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?