Re: Camping MB
Tim Goncharoff (tgonchar@CATS.UCSC.EDU)
Thu, 25 Jul 1996 11:06:25 -0700
Mr Morley raises some objections to the use of non-BSA camping trips for
the merit badge, perticularly the likelihiood the parents will lie to
earn their son a merit badge or that we'll have to go all the way back to
birth to start counting.
In logic this is called the "straw man" argument. You simply exaggerate
your oponents argument to the point that it's obviously ludicrous.
I think it's clear that we only include trips since the boy joined the
troop. It seems reasonable to me to perhaps not count early trips that
were being used for rank advancement. It may even be reasonable to not
count any trips before the scout aasked and received permission to work
on the merit badge, although these are generally stricter interpretations
I would hesitate, however, to impose a requirement that all work be done
in the counselor's presence. I am currently a registered counselor for
18 merit badges. There are a great many requirements that the boys do on
their own or with their families, and then show me their finished work,
write me a report, or just talk with me about what they did. If I'm in
doubt, I can ask for something more. For example, "Sounds like you had a
great camping trip with your family. Why don't you write me a one-page
report telling me about your trip and which of the scouting skills you
worked on there." Or, "I can see that you've been working hard on your
merit badge while you were camping with your family. As you know, we can
only count one week of summer camp because we want to be sure you get a
variety of camping experiences. Even though you were out for two weeks,
can we agree to count only 3 days toward the twenty required?"
I can imagine plenty of variations on this theme that honor the intent of
scouting, and of the individual merit badges.
I, too, have had occasional problems with parents fudging requirements.
We have made adjustments to deal with this, but I think it's hasty to
assume that parents (or scouts!) will always lie.
If the parents aren't our partners in this effort, we have no chance.
Let's try to remember our purpose here.
All right, enough of the soap box for me today. Thanks for listening.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City