Re: Wilderness Survival and more...
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Tue, 24 Dec 1996 23:10:33 GMT
At 03:55 PM 12/24/96 -0800, Kirk Barley wrote:
>Are you and Hugh saying that if a Scout does not meet your standards for
>a merit badge, but meets the standards of a merit badge counselor
>approved by the District and Council Advancement Committees that you
>will not advance the boy to Eagle at your District BOR?
>This is not my area of expertise, I'm just trying to understand how
>things work :-}
Now you really want me to get specific (and to speak for Hugh, too?)
I generally do not deal with whether or not a Scout has actually completed a
merit badge on ANY board of review because I do not feel that the Board is
the appropriate place for such inquiry (if there EVER is an appropriate
place). The point of my particular comment is that when making a decision I
will make that decision in accord with my own opinion and conscience, rather
than on the basis of whether or not that decision would be sustained on
appeal. Let me say further, however, that I am a firm believer that things
should NEVER come to that and that I have enough confidence in my counseling
and mediation abilities that I feel I can prevent that type of situation
from EVER happening. Therefore, most of these comments are dealing in the
As to merit badges specifically (which is where this thread started), it is
really possible, without having to review what was actually done by a Scout
for a merit badge, to come to a conclusion that he might not have actually
completed the badge. We had an example where a couple of our Scouts who had
done no preparation for Family Life came back from working on camp staff in
an out of council camp with FL mb. A cursory review of the requirements
made it clear that they could not possibly have completed the requirements.
The end result was that the troop advancement chairman told them he would
not process the cards. I would have been more tactful and had a discussion
the end result of which would have been that they realized that they had not
completed the badge. One of the three complained and I told him that if he
could look me in the eye and tell me he earned the badge I would process the
card. He didn't and completed the mb shortly thereafter and is now an Eagle
and still a real good friend.
My general comments about SMs reviewing the completion of mbs, particularly
camp badges, come from years of dealing with camps that did not adhere to
the requirements. Therefore, many SMs had come to the point of discussing
(preferably while still at camp) with the Scouts what they had done for the
mb and making a decision based on that conversation. My reaction to that
has been and still is that, while the OFFICIAL policy is that you can't do
it, there are cases where it is probably a good idea. Where I differ with
some (and I'm not sure where Hugh stands on this one) is that once it is
determined that the requirements were probably not met, I believe the
ultimate decision on whether to process the badge or not should rest with
the Scout. I believe the lessons to be learned in a young man having to
make those kinds of decisions and accept the responsibility for his actions
are far greater than those involved in whether he stayed in his shelter all
night or not.
Again, I was going to put this in this morning's post, what we are spending
lots of time on here are matters that, in my real world at least, are very
rare or nonexistent.
Have a happy holiday.
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City