Citizenship in the Community

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Citizenship in the Community

Postby ASM-142 » Mon Dec 20, 2004 2:09 pm

Requirement 7 states
Select a city, county, or school problem or issue under consideration from the local newspaper or news broadcast and write a letter expressing your views to the mayor, administrator, or school board president. Show this letter and any response to your counselor.
How does a scout go about showing a response to a counselor if a response is not received?
How long does a scout have to wait before the counselor signs off on this requirement after the letter is mailed?
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Re: Citizenship in the Community

Postby Rick Tyler » Mon Dec 20, 2004 4:11 pm

ASM-142 wrote:How does a scout go about showing a response to a counselor if a response is not received? How long does a scout have to wait before the counselor signs off on this requirement after the letter is mailed?


It's up to the counselor. Since the requirement says "any response" I know that a response is not mandatory. I ask them to wait two weeks and if they do not get a response I sign them off.
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Postby ICanCanoeCanU » Tue Dec 21, 2004 12:11 am

Yes, we do the same. We want to see that the scout has tried and has written the letter, other than that we have no control.
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Postby ASM-142 » Tue Dec 21, 2004 9:19 am

How as a troop can we have consistency when there are different Merit Badge Counselors that impose different waiting periods?
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Postby evmori » Tue Dec 21, 2004 2:39 pm

ASM-142 wrote:How as a troop can we have consistency when there are different Merit Badge Counselors that impose different waiting periods?


Merit badges are not the responsibility of the Troop. They are the responsibility of the merit badge counselor. And each counselor may do the same badge a little different. As long as the counselors aren't adding to or subtracting from the requirements, these differences are acceptable.
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Postby ASM-142 » Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:34 pm

evmori wrote:
ASM-142 wrote:How as a troop can we have consistency when there are different Merit Badge Counselors that impose different waiting periods?


Merit badges are not the responsibility of the Troop. They are the responsibility of the merit badge counselor. And each counselor may do the same badge a little different. As long as the counselors aren't adding to or subtracting from the requirements, these differences are acceptable.

I agree - however, if one counselor says to wait 2 weeks and another says to wait 4 weeks these are then different requirements for the same Merit Badge.
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Postby Scouting179 » Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:48 pm

Granted, but there's little you can do about it as MB Counselors are actually registered with the District/Council, not a troop. Though in many cases, they are dual registered as an MBC and troop leader. If you have a concern with this or other MBC issue, I'd suggest you bring it up with the District and/or Council advancement committee.
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Postby evmori » Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:03 pm

ASM-142 wrote:
evmori wrote:
ASM-142 wrote:How as a troop can we have consistency when there are different Merit Badge Counselors that impose different waiting periods?


Merit badges are not the responsibility of the Troop. They are the responsibility of the merit badge counselor. And each counselor may do the same badge a little different. As long as the counselors aren't adding to or subtracting from the requirements, these differences are acceptable.

I agree - however, if one counselor says to wait 2 weeks and another says to wait 4 weeks these are then different requirements for the same Merit Badge.


Since there is no time requirement for the wait period specified in the merit badge, the merit badge counselor is within his/her right to require whatever time period they want. They are not adding to or subtracting from the badge.
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Postby RWSmith » Tue Dec 21, 2004 6:16 pm

First, let me say, it has been my experience that it takes two to six months to get a response, if any, from elected officials; and, that is reason enough why I never set a deadline. (The fact that the requirement specifically fails to address a timeframe -'No more, no less.'- also conveniently prevents me from doing so.

IMHO though, don't look at the disparity between different timeframes. In fact, we should consider “two weeks,” “four weeks,” or even “let’s just give it a little time” to be reasonable. As has been said already, each MBC is left to set his own timeframe where he'll determine a "no response" is actually a response of... silence. So, what I’m saying is, the lack of an established timeframe should not be the question at hand. No, the question that comes to my mind is, “How long will it be before this “waiting game” might become an issue of holding the Scout back from advancing in rank, in which case, BTW, I’d sign it off immediately, because… IMO, once the Scout mails the letter that he showed the MBC, he has “essentially” met the requirement, insofar as he's done what he can do. The Scout must only show a response to his MBC if he gets one.

I realize this is supposition… but, the implied purpose of showing the MBC a response is not to meet the requirement, it’s to give the MBC the opportunity to discuss the Scout’s letter and "any" response, should one ever arrive. However, I consider "no" response to be “a part of,” rather than “a part from,” "any" response. Consequently, the MBC can also, just as effectively, discuss the lack of a response with the Scout. To me, that's why the Scout is supposed to show his letter to the MBC before it gets mailed--so they can talk about it, whether or not a response is ever received.
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Postby Rick Tyler » Tue Dec 21, 2004 6:41 pm

RWSmith wrote:First, let me say, it has been my experience that it takes two to six months to get a response, if any, from elected officials; and, that is reason enough why I never set a deadline. (The fact that the requirement specifically fails to address a timeframe -'No more, no less.'- also conveniently prevents me from doing so.


For CitCommunity most of our boys write our mayor who is an Eagle Scout. He either responds right away or never (I assume some of these letters get misplaced). Based on my local experience in our city, two weeks is reasonable. CitNation is another thing altogether. Even our local Congressperson, who is a supporter of Boy Scouts, takes more than two weeks. I've never had a Scout get a response from our state's Senators or the President. I discuss it with the Scout and suggest that we wait "a while" to see if the office responds quickly. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

Like a lot of these kinds of questions in MB counseling, a little experience and common sense goes a long way.

(By the way, this is my 100th post. Do I need to pick an Eagle service project now?)
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Postby RWSmith » Tue Dec 21, 2004 6:50 pm

Rick Tyler wrote:Like a lot of these kinds of questions in MB counseling, a little experience and common sense goes a long way.


A-men, Bro'dah! A-men!

Rick Tyler wrote:(By the way, this is my 100th post. Do I need to pick an Eagle service project now?)


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ROTFLMBO!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby ICanCanoeCanU » Tue Dec 21, 2004 7:10 pm

LOL! Well said you two!
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Postby ASM-142 » Wed Dec 22, 2004 9:02 am

RWSmith wrote:How long will it be before this “waiting game” might become an issue of holding the Scout back from advancing in rank, in which case, BTW, I’d sign it off immediately

So if a scout does not need this signed off for advancement you would have him wait and not sign off immediately? This sounds like you have two sets of requirements for the same Merit Badge if a understand this correctly.

For all requirements we should treat them equally and not leave things open for interpretation by Scoutmasters or Merit Badge Counselors.
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Postby Lynda J » Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:33 am

Our mayor is a former SM for our troop. We get such help from our city.
From service projects for hours to letters from him. When my Web's crossed over each boy received a letter from the mayor and he attended the cross over. Sometimes it is really nice to live in a small community.
I spoke to our Code Compliance officer yesterday and he told me that he had some projects that would work for service hours for Life and Star.
I will get with him after the holidays.
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Merit Badge

Postby riverwalk » Wed Dec 22, 2004 3:17 pm

8) True, a response may not be received from anyone, and this is out of the Scouts' control. I've seen a few responses, and it gives further opportunity for learning about local issues (and why a response may be this or that). Counselors will use slightly different tactics than another might....but if they haven't added to or discounted the Requirements, then it should work out. Perhaps the Unit's MB Coordinator person can "assist" all Counselors to approach these things in a similar way, but in most cases a few weeks shouldn't be a disaster.

Perhaps Unit's can plan their community visibility in such a way as to encourage Leaders to respond more often. I'm thinking that Scouts could be seen as visitors to various community meetings (avoiding the taboo political stuff obviously, haha), community gatherings, Flag ceremonies, etc. Or, invite each of them (different times perhaps) to be an honored guest at Blue and Golds, COH's, or District banquets??? :wink:
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Postby RWSmith » Wed Dec 22, 2004 5:23 pm

ASM-142 wrote:So if a scout does not need this signed off for advancement you would have him wait and not sign off immediately? This sounds like you have two sets of requirements for the same Merit Badge if I understand this correctly. For all requirements we should treat them equally and not leave things open for interpretation by Scoutmasters or Merit Badge Counselors.


The requirement does not establish a specific timeframe for two reasons: 1) it prevents the MBC (not the Scout!) from being pinned down; and 2) it give the MBC some latitude.

There is no disparity in the fact that the timeframe is variable... “two weeks,” “four weeks,” or even “let’s just give it a little time.” I say, the fact that the MBC for Scout “A” waits ten days for a reply, whereas, the MBC for Scout “B” waits three months, is irrelevant. These are all fair and reasonable, even consistent... so long as they do not conflict with the limits of the parameters concerned.

In order to remain within the (unseen) boundaries of the requirement, the minimum timeframe an MBC could impose (once the letter is mailed) is as little as a one day*; conversely, the maximum would be as long as is does not become an issue of holding the Scout back from advancing in rank. And that's exactly why I say, "let's give it a little while," instead of setting a date. ‘Course, I'd then check with the CC (or somebody) and find out how long it is 'til the next CoH. If it's three weeks, then I’d wait a couple of weeks. If it's three months, then I’d wait a couple of months. This way, I accomplish two things: 1) I ensure the Scout meets the requirement, exactly as written; and 2) I get to let him think I've got some common sense. (Whether it's true or not, well, let's not go there... :wink:.)

(*) What’s this nonsense about waiting just one day?! Yes. One day… What if a Life Scout is about to turn into a pumpkin... i.e., this is like the last thing he needs to do before submitting his Eagle package to the Council, and he turns 18 in three days. If I were his MBC, I'd suggest he overnight his letter via Express Mail, and begin it with a plea to have somebody, anybody, from that office respond via phone, facsimile, e-mail, or whatever... If a kid did that, I'd sign him off the next afternoon (or two, max.), whether he got a response or not. Would I even hesitate, thinking this could be a violation of the spirit of the requirement? Absolutely not.

Conversely, if the kid decides that completing this MB or working toward the next rank is not his cup of tea, and he never tells me that he did or did not receive a response, then the requirement will never be signed off.
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Postby Lynda J » Thu Dec 23, 2004 1:25 pm

When Kevin did this badge his counselor told him that he should send the letter the very first thing, and put a copy of the letter in with the worksheet. Then wait 30 days. If no response was received in that time the counselor signed off the requirement. Of course Kevin had his response back within a week. So we didn't have to worry. But it is a problem for some scouts. I think the counselor needs to show common sense. Set a reasonable time frame to wait. Then is the scout has not received a response sign off.
One thing about being a counselor is that you have to use good judgement in some areas. Yes they have to do the requirement as written. But the requirement states "ANY" response.
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Postby ASM-142 » Thu Dec 23, 2004 2:30 pm

Lynda J wrote:Set a reasonable time frame to wait. Then is the scout has not received a response sign off.

The only problem that I have with this is that a reasonable time to one conselor may not be to another. The requirment should be updated to add a specific waiting period after mailing. This way all scouts - no matter who their counselor is will get treated the same. This even goes for boys that are three days short of being 18 (they should of planned better).
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Postby RA_Lifeguard88 » Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:50 pm

I waited for a week until after i sent my letter and then i called my mayor and asked if he had recieved the letter. This shows that you are eagerly waiting for a response and will prompt this person to send you one.
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Citizenship In The Community

Postby srisom » Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:31 pm

New Requirement # 5:
"With the approval of your counselor and a parent, watch a movie that shows how the actions of one individual or group of individuals can have a positive effect on a community. Discuss with your counselor what you learned from the movie about what it means to be a valuable and concerned member of the community."

Any suggestions on a movie?
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