Unit Leader Signature on MB Cards

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Unit Leader Signature on MB Cards

Postby K. Cox » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:35 pm

We have a very large troop and it is often hard for scouts to catch up with the SM to get his signature on a MB card before starting the badge. Can the SM delegate to a select few other ASMs the authority to sign as unit leader?
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Postby ASM-142 » Fri Nov 12, 2004 6:31 pm

I am an ASM and I am the one for our troop that signs off on Blue Cards. The requirement to sign off is a unit leader it does not specify which unit leader.
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Postby commish3 » Fri Nov 12, 2004 10:15 pm

I am an ASM and I am the one for our troop that signs off on Blue Cards. The requirement to sign off is a unit leader it does not specify which unit leader.


Perhaps the the blue card is not specific but the Scoutmaster Handbook, The Boy Scout Handbook, The Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures Manual, The Boy Scout Advancement Requirements book, and Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training are specific.

They specifically indentify the the first step in earning a merit badge is that the Scout secures a blue card from the "Scoutmaster".

There is a good reason for this. The Scoutmaster needs to know the needs and characteristics of each scout in the troop. The Scoutmaster needs to know what each scout is doing in their advancement.

I would offer that if the troop is too big for the Scoutmaster to have the time to know each scout as an individual then the troop has either gotten too big, OR the scoutmaster is personally involved in more actvities in the troop than he or she should be.

To hear that the SM is "too busy" to spend a couple minutes with each boy that wants to work on a merit badge is really a shame.
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Postby cballman » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:00 pm

Maybe the scoutmaster is spending time with the scouts and the ASM is just taking some of the paperwork out of his hands and letting him get to know the boys in another way. not that the troop is to big but if a typical scout meeting is 1 1/2 hours long and a scoutmaster spends three minutes with each child then if the troop has over thirty boys then who gets left out. the kids becauce of the troop meeting. so I can see where the SM would delegate this job.
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Postby K. Cox » Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:42 pm

Thanks for your insights. Our troop is 100+ scouts (There tends to be veryquite large troops in our area). Fortunately we have 20 or so ASMs who are great support to the SM. The problem is not one that the SM is too busy to spend time with the scouts; he take quite a lot of time to get to know them personally both during and outside of the troop meeting. During our 1 hour troop meetings, there is not enough time to have even a small percentage of teh boys seeking him for MB card signatures. With 100+ boys bring 100+ parents who often are wanting a piece of the SM, too!
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Postby commish3 » Sat Nov 13, 2004 1:07 pm

I am curious. Even with 100 boys how many actually ask for a blue card on a given week?

I would also offer that for 90 minutes a week that scoutmaster's attention belongs to the boys, parents have the rest of the week to call him or her and "get a piece" of them. A great service that the ASMs can provide is to run interference for the SM so that he or she can do thier job.

Merit badge card distribution is not about paperwork, it's people work. If it weren't important for the scoutmaster to talk with the scout before hand then there would be no need for a signature at all. We could just set a stack of blue cards near the door and tell scouts to take them as they leave and bring them back signed by a counselor.

The SM has two primary responsibilities, to train junior leaders, to know the needs and characteristics of each scout in the unit.
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Postby ICanCanoeCanU » Sun Nov 14, 2004 3:47 pm

As the advancement coordinator and an ASM for our troop, I'm the one that always signs blue cards for the boys. Everything related to advancement goes through me. Before summercamp, I pre-sign enough cards for each scout to have 4 or 2 if in a first year program and then I include about a dozen extra as we all know a blue card can dissapear before reaching the correct person. I give these cards to the adult leader in charge before they go and he then hands them out to the boys once at camp. Our troop has done it this way for many years with folks before me. I do however, keep the SM informed as to what the boys are doing or working on. Our SM always speaks to the boys about what their currently doing but just feels that the advancement person would be the better person to refer the boys to for obtaining blue cards. I always check to see if they're on a correct path before just giving them a blue card. I also sit with the boys when they sign up for summer camp badges to make sure their on the correct path. Maybe this is wrong for our troop to operate this way but it's worked out quite well.
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Postby ASM-142 » Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:13 am

The post that ICanCanoeCanU stated is perfect. This is how my troop operates now (along with the past). I took over the role of Advancement ASM 3 years ago from someone that had been doing if for 12 years before me. We have found it easier to have a separate individual track advancement (which includes signing Blue Cards) and reporting status to the SM. This is delagation which every manager needs to do.
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Postby evmori » Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:38 am

The initial signature on the blue cards is to be the SM or whomever the SM has delegated this to.
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Postby Lynda J » Mon Nov 15, 2004 11:11 am

In our troop the SM, ASM, and CC can sign blue cards. Just as long as that person is not the same at the counselor for the badge.
We are lucky in that we have a CC that is very involved with the troop. She doesn't try to run things just is always there to help work.
She and I were co-leaders all through cubs. She is wonderful to work with.
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Postby scoutmasterbob » Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:17 pm

I have seen troops that use a pre made stamp with the scoutmasters signiture on it. Might be useful if you have alot of cards to sign.

As far as the SM wanting to know what each scout is doing, just make sure that the MB card is submitted to the SM before it is given to the advancement committee for presentation.
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Postby Guneukitschik » Tue Nov 16, 2004 2:14 pm

I would think that ANY registered Boy Scout Leader could sign a Merit Badge Card.
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Postby t305spl » Tue Nov 16, 2004 4:24 pm

That makes sense. In my troop the SM signs the Blue Card, but if he is not around than any other registered Adult Leader can sign it off for us. We of course let the SM know that we will be taking the badge. It seems to work well this way.
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Postby schneizenator » Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:39 pm

What about the SM signature after the scout completes the badge. I know it is manditory for there to be a signature on the card before the scout works on the badge, but in my troop the SM signature saying "scout X has completed XXX on this date" is considered optional. Your thoughts?
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Postby commish3 » Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:35 pm

If you look at where the scout leader signature is located on the completed MB card you will notice it is on the applicants portion that is retained by the Scout. It is a reciept to show that the record card was returned completed to an adult in the troop. It acts as the scouts record that the card was indeed returned and the MB was earned.

The badge is earned once the MB counselor signs it, the BSA's Advancement Policies are very clear on that point. Every BSA reference to the merit badge process, that I am aware of, says that the the Scout gets the merit badge card specifically from the Scoutmaster.
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Re: Unit Leader Signature on MB Cards

Postby SN95GT50 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:39 am

I am bringing this thread back from the past...

I would like to add another wrinkle to the mix. I am an Assistrnt Scout Master, Advancement Chair and keeper of the TroopMaster database. We use TroopMaster for printing all of our blue cards and as Advancement Chair I sign the Blue Cards. I also report to the Scout Master what Merit Badges each of the Scouts are working on. The Scout Master needs to be informed about what is going on, but, he can't do everything. Some delegation of Scout Master duties is required unless you want to burn out your Scout Master. Our Scout Master does sign all completed blue cards, so, it is not like he is completely removed from the loop.

Just my opinion,
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Re: Unit Leader Signature on MB Cards

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:51 am

SN95GT50 wrote:I am bringing this thread back from the past...

I would like to add another wrinkle to the mix. I am an Assistrnt Scout Master, Advancement Chair and keeper of the TroopMaster database. We use TroopMaster for printing all of our blue cards and as Advancement Chair I sign the Blue Cards. I also report to the Scout Master what Merit Badges each of the Scouts are working on. The Scout Master needs to be informed about what is going on, but, he can't do everything. Some delegation of Scout Master duties is required unless you want to burn out your Scout Master. Our Scout Master does sign all completed blue cards, so, it is not like he is completely removed from the loop.

Just my opinion,
John


You can't be the Advancement Chairman and an ASM. The AC is a Committee postion. :wink:
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Re: Unit Leader Signature on MB Cards

Postby ThunderingWind » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:25 pm

smtroop168 wrote:You can't be the Advancement Chairman and an ASM. The AC is a Committee postion. :wink:
In my military travels, I have seen a lot of troops that work in a manner similar to this. The person in question (ASM/Committee Member) is trained in both positions, served in both positions as a primary registration. Sometimes it comes down to bodies. I, myself, have served in a Troop that used this type of operation for the Committee. This gave the group much flexibility to hold BoRs every week without making each boy fill out a request for an SMC and a BoR, thenw ait until the Committee can schedule one.

This Troop also used the Committee of the Whole methode and included all parents that wanted to come the meetings including voting on things that needed a vote.

Maybe not 100% BSA, but it worked for the unit.
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Re: Unit Leader Signature on MB Cards

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:33 pm

ThunderingWind wrote:
smtroop168 wrote:You can't be the Advancement Chairman and an ASM. The AC is a Committee postion. :wink:
In my military travels, I have seen a lot of troops that work in a manner similar to this. The person in question (ASM/Committee Member) is trained in both positions, served in both positions as a primary registration. Sometimes it comes down to bodies. I, myself, have served in a Troop that used this type of operation for the Committee. This gave the group much flexibility to hold BoRs every week without making each boy fill out a request for an SMC and a BoR, thenw ait until the Committee can schedule one.

This Troop also used the Committee of the Whole methode and included all parents that wanted to come the meetings including voting on things that needed a vote.

Maybe not 100% BSA, but it worked for the unit.


You missed my :wink:

I know it works in different ways depending on the troop's resources. The local Army troop up here has 20+ ASM LtCols and Cols so they can do things that the Troop with 5 boys can't.
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Re: Unit Leader Signature on MB Cards

Postby WeeWillie » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:28 pm

Only adults registerred with BSA may serve as SM, ASM, CC, CM, COR and Executive Officer so unless every parent is registered with BSA you don't have a committee as a whole. Internet Registration does not allow dual registration as ASM and CM.

If responsibility for approving MBs could be delegated, the policy would state such. It doesn't!

Sierra Vista is a military community and I am Army retired. There isn't a military exemption either!

Use your ASMs to screen the requests for MBs to make sure that they understand the requirements etc. and then have the SM sign.
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