Merit Badge FAQ

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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby scoutaholic » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:47 pm

alex gregory wrote:
AquilaNegra2 wrote:A Scout can switch MBCs mid-stream. But the new MBC is not obligated to accept the previous work (mine learned this the hard way).


The new MBC has to accept previously approved requirements, regardless of when they were completed prior to age 18,


As MBC, it is my signature that shows the boy has completed all requirements for the MB. I am only required to accept partials to the point that I am comfortable certifying that the requirements were completed.
In these cases, I will usually review the 'partial' requirements with the boy and see if he can tell about what he did/learned. When I know the subject, I should be able to tell if the boy is bluffing. In cases where they have to demonstrate a skill, my accepting the partial will depend on what I have seen the boy do (If he has shown me some skills, then I may believe he can do some of the others. If he previously did 3 hikes, and he wants me to pass off the other 3 then I will probably take the partial. If there is a safety requirement before the skills, I'll review the safety before letting him attempt the skills with me. If he did some basics with someone 6 years ago, and wants to do the hard stuff with me, he will have to review some of the basics first.).
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby alex gregory » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:03 pm

How many times do you have to repeat "there is no re-testing in Scouting." We don't re-test at BORs, we don't re-test completed merit badge requirements.

Read the Guide to Merit Badge Counseling. If a scout has a completed a requirement, i.e. a partial, that requirement is completed. End of discussion.

If you are not satisifed with what the prior MBC did or did not do, your beef is with the prior MBC and program, not the scout.

Guide to Merit Badge Counseling:

At the first meeting, the Scout and his merit badge counselor review and start working on the requirements. In some cases, the Scout may share with the merit badge counselor the work he has started or accomplished. As the merit badge counselor, you and the Scout work out a tentative schedule for completing the requirements. You should consider both short-term and long-term goals, keeping other obligations (school, Scouting, sports, and so on) in mind, and set dates, times, and a location for future meetings. The number of meetings will depend on the difficulty of the requirements and the preparation and ability of the Scout.


Your duty is to be satisfied that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge you are coaching. You do this by helping Scouts overcome the different hurdles of the requirements and making them aware of the deeper aspects of the subject through their learning experience. You may tell about your own experiences to help positively reinforce the subject matter. However, you may not tack on new requirements or extra work. While you may guide and instruct a Scout on the subject matter, he must do the work himself.

As each requirement is completed, you will test the Scout individually, with his buddy present. If you are using a blue card, update this card as the Scout completes each requirement. When the young man has completed all the requirements, you sign off on the blue card and the Scout returns the completed card to his unit leader.
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby cballman » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:40 pm

My take on this one is that if I have a scout that comes to me with a partial. The first thing I will do is to discuss the completed requirements. IF the child has no clue as to what has been done then I will explain to him that yes he will have to either redo the requirements or find the original MBC. Most of the merit badges I council are ones that have a safety factor involved. Now most of the kids can explain to me what they have done before then I am satisfied. Since MY signature says he has completed the badge then it is my job to make sure he has done the requirements. If i let a child get by with things that I dont feel comfortable with then what have I done for this child. Then if i dont feel comfortable then I will not accept a partial PERIOD. That is my right as a MBC for any badge that I teach. Might not 100% kosher but when I sign my name then I want it to be right.
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby wagionvigil » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:39 pm

I do not accept climbing partials and I do not give climbing Partials. There is just too much at stake with this Merit Badge.
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby scoutaholic » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:54 pm

alex gregory wrote:How many times do you have to repeat "there is no re-testing in Scouting." We don't re-test at BORs, we don't re-test completed merit badge requirements.
...
If you are not satisifed with what the prior MBC did or did not do, your beef is with the prior MBC and program, not the scout.
...


If I'm not satisfied with what the prior MBC did or did not do, it doesn't matter who my beef is with. It won't be my signature certifying that all the requirements are completed unless I believe they ARE completed. The boy can satisfy me, go back to the prior MBC, or find someone else to pencil whip the card!

I didn't see anything in your quotes from the Guide to Merit Badge Counseling that says I have to be satisfied with what may or may not have been done previously and outside of my influence. It says I meet with the boy and decide how to proceed to complete the requirements. My duty is "... to be satisfied that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements."
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:04 am

alex gregory wrote:Your duty is to be satisfied that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge you are coaching.


There is a difference (albeit subtle) in retesting and the new MBC satisfying himself that the partial requirements are completed. I've seen partials from 3+ years ago and the scout can't tell you what National Monument they visited for Cit in Nation.

The same argument can be made for those items started before the blue card was given to the scout. "I went to the Washington Monument but I'm not sure of the date". "I gave a speech to my class but I can't remember the topic"

I use the criteria of "credible evidence" with scouts in either the partial or pre-blue card requirements. You can sort out what's really done pretty quickly without "retesting".
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby scoutaholic » Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:54 am

smtroop168 wrote:
alex gregory wrote:Your duty is to be satisfied that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge you are coaching.


There is a difference (albeit subtle) in retesting and the new MBC satisfying himself that the partial requirements are completed. ...


Yes, there is a difference. I think Alex was the only one who mentioned anything about retesting. I simply clarified that I am not obligated to blindly take a partial and accept that as proof that things have been done completely and correctly. I won't sign the card until I am satisfied that the requirements have been met.
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby Cowboy » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:45 pm

Jumping in again:
Check out the official BSA site: http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/Guide ... elors.aspx

All the way at the bottom of the page for Merit Badge Councilors:

During testing, the Scout might need help in a particular area or with a certain skill, and may need to be retested later to ensure the requirement has been fulfilled.

I hate to be the voice of dissention, but right there it specifically does say that a scout may need to be retested. Yes, it is splitting another hair. But as another poster stated, I am the one who is signing the blue card and I am the one who is certifying that the boy has met ALL requirements. If the boy has actually learned or done the requirement even four years previously they should be able to give a little basic information. What about the boy who receives his Woodworking MB and when asked to tell what his project was says: "Sharpen a stick." What about when the same boy has been asked to grab the brace and bit for a demonstration and does not know what you mean? Is this retesting? In my opinion any boy who claims completion of a MB (or portion thereof) should have a working knowledge of the material.
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby k2gw » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:00 am

Hi guys! In addition to this being the fiftieth year of my being a Scout, I've also served as a camp program director, Asst Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Wood Badge staffer, Scout Roundtable Commissioner and currently am a Unit Commissioner. I've also attended National Camp School, Schiff Training Center and the National Training Center at Philmont. But what might help here most is that I'm collector and student of BSA literature, so I might provide some perspective on some of the questions here. The current rules all evolved and didn't just appear overnight, so reading in a avcuum can be confusing.

1. Who selects the Merit Badge Counselor? Before there were Merit Badge Counselors, the SM approved the boy earning a badge. To help him with subjects he wasn't as familiar with, he could send the boy to be "counseled" in the subject by a local expert before the SM himself approved the badge to be awarded. Hence the SM selects the counselor. And the boy can't then decide to shop for an easier counselor without the SM selecting the second one.

Also, up until the sixties, a boy had to be First Class to work on a Merit Badge, although a Second Class Scout could earn ONE MB to whet his appetite. Thus the SM had to sign the application ("blue Card") to let the the counselor know that the boy was eligible to work on merit badges. Now of course, any registered Boy Scout can work on a Merit Badge, but the SM still picks the counselor to help him award the badge. Remember the SM still approves the completed MB card as well as the counselor.

2. Any Boy Scout can work on a badge at any time. Correct, but a boy isn't a Boy Scout until he has his application to join a troop signed by the SM. Thus he can't begin work on a merit badge while a Cub Scout or in Webelos.

3. Partials. The counselor signing the card has final say on whether ALL of the requirements have been met. If he doubts that a requirement has not been correctly done, he can ask the Scout to provide better proof that it has been done beyond the partial slip or the note on a blue card. No one can make a counselor sign a MB application for a MB that he feels hasn't been done correctly in its entirety. This also applies to written things handed in. It is quite alright (and I would say expected) to have the Scout explain what he has handed in to make sure that he understands it and didn't just copy it from the pamphlet, his friend or somewhere else.

4. A Scout should read the pamphlet. Correct, but it deliberately doesn't say a Scout MUST read the pamphlet. Pamphlets didn't exist until about 20 years into the MB program. All that existed were the MB requirements in the BS Handbook. The Requirements Book as a separate document only dates from the sixties when the handbook got too big.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:31 am

MB Pamphlets have been around since the beginning of MBs. I have a couple from the 20s.
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby k2gw » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:37 am

>>MB Pamphlets have been around since the beginning of MBs. I have a couple from the 20s.

You're correct that most of the first Merit Badge pamphlets were issued during the mid 1920's, (a few as early as 1916) but the first Merit Badges and their requirements were described in the very first BSA Boy Scout Handbook published in 1911, years earlier. Scouts were on their own to find information to meet the requirments.

Thus the Merit Badge program ran quite well without them. BTW, the examinations for MB in 1911 were to be given by the local Court of Honor, which had a different meaning back then. This later evolved to SM and an counselor after that proved too unwieldly.
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby k2gw » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:05 am

Also note this from the 2008 advancement committee book:

Responsibility for Merit Badges
Clause 13. The responsibility for merit badges shall rest with the merit badge counselor approved by the local council and district advancement committee. Merit badge counselors shall be registered adult members of the Boy Scouts of America. The merit badge counselor shall prepare and qualify youth members. There shall be no board of review procedure for merit badges, but public recognition may be given at a unit court of honor or other suitable occasion.

Thus no one can tell a counselor that he has to accept a partial from someone else or written work turned in that the boy can't explain. As a practical matter, most will accept partials provided the boy can explain it.

Also, regarding the presentation of ranks and Merit Badges. A good practice is that the cloth emblem should be presented to the boy at the same or very next troop meeting, typically at the end of the meeting just before the SM minute. Then the certificate card for the badge or rank is presented to the boy in front of his parents at the next troop Court of Honor. That way the boy gets both the immediate reinforcement of achieving a goal and the formal recognition in front of his parents.

It is good practice for Troops to schedule troop courts of honor at least twice a year for the recognition in front of the parents. These can then be supplemented by presentations before Eagle Courts of Honor and at parent events such as picnics, etc. that occur during the year.
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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby milominderbinder2 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:15 pm

k2gw wrote:...2. Any Boy Scout can work on a badge at any time. Correct, but a boy isn't a Boy Scout until he has his application to join a troop signed by the SM. Thus he can't begin work on a merit badge while a Cub Scout or in Webelos.

Gary,

That is just a half-bubble off of how the Boy Scouts do it:
"Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time." — Boy Scout Requirements #33216, p. 23

Some Merit Badges do have specific requirements that stipulate prior approval before they can be started but most do not:
http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Me ... r_Approval

Say before the Scout joins the troop he already knows all of the skills for Swimming. He might have been working on Swimming his whole life and not even known. He does not have to start over pretending to be a non-swimmer. All of his work in swimming will pay off for him when he is tested by his counselor.

Or a boy may have collected coins his whole life and may already have every coin he will need for Coin Collecting. He does not have to sell his coin collection and start a new collection. His counselor can consider all of the work he has done on his collection and the knowledge he has gained from before he signed an youth application.

The founder of this forum, Michael Kauffmann, wrote a great article that explores this topic at greater length:
http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Th ... en_Mandate

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Re: Merit Badge FAQ

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:19 pm

I use the term "credible evidence". Can come from a variety of sources. As long as the work was done as a Boy Scout, it's good to go for me.
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