MB Approval and Signatures

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Postby summertop » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:22 am

Hmm the rule is a councilor may not add or drop requirements. I think we all agree on this.

If we start looking at the requirements...Let's take the Communications Merit badge...

Requirement 3: Write a five-minute speech. Give it at a meeting of a group.


There is nothing there that says it has to be approved by the councilor.

Requirement 6: With your counselor's approval, develop a plan to teach a skill or inform someone about something. Prepare teaching aids for your plan. Carry out your plan. With your counselor, determine whether the person has learned what you intended.


This one clearly states that the scout must get the approval from the councilor before doing the requirement.

So...Some requirements require talking to a councilor prior to doing the work, others don't. Again...the councilor cannot add or drop requirements (or part of requirements).
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Postby ASM-142 » Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:51 am

This has been discussed previously where the topic was related to partial MBs and if MBCs had to accept MB requirements that were previously signed-off by another counselor.

In my opinion they should bit I know from previous postings that opinion varied on this topic.
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Postby Lynda J » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:14 pm

Kevin just realized that he has dont all most all the requirements for Public Speaking during his Speech class at school. He wants to get a Blue Card. He will call the counselor and check in. His teacher said if she needs to sign anything about what he had already done she will be happy to. But it will still be up to the counselor is they accept what he has already done.

If I was a Climbing Merit Badge counselor I probably would not accept anything done prior to starting the badge with me. In my opinion it would be a safety issue.

If a boy came to me on say Repitle and had been keeping a frog for months I would count it. As long as he could give me a run down of how he cared for the frog.

It is the counselors responsiblility to make sure, to their satification that all requirements have been completed. No more no less.

That's ridiculous. What MB Counselor worth his salt would add to the requirements by forcing a young man to do a requirement again?

"No More No Less"
If the badge states in the requirement that you must get your counselors approval then doing something without that approval isn't completing the requirement. "No more no less"
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Postby vpalango » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:35 pm

Also, just adding a summation of my comments from a previous thread on this topic. At the end of the day, when a MB counselor signs the card, he is affirming that he/she thinks the scout has completed ALL the requirements, not just the one's he's witnessed/assigned. In practice, partials should be accepted for most badges (Climbing is an interesting case, however, due to safety issues).

I'll give you a personal example on this one....

I regularly have scouts come to me to complete Camping MB partials. When doing that, I let them know that I will briefly quiz them on the requirements they have already passed (especially First Aid). If they demonstrate to me, through a quick verbal quiz, that they did in-fact complete the requirements on the partial, I accept it as a whole.

However, if the scout in question doesn't demonstrate the knowledge to me, I let them know that I'll want to go through the requirements in the partial in more detail. I'm very much a stickler on the First Aid requirements, when I sign, at the time that I sign, I expect that the scout can still demonstrate that he knows the basics of First Aid for a camping setting.

I have had only one issue with this (with a parent), and once I explained where I'm comming from, and asked the scout to go back, study the first aid, and come back to me, I tested him out, and signed off on the Merit Badge.

The point here is, that I don't think it's "adding a requirement" to ensure that at the time of signature, all the requirements have been actually passed. This is what the charge to MB counselors is. In most cases, we need to use logical and reasonable judgement in this. Like another person said above, for Reptile Studies, I'd pretty much take a previous representation of it being completed at face value, for anything where there is a critical knowledge aspect (safety issues for instance), I think it's perfrectly appropriate for the MB counselor to validate that the knowledge is still retained.

YIS,
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Postby RWSmith » Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:18 pm

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.


evmori wrote: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.


No, it is not really up to the MB Counselor. (I'm not trying to be arguementative with you, Bro. evmori... As I said, I've already agreed to disagree. However, this is an important topic and there are other folks who may be fairly new to this board who I feel should be able to get the full message. I seem to recall {smile} that you and I have had this "debate" before... but, it's been a while... And, unfortunately, one of the down sides of a message board is the fact that some stuff gets re-hashed. I ask the old-timers here to be aware of this and just accept it as a part of BBS life.) Now, on with my rant...

First of all, Rank requirements and MB requirements are apples and oranges. Rank requirements are, by design, completely irrelevant to a Merit Badge Counselor. Second, nowhere (that I know of), is it stated in any Scouting Policy that getting a Blue Card from your UL is a prerequisite to actually earning a MB requirement—and there’s a good reason for that. As I’ve said before, unless otherwise specifically stated, being a registered Scout (or a registered Venture Scout, under certain conditions), and being under the age of 18, are the ONLY universal prerequisites for earning advancement… be it Rank, Merit Badges, whatever.

And while I’m at it… nor is it written anywhere that completing a task for a Rank requirement gives the MBC the right to disqualify it for use in a MB requirement, too. For example, pitching a tent (and sleeping in it) is a requirement for 2nd Class. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with counting that as one of the days and nights for the Camping MB. In fact, I dare say, it’s supposed to be… whether the kid has gotten a Blue Card for the Camping MB, yet, or not, is totally irrelevant. The Rank and MB advancement programs, policies and requirements are written the way they are for a multitude of reasons. I cannot over-emphasize the apples-and-oranges comparison. Rank requirements, except where specified, cannot be combined or “re-used” to complete other rank requirements. And so it goes, as well, for MB requirements. Fishing and Fly Fishing MBs are perfect examples… If you catch two fish, et al, then you can’t use that for both MBs… pick one.

Concerning Blue Cards... Two points:

    1) A Scout should always see his SM, get a Blue Card and get his MBC assigned prior to his contacting the MBC. But, that has nothing to do with the MBC’s job concerning the Scout’s completion of MB requirements. If a Scout sets up a meeting with me concerning a MB and he doesn’t bring a Blue Card, signed by a UL, then the meeting’s over; and,

    2) When the MBC applies the date and his/her initials on a Blue Card for a specific requirement, it does NOT represent the date the Scout met the requirement… NO! That reflects the date the Counselor was satisfied the Scout met the requirement.
The following are quotes, straight out of BSA Phamplet 34542A, “A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling”:

    As a Merit Badge Counselor, you must 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.

    Actually, you can go far beyond the requirements in your discussions with the Scout. He probably will welcome your willingness to share your knowledge well beyond the requirements, and you will make a sincere contribution to him by doing so. But it isn't required. That's the key.

    When he meets you, he should bring with him the projects required for completion. If these cannot be transported, he should present 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 any doubts, contact the adult who signed the statement.

Concerning “satisfactory evidence”… As I’ve said many times before, if a Scout “presents satisfactory evidence” and I have no reason to doubt him, them I am obligated to accept said evidence. If I doubt him, I will call him on it.
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Postby evmori » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:20 am

RWSmith wrote:First of all, Rank requirements and MB requirements are apples and oranges. Rank requirements are, by design, completely irrelevant to a Merit Badge Counselor. Second, nowhere (that I know of), is it stated in any Scouting Policy that getting a Blue Card from your UL is a prerequisite to actually earning a MB requirement—and there’s a good reason for that.


Yeah I think we have had this discussion before buddy.

I don't have any reference material with me so I am shooting from the hip. There is some crossover for rank & MB requirements. And in the SM Handbook & Boy Scout Handbook there is a line that reads something like "Obtain a signed MB from your SM". To me that indicates before starting a MB, a Scout needs a blue card or whatever is used as a MB card.

And yeah, it is up to the counselor.
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Postby summertop » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:55 am

I feel if I comment here I will be caught in the middle of a crossfire. But hey, Oh Well.

Blue Card Issue:
Most merit badge councilors (at BSA camps) that I have worked with, won't sign the blue cards until I, as Scout Master, have signed it. Probably to make sure I know what my scouts are doing.

I have NEVER had a councilor reject any requirements because they were done BEFORE I signed the blue card. The only time I've had a council reject a requirement was because the requirement specifically stated to talk to the councilor first.

Merit Badge Coincilor's discretion:
There is a little interpretation on requirements, but generally they are pretty clear. Well, the requirement is crystal clear. The interpretation comes when a scout wants to push the limit on what is acceptable. Take camping for example. Camping 20 nights is pretty clear. When the scout asks does backyard camping count...then there is interpretation. Lets not go into whether they count or not, it is beyond this thread.

So, in some ways, it is up to the councilor, in others it is not.
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Postby FrankJ » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:07 pm

Bottom line: The only signature that signifies the merit badge is complete is the councilor's. There is no board of review. If the SM thinks think councilor is wrong there is little more they can do but talk to the councilor or sign the card if they are a councilor for that merit badge.

Having said that the councilor should have have reviewed what it means to be a merit badge councilor and follow policy. A) Require the scouts to meet the requirements and nothing more. B) Encourage the scout. Do what ever that is in the scouts interest, keeping A in mind. If they don't there is little to be done other than removing them from the list, if you can.

Maybe we should be encouraging and helping the district and council advancement boards to actively train their councilor's and manage their lists of approved councilors.
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Postby ICanCanoeCanU » Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:27 am

So when my son takes his drivers test for his license he can tell the authority/instructor that he doesn't need to parallel park because he's done it before in drivers ed? This is what most of you are saying, correct? Don’t you think the instructor has the obligation to make sure the driver can in fact parallel park? And you think this is wrong because the driver is being “retested”? Most of you think this instructor would be “adding to the requirements”?

This topic has gotten really turned upside down now. People are not reflecting on the original question. Issues being argued are not what this topic started to be about. Such as: whether or not a rank requirement can count towards a MB. Whether or not each individual MB requirements state that approval by the MBC is needed. These aren't the issues?

The original question was whether or not a MBC has to accept work done prior to meeting with the counselor? To me, most of this is common sense and up to each MBC. Of course there are going to be cases where the MBC could/should accept the work, such as a boy realizes the work he’s done on a school project meets the requirements for a badge. He should be able to talk to the MBC and they should be able to decide if the requirements have been met. But other badges might require the scout prove he knows the requirement and sometimes a scout might have to “re-do” the work, such as a safety requirement like in Climbing, Shotgun, etc.

Everything in scouting is built with the scout getting pre-approval. Look at the initial requirements for joining scouts and the Scout Badge
1. Complete a Boy Scout application and health history signed by your parent or guardian.

Each SMC and BOR is approval to start on the next rank. Before working on the Eagle project, a scout must meet with a council representative to obtain approval to start the project. So to obtain a signed blue card from your SM or UL, contact a MBC and meet. This is where it is up to the MBC. This (pre-approval) is the process through scouting.
I'm sure this doesn't happen too often, but I do think it is now up to the MBC.

On a seperate note - Some people on this forum seem to start topics (that have been covered over and over) almost with the goal of playing Devils Advocate. Like every thread has a negative/challenging tone? I'm becoming more skeptical of this approach.
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Postby WVBeaver05 » Sat Sep 16, 2006 10:30 am

Let me come back to the MB requirements part of this later. But:

ICanCanoeCanU wrote:On a seperate note - Some people on this forum seem to start topics (that have been covered over and over) almost with the goal of playing Devils Advocate.

I have seen the same thing, but view it somewhat differently.

As a relatively new member of this forum, I can say that the content is HUGE (over 16,000 articles, I think). With years and years of background in netiquette, I did read past posts, observe for a while (several months, in fact) to get the "feel" of the forum before posting, etc. etc. And still I found that I had brought up things that had been discussed before. This is probably (IMHO) inherent in a forum with this much participation and on a topic (Scouting) that tends to bring in new leaders (and Scouts) who face the same issues as past ones have. I know that some of the issues that still come up are ones that I saw years and years ago as a Scout. Fortunately, some are quite different, as times certainly have changed.

On the point of approaching the topics in a negative or devils advocate way: I have worked with a great number of different people in my work career and I see that people are a diverse lot, and consequently have widely differing approaches to things. And, while I have seen some that may actually be "stirring things up", I have also found this to be the way that some people approach things. IMO - not right or wrong, just different (i.e. diverse).

It has taken me years to (begin :-)) to accept this rather than get upset about it. I try to keep in mind that people are different. This gives the ones that are honestly trying to get information or present information (in a different way than I would) the benefit of the doubt. It also tends to defuse the ones trying to cause trouble (and if that is their purpose and it annoys them - so much the better :-) ).

That's just my point of view on the subject.

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Postby maricopasem » Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:23 am

Each SMC and BOR is approval to start on the next rank.


So, are you saying that a boy can't work on requirements for First Class, for example, until he completes earns Tenderfoot and Second Class?
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Postby evmori » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:40 am

maricopasem wrote:
Each SMC and BOR is approval to start on the next rank.


So, are you saying that a boy can't work on requirements for First Class, for example, until he completes earns Tenderfoot and Second Class?


Tenderfoot, 2nd Class & 1st Class can be worked on together.
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Postby maricopasem » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:49 am

Tenderfoot, 2nd Class & 1st Class can be worked on together.


Precisely. And most of the requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle can be completed at the same time as a boy earns merit badges.
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Postby ICanCanoeCanU » Mon Sep 18, 2006 4:16 pm

Good catch on me - thanks.

Yes, ranks can be worked on at the same time and I knew that but didn't word my sentence very well. I think you do know what I mean though about most everything in scouting works on approval. Even though a scout can work on several ranks at a time, one rank must be approved and earned before the next.
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