Re: MB's at Summer Camp
Fri, 1 Aug 1997 13:34:54 +0100
On page 19 of the _Advancement Policies and Procedures Committee Guide_
under Advancement in Summer Camp the second paragraph says:
"The procedures for advancement in summer camp are established by the
council advancement committee in cooperation with the committee responsible
for summer camp, the camp director, and the program director. These
procedures must be approved by the council advancement committee prior to
the opening of camp. This procedure must include the four processes of
advancement-learning, testing, reviewing and recognition."
There are several more paragraphs under this heading detailing specifics.
The point of my post is this: Council Advancement Committees do not have a
practical vehicle for assessing, monitoring, policing if you will, the
quality of the jobs done by the Merit Badge Counselors they are responsible
for recruiting, training and approving or disapproving in their council.
At Philmont in June in the Advancement Course the topic of Summer Camp
Merit Badge Counselors came up and the question was "Just whose job is it
to make sure these people are trained?" The answer was the Council
Advancement Chair. How many gasps did we hear from the group of 44 who
were mostly Council Advancement Chairs? Collectively, a minor monsoon.
As Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters, Committee Chairs or Committee
Members, if/when you think/suspect a Merit Badge Counselor is not doing the
job completely and correctly, PLEASE let your District or Council
Advancement Chair know. This does include summer camp. It doesn't need to
be 3 pages in triplicate, just a word or two so it can be looked into and
dealt with if necessary.
The beginning of the 6th paragraph states:
"Camp merit badge counselors must be qualified (see `Qualifications of
Counselors,' page 9). Camp staff members who are qualified in the subject
and are younger than age 18 may assist the merit badge counselor with
It goes on to detail the adult's responsibilities. Under 18 may assist
with instruction. The Merit Badge Counselors at summer camps should be
instructed by their camp directors to be the only ones who sign blue cards.
Then if the Scout feels he didn't earn the credit he's been signed off on,
he can go discuss it with the Merit Badge Counselor. Ultimately it's up to
the two committees and the two directors, but the plan must be in writing
before camp starts. This info is available to attending troops in advance.
Request it. Why wait until 1/2 way through or after camp to find out that
16 year olds are being allowed to sign off. If more units request info on
things like this up front and follow up with letters after camp, the
council should get the message and try to provide a better experience.
I think what we all want for our boys is the best possible camp experience.
They should come away feeling good about what they've earned, not
wondering what to do about NOT feeling good about it. Summer camps vary
greatly from one to the next. There are areas so well suited for camps
that several camps can be found within one council. Lots of boys from out
of council attend. It's easy to go home and complain. Let's help those
councils do what they can to give the boys the best possible camp
experience; provide the best possible program.
How? I imagine the members of Scouts-L could come up with pages of ways to
do this. Things I can think of include: Encourage your boys to offer
service as staff (certainly the ones who felt they may have gotten off too
easy on a badge earned at camp). Encourage Merit Badge Counselors you know
to be good ones to offer service as a Merit Badge Counselor. Offer to
contribute ideas, time, energy to the council committee responsible for
summer camp, even if (especially if) it's not your council. Councils with
several summer camps in them have a lot of staffing and training to
Just my $.02 8^}
In the Spirit of Scouting,
Robin Church Haeuser, Chair
Del Norte District Advancement Committee
Los Padres Council **** Atascadero, CA
Philmont 1997 (Philmont Phanatics)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City