Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby alex gregory » Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:00 pm

Ursus Snorous Roarus wrote:How long do you want the Scout to wait for a response? This happened to one of my guys and it started building up to a big deal. Counselor kept wanting him to hang on a little longer, kid wanted to get the MB done. Finally the Counselor relinquished and the day before their meeting a response arrived. Problem averted, at least this time.


It stinks that your scout received no response. A response, of course, is not necessary to complete the requirment, but it is a lot of fun to get a response and know that your opinion matters. If the scout does get a response he should share that with the MBC, but if there is no response to share then there is no response to share. About half of my guys write their letter to both their Oregon senators (word processing makes it so easy), and receive a written reply from both within 2 to 4 weeks.

I suggest you write a letter as the MBC and a constitutent to the senator and politely but clearly tell him/her what a stinker he/she is for failing to reply (but make sure the scout actually sent his letter first). I can promise you somebody in that senator's office will take some flak for ignoring a boy scout. About the only thing that's worse for a politician is dropping the baby as you kiss it's cheek.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby Ursus Snorous Roarus » Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:33 pm

alex gregory wrote:It stinks that your scout received no response. A response, of course, is not necessary ...

I suggest you write a letter as the MBC and a constitutent to the senator and politely but clearly tell him/her what a stinker he/she is for failing to reply (but make sure the scout actually sent his letter first). I can promise you somebody in that senator's office will take some flak for ignoring a boy scout.

It did finally arrive, but the MBC trying to maximize the experience was trying to get the kid to hang on a little longer, give it another week... building great consternation on the kid's part (and maybe Mom's?). But it worked out ok in the end. I've since made it a point to tell them it may take a month or so to recieve an answer when they come see me for a card.

Writing a second letter is a great idea! That would be embarassing!
Last edited by Ursus Snorous Roarus on Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby Quailman » Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:24 pm

Requirement 8 wrote:Name your two senators and the member of Congress from your congressional district. Write a letter about a national issue and send it to one of these elected officials, sharing your view with him or her. Show your letter and any response you receive to your counselor.

The MB counselors I know consider this complete when the letter is sent, since a response is not guaranteed. It's a shame to hold a scout's MB hostage to a public official's failure to respond. It's great to get a reply and understand the congressman's take on the situation, which may be different from the view expressed in the scout's letter. That's not part of the requirement, though, since if he receives a response, he need merely show that he got one - not what it said.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby cballman » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:09 pm

The Easy way for the MBC to know if this is complete would be to have the child write the letter and fix a addressed envelope with stamp then hand it to the MBC unsealed. Then the MBC would mail the letter for the child WOW req. complete.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby ronin718 » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:58 pm

cballman wrote:The Easy way for the MBC to know if this is complete would be to have the child write the letter and fix a addressed envelope with stamp then hand it to the MBC unsealed. Then the MBC would mail the letter for the child WOW req. complete.

I'm sorry, but whatever happened to the first point of the Scout Law... "A Scout is Trustworthy".

As for the physical letter vs. email, some Congressional reps don't list a snail-mail address on their website, and refer folks to submit their letters via an email form. You've got to go with the flow anymore. If you want verification of the letter being sent, have the boys print the screen shot before and after submission.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby cballman » Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:34 pm

Ronin yes a scout is trustworthy. But then why in a earlier post did the MBC hold up signing off on the req. just because a letter was not received back? Then the question becomes is the MBC Trustworthy? I was just trying to point out how the MBC could make sure the req. was done. Which he is supposed to do to make sure all req are done. If the child gives the enevlope and letter for the MBC to mail then there is no question as to if the req. was done. The MBC should mark that req. finished. no problem.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby Quailman » Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:35 pm

I don't really have a problem with e-mail, but I would encourage a scout to write and mail a letter. As for the following:

ronin718 wrote:...As for the physical letter vs. email, some Congressional reps don't list a snail-mail address on their website...


Here are the Capitol hill addresses for all Senators.

Here is the main page for the House of Representatives. From it, you can link to home pages of any Rep. I tried mine and five more at random. All had their Capitol hill address along with that of their district office.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby alex gregory » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:02 pm

cballman wrote:The Easy way for the MBC to know if this is complete would be to have the child write the letter and fix a addressed envelope with stamp then hand it to the MBC unsealed. Then the MBC would mail the letter for the child WOW req. complete.


Sorry, my job is not to make an easy task that much easier. Respectfully, when I counsel backpacking I'm not going to carry Junior's backpack, when I counsel cooking I'm not going to be Junior's sous chef, when I counsel . . . (I think I made my point). We are tryng to teach the boys to be accountable to themselves and to others, not just getting merit badges for the sake of building a resume. A scout shows me his letter, I suggest appropriate corrections, and it's off to the mailbox he goes. If a scout tells me he mailed his letter that's good enough for me; and a gentle reminder that I trust the scout (usually in mom or dad's presence) never hurts. If I were to learn that the letter did not get mailed after being told otherwise, well like Mr. T used to say - "I pity the fool!".

I have the guys write their letter before the remaining requirements are completed, and I space each citizenship merit badge over 4 to 8 weeks. I believe that 1 to 2 hour sessions with a small group of guys every other week or so is a lot better than forcefeeding the material in a single day. By the time we are finishing the requirements (and I usually finish with requirement 1), the responses to the letter are being received.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby smtroop168 » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:26 pm

Alex...you are such a meanie. Imagine making the scouts do the requirements. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby Mrw » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:29 pm

I am pretty darned sure that neither of my sons received a response to their letter. I did have them address and stamp the envelope and saw it go into the mail in my presence so that I could vouch for them if there were any questions.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby alex gregory » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:19 pm

Mrw wrote:I am pretty darned sure that neither of my sons received a response to their letter. I did have them address and stamp the envelope and saw it go into the mail in my presence so that I could vouch for them if there were any questions.


MRW and Ursus, what's with Ohio senators? Sen. Brown is a little new to the game, but Voinovich? If you're the MBC send a letter or call your senator's DC and local offices, and remind them of the importance of constituent relations - today's 12 yr old is tomorrow's voter, and that 12 year old has voting parent(s), guardian(s), neighbor(s) . . .

By the way, Sherrod Brown is an Eagle. Don't know about Voinovich.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby VenturingL » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:46 pm

My son sent the email - this was requested by his Senator's website - actual mailed letters would not be opened after the anthrax scare. He printed a copy for his MBC. He wrote asking his Senator to support an upcoming bill for funding to National Parks & received a response within a few weeks. He let her know he was in scouts & that's one reason he wanted the park funding. She encouraged him to stay active in the scouting program. Because via email was the requested method, the MBC had no issues.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby alex gregory » Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:12 pm

VenturingL wrote:My son sent the email - this was requested by his Senator's website - actual mailed letters would not be opened after the anthrax scare.


:oops: :twisted: :oops:
Don't they have an expression for this type of behavior on the part of your elected official in the Lone Star State, something about male cattle and their digestive waste? What kind of goofball in public office refuses to accept first class mail? What, does he also refuse to enter a skyscraper and ride an elevator after 9/11? I suppose every single person in Texas has e-mail, and if they don't that's just too bad because Senator Scaredy Pants apparently does'nt think every Texan's opinion is worth reading. The mail received by the US Senate and House is inspected, detected, injected and all kinds of terrible things, and they still send you to the Group W bench - Arlo Guthrie should write a song or something.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby Mrw » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:21 pm

Sending letters for Eagle congratulations the past couple years, I have found several government agencies and persons who clearly state that they want all correspondence by FAX or email.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby ThunderingWind » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:54 pm

Mrw wrote:Sending letters for Eagle congratulations the past couple years, I have found several government agencies and persons who clearly state that they want all correspondence by FAX or email.

These new, modern methods of communication also provide an audit trail.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby Ursus Snorous Roarus » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:17 pm

alex gregory wrote:MRW and Ursus, what's with Ohio senators? Sen. Brown is a little new to the game, but Voinovich? If you're the MBC send a letter or call your senator's DC and local offices, and remind them of the importance of constituent relations - today's 12 yr old is tomorrow's voter, and that 12 year old has voting parent(s), guardian(s), neighbor(s) . . .

By the way, Sherrod Brown is an Eagle. Don't know about Voinovich.


Recently left Ohio, not paying attention anymore. I'll tell you what's wrong - you know what they say about being able to tell when a politican is lying to you....
When I request Eagle congratulatory letters via email they ALL respond, all the way up to Bush. And I don't care what politics you wear, getting a card from the President of the U.S. is just plain cool...
Last edited by Ursus Snorous Roarus on Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby ThunderingWind » Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:50 am

Ursus Snorous Roarus wrote:And I don't care what politics you wear, getting a card from the President of the U.S. is just plain cool...
Funny you should mention this....In the troop that was a part of my son's first pack, they had a boy almost miss his Eagle because he openly waited until Clinton was out of office. He waited almost 18 months to have his BOR and it ended up being at 6:00 P.M. the day before he turned 18. His actions are used in that District as both a positive example of "hold to your personal beliefs" and a negative one of "do not wait until the last minute."
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby WeeWillie » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:37 pm

CIN MB Pamphlet, 2005, page 41 states. "You can write a letter online or
send a letter by mail. To write an effective letter, follow these
steps. ..."

National goes to great time, effort and expense to edit and publish
requirements that are age appropriate for Boy Scouts. Can anyone explain
why a Scout or MBC would not use the official, current merit badge
pamphlet as the standard for meeting this requirement instead of inventing their own standard.

Page 41 also states Senators and representatives want know what you
think, but they receive thousands of letters each month." It takes time
to read and respond to every letter, but it is my experience that if you
write an EFFECTIVE LETTER and identify yourself as a Boy Scout, you will likely get a reply in about 4-6 weeks. Elective officals who ignore consituent letters do so at their peril.

Senatorial and congressional web sites may recommend an on line letter
because it is easier to track. That does not mean that they do not
accept mail. Not every consituent has ready access to the internet and
like I said earlier, "Elective officals who ignore consituent letters do
so at their peril."

Senators and congressmen have state and district offices. MBCs might
consider calling the local office and find out what is a reasonable wait
for a reply. Remember senators from large states have more consituents
and their reply time is probably longer. If your Scout doesn't receive
a reply, follow up with another letter or a phone call to the local
office. If all else fails, bad publicity works wonders.

MBCs have the descretion to determine what is an effective letter and
reasonable time to wait for a reply. They do not have the descretion to
insist online or mail letters. I suggest online because they are easily
tracked.

Remember, the purpose of this requirement is to foster effective citizenship.

My son has written to Pres Clinton, Pres Bush and Mrs Bush, Colin Powell, the Pope and off course Sen McCain R-AZ, Rep Kolbe R-AZa nd Rep Giffords D-AZ. He got some really neat stuff.
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:32 pm

C'mon Wee....we actually have to read the MB pamphlet too??? What's next? Blue Cards held by the Counselor? :lol: :lol:
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Re: Citizenship in the Nation: Letter

Postby AquilaNegra2 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:12 am

Guess I took "write online" as in word processing rather than handwritten. But I can see that it would include email. I'll still *strongly* suggest that they be hand-written. It's a good skill for the boys to have, it takes a lot more thought, and my own experience is that the response is overwhelmingly better -- I can't remember NOT getting a response to a handwritten letter.
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