MBs and the Handicapped Scout
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Wed, 2 Aug 1995 13:45:19 -0400
On Wed, 2 Aug 1995 Ed Guy - Loral Defense Systems East said:
>If it turns out you need to modify some of the merit badge requirements to
>meet the needs of this Scout, please don't view that as "marshmallowing
>Hopefully, we all do what we do to help young men become better adults.
>sure we do our best to develop requirements that are suitable to most of
>boys in the program, but it is impossible to address every individual
>circumstance. As the MB counselor you have the authority and
>to adjust the requirements as needed to accommodate a real disability.
Again, while this might sound harsh, and while I'm not sure I could follow
my own advice, the authority and responsibility you describe as attaching
to being a mb counselor just does not exist in the BSA mb program. The
written word, in many places, is that the Scout must do the requirements,
as written, no more and no less and that the counselor does NOT have the
flexibility to modify the requirements to suit the Scout. In order to earn
and wear a particular MB the Scout must have completed all the requirements
for that badge.
That is why there is a need for alternative Eagle required badges - because
completing the mb with modified requirements is not acceptable, even for a
Scout with a handicapping condition. Therefore, the Scout is required to
complete as many of the requirements for the required badge as he can
(without getting the badge) and then complete an entire alternative badge.
I am not sure I agree with the above, but those are the BSAs rules. Now,
of course, the counselor has some flexibility in what constitutes
completing a requirement. Thus, when the requirement says "tell" something
it is up to the counselor to decide if the desciption is adequate. What
you accept as an adequate explanation can, imho, vary based upon the
ability of the Scout to express himself, etc. I, for example, will ask
similar questions on a Tenderfoot and Eagle b/r but I expect different
answers from the 11 year old would be Tenderfoot than I do from the 16
year old would be Eagle.
Bruce E. Cobern
Dan Beard District
Queens Council, NY
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City