GTA - Scoutmasters approving merit badges

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GTA - Scoutmasters approving merit badges

Postby Fred Johnson » Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:00 pm

I like the wording of the new GTA section 7.0.0.2. It encourages SMs to make signing the blue card to be more thank just an OK. Make it a meaningful interaction, a mini-SMC and a chance to get involved in the life and growth of the scout.

GTA section 7.0.0.2 says: "Though a few merit badges may have certain restrictions; short of them, any registered Scout may work on any of them at any time, as long as he has the approval of his unit leader."
I'm confused. Sometimes it says "sign" and other times "approve". Also, the way it's worded it seems that a SM can deny approval for any reason. If it's an approval, when would you NOT sign the card? Unqualified counselor? Scout too young or small? Scout has too many MBs outstanding? Unit expectations? Other?

Is there more that guides the SM as to when to "approve" starting a MB?
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Re: GTA - Scoutmasters approving merit badges

Postby cdwscout » Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:10 pm

Fred Johnson wrote:I like the wording of the new GTA section 7.0.0.2. It encourages SMs to make signing the blue card to be more thank just an OK. Make it a meaningful interaction, a mini-SMC and a chance to get involved in the life and growth of the scout.

GTA section 7.0.0.2 says: "Though a few merit badges may have certain restrictions; short of them, any registered Scout may work on any of them at any time, as long as he has the approval of his unit leader."
I'm confused. Sometimes it says "sign" and other times "approve". Also, the way it's worded it seems that a SM can deny approval for any reason. If it's an approval, when would you NOT sign the card? Unqualified counselor? Scout too young or small? Scout has too many MBs outstanding? Unit expectations? Other?

Is there more that guides the SM as to when to "approve" starting a MB?


1. Sign/approve are pretty much synonymous here. Approve basically means to approve him working on the merit badge and sign means to sign the blue card as a statement of approval.

2. The reasons you gave were legitimate, though it's hard to give hard-and-fast rules, as it depends on the scout. Some scouts have a bad habit of starting a merit badge and never finishing it, resulting in a slew of unfinished merit badges on the scout's record.

3. It's basically just part of an SM's job to determine whether or not to approve a scout for a merit badge.
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Re: GTA - Scoutmasters approving merit badges

Postby Fred Johnson » Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:14 pm

Under the ACPP, I understood the MB signature more of an acknowledgement and the completion of a process step. The SM wasn't really approving the MB as much as providing a counselor and being kept in the loop. Though some SM's would deny signature, that was not what I understood the signature to be for.
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Re: GTA - Scoutmasters approving merit badges

Postby smtroop168 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:05 pm

Fred Johnson wrote:Under the ACPP, I understood the MB signature more of an acknowledgement and the completion of a process step. The SM wasn't really approving the MB as much as providing a counselor and being kept in the loop. Though some SM's would deny signature, that was not what I understood the signature to be for.


This is another piece of folklore that we rewrote section 7 to cover. The SM always had to approval authority and his approval signature on the Blue Card said the scout was qualified to work on the applicable MB. The old ACPP didn't speak to this and just referred you to the annual BSA Requirements Book.

Fred Johnson wrote:
GTA section 7.0.0.2 says: "Though a few merit badges may have certain restrictions; short of them, any registered Scout may work on any of them at any time, as long as he has the approval of his unit leader."
I'm confused. Sometimes it says "sign" and other times "approve". Also, the way it's worded it seems that a SM can deny approval for any reason. If it's an approval, when would you NOT sign the card? Unqualified counselor? Scout too young or small? Scout has too many MBs outstanding? Unit expectations? Other?

Is there more that guides the SM as to when to "approve" starting a MB?


A SM really has no legitimate reason for not approving a MB for a scout. The SM talking to the scout about what badge he's asking to do may result in the scout deciding to do Badge A before B. An example might be Eprep where the SM might suggest the scout do First Aid MB first or do Swimming before Scuba.
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Re: GTA - Scoutmasters approving merit badges

Postby Fred Johnson » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:05 pm

smtroop168 wrote:A SM really has no legitimate reason for not approving a MB for a scout. The SM talking to the scout about what badge he's asking to do may result in the scout deciding to do Badge A before B. An example might be Eprep where the SM might suggest the scout do First Aid MB first or do Swimming before Scuba.
Okay, I hadn't read the ACPP MB requirements in so long I started viewing the approval as more of a acknowledgement for just the reasons you wrote. SMs generally have no reason to deny approval.

I've always viewed with a skeptical eye troops that only allow X number of partial MBs at any one time. Or troops that guide which MB happens at when. I always viewed the MB program and advancement as an individual scout topic and under the control of the scout. Time for me to update my understanding. :)
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Re: GTA - Scoutmasters approving merit badges

Postby razor_strop » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:28 am

cdwscout wrote:2. The reasons you gave were legitimate, though it's hard to give hard-and-fast rules, as it depends on the scout. Some scouts have a bad habit of starting a merit badge and never finishing it, resulting in a slew of unfinished merit badges on the scout's record.

3. It's basically just part of an SM's job to determine whether or not to approve a scout for a merit badge.


I don't believe this follows the general understanding of the merit badge process here. For starters, having an unfinished merit badge isn't necessarily a bad thing. Except for those Scouts wishing to earn ranks above First Class and thus have to earn specific MBs, the MB program allows for a Scout to "try out" a topic through MB work. If he finds he's not interested, then there's no need (except for the aforementioned Eagle-required MBs) to continue working on the MB. The Scout realized he's not interested in the topic, which can be a valuable lesson in itself. As for a SM's "job" in the MB process, smtroop168 pretty much covered that responsibility pretty well in this thread. No surprise, given his involvement in providing input and reviewing the content of the new GTA. The SM may provide the Scout with advice on working on a MB, but it would (should) be a very, very rare instance he refuses to approve what the Scout wants.
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Re: GTA - Scoutmasters approving merit badges

Postby smtroop168 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:13 am

razor_strop wrote: As for a SM's "job" in the MB process, smtroop168 pretty much covered that responsibility pretty well in this thread. No surprise, given his involvement in providing input and reviewing the content of the new GTA.


That's me..."Providing quality information one paragraph at a time" :lol: :lol:
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