Re: Need an address at National about MB quality control
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Thu, 4 Aug 1994 21:13:51 CST
"Larry T. Heidkamp" <heidkamp@EMSYS.MA30.BULL.COM> writes:
>I need the name and address of someone at National to copy on a letter I am
>about to send to a camp director regarding the story below.
I'll explain this in more detail, Larry, but your letter should go to
your Council's Scout Executive and NOT to National.
>5 of my Scouts just returned from a provisional week at summer camp with the
> Family Life MB blue card. Family Life is not a MB usually offered at the
>camp and they did not have advance approval to take the badge.
Okay. It seems to be cut-and-dried, here. Did your Scoutmaster (you)
sign the blue cards giving them permission to earn the badge? If you
didn't, then nobody else should have.
>It seems that somehow a 'rogue' MB councelor got into camp and with the
>provisional troop's SM approval spent the day working with the Scouts in
>the camp on Family Life.
I'm assuming that by "rogue" you mean a MB counselor for that MB that
is NOT registered as a MB Counselor; or do you mean that the person
was "doing it because he or she feels that they can do it" without
approval from the Program Director (whom is the person that approves
ALL MB counselors at camp, on behalf of the local Council and with
consent of the Camp Director)?
>Needless to say I very upset when I found out. The councelor used the
>provisional troop as a 'second family' to get around the lack of the real
>family. I don't know how he worked around the 90 day recording requirement.
>After talking to the Scouts about the real requirements, they agreed that
>they did not earn the badge. I told them that I cannot accept the blue cards
>and send in an advancement report.
Okay. The letter should include this fact, along with the fact that
this person may not be an official MB counselor according to your
Council's records. The Council Scout Executive will take it from
there, Larry. It will include some "skull sessions" with the
professional in charge of the camping operations (the Camp Director or
the Associate Camp Director), the professional supervising the
professional in charge of the camping operations, and of course, the
professional in charge of the local Council (the Council Scout
Executive). It will NOT be a happy meeting, and they will NOT be
serving coffee and donuts.
The letter sent to National won't do any good, because it is the local
Council that has to implement and execute the National program (the
merit badge program). The summer camp is the executable that
implements the Scouting outdoor program for provisional units
(actually for ANY unit) attending camp. Therefore, the "buck stops" at
the professional in charge of the camping operations and NOT at the
This should NOT have been done, and your're correct in refusing to
process the applications for those merit badges which were not earned.
>I now have 5 disappointed Scouts, 4 sets of parents angry at me (one set of
>parents unfortunately is my CC, another is on the committee and another is
>the person that WAS supposed to be my replacement in the near future) (one
>set of parents agree with me) and a wife who would divorce me after 17 years
>and 5 kids if I don't stand my ground.
Stand your ground, Larry. You're doing the right, correct and yes,
"pc" thing, in this case.
>I plan to write a letter to the boys to make sure they know that they did
>nothing wrong,that the problem was caused by the adults at camp.
>I'll also explain that no matter what I do now it is unfair to someone.
>I'll also include a copy of the requirements.
Also arrange, if you can, Larry, to have a MB counselor for that MB to
come and work with the Scouts that have worked on the MB at camp.
This could go a long way in calming down those parents that insist
that "my son EARNED that badge...why are you refusing to give it to
>I'll also send a letter to the camp director, with copies to the parents, my
>District Commisioner (I expect trouble from my committee before too long),
>the Council Scout Executive and to someone at National.
If you feel that your Council Scout Executive won't make any action on
it (and I betcha a Scout Handbook he WILL!), send a copy to his boss,
the Regional Area Director, at the Regional Office of the BSA (I don't
recall what region you're in....I've got the addresses of all four).
Otherwise, I wouldn't bother. The only thing the Area Director will
do is to visit the Council office sooner than he normally will do, and
talk with the SE about the situation (the general situation, not the
>I plan to write a draft of both letters tonight (Monday) and to write the final
>letters tomorrow night. If you have any suggestions on what else I should
>do let me know ASAP.
Sorry for the late response, Larry, but between going to NOAC and to
work, this is the first time that I've had to sit and reply.
Basically, this is another example of the fact that although National
makes the rules, it is up to each of the 385 local Councils to
implement and execute policy...and it depends on the local Council how
far to implement the policy. The National folks won't get into a
clearly local situation, and this is a local Council situation.
The Camp Director should at least find this person and "bar" him or
her from serving as a MB Counselor in camp in future years. However,
there's a larger issue here, one that has already been discussed here
and we're still commenting about it. It is the issue of teaching
"what the book says" as opposed to "what Scouts should know" or
"giving Scouts general education" in that merit badge area. In the
"old days", earning a merit badge required more indepth study than the
cursury reports, statements, and talks to patrol and troop that most
badges require. It required that you SHOW, DEMOSTRATE, ILLUSTRATE,
CREATE, and REFLECT upon what the Merit Badge counsellor taught you
and what you've learned on your own about the subject. Somehow, we've
went from "create, demostrate, and illustrate" to "do your best, we
know you've got better things to do, Scout...". I've seen this at
camps in the past few years. So have other Scouters. It's this
"okay, you did it far enough. Gimme your card" attitude that has led
many camps to accept less than the "ideal" and less than "the best
counsellors with the best backgrounds available for a volunteer job".
Perhaps what camps should do is to GET AWAY from teaching anything BUT
outdoor, aquatic and nature skills and leave the earning of the
Citizenship series, the Family Lifes, the Readings and the Engineering
to special weeks at camp where those registered MB counsellors can do
those subjects in the depths and time needed to complete PART of the
requirements. Perhaps what we as Scoutmasters should also do is to
closely examine the quality of MB counselor instruction during camp
and to report those camps and counselors whom are NOT giving their
all. Perhaps also National should consider lifting the age-old "no
more, no less" statement associated with Merit Badge instruction and
instead demand that "the best quality instruction consistant with the
scope of the badge and the age of the Scout" instead be the
"standard" in which to judge completion. The requirements would stay
the same, and ALL Scouts must complete the requirements; but
individual counselors can modify and add to those requirements
according to the Scout's understanding (or lack thereof) of the
intent of the requirements and also give the Scout what he's craving:
A REAL CHALLENGE.
(yeah, yeah....he's back! *hehehehe*)
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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