Re: Earning Merit Badges
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Tue, 5 Aug 1997 17:11:28 -0400
> From: Calvin H. Gray <405geezer@IGG-TX.NET>
> Date: Tuesday, August 05, 1997 3:15 PM
> The summer camps operated by the Blue Ridge Mountains Council in
> Roanoke, Virginia, provide a "Merit Badge Completion Form" for merit
> badges completed at camp. The form has this information:
> This is to certify that _________________________________
> in Troop # ___________ has completed ALL requirements for
> the _________________________________________Merit Badge.
> The Scout understands he is subject to review of any and all
> requirements by the merit badge counselors.
> Instructor;__________________________ Date:_____________
> So the troop gets a form stating that the Scout has completed
> ALL requirements for the badge but still states that the boy
> is "subject to review" by the merit badge counselors [in his troop].
<soapbox> Pardon me for being blunt, but what a cop out. In effect they
are saying: "We don't have enough confidence in our staff to say that a
Scout has EARNED the merit badge, so go find a local counselor, have him
review our 100% partial, and decide whether we did a good enough job."
What if the troop doesn't have a counselor for a particular badge? Who
signs the blue card then? Why is the camp transferring the responsibility
back to the unit? BSA Regulations specifically provide that it is the
COUNSELOR has the final say on whether a merit badge has been earned or
not, NOT the SM.
This sounds like a blatant attempt to appease the units by giving them
authority, after the fact, that they are not supposed to have. The better
solution to unhappy SM's is to make sure that your staff is truly able, in
good conscience, to attest to the completion of every requirement by every
It never fails to amaze me the lengths to which some of us will go to make
the program work the way WE want it work, rather than the way it has been
> They provide a separate (but similar) form for "partials" which
> lists the requirements completed at camp. The remainder of the
> wording is the same as on the form for "completes."
With a partial it is less of a problem because the Scout has to see
another counselor anyway. However, the national guidelines still
specifically say that the way a counselor indicates a partial is by
endorsing the section of the blue card designed specifically for that
> It is my understanding that they will also provide the official
> BSA "blue cards" if a troop wants these (the troop must furnish
So, 10 Scouts are in the class and do exactly the same thing. The staff
is willing to certify that 8 of them have completed the badge by signing
blue cards, but for the other two only provide a "total partial." The
only difference being that the troop those two Scouts are in wants to have
control over the process that is not supposed to be theirs. I guess I
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City