Advancement to First Class vs. Merit Badges
Kenneth Wheeler (wheele1k@NCR.DISA.MIL)
Fri, 30 May 1997 10:07:46 EST
I was wondering if anyone can shed some light on Troop policies or BSA
policies on Advancement through First Class vs. Merit Badges.
A review of requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class, and some
of the outdoor and preparedness oriented merit badges (orienteering,
camping, first aid, swimming, etc) shows a great deal of overlap
between requirements for the different area's. Our current adult
leadership troop philosophy, not strongly held, is that multiple
requirements can be met for the same event. I.E. demonstration of
first aid skills for advancement in rank can be used to "sign off" a
merit badge requirement provided the boy has "declared" for the merit
badge and his MBC signs off on his achievement of the skill.
I do not agree with this philosophy. My preference, recognizing that
very few things in this life have no exceptions, would be to have work
on merit badges start after attainment of First Class rank. My review
of the requirements suggests that there is a two step structure to
advancement T-FC and Star through Eagle, with the attainment of First
Class being the goal for producing competence in basic outdoor skills
(camping, basic first aid, basic orienteering), able to take care of
himself and his fellows, and have a good time in the woods.
Merit Badges would then be over and above this basic competence, and
would serve as reinforcement for the basic knowledge gained while
advancing through First Class.
Again, my thought is that this would be a general policy, applied with
common sense, and is geared towards mastery of skills, not the
intangibles of leadership, maturity and judgement that come with time
and experience. I am approaching this from an intellectual point of
view, as I have no real experience (I was a Boy Scout for about a year
as a 12 year old, but was one of the boys that scouting lost before
making first class), and have been working with my son's troop for all
of 3 months now. I am looking for other opinions from the more
experienced scouters on the list as to how thier programs are
structured, or whether BSA has an existing policy that I do not know
about. Thanks for your time.
Ken Wheeler, ASM, Troop 994, Fairfax Station, VA,
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City