this one needs to be fixed otherwise there is virtually no way this is completed correctly unless the counselor is a parent).
Leatherwork - no, must visit a place of business but no required interaction.
Music - no
Physical Fitness - no, requires a doc visit but no interview.
Reptiles and Amphibians - no
Salesmanship - yes
Scholarship - yes
Skating - no
 
Not a lot of professions on that list so this isn't likely representative but still only 4 solid yes' out a list of 16. I would guess that less than half of all merit badges have a requirement to speak to a stranger. Probably quite a few that require learning about a profession or visiting the place of business without actually requiring the scout to speak to someone working in that profession (e.g. Gardening and Leatherwork)


For the climbing, cooking, and first aid merit badges, they should require adult interaction.
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#27 qwazse

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:04 PM

@Chadamus
Sorry for the confusion!

She’s not only doing my me, she’s also registering for other merit badges.

My councils application says would you want to do your troop only, or the whole council. She checked off the whole Council. It’s also not only because of a stranger, but the counselors around me (from what I heard) don’t actually do the ride with you. They just wait at the end.

This is why things should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

 

Here's a scout who is recruiting a counselor for his district ... basically because he knows she will mentor and come-along-side scouts who might want someone to closely supervise them on big challenges.

 

The scout has leveraged his desire for a parent-child activity to recruit that counselor.  Now that need could have been met, and he could have used an existing MBC who would, per his/her modus operandi, met him and mom at the end of the cruise, do a quick after action review, and sign-off on paperwork. But, that might not have gained the district a devoted MBC who will go the extra mile .. times 50!

 

One stone, two dead birds.

 

In the flip side @ItsBrian, you're gonna owe your mom some flowers and chocolate for every patrol she helps to "get their cruise on." :wub:


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#28 Hawkwin

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:21 PM

For the climbing, cooking, and first aid merit badges, they should require adult interaction.

 

They don't require the interaction of a stranger. For example, you are not required to go interview someone in the cooking profession for cooking. Adult interaction is different that being required to communicate with a stranger.

 

Some merit badges require a scout to seeking out an adult stranger and interview them - and such was one of the core tenets of the MB Program:

 

 

The purpose of the merit badge program is to allow Scouts to examine subjects to determine if they would like to further pursue them as a career or vocation. Originally, the program also introduced Scouts to the life skills of contacting an adult they hadn't met before, arranging a meeting and then demonstrating their skills, similar to a job or college interview. Increasingly, though, merit badges are earned in a class setting at troop meetings and summer camps

 

https://en.wikipedia...outs_of_America)


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#29 perdidochas

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 04:20 PM

Having been the Merit Badge Counselor Trainer for my District, I am here to say:

 

As stated above, a parent may counsel their own child.

 

A parent counseling their own child is absolutely, positively not a best practice!

 

It defeats the Adult Association Method!

 

A child knows exactly where the buttons of his parents are. 

 

In addition, what happens when he's 16?  He goes to Mikkie Dees, Ozark Auto Lube, or Fillerup and Go quick shop and asks:
"Mr (Ms) Smith, may I work for you?"

 

How does being counseled by his own parents prepare the Scout for exposure to adult strangers???

 

Inquiring Scoutering minds...
 

There are cases when it's the best choice.  My sons inherited/were taught my love of nature.  I worked with them on Environmental Science and Fish/Wildlife management, and Nature. I was without a doubt the best and most thorough counselor they could have gotten for those badges.  That said, other MBs that I was a counselor for, that had alternative counselors, they worked with other counselors. 


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