Alternative Merit Badge Requirements

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Alternative Merit Badge Requirements

Postby Mick Scouter » Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:17 pm

For a boy with a physical disability (Spina Bifida) that Can Not meet all the physical requirements of a specific merit badge, can you use the alternative merit badge form to substitute requirements instead of substituting the entire badge?

The example I am struggling with is Physical Fitness MB. There is a lot of good information that he can do but the physical fitness plan and some of the other requirements like run/walk he Can Not do. I would like to do as much as possible and then develop a plan that would be appropriate for him to complete.

For the Swimming MB I can understand that it is more appropriate to use a substitue MB.
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Postby Lynda J » Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:51 pm

Is he confined to a wheelchair? If so would he be able to do the track work in his chair? Since PF is a Eagle required I would suggest that you get with your Council Advancement Chairman and discuss what adjustments can be made to give him the ability to complete the badge.

Just a suggestion.
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Postby Mick Scouter » Wed Feb 16, 2005 5:45 pm

Thanks for the reply. Yes, he is (totally) dependent on his wheel chair. I guess I need to explain a little more. He has no feeling or movement below the upper chest level. He has use of his arms and hands but limited strength. In addition he uses a power wheelchair that does up to 7 mph, but you didn't know that, so although he could accomplish this in his wheelchair it would not be very demanding. However, I could consider using a manual wheelchair to complete the assignments which would be more demanding. But, that would also be a modification to the requirements.

We are also part of a small rural troop with advancement for Children with disabilities new territory. I guess you could say I am probably as close to an expert as we have in the troop. I will go to the council advancement committee but I would like to do my research and have a possible solution instead of the council trying to decide. He will be 18 this summer and he as well as my wife and I have been involved in scouts since he was 6.

I want to do things correctly but I want them to be challenging to him and meet the expectations of the BSA program. I don't want to be second guessed after the fact.

Thanks again
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Second Guessing?

Postby riverwalk » Wed Feb 16, 2005 5:57 pm

Good for you in doing your homework. Scout activities for those with disabilities is nothing new, just not seen by everyone. Hope these Scouts with special needs go as far as they want to go, and receive every Badge and Rank they go after. No reason they should be denied anything. They do what they can do. We learn in Cubs what we often forget......did they do their best? :)
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Postby wagionvigil » Wed Feb 16, 2005 6:03 pm

I have worked with handicapped boys with climbing mb and just in rappelling. I have actually rappelled a quadraplegic. I would like to speak to the Do your best quote. Yes I see it with the Atternative mb or track but I have actually had parents of healthy scouts try to pull this one when the kid did not meet the MB requirements for climbing or Swimming or Lifesaving. I always tell them doing your best and not meeting the requirements could kill their son.
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Postby Mick Scouter » Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:42 am

Thanks to everyone, I appreciate your replies. Wagionvigi, I specifically applaud your reply and the efforts you have performed. However, BSA has in place an alternative MB program for boys with disabilities. I am not trying to pull a do your best and consider that the requirement.

I am asking does the alternative MB application permit modifying the requirements for scouts with diagnosed and documented disabilities the ability to modify an Eagle Required Merit Badge or do you have to replace it with another MB.

I could apply for an alternative that may be easier than the required MB and have it approved but my point is to try to do the best in an eagle required and then substitute replacement requirements in leiu of replacing the entire MB.

Thanks again
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Postby wagionvigil » Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:18 am

A call to Texas would settle your problem or call your region office if your local servise center cannot give you an answer.
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Postby RWSmith » Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:32 am

Better, yet... I think... Go down to the Scout office (or whatever) and purchase your own personal copy of the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures, 33088E (2004 Edition). The information you seek is addressed therein. In your case, it would be worth having your own. And God bless you and your wife, and your son, too.
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Postby Mick Scouter » Thu Feb 17, 2005 9:00 am

Thank you very much. That is exactly the advice I was seeking. I need to see the answer in writing.

Thanks again!
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Postby commish3 » Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:41 pm

Hi Mck I wanted to be sure of this before I responded.

You asked about alternative merit badge requirements. The BSA does not alter requirements within a merit badge, they will however allow scouts with handicaps (under specific conditions) earn alternate merit badges.

You will find this rule, the conditions under which it can be used, and the process you must take in a pamphlet called A Guide To Working With Boy Scouts With Disabilities (resource #33056B)

I hope this helps.
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Postby Mick Scouter » Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:56 pm

Thanks, Commish. I understand, and or course I will comply and thanks. I guess I was looking for reasonability. But, with reasonability you have people that would take advantage. Fortunately I(he) can choose an alternative but unfortunately it will it will probably not be as demanding as the parts of an eagle required. However, that does not stop me, my son or a counselor from doing a partial on a merit badge that he physically can not complete for the experience. After all the bases is still for a boy with challenges to do your best.

We do not live in a perfect world but we must follow the laws and principles. The last thing that I want to do is dilute the process and make it easier for someone that can do the requirements and tries to find an easy way around the system.

Thank, I appreciate the peer checking and advice.
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Postby West » Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:40 am

Well, if you pick the right one the alternate could be just as difficult. And in many cases just as usefull for life (I wouldn't use basketry though :wink:).

Some of the non-requireds I did were much more difficult for me. But then maybe I was just less motivated for them.
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