Re: Wilderness Survival
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 11:36:28 -0500
> From: Rob Morley <Rmorley@STATE.MA.US>
> Date: Monday, December 23, 1996 5:31 AM
> First, was it a merit badge taught at summer camp. If so, then, in most
> cases, the SM does NOT have the option to not use that counselor agian.
> I wont even discuss the question of how much training and expertise some
> the summer camp counselors have in their respecitive merit badge fields.
> it possible to get references from these merit badge counselors before
> camp so that we leaders could choose the merit badge counselors that we
> are competent enough to teach the merit badge?
If we wish to talk in theory, the council committee on advancement is
responsible for approving ALL of the counselors that will sign off merit
badges at camp. Only those over the age of 18 are allowed to sign,
however, so very often the instructor is not the one who signs off the
merit badge, the area director does. However, in practice, I know of very
few advancement committees that actually fulfill this responsibility. The
Greater NY advancement committee attempted to take some control over our
summer camp advancement a few years ago and the end result was that they
decided that there didn't need to be a committee on a city wide basis, but
only on a county wide basis, so there is no longer any one committee to
exercise any oversight. (But that is a different matter.) What a SM can
do is complain to both the advancement and camping committees, IN WRITING,
detailing the shortcomings detected in the summer camp advancement
program. I know that for many years SMs would complain loud and long, but
when I asked for it in writing I got nothing so I really couldn't push the
issue very long or hard. If the SM feels that a certain mb is not being
properly handled at camp, he can always refuse to let his Scouts take that
badge at camp.
In this case, however, I believe this was not a summer camp situation.
The counselor, who was registered, was a parent of one of the Scouts in
the troop and Marc has already said, I believe, that he no longer intends
to allow his Scouts to use that counselor.
> In addition, I would take a very poor view of the District Advancement
> committee if they over-rule Mr. Grey's decision. The scouts did NOT
> the merit badge, they did LESS than what was required. The Advancement
> guidelines state the "no-more, no-less policy" for all merit badges and
> scout awards. If the District Advancement Team is going to accept this,
> I believe they are making a grevious mistake that will definitely leave
> very bad taste in Mr. Grey's mouth, and set a precedent that could
> impair the learning process of the advancement program.
While we all agree, I believe, that the Scout has not earned the mb, the
district advancement committee's specific task is NOT to do what it feels
is right, but to enforce national policy at the district level. National
policy is clear (and I have received it from them in writing many years
ago, and had it confirmed at a Philmont advancement seminar) that once the
counselor has signed the card the Scout is entitled to the mb. This is
because national feels that the error is with the counselor and that youth
should not be penalized for errors of adults. Thus, the only recourse is
to convince the Scout that he needs to do further work to earn the mb and
to delay the processing of the mb until the requirements have been met.
Remember, merit badge requirements need to be met to the satisfaction of
the counselor, not mom, dad, the SM or the board of review.
While getting the support of the district advancement committee might be
psychologically satisfying, if the Scout chooses to appeal that decision
up the line, ultimately everyone down the line will be told that the mb
has been "earned." The Scout Executive will receive a letter from
national indicating that he needs to make sure the committees in his
council understand national policy, etc., etc.
Once again, the answer, and I believe the only answer within the rules, is
to counsel the Scout until he realizes that he has not completed the badge
and that it would be unscoutlike to accept it.
> But that's just my humble opinion.
I thought we were no longer supposed to be humble on this list. :-)
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City