Cit World @ Winter Camp

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Cit World @ Winter Camp

Postby mrsrayzor » Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:46 pm

Just looking for opinions on a situation we had happen. We sent our Troop to an out of council winter camp. About 20 boys were in the program designated for younger scouts and the other 8 were in a high adventure program.

The younger scout program was totally geared towards merit badges. At the last minute (after arrival), the camp decided to offer Citizenship in the World and Community. Almost all the 11-13 year olds got World in about 5 hours. The badge was taught in a 'classroom' environment and all subjects were discussed, but of course it takes more than that to complete many of the requirements. That's what makes it an Eagle merit badge. It is our opinion that many did not actually meet all requirements.

After reading many old posts on this site, I see and understand the badge can not be taken back, nor would we want to. The counselor was questioned by our scoutmaster and defended his method. These boys all did what they thought they were supposed to do and what they were told to do to complete this badge.

I say all this to really work on how to deal with this type of situation in the future and not step on the 'rights' a scout has to take what he wants. Here are the questions I am asking myself now.

1) Can our scoutmaster use his authority to not let a scout take a merit badge (specifically eagle mb's) at a camp that we're not sure how diligent they might be with the requirements.

2) Some camps will put age limits on merit badges as I've seen myself and discussed in other forums. Such as, Climbing, Archery, Shotgun and some of the Eagle merit badges. Is this legal and does the SM have the same option.

I've learned that there are no time limits, no age limits (other than 18th b-day) etc, but obviously not all ages of boys (and they differ with each boy) are ready to work on some of these badges. The obvious way to catch this is by the counselor simply making the scout meet the requirements, no more no less. When the SM is authorizing the blue card for a scout and helping him get with a counselor, he's able to make sure that this is a counselor who is going to do this. But, when it's out of council or away at a camp this isn't possible. They don't always have to have the SM approval to start/complete a badge.

Any and all comments and suggestions will be appreciated!

Thanks,
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Postby Rick Tyler » Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:48 pm

This ought to be on the homepage of this discussion board...

A Scout may not commence work on a Merit Badge until he has asked the Scoutmaster for a counselor's name and gotten a signed blue card. The fact that a counselor chose to teach Cit World requirements to a group of your scouts isn't your problem -- it's his. Without that magic blue card -- which is handed out solely at the discretion of your Scoutmaster -- there ain't no merit badge.

Even at camp, the scouts need a blue card before MB can really begin.

Should a Scoutmaster use the issuing of a blue card to provide some quality control? You bet. Absolutely.

Should a Scoutmaster withhold blue cards for arbitrary reasons? Absolutely not. I used to issue blue cards at our old troop. If a scout wanted to start a blue card for something I wondered if he was ready for, I made sure to assign him to a good counselor. Sometimes those blue cards were not completed for 2-3 years, but I never felt I gave someone a gimme.

The quality of the MB program at summer camps and district MB events is a good topic, but I'd start another thread...

I guarantee that my advice is worth at least twice what it costs, too.
Rick Tyler
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Postby Lynda J » Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:33 pm

I agree with Rick. But this also puts the boys in bad position. They probably did most of the work required. Chances are the counselor told them they earned the badge. I do know that sometimes at camp badges change for verious reasons. It is would be sad for the boys to suffer. Kevin is getting ready to start this badge and we have gone over the requirements and I just don't see how it could be done that fast.
IMHO what you might do is have the boys do a presentation to the troop on the badge. Give each boy one requirement and let him present that one. This way you feel better that they have learned the material and it also gives each boy an opportunity to present something to the troop.
I counsel Rep and Amph. Kevin earned it at summer camp. I wasn't sure he covered all the material. So when I was doing a group of scouts, I had him help me. Well guess what he did know the material.
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Postby commish3 » Mon Jan 24, 2005 1:02 pm

These boys all did what they thought they were supposed to do and what they were told to do to complete this badge.


Do you have any evidence that the requirements were not followed? If so you need to notify the Council Advancement Committee and ask that they either correct the counselor or remove him or her as a mb counselor for the council.
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Re: Cit World @ Winter Camp

Postby Rick Tyler » Mon Jan 24, 2005 1:22 pm

mrsrayzor wrote:The younger scout program was totally geared towards merit badges. At the last minute (after arrival), the camp decided to offer Citizenship in the World and Community. Almost all the 11-13 year olds got World in about 5 hours. The badge was taught in a 'classroom' environment and all subjects were discussed, but of course it takes more than that to complete many of the requirements.


Since I've already thrown in my two-cents' worth, this must make four cents...

I can teach Cit World to a small group of five or six scouts in five hours. I've done it before. At the end of the lecture and discussion time, my "students" were given the choice of taking a written exam that I had put together or meeting with me individually. A written exam is more than what is required for the MB, so I did not make it mandatory. They all chose to take the test. After the exam, I met with each scout and went over the exam with them, taking special care to talk about the points that the scout did not adequately address. Some scouts also had to fulfill requirement 9 at a later time (some had brought copies of report cards showing foreign language study).

By the time I was done, I felt the scouts had fulfilled the requirements as well as if they had done it alone with me -- and I had spend less than the average 2-3 hours I usually spend with a single scout on Cit World.

You can teach MB materials in a group setting. It works well. It is much more difficult to fulfill the requirements as written in a group.

My BIG problem with group counseling is that frequently only one scout "discusses" or "describes" something to the counselor, rather than all of them. I've seen this at summer camp so often I don't even like to think about it. (I have discussed this with camp program directors, though, to little effect.)

I DO NOT think the Scoutmaster's job is to be the gatekeeper to advancement, just as I do not think attaining Eagle Scout is the purpose of Scouting. But I do think that, as long as we all believe the advancement program means anything, we are responsible to see that our scouts are getting the full benefit of it. Merit badge mills degrade the advancement process and cheapen the Scouting experience.

Would anyone like to borrow the soapbox now?
Rick Tyler
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OA, Wood Badge, Merit Badge Guy, &c.
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