MB Approval and Signatures

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MB Approval and Signatures

Postby maricopasem » Wed May 10, 2006 10:14 am

I have seen quite a few posts that have to do with blue cards, Scoutmaster signatures, etc. In practically every one phrases like "official rule" pop up. I've even seen someone say that as a MB counselor they would not sign off on any requirements completed prior to acquiring a signed blue card. Not only does that not "feel" right, but I cannot find any "official rule" that says that is required.

Any thoughts?
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Re: MB Approval and Signatures

Postby vpalango » Wed May 10, 2006 11:40 am

maricopasem wrote:I have seen quite a few posts that have to do with blue cards, Scoutmaster signatures, etc. In practically every one phrases like "official rule" pop up. I've even seen someone say that as a MB counselor they would not sign off on any requirements completed prior to acquiring a signed blue card. Not only does that not "feel" right, but I cannot find any "official rule" that says that is required.

Any thoughts?


This was discussed in-depth in the thread http://meritbadge.net/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=1223

In summary, the discussion was around the topic of if a MB counselor must honor a partial from another counselor. There is official documentation on this and it is...
From A Guide to Merit Badge Counseling (No. 34532A)

What's My Responsibility?
Your task is to satisfy yourself that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge. In this sense you are an examiner, though your larger opportunity lies in coaching-helping the Scout meet the challenge of the requirements and making him aware of the deeper aspects of the subject through your knowledge and experience.

Note the active phrase "your task is to satisfy yourself that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements of the badge"

What Do I Agree to Do?
As a merit badge counselor, I agree to

Follow the requirements of the merit badge, making no deletions or additions, ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform for all Scouts.
Have a buddy present with each Scout at all instructional sessions.
Renew my registration as a merit badge counselor annually if I plan to continue serving as a merit badge counselor.

Note that instruction one says both that you must make no deletions or additions, and ensure that advnacement standards are fair and uniform for all scouts

For more info on the previous discussion, see the referenced thread.

YIS,
Vernon L. Palango
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Postby maricopasem » Wed May 10, 2006 1:00 pm

I don't think this is the same issue or discussion. That discussion was about accepting partials from another MB counselor. My concern is whether or not a Scout has to talk with his Scoutmaster or MB counselor before doing any work on a MB.
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Postby Mrw » Wed May 10, 2006 1:34 pm

The scout is to obtain a signed blue card from the Scoutmaster (or his/her designee) before contacting the counselor. It is generally recommended that the scout also contact the counselor as he starts the badge to make sure he is doing the right thing.

It is really up the the counselor whether they accept activites done before the scout obtained the blue card.

In my experience, most will, but it really depends on the badge, the difficulty of doing the requirements and where they were done.
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Postby vpalango » Wed May 10, 2006 2:02 pm

Ahhhh..... Now I understand your question,

The Scout does have to talk with his Scoutmaster before going to a MB counselor, and get the initial signature on the blue card.

Next, the scout goes to the MB counselor.... The best description I've seen on how the counselor and the scout will deal with the requirements is from this site, and I'll quote it here....

Requirements. You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated -- no more and no less. You are expected to do exactly what is stated in the requirements. If it says "show or demonstrate," that is what you must do. Just telling about it isn't enough. The same thing holds true for such words as "make," "list," "in the field," and "collect," "identify," and "label."


So if the verb in the requirement is something like "show or demonstrate", work done before will not count, as the scout must show/demonstrate to the counselor. However, some requirements usually are started before seeing the counselor, camping for instance...

9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:
a. Camp a total of at least 20 days and nights. You may use a week of long-term camp toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched (long-term camp excluded).


In this case, the scout probably has already done the camping, and is simply showing his records.

So in my opinion, it depends on the requirement. Some are appropriate to have started before starting the MB, some, however, are not. To some degree this is in the MB Counselor's discretion.
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Postby wagionvigil » Wed May 10, 2006 2:16 pm

It should go something like this
1. Pick a MB you are interested in
2. Go to your scoutmaster and get a Blue Card and find an approved counselor.
3. "Read the Merit Badge Pamphlet"
4. Contact the counselor and do the requirements

In Camping the SM would need to varify the camping information for the Counselor

My question is how would a Scout get a Blue Card except from the SM?
Downloading one is by passing the process.
My opinion
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Postby maricopasem » Wed May 10, 2006 2:30 pm

As an example let's say a Scout does a big project on Native Americans in school. He then realizes that the work he did on his project satisifies some or all of the requirements for the Indian Lore MB. Should the Indian Lore counselor make him in essence redo all of the requirements because he did them prior to getting the blue card?

What if a Scout goes on a family reunion and one of the activities is rock climbing? Let's say he does nearly all of the requirements for the Climbing MB while away with his family. Is it right to deny him because he did the work in a circumstance prior to meeting a MB counselor?

It just feels like a violation of the no more, no less principle. Maybe BSA should create a Bureaucracy MB. All I ever needed to learn about red tape and hoop jumping I learned in Scouts.
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Postby vpalango » Wed May 10, 2006 2:43 pm

This is just one of those things where the MB counselor has some discretion. Picking climbing may not be a good example, because that is a case where many of the requirements are such that the MBC needs to see the scout doing the skills.

But for something like American Heritage, a scout might have gone to a historic landmark 6 months ago, and the MB counselor might accept that as part of the MB. As long as the scout can demonstrate that he did the trip, and can fulfill the rest of the requirement.

Again, there's alot of room for interpretation here, but at the end of the day, it's up to the MB counselor how he wants to set his/her expectations with the scout on how they would like the scout to fulfill the MB, without adding to/subtracting from the requirement.

VLP
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Postby evmori » Wed May 10, 2006 3:15 pm

maricopasem wrote:As an example let's say a Scout does a big project on Native Americans in school. He then realizes that the work he did on his project satisifies some or all of the requirements for the Indian Lore MB. Should the Indian Lore counselor make him in essence redo all of the requirements because he did them prior to getting the blue card?

What if a Scout goes on a family reunion and one of the activities is rock climbing? Let's say he does nearly all of the requirements for the Climbing MB while away with his family. Is it right to deny him because he did the work in a circumstance prior to meeting a MB counselor?

It just feels like a violation of the no more, no less principle. Maybe BSA should create a Bureaucracy MB. All I ever needed to learn about red tape and hoop jumping I learned in Scouts.


It's up to the counselor. If the counselor will not accept requirements completed prior to the SM signing the MB card, then oh well! He doesn't have to.
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Postby Mrw » Wed May 10, 2006 3:37 pm

My son took a graphic arts class in school last year. About the end of the class, he realized he had done all the requirements for the Graphic badge.

He called the counselor for an appointment, showed him his class projects and explained how he had made them. Twenty minutes and he had the badge.

The counselor said that was the first time he had had a scout come with the badge completed as most boys just don't have access to the things needed to do this badge on their own.

There was no resaon to ask him to redo anything. On the other hand, if a boy came to me with a partial in climbing, I think I would expect him to demonstrate for me that he knew how to do the knots, climb and rappel. I don't think a note from Uncle Joe from two states away would give me the assurance that he could do it safely and properly.
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Postby FrankJ » Wed May 10, 2006 4:30 pm

BSA puts the final judgement on what to accept & not accept on the merit badge counsilor. The counsilor is supposed to follow the "rules" and not add any of their own, but if they don't, the only recourse is to have that person removed from the counsilor list. I suspect BSA has done this to nip a lot of controversy in the bud. Imagine the headache of having a BOR for every merit badge earned.

Some items clearly can only be started after meeting with the counsilor. Lanuage such as "with your counsilors approval" would be a could indicator. Other items most reasonable counsilors will accept with proper documentation. Note the earlier posts. One of the side benifets of the merit badge program is learning how to talk to the counsilor and determine their expectations.

I expect the "rule" that you cannot start the merit until you obtain a blue card is seen as being implied from the Boy Scout handbook were it says that is the first step. Meeting with the merit badge counsilor is the second step I do not see this as a hard rule, but in general meeting with the merit counsilor before starting work will insure there are no misunderstandings about what is required. Remember: The counsilor is the sole judge of what they will accept.
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Postby summertop » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:21 am

I'm lucky in that in my unit we have good MBC's. We also have multiple MBC's for the same merit badge. That way, if a boy has a problem with someone who is a MBC, they can go see a different one.

I often have scouts (and parents) ask me if "this activity qualifies for this requirement..." I always tell them to talk to the merit badge councilor. They will sit down with the boy and discuss the requirements. Then, the boy knows exactly what the councilor will accept.

Too many times, the boys try to complete the MB before seeing the councilor. Then they expect the councilor to just sign the blue card. It is sooo much easier for the scout to start the MB by visiting with the councilor.
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Postby mhjacobson » Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:28 pm

The operational phrase being used is to the satisfaction of the MB counselor. If a Scout is able to demonstrate that they have fulfilled all of the requirements of the MB using materials that they have developed in school, or materials that they developed prior to the issuance of a blue card TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE MB COUNSELOR, it is fine.

THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT THAT ALL ACTIONS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A MB MUST PREDATE THE BLUE CARD. If fact, the reason that there is a blue card is for a SM to be able to state that the scout is QUALIFIED TO BEGIN WORKING FOR THE MERIT BADGE NOTED ON THE REVERSE SIDE. It does nor say that the scout is qualified to begin working ON the MB.

The determination is that of the MB counselor, but if the SM is able to document that the scout has met some of the requirements (i.e. the 20 nights for camping) one would think that it is what it means and the documentation is what is important.
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Postby RWSmith » Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:35 pm

VERY good thread... Here's a thought...

Who can complete a MB requirement? Anybody.

Who can earn a MB requirement, any MB requirement? Only a registered Scout.

That's the only pre-requisite I know of for actually "earning" a MB requirement. [Getting a Blue Card from your SM, or his/her appointed designee, and giving him/her the opportunity to assign your MBC, is not the point of this post.] So, as a MBC, if a Scout can verify (be it direct evidence, or a note from a reponsible adult) that he completed such-and-such requirement since the date he became a registered Scout, then I am obligated to accept it as such. (Caveat: Of course, as noted earlier, there are a few specific MB requirements that specify you must get your MBCs approval before doing X-Y-Z.)
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Postby evmori » Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:41 pm

RWSmith wrote:So, as a MBC, if a Scout can verify (be it direct evidence, or a note from a reponsible adult) that he completed such-and-such requirement since the date he became a registered Scout, then I am obligated to accept it as such.


I would disagree. If the MB counselor will not accept any work done prior to the issuance of the MB card then the counselor doesn't have to.
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Postby RWSmith » Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:54 pm

Well then, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree... Let me try another tact...

There is no policy or rule, that allows a MBC to stipulate when the completion of a MB requirement(s) is okay, or not okay, other that the ones I just mentioned (except, of course, that dreaded 18th-birthday thing). No MBC has the right (or authority) to require a Scout to re-do any MB requirement he has already accomplished as a registered Scout.

And, just in case I mis-understood something... The MBC should never sign off a Blue Card until the UL has signed the appropriate place, first.
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Postby maricopasem » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:17 pm

If the MB counselor will not accept any work done prior to the issuance of the MB card then the counselor doesn't have to.

That's ridiculous. What MB Counselor worth his salt would add to the requirements by forcing a young man to do a requirement again?
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Postby WVBeaver05 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:43 pm

This is a very slippery question!

From the electronic version of "A Guide to Merit Badge Counseling" (BSA Publication No. 34532A (I can't find my paper copy right now, and the electronic copy is much easier to cut and paste from :-) ):

WHAT'S MY JOB?
Your job is to satisfy yourself that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge. In this sense you are an examiner.


If the things he has done cannot be transported, he should present you with satisfactory evidence, such as a photograph of the project or adult certification. His Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach might, for example, certify that a satisfactory bridge or tower has been built for Pioneering, or that the required meals were prepared for the Cooking merit badge. Your job, in addition to coaching, is to satisfy yourself that the requirements have been met. Question the Scout and, if you have my doubts, contact the adult who signed the statement.


When you are satisfied that the Scout has met the requirements, you sign his merit badge application.

So what does this mean? To me it is clear that I have to be personnaly satified that the Scout meets the requirement in question. If I were counseling Camping would I accept previous camping experiences? I can't think of very many reasons why I wouldn't, but it would be case by case and I might have to follow up as mentioned above.

Bottom line, as with rank requirements - when I put my initials on the line, I am saying that the Scout has met the requirement and I will feel comfortable defending that to any challenges. If I don't, then I won't / can't sign. So I have to be sure. What it takes to make me sure will be different in different circumstances.

So I can see how there can be disagreements on how this is implemented.

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Postby mhjacobson » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:14 am

It is really simple: All that a MBC has to remember is "Nothing more, nothing less." If a scout is able to demonstrate to a counselor, one way or another, that he has met the requirements of the MB to the standards as described in the Merit Badge Pamphlet, the scout should be awarded the MB.
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Postby evmori » Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:06 am

RWSmith wrote:No MBC has the right (or authority) to require a Scout to re-do any MB requirement he has already accomplished as a registered Scout.


If the requirement was completed for rank prior to the Scout getting a MB card, then the counselor can either accept the completion of have the Scout do it for the MB. It is really up to the MB counselor.
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