How many open merit badges

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How many open merit badges

Postby TxScout » Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:46 pm

Is there a limit to how many merit badges can be open at one time? If a scout wants to start a merit badge can the SM say no b/c he already has three open? Some of the merit badges take 90 days to record information and my son would like to also work on other merit badges during this time, but is told he can't open anymore.
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Postby aflmom » Mon Feb 20, 2006 5:17 pm

There's no limit in my son's troop. Essentially, they just give him a blue card whenever he asks and he fills in the info. He then does the 'work' and tries to find a counselor to go over the information with. I think he has 6 open now.

Two, personal management and personal fitness, have been done since last summer but there hasn't been a counselor available to check him off. The troop is going to start teaching them in a group so he'll be able to get them signed off then.

He's also doing the cycling MB which is almost complete other than finishing up the bike rides over the next 2 weeks. He has a few other eagle required badges that have also been started. When he decided to do the cycling badge and couldn't find a buddy, I told him I would ride with him IF he did it before the weather became warm. Thus the reason he stopped working temporarily on the others.

I didn't think of it at the time, but he probably could have done the cycling, swimming, or hiking badge requirement along with his personal fitness one. He would just need to incorporate that activity into his fitness plan. Instead he did do *some* biking and swimming along with DDR. It just wasn't as physically challenging. At leat this way, he's gotten more exercise over a longer period of time. :D
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Postby Scouting179 » Mon Feb 20, 2006 5:28 pm

There's no written limit, but there is a practical limit on how many one can carry and work on simultaneously. From what I've seen, once they get in the range of 6-7 partials, at most, they stop working on some.
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Postby TxScout » Mon Feb 20, 2006 5:42 pm

Is this just the SM's call or is it an issue I should press. It is frustrating when merit badges are open mainly b/c there is an enforced time to record data or also b/c certain requirements are dependent on things that must be done with the troop.
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Postby wagionvigil » Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:30 pm

There is no rule AS far as pressing it. IS it worth It? Does the scout really need to have all these open MB? These are strictly your call.
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Postby cballman » Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:43 pm

well to be blunt there is no limit or time except the 18th birthday. if a child has a few mb open then there might be a reason. he most of the time could care less if he ever earns the badge. In example my son has a partial in indian lore from about 5 years ago does he want to finish it? no because he has no interest in that merit badge. should I force him to finish it? NO because sometimes they start a badge just to see if it really interest him. I did. now eagle required ones are a little bit different. but then again on the other hand my son started avaition MB at our district MB fair, did he finish it there NO. but when our troop went the USS YORKTOWN in Charleston SC. there was a class did he sit through it well heck YES the instructor was a TOPGUN graduate and made it interesting. well after three years he has finished it. so just hang on to the cards, dont lose them keep a copy of req. that he started with and maybe he will finish some later on in his scouting career.

sorry so long but just my humble opinion.
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Postby RWSmith » Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:22 am

Ok. I'm getting on my stump, again. TxScout,

Your son does not need his SM's permission to start any MB. He can have as many partials going at one time as he wants. Period. Your son is, however, obligated to seek the advise* of the SM (or his/her designee, which must be an ASM) prior to starting on a MB. This is the opportunity for the SM to counsel, advise, guide the Scout; but, if the Scout insists, he must always* be given the blue card upon request. This cannot be refused, unless mom or dad says so. The SM (or designee, an ASM) does have the right to assign which MBC your son must use to work on the MB. Other than safety, the SM has no say. If the SM does not specify which MBC to use, then your son has the right to choose any district- (or council-level, as the case may be) certified MBC he wants.

The reason for getting the blue card is not to show the SMs "permission" was granted to take the MB; the reason is to verify which set of requirements were the "current" requirements at the time the MB was started... which can become a critical factor down the road. (See other related posts.)

That being said, wagionvigil's advise concerning "Is this a battle worth picking?" is good advise. Your son's SM is (most likely) doing business the way he was taught... it's exactly the same way I was taught. But, it's wrong.

(*) IMHO, the only thing a SM should be thinking when considering saying "No" to a Scout who asks for a blue card is, "Do you have your parents permission to take this MB, at this time?" Scouting is not w/o risks. Common sense dictates that moms, dads, and SMs, should be in the business of looking out for Scouts' safety. Otherwise, like I've ranted about before, let him take as many as he wants.
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Postby JazerNorth » Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:07 am

As a Scout Master, I have said no to a MB. Oh, some clarification here .. :-) I knew the parents do not like guns, and he wanted to do the rifle MB. So instead of giving him the MB book, I sent him home to discuss it with his parents. That is the only time I have said no.

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Postby FrankJ » Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:04 am

The blue card requires that the SM sign off that the scout is ready to take the merit badge. Since there seems to be little offical guidance of what this means, so it is largely the SM's discretion. Personally I think limiting a scout to 3 open bue cards is bordering on silly. Working on 4 merit badges at summer camp is typical. We advise new scout to immediately open the blue card for camping because it takes so long to get 20 nights in. What the consequence of having a open BC & never finishing it? You don't get the badge. This is not particularly earth shaking.

Gentle persuation would probally work better in this case than telling the SM he (she) is being silly.
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Postby papabear » Sun May 20, 2007 9:21 pm

There seems to be some disareement among the parents in the troop. With summer camp coming up, the Scouts are signing up for merit badges but the Scoutmaster is telling some of the boys they can not take certain merit badges...for what ever reason. The Scoutmaster would prefer to have the younger Scouts work on rank advancement. The question is: Does the troop (Scoutmaster) have the authority to tell a Scout they cannot work on a merit badge, that they need to work on rank advancement, or that they can only work on certain merit badges at certain times? Thank you
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Postby wagionvigil » Sun May 20, 2007 9:45 pm

Some/most camps set age and rank restrictions on certain mb this would be found in the camp leaders guide or online at your camps web site.
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Postby papabear » Mon May 21, 2007 1:00 am

This is not coming from the summer camp. This is coming from the Scoutmaster, and not just for summercamp merit badges. He has refused blue cards to young Scouts wanting to work on other merit badges as well.
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Postby Mrw » Mon May 21, 2007 7:44 am

The scoutmaster should NOT be telling the boys what they can or cannot work on as far as merit bages and advancements go. He can encourage them to work on ranks rather than merit badges, but let them try what they want.

If they are interested in a subject to work on it, then they should not be discouraged.
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Postby MDEagle » Mon May 21, 2007 8:31 am

Hi, Mwr,

Our Scout Master won't flat-out deny a chance for a first-year Scout to work on an Eagle required badge, but he does discourage it. His belief is that the first year boys need to work on advancement, and that the workload required for an Eagle required badge is generally too much to add to a young boy's Scout-load.

He does encourage the boys to work on more light-hearted badges, the arts/crafts, hobbies, etc. While there are always exceptions, most of those badges aren't as work intensive, and in many cases they meld right in with what a boy is interested in anyway.

Now, I will say that he has made common sense exceptions for new Scouts. For example, a very good age group swimmer on the local swim team earned the Swimming MB. He passed every aspect with flying colors in a single session.

From what I've seen, most "new boy" parents seem to accept the logic, and don't press the issue. We do have an excellent, very experienced Scout Master, and we parents trust his judgment.

I suppose if a new Scout really wanted to make the case for himself, and demonstrated his ability to absorb the work, the SM would probably give him the blue card.
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Postby Mrw » Mon May 21, 2007 8:57 am

MD, I was responding to the question about a SM who would not allow the younger boys to sign up for the things he did not want them to take.

I do tell new scout parents that most boys don't need to worry about merit badges the second they join scouts, that they are fine just getting used to the program and working on the first couple ranks.

If i have a boy ask about a counselor for something he is not likely to complete (For example: A very tiny boy who wanted to do archery on his own with no prior experience or concept that it required practicing enough to acquire some skill.), I may suggest that he will have to work especially hard to complete it and there may be a better choice of badge to do at home. But I will still give him the name of the counselor. (That boy decided to take it at summer camp after calling the counselor and then dropped out after the second day due to lack of interest in practicing enough)

But I encourage them all to try whatever floats their boat.

My younger son earned Cycling two months after crossing over from Webelos. He really was ticked about it taking so long too, because he had really completed the requirements the first time at age 9. They can do anything they WANT to.
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Postby wagionvigil » Mon May 21, 2007 9:12 am

Our scout camp includes swimming and First Aid for our first year camper prgram. If a scout cannot do swimming he works on his swimming skills during that time frame. When I had a troop I always did CPR and First Aid in March so all the new boys could have First Aid under heir belt before camp and allow them to do something else. And the older boys got to refresh their first aid skills during those meetings and prepare for the spring first aid meet
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Postby MDEagle » Mon May 21, 2007 9:34 am

The camp we've gone to recently doesn't allow first year campers to take any badge, which is a sore spot for our boys that I've talked about before... so I won't rehash here.

I think the ideal first year program would be half day working on Scouting skills and half day working on Merit Badges.
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Postby lifescoutforlife » Mon May 21, 2007 10:20 am

Our camp is just like wagionvigil's with morning time being 1st year skills and the after noon being swimming MB/ skills & first aid MB
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Postby Mrw » Mon May 21, 2007 10:39 am

Ours has a first year skills program in the morning with merit badge/open time in the afternoons.

The guys were not really very happy witht he first year program and so last year, the troop did their own. The boys all took a merit badge in the first morning session and then a couple older boys taught scouting skills for the rest of the morning. Most of them then took a second merit badge in the afternoons.

Our boys almost all earned two badges at their first summer camp and they have advanced much faster than the past couple new boy groups. They sem to be better versed in their skills as well.

We will be doing this again this year as it worked so well.
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Postby smtroop168 » Tue May 22, 2007 1:50 pm

There is no restriction on the number of open MBs. I keep track of all partials and "false starts" in Troopmaster and print a current status for each scout's advancement to hand out at our COHs.

My new guys are taking FA/Swimming/Rifle in the AM at Summer camp and the afternoon will be focused on Tenderfoot (run by my older scouts who are giving up a MB period to help the young guys). Makes me proud that they are willing to do this. Something must have sunk in on the leadership side. :D
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