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...
(*) 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.