Communications: REQ 8 - MC Campfire or COH

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Communications: REQ 8 - MC Campfire or COH

Postby Trigirl » Sat May 24, 2008 7:28 pm

I am a MBC for my son's troop and have been asked to teach the Communications MB to his patrol next fall.

My concern is req #8. I understand the requirement clearly. I have a problem with the logistics. We have 8+ boys in the patrol. We have only FOUR Court of Honor ceremonies a year and about 6-8 campouts. There are boys in "older" patrols that have not completed this MB and may be considered to have preference over the "younger" boys in terms of being allowed/chosen to MC these events. PLUS our SPL usually is the one that is in charge of the COH.

It seems to me there is a bottleneck here - how do I handle this? I would really appreciate some ideas of how other MB counselors or troops have managed to get 5-8 boys completed in this badge over a 9-12 month period.

I've thought about two boys each doing part of a program - but I think that might be "massaging" the requirement somewhat - which, of course, would go against the "add nothing, take nothing away" rule.

FYI:
Req #8) Plan a troop court of honor or campfire program. Have the patrol leaders’ council approve it, then write the script and prepare the program. Serve as master of ceremonies.

THANKS!
Sharon

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Postby WVBeaver05 » Sat May 24, 2008 7:32 pm

Here's a thought. Do 2 campfires per campout. Do 1 on Friday night and 1 on Saturday night. Another - more campouts.

For the COH, the SPL can be in charge, but let one of the Scouts in your MB be the Master of Ceremonies.

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Postby smtroop168 » Sat May 24, 2008 8:37 pm

Welcome trigirl!

I have the scouts who are working on this MB come to me on a 1st come 1st serve basis. Don't short sell the requirement. It's just not being an Emcee. They must plan the event, write the script and have it apporved by the PLC.

The key is the planning. Anyone can stand up and quack like a duck. This MB is designed to help scouts learn to get in front of people which will help them when Eagle Project Time comes.

The bottleneck will work itself out. You're not under any obligation to schedule the scouts to complete this, they are.
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Postby FrankJ » Sun May 25, 2008 3:34 pm

I do not see a problem with two scouts working on this requirement together as long as they both understand that individually they both need to meet all the requirements. It might enable a weaker scout to more fully complete the merit badge.

The SPL MCs our court of honour so that pretty much leaves camp fires for the merit badge requirement. The campfire is more of an program than a location or a fire. It is possible to have one at a troop meeting. Turn it into a sort of talent show.
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Postby joat » Sun May 25, 2008 4:36 pm

A couple of observations. 6 or 8 campouts is very light. I'd consider once a month to be the minimum. If the troop added 6 or 8 more campouts, that would help.

It is highly unusual that 8 boys in one patrol, plus other boys in other patrols, would want to work on the same merit badge at the same time. Or are they being told that they must work on that particular MB at the same time? That is one of the drawbacks to the adult leadership scheduling group merit badge classes as part of the troop program.
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Postby milominderbinder2 » Sun May 25, 2008 5:44 pm

I like everything you are being told so far.
* 2 campfire opportunities per campout.
* 6-8 campouts a year is half what you should have.
* Don't cheat on the requirements.
* The point is in the planning, program, and presentation, not being a speaker.

So you have 14 + 4 opportunities a year. You left out summer camp. That is another 6 opportunities each year.

So with a pretty weak program you have 25 opportunities a year.

Imagine if you had a healthy program.

Also note no where does sit say the campfire program has to be on a campout.

- Craig
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Postby Quailman » Sun May 25, 2008 7:53 pm

Four or five campfires at summercamp.
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Postby FrankJ » Sun May 25, 2008 9:11 pm

If I had to sit through the opening camp fire, closing campfire + 5 troop campfires in a week of summer camp, I would go nuts. But thats just me. Of course you would get PLC approval for something like that.
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Postby smtroop168 » Sun May 25, 2008 9:28 pm

The Summer Camps we've been to are so busy in the evenings, and the guys are having fun in open program areas/water carnivals/OA tap outs, we rarely have time for our own fire let alone have a scout do the planning and get approval of the PLC.
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Thanks - great suggestions!

Postby Trigirl » Mon May 26, 2008 10:33 am

Thank you all - great suggestions!! I had never considered a campfire didn't have to be at camp. And I will suggest to the SM about doing the programs this summer at camp - especially for the older boys. GREAT idea.

And yes, our SM does expect the Eagle required merit badges to be done in GROUP SESSIONS in the troop. He wants everyone to have the opportunity to earn those badges. The goal is very admirable. The difficulty I find is that boys of the same age are not always the same maturity level or motivational level. Many of the boys in this patrol (11-12 yrs) are just having fun - which is great! That is the main idea I think - to enjoy Boy Scouting and learn along the way. A few are very motivated to achieve their Eagle ASAP and are very hard working, conscientious scouts. A few just hardly show up and really don't care much about the whole merit badge scene.

Therefore, some boys are ready to move on to another badge, while others just "aren't there yet" - and it makes it hard to know whether you should move on without the more laid back kids or hold back the more A type personalities.

So I agree that a group oriented merit badge isn't always the best route. However, I must say that many times the slower kids are motivated to "git er done" so they too can receive the badge at the next COH. And we don't hover over those that do not attend the classes or turn in their requirements.

Lots of great ideas on this board - thanks again.

Sharon
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Re: Thanks - great suggestions!

Postby Mrw » Mon May 26, 2008 12:12 pm

Trigirl wrote:
And yes, our SM does expect the Eagle required merit badges to be done in GROUP SESSIONS in the troop. He wants everyone to have the opportunity to earn those badges.

Sharon


We had a period when the SM wanted the patrols to work on Eagle required badges as a group. It really didn't work out well and was a fairly short-lived experiment. The boys didn't like doing it that was either and if they don't like it they would be the ones to need to let the SM know.

The only thing we teach in the troop in a group setting is the First Aid MB. It works pretty well as they can practice bandaging and splinting each other and have fun with it. They are still individually tested and tend to earn their badges at different times.

There is always going to be a merit badge counselor for the Eagle badges available to the boys. The ones who are Eagle material have the ability and desire to go after the goal without everything being spoon-fed to them.
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Re: Thanks - great suggestions!

Postby joat » Mon May 26, 2008 12:13 pm

Trigirl wrote:And yes, our SM does expect the Eagle required merit badges to be done in GROUP SESSIONS in the troop. He wants everyone to have the opportunity to earn those badges.
You might think about how it is that Scouts would have no "opportunity" if they made there own arrangements with a counselor at a time of their choosing. Perhaps the SM is rather looking to force the production of Eagles. One of the production techniques is mandatory group merit badge sessions, usually the focus of troop meetings. So-called "Eagle mill" troops push advancement hard whether boys want it or not, "for their own good", and proudly cite the troop "eagle" statistics. In my opinion that is not Scouting.
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Postby John F. » Mon May 26, 2008 7:17 pm

Last year at summer camp it rained just about everynight, not hard, but hard enough so we couldn't have a campfire without get wet. Couple of the scout was working on their communication MB and the needed to do a campfire program. One of the platform tent is a six man tent. We had only four scout sleeping in there. What they can up with was to have a campfire program in the six man tent. Unstead of having a fire they use a flashlight. It work out great.
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Postby Quailman » Tue May 27, 2008 6:33 am

My son has written a flag retirement ceremony and presented it to the PLC. It could easily be just part of an evening, with another campfire program.
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Re:

Postby fgoodwin » Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:23 pm

FrankJ wrote:The SPL MCs our court of honour so that pretty much leaves camp fires for the merit badge requirement.

Just because the SPL has MC'd the COH in the past doesn't mean it has to always be that way. As a Communications MBC, I think its important that the boy(s) working on the MB be given an opportunity to plan and conduct a COH, if that's what he / they want to do.

If you're a Comm MBC, you might visit with the SM to see if he or she can talk to the SPL about opening the role of COH MC to those boys who need it.
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Re: Communications: REQ 8 - MC Campfire or COH

Postby FrankJ » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:29 pm

Just because the SPL has MC'd the COH in the past doesn't mean it has to always be that way. As a Communications MBC, I think its important that the boy(s) working on the MB be given an opportunity to plan and conduct a COH, if that's what he / they want to do.


No it doesn't have to always be this way, but it has been since this way since I been in the troop & it works for us. If a scout brought a proposal to the PLC & they passed on it, we would do it differently. I suppose the troop could do a mini court of honor between the main ones for that matter. We do enough camp outs were it is not really an issue. I like the idea of a flag retirement & view at essentially the same.

This requirement is briefly written & subject to a rather wide interpretation of just what is a COH or campfire program. Hats off to the MbCs for this merit badge. I view it as one of the more difficult merit badges to counsel for (or to do well).
Frank J.
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Re: Communications: REQ 8 - MC Campfire or COH

Postby milominderbinder2 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:36 pm

Another thought is that many of the best campfire programs do not have a campfire.

Philmont has not had a campfire at any of their campfire programs for years. Arguably, those are some of the best campfire programs anywhere.

Although there is pure magic in having a real campfire, the point of the campfire program option is not the burning wood but the program.

- Craig
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