Merit Badge FAQ

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Merit Badge FAQ

Postby milominderbinder2 » Tue May 06, 2008 11:24 am

Discuss forum for the MeritBadgeDotOrg.org page:

Merit Badge FAQ
http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php?title=Merit_Badge_FAQ

This page lists many of the most common questions about the Boy Scout Merit Badge program and their answers along with specific references and page numbers.

Please use this forum for discussion.
Last edited by milominderbinder2 on Tue May 06, 2008 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Quailman » Tue May 06, 2008 11:36 am

Great stuff! Minor question, though...

If a counselor covers a requirement does a Scout still have to be tested?
No. You can instruct in a group but must test each boy individually. (p. 26) [1]


Shouldn't that say "Yes..." Or am I interpreting the question wrong?
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Postby milominderbinder2 » Tue May 06, 2008 11:50 am

Oops. Thank you. I'm on it!

- Craig
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Postby milominderbinder2 » Tue May 06, 2008 12:33 pm

The wiki and the pdf should both be correct now.

Any other typo's or points or discussion?

- Craig
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Postby smtroop168 » Tue May 06, 2008 1:34 pm

On who selects the MB counselor. The SM can give a scout a name from the District/Council list, but the scout could choose any qualified counselor from the list. I try to steer my guys to MBC I know that do a good job but if they come back with another approved counselor I can't say no.

Two other examples are Summer Camp and a Merit Badge College that the SM doesn't know who the MB Counselor is going to be when the scout gets his Blue Card.
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Postby wagionvigil » Tue May 06, 2008 1:37 pm

you never approve me. correct?
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Postby ASM-142 » Tue May 06, 2008 1:58 pm

As far as I know (and I could be wrong) the scout can use any council/district approved MBC. If a troop states that they can only use a certain person then that is adding to the requirements.

I have heard of troop using this approach to limt MBs that scouts take since they did not use the SM provided MBC or the did not have a SM signed Blue Card prior to starting the MB.
If it is not written down then it is not an official rule
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Postby smtroop168 » Tue May 06, 2008 2:09 pm

You would be approved for the "Pot stirring" MB but I would have to give you a partial since your work is never done. :lol: :lol:
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Postby milominderbinder2 » Tue May 06, 2008 3:26 pm

smtroop168 wrote:On who selects the MB counselor. The SM can give a scout a name from the District/Council list, but the scout could choose any qualified counselor from the list.

"Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors." #33215 p. 22.

That is not a misprint in the Boy Scout Requirements. It has been this exact wording forever.

If someone is letting the Scout choose the counselor they have reduced the requirement.

- Craig
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Postby smtroop168 » Tue May 06, 2008 5:37 pm

Craig....So how do you handle Summer Camps and Merit Badge Colleges where the counselor is xxx or maybe still unknown at the time the Blue card is requested? The scout has to go to his first MB class at camp with a signed blue card.

I agree that 33215 does say the SM will give the name of a person from the list of counselors but it does not follow with the wording that with "you must use that counselor." Granted the younger guys need more help.

ASM142's post is much more of a problem than letting my senior scouts find a counselor off the Council approved list. They are denying scouts advancement.
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Postby milominderbinder2 » Wed May 07, 2008 9:05 am

The Scoutmaster always has the right to approve the counselor the Scout picks. But it is still the Scoutmaster's decision.

At Summer Camp, the Scoutmaster is approving that the Scout will take the merit badge at the camp with the camp staff. 33088 does a good job of addressing the specifics of taking merit badges at summer camp on page 7 and 34.

We all know of troops who have tried to hold up merit badges or Scoutmaster conferences as a way of denying advancement. The 2007 #33088 adds more detail on pp. 25-26 and again on p. 33 to explain how to appeal. Look at the emphasis that the requirement is that a Scout is to 'participate in a Scoutmaster conference not that he "passes" the conference...'

But this should go into a separate BoR FAQ.

- Craig
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Postby smtroop168 » Wed May 07, 2008 12:06 pm

I disagree. The below web site says:

A Scout first expresses an interest in a particular merit badge by letting his unit leader know. To get him started, the leader may give him a signed Application for Merit Badge (blue card) along with the name and telephone number of a district/council approved merit badge counselor.

The Application for Merit Badge, or blue card, is not even required however when used, the SM signature on the card just says the scout "is qualified to begin working for Merit Badge noted on the reverse side". Since any scout can earn any merit badge they choose, they are all "qualified." (We've already had the discussion on age restrictions). There is nowhere on the card that has a "SM approval of the MB counselor" signature line.

http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/Guide ... px?print=1


Maybe we need to post this on the forum where there are conflicting policies??
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Postby milominderbinder2 » Wed May 07, 2008 12:23 pm

SM168,

These documents are addressing different points in these quotes. The Boy Scout Requirements is talking about who gives the name of the counselor who will be used. The Merit Badge Counselor Guide is talking about the fact that a Merit Badge Application may be given to the Scout to get the Scout started.

The key word is may because the blue card does not have to be used. Also, this is only one way that a Scoutmaster may get a Scout started.

If the wording did contradict, the Boy Scout Requirements would take precedence because it is specifically referenced by the Bylaws and the Merit Badge Counselor Guide is not.

- Craig
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Postby ASM-142 » Wed May 07, 2008 2:33 pm

milominderbinder2 wrote:Your Scoutmaster will give you [/u]the name of a person from a list of counselors." [/i] #33215 p. 22.

The requirement does not specify that the scout must use the name provided by the SM. As long as the MBC is approved by council/district then the scout may use a different MBC even if their name is not provided by the SM.
If it is not written down then it is not an official rule
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Postby milominderbinder2 » Wed May 07, 2008 5:05 pm

Years ago when our council was finally reading the books, in order to believe what we were reading we had to call National.

I think you are at that point. Ask for Advancement and make sure you get Bill.

I understand that in many troops, the Scoutmaster will approve whatever the Scout wants. If the Scout (or his mom) appeals to the district or council will they back the Scoutmaster? Or will they do whatever they need to to get her to quit calling?

- Craig
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Postby smtroop168 » Wed May 07, 2008 6:41 pm

So I have the correct timeframe on this, how long ago was your question asked? You said years ago. You're speaking of Bill Steele I assume.

I don't think SMs approve whatever scouts want. At least I hope not. The list is made up of only approved counselors so if the scout offers an alternative based on their personal knowledge, E.G. "He was my Citizenship in the Nation counselor, and I liked the way he helped me so why can't I use him for Citizenship in the World?" Or Mr. X lives in my neighborhood and it will be easier to meet with him than Mr Y who lives across town, should I say no you must use Mr. Y because I am the King!

There are definite grounds for appeal there and worse ramifcations for me.

Also trust me when I tell you I know all about "Moms" (see MB sash issue on the forum).

Although I solved the MB sash issue with Bill Steele, I'll work this through my Council Advancement Committee and let them approach National.

Paul Wolf/RW Smith...ready for you to chime in?

Craig....Thanks for putting all the info on the wiki.
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Postby milominderbinder2 » Thu May 08, 2008 8:07 pm

We found out in 2002 how much we were doing wrong in our council.

We had carefully edited our council advancement policies. The problem was that none of us had ever been to the national advancement school at Philmont and unfortunately no one had actually read the Advancement Policies.

Over time our local traditions had become more important than what the Boy Scouts were all about. We thought for sure we were just doing it "the old way." I even went back through the Advancement Policies back to the 1950's.

We are back to being Boy Scouts now but it was traumatic. That was not a good time to be the Council Advancement Chair.

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Postby FrankJ » Fri May 09, 2008 10:17 am

"Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors." #33215 p. 22.

I have yet to see where BSA policy requires the scout to use the counselor given by the SM. If that really is their policy, why are they so vauge about it?
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Postby Quailman » Fri May 09, 2008 10:35 am

...and what if your SM doesn't know of any MBCs outside the troop, so he can't help with MBs that aren't covered within the troop?
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Postby smtroop168 » Fri May 09, 2008 11:46 am

Craig....give us some examples on advancement things you were doing wrong. What event generated your council's policy on this issue?

Also I did a poll at last night's roundtable. 4 SMs, the District AC and the District DE. All were asked separately about the role of the SM in MB process. None of them believed that they can mandate the counselor or would support doing so since all the counselors on our list are approved. Two of them brought up the same points I listed in my 5/7 post.

I asked the DAC guy to discuss this with his council advancement committee members to get their take on the subject.
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