MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

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MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby Billiken » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:31 pm

Am I correct that wording the BSA Handbook states (approximately):

"Select a merit badge counselor approved by your scoutmaster."

Bottom Line:
If I (as SM) don't know the counselor, can I say, "Sorry, pick someone else"?
(Even if the Counselor is on a council-created list.)
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby kwildman » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:44 pm

Technically yes. However, I would only do that if there is a genuine concern with the counsellor the scout wants to use. I have seen SM's use this argument to say certain merit badges must be done by someone instead of at summer camp or not allow participation in merit badge days. This is also a mechanism that some SM seem to think they can use to stall kids from advancing too fast. They softened their position when they were confronted by the troop committee. :lol:
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby FrankJ » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:26 pm

The actual wording is "Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors."
Does that mean you have to use that merit badge counselor? That has been a hotly debated topic. I still do not know the right answer. While I am not sure if I completely agree with this, if a scout comes back with the merit completed from a MBC who is registered for the merit badge, you are probably stuck with it.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby smtroop168 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:12 pm

Aah the ye olde "the" vs "a" discussion.

Back in the day, most MBs only had "the' counselor so that wording has been around for a very long time. Today there are unmanageable district and council listings of MB Counselors all whom are qualified by their respective Council Advancement Committees. I've seen some troops with 8 MBCs for the same badge.

The theory here is that we want to ensure that a scout meets with a qualified counselor and also make sure that they are using a current listing as some MBCs switch off badges and could be no longer a counselor for the badge the scout wants to work on. There could be other issues known to the SM that would not or should not be known to the boy. Hence the SM giving "the" name from a list.

Should you receive a signed MB card from your scout and the MBC is an approved counselor, it's a done deal. That being said, there is nothing wrong with the SM having a discussion on how this might have happened (1st MBC was unavailable and sent the scout to someone else maybe)

The SM who deters advancement of his scouts is blantantly wrong.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby jr56 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:24 pm

My personal take on this is that the boy can go to any registered merit badge counselor they want to. Your job as the scoutmaster is to help the boy if he needs it by providing the name of a counselor that he can use. As earlier stated, the scoutmaster can also stear boys away from someone he knows has "issues".
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby FieldSports » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:09 pm

See Below the "Official" requirements from the National Web Site (color added for emphasis). The "no more no less" No right for a SM to deny a scout from pursuing any merit badge, can be working on before meeting counselor, and most important - This is the "Official Requirements". Also note the bold.

Introduction to Merit Badges

You can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers as you earn merit badges. There are more than 100 merit badges. Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time. You don't need to have had rank advancement to be eligible.

Pick a Subject. Talk to your Scoutmaster about your interests. Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you. Pick one to earn. Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors. These counselors have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping you.

Scout Buddy System. You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor. This person can be another Scout, your parents or guardian, a brother or sister or other relative, or a friend.

Call the Counselor. Get a signed merit badge application from your Scoutmaster. Get in touch with the merit badge counselor and tell him or her that you want to earn the merit badge. The counselor may ask to meet you to explain what is expected of you and to start helping you meet the requirements. You should also discuss work that you have already started or possibly completed.

Unless otherwise specified, work for a requirement can be started at any time. Ask your counselor to help you learn the things you need to know or do. You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject. Many troops and school or public libraries have them. (See the list here.)

Show Your Stuff. When you are ready, call the counselor again to make an appointment to meet the requirements. When you go take along the things you have made to meet the requirements. If they are too big to move, take pictures or have an adult tell in writing what you have done. The counselor will ask you to do each requirement to make sure that you know your stuff and have done or can do the things required.

Get the Badge. When the counselor is satisfied that you have met each requirement, he or she will sign your application. Give the signed application to your Scoutmaster so that your merit badge emblem can be secured for you.

Requirements. You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated—no more and no less. You are expected to do exactly what is stated in the requirements. If it says "show or demonstrate," that is what you must do. Just telling about it isn't enough. The same thing holds true for such words as "make," "list," "in the field," and "collect," "identify," and "label."

The requirements listed in this publication are the official requirements of the Boy Scouts of America. However, the requirements on the following pages might not match those in the Boy Scout Handbook and the merit badge pamphlets, because this publication is updated only on an annual basis. If a Scout has already started working on a merit badge when a new edition of the pamphlet is introduced, he should continue to use the same merit badge pamphlet and fulfill the requirements therein to earn the badge. He need not start all over again with the new pamphlet and possibly revised requirements.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby kwildman » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:46 am

I havent been through the new scout book thoroughly yet. I was working with a new scout patrol that just crossed over and I could not find the section that discusses Merit Badges. Has this been omitted or has the wording changed in the new scout book?
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby smtroop168 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:12 am

kwildman wrote:I havent been through the new scout book thoroughly yet. I was working with a new scout patrol that just crossed over and I could not find the section that discusses Merit Badges. Has this been omitted or has the wording changed in the new scout book?


Almost all references to Merit badges have been removed from the new Handbook. The only place I could find a listing of all the Eagle required badges is on the Eagle Requirements page.

You can find more references to EDGE than MBs though.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby FrankJ » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:25 am

Well it is important to keep a good edge on your knife. Much safer than a dull one. :lol:
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby evmori » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:06 am

Billiken wrote:Am I correct that wording the BSA Handbook states (approximately):

"Select a merit badge counselor approved by your scoutmaster."

Bottom Line:
If I (as SM) don't know the counselor, can I say, "Sorry, pick someone else"?
(Even if the Counselor is on a council-created list.)



Yes you can! Or you can pick another counselor for the Scout.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby Cowboy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:24 am

Although I hate legal proceedings, I find myself constantly involved in them due to my work. In fact a good share of my job is determining exactly what the law says, not what I want it to say. That being said:
In all literature that I have read, the term "THE counselor" is always used. Nowhere have I found "A couselor". This means that the Scoutmaster assigns THE counselor, and that is the one the the Scout is to use. If there needs to be a change it needs to go through the Scoutmaster. Even though the Council may have approved the MBC, there are often reasons that they should not be used. Usually it is a matter of changing the requirements. A Scoutmaster must feel comfortable with the "no more - no less" position of the MBC. It is our job to teach the Scouts the points of the Law, but they are responsible for living them. Some will shop for an "easy" counselor. They may have a personality conflict with the assigned counselor. That is perfectly fine! I have yet to live a day where I have not had to deal with someone that I did not like. The boys need to learn how to get along with the people they do not like.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby FrankJ » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:39 pm

'THE counselor' is a pretty big stretch. If the advancement committee really meant that they really should be more specific. Back in the day a scout had to go find a person & convince him to be a counselor. From general discussions from district & council level people that actually approved / disapprove appeals, if you get appealed on these kind of things, the scout is probably going to get the favorable decision. The same people say if you run a reasonable program with good communication, you will probably never get appealed.

If you are using this to control advancement and only have eagles of the right sort and age, then you should get appealed and you should lose. If you are using this to make sure you have a quality program & are accepting of reasonable requests then you shouldn't have any problems.

Those of you that feel the SM has absolute authority to pick MBC, How do you deal with summer camps, merit badge clinics, & Jamborees?
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby VenturingL » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:53 pm

My son went to several Merit Badge colleges - in Circle Ten these are 1 week long (M-F, held on Community College campus) - scout can take up to 4 merit badges & attends each (about 1-1/2 hours) each day. Prerequisits are listed in information packets, or point is made that completion cannot be done during the week - scout is given documentation of what is needed to complete at end of classes. BEFORE scout registers, he must acquire signature of SM on registration form.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby smtroop168 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:40 pm

I'm less hung up on "The" or "A" than I am the SM who delays a scouts advancement due to their misguided perception that they are in charge of a scout's advancement progression.

I run a MB college for over 300 scouts. The scouts can register on their own (although some do it by unit). A list of the MB Counselors that are participating is posted on the registration page. The scout is free to contact the MBC if they need explanations on pre-reqs. When registration has closed, each SM receives a listing of all their scouts who have registered with what badges they've signed up for. This assists the SM in knowing what Blue Cards should be coming their way. In 7 years, we have never had a SM express any concern regarding the MB counselors.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby clockadial » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:50 am

I am new to the forum, but a long time scouter with a question. I am aware of BSA policy regarding the fact that when a MB counselor signs off that a scout has completed a badge then it is a done deal the badge is completed and cannot be denied to the scout. However, I do not want to take away or deny any badge to any scout or even slow them down, but I do want to be sure that the scout has the opportunity to experience all that was intended when he signed up to take the badge. If for example during a group type MB presentation for Citizenship in the Nation a DVD is shown that gives a tour of the US Capitol and that is counted as completing requirement 2b. Have the scouts in that situation been cheated? This situation is only to make you think. My real question is: "What is done in your council to insure that all persons that sign up to be a Merit Badge counselor are qualified to do so and understand the MB process of the BSA? And if they are only filling out an application and having a background check done, shouldn't individual units have a way of approving or disapproving counselors known to not be following the requirements as they are written?
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby smtroop168 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:56 pm

clockadial wrote:I am new to the forum, but a long time scouter with a question. I am aware of BSA policy regarding the fact that when a MB counselor signs off that a scout has completed a badge then it is a done deal the badge is completed and cannot be denied to the scout. However, I do not want to take away or deny any badge to any scout or even slow them down, but I do want to be sure that the scout has the opportunity to experience all that was intended when he signed up to take the badge. If for example during a group type MB presentation for Citizenship in the Nation a DVD is shown that gives a tour of the US Capitol and that is counted as completing requirement 2b. Have the scouts in that situation been cheated? This situation is only to make you think. My real question is: "What is done in your council to insure that all persons that sign up to be a Merit Badge counselor are qualified to do so and understand the MB process of the BSA? And if they are only filling out an application and having a background check done, shouldn't individual units have a way of approving or disapproving counselors known to not be following the requirements as they are written?


Welcome to the Forum.

1. MBCs fill out a BSA Adult application and agree to follow BSA rules including YPT.
2. MBCs fill out a MBC application and agree to follow the MB requirements making no adds or deletions to ensure standards are fair and uniform for all scouts
3. Our District calls the applicant if there is any question on the person's forms.
4. We hold MBC training at least twice a year
5. While it is correct that if a MB is signed by a registered MBC, it cannot be vetoed by the unit, if you find that a MBC is not following #1 and #2 then unsuitable counselors or those who do not follow BSA procedures should be reported to the local council. - This is one of the main QA checks available. It doesn't help past sins but can maybe stop future ones.

This is not much different than the question of how do you ensure any advancement or other BSA rules are not being violated by units. Very tough to do unless parents speak up to stop the madness.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby WeeWillie » Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:20 pm

When the word gets out that MBCs who do follow the rules are reported AND removed; future instances drop.

Fraudulent submission of a blue card when the Scout actively participates is contrary to "A Scout" is Trustworthy" and could be a cause for non-approval for advancement at the next BOR.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby deweylure » Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:59 pm

YES SM ,SHOULD GIVE A SIGNED BLUE CARD .
ASSIGN WHICH MB COUNSELOR NO . gIVE A LIST OF APPROVED COUNSELORS YES .
i HAD ONE SM CALL ME BECAUSE HE LOST THE BLUE CARD AND OF COURSE IT WAS 2 MONTHS BEFORE THE 18 TH BIRTHDAY FOR EAGLE WHEN THE SM REALIZED THE SCOUT WAS ONE MB SHY . I FOUND OUT THE SM HAD CALLED OTHERS ASKING THE SAME QUESTION DID THIS SCOUT PASS THE MB . THE SM ALL ALONG INSISTED HE HAD ASSIGNED A COUNSELOR AND THE SCOUT SAID NO . LONG STORY SHORT i PULLED MY FILE AND REMEMBERED THE SCOUT .

iF I FOUND A SM SLOWING A SCOUT DOWN I WOULD REPORT IT MYSELF ,IN YEARS PAST THE TROOP MY SON WAS IN THE SM HAD A RULE THAT NO ONE WHO WAS NOT A jUNIOR OR SENIOR IN H.S. COULD NOT MAKE EAGLE . hE'S GONE AND THE TROOP IS MUCH BETTER OFF

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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby smtroop168 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:21 pm

WeeWillie wrote:When the word gets out that MBCs who do follow the rules are reported AND removed; future instances drop.

Fraudulent submission of a blue card when the Scout actively participates is contrary to "A Scout" is Trustworthy" and could be a cause for non-approval for advancement at the next BOR.


I assumed you meant do NOT follow. Of all the "fraudulent BC situations" I've ever been privy to, the best solution I've ever heard folks come up with is the SMC with the scout when there is any question the requirements were not met and let the scout figure out the correct solution.

deweylure wrote:YES SM ,SHOULD GIVE A SIGNED BLUE CARD .
ASSIGN WHICH MB COUNSELOR NO . gIVE A LIST OF APPROVED COUNSELORS YES .
i HAD ONE SM CALL ME BECAUSE HE LOST THE BLUE CARD AND OF COURSE IT WAS 2 MONTHS BEFORE THE 18 TH BIRTHDAY FOR EAGLE WHEN THE SM REALIZED THE SCOUT WAS ONE MB SHY . I FOUND OUT THE SM HAD CALLED OTHERS ASKING THE SAME QUESTION DID THIS SCOUT PASS THE MB . THE SM ALL ALONG INSISTED HE HAD ASSIGNED A COUNSELOR AND THE SCOUT SAID NO . LONG STORY SHORT i PULLED MY FILE AND REMEMBERED THE SCOUT .

iF I FOUND A SM SLOWING A SCOUT DOWN I WOULD REPORT IT MYSELF ,IN YEARS PAST THE TROOP MY SON WAS IN THE SM HAD A RULE THAT NO ONE WHO WAS NOT A jUNIOR OR SENIOR IN H.S. COULD NOT MAKE EAGLE . hE'S GONE AND THE TROOP IS MUCH BETTER OFF

DEWEY

Why are you shouting at us? :)

Although it is the responsibility of a Scoutmaster to see that a counselor is identified from those approved and made available, the Scout may have one in mind with whom he would like to work. This is acceptable, but the unit leader should still consider the recommendation and approve it if it is appropriate. (oops..there I go again)

Lost BCs is the main reason for the 3 part form usually you can resurrect one of the 3 pieces to prove completion but if he's lost a partial card, he was just plain lucky you had info to help.
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Re: MB Counselors - "Approved by your Scoutmaster"

Postby FrankJ » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:55 am

Me thinks Dewey types with his caps lock on. :wink: :lol:
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