Re: wilderness survival
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Thu, 19 Dec 1996 10:32:47 -0500
Let me use Hilding's replay as a basis for my own. Essentially, I agree
with the entire process as he outlined it, but have only one or two
comments (yeah, sure) to add, and these are basically clarifications, not
First, I believe the mb card specifically asks for a SM signature so,
theoretically it is NOT just any adult in the unit who can sign. It is
the SM or somebody HE/SHE designates. I am that person, most of the time,
in my troop (I am also the district advancement chairman so I have the
best knowledge of the counselors, like Hilding) so it is usually either my
signature or the SM's.
The first signature (before the Scout starts the mb) merely indicates
permission to start the mb, nothing more.
BSA procedures have the SM assigning the MB counselor, so the Scout is NOT
free to take the mb from ANY counselor he chooses, unless the SM gives him
that option. (In all cases I really mean SM or designee.) I will usually
give the Scout two or three names and allow him to choose from amongst
them. I do not fill out the counselors name on the card because of that,
but have considered it. However, since we do not have a problem of Scouts
changing to other counselors, I won't fix that until it is broke.
The final authority for whether the Scout has EARNED the mb or not is with
the COUNSELOR, and once the counselor has signed the card the Scout is
entitled to the mb whether he earned it or not (more later).
The second signature by the SM on the card is merely as a receipt to the
Scout that the Scout has handed the SM a completed card. This
"Applicant's Portion" of the card is the only other part of the card that
contains both the SM's and the counselor's signature and thus the Scout
should always have that in his possession, at least until he receives the
mb because in case the other portion is lost this portion is adequate to
process the mb.
Now, what to do if the SM feels the Scout has not earned the mb, even
though the counselor has signed the card? The answer is counseling and
coaching. The SM should sit down with the Scout and convince HIM that HE
has not earned the mb and that the card should not be processed until the
Scout has actually adequately fulfilled all the requirements. That should
usually not be difficult to do. I have, on occasion, had a Scout reread
the requirements and then asked him to look me in the eye and tell me he
completed the mb, having told him in advance that if he could do that I
would process the mb. They usually find another counselor and complete
In the original case, the counselor is right. If he goes to the district
advancement chairman the mbs will be processed, as long as the SM gave the
Scouts permission to START the mb.
The only part of Hilding's post that I might disagree with is his analysis
of whether the Scouts actually completed the mb or not. In that instance
I actually agree with the SM in that I do not believe that they have
actually met the requirements of the mb, but that decision is actually
specifically left to the mb counselor. Clearly, the SM has the
opportunity to not send any future Scouts to this counselor if he does not
believe he adequately counsels the Scouts on the mb.
Sorry, off the soapbox now.
Bruce E. Cobern
Advancement Chairman, Founders District, Queens, NY
> 3) I tell him to fill in all the proper blank spots and take it to the
> Scoutmaster to sign. This SM signature is on the front of the
> card and expresses that the SM is satisfied that the Scout MAY
> work on the badge.
> 4) The Scout returns to me for a name of a Merit Badge Counselor since I
> am the keepr of the list. At this point, I filter out certain
> counselors with whom I am not really satisfied regarding the
> quality/quantity of the work they require. MB counselors are
> "supposed to" have the Scouts do the requirements - no more &
> no less. There are some counselors who I know do not have the
> Scouts do a complete job on the badge. I tend to NOT send scouts
> to those counselors.
> 6) When the Scouts has completed the requirements, the MB counselor will
> have signed the blue card and the Scout will give me the
> remaining portions (the MB counselor keeps 1 part).
> Either of the SM signature lines may be signed by ANY scout leader. We
> tend to use the SM for he is the "final" authority in the troop.
> In the case of Wilderness Survival, I feel that I would tend to disagree
> with Mr. Grey's stand. I also have had some Scouts work on this badge
> get rained out on their night in the survival shelter. Although I do not
> like what Mr. Grey implied by stating that one of Scouts in question was
> the couselor's son. I feel that if the Scouts spent part of the night in
> the shelters, they certainly "satisfied the spirit, if not the letter"
> the requirement. Wilderness Survival is not an Eagle required MB and I
> not advocate being lax on the requirements just because of that, but I
> would not hold back on the badge just because the Scouts got wet. I am
> sure they learned that they had to build better shelters as a result of
> the weather.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City