Re: SCOUTS-L Digest - 6 Aug 1997 to 7 Aug 1997
Tony Preus (APREUS@BINGVMB.CC.BINGHAMTON.EDU)
Fri, 8 Aug 1997 06:30:11 ECT
<18 MB counselors.
As an ASM with a troop that has recently attended Camp Tuscarora and Camp B
arton in upstate NY, i have not gone around checking the ages of the MB counsel
ors but my strong impression at both camps was that at least the area director
was over 18, and as the ASM who picked up the blue cards (yes both camps still
use blue cards) I was pretty sure that the area director had signed the cards.
Where there is some question comes out of the nature area and the handicraft ar
ea- in those areas you have quite a few different MB's and you have several <18
boys helping out, sometimes doing spectacularly well incidentally. Handicraft i
s less of a problem- the director can see whether the scout did the project or
not, as indeed could I! but with the nature area I think you inevitably have so
me signing off of individual requirements by <18 instructors. At both Barton &
Tuscarora I sat in on some sessions of nature area MB's, and the quality of ins
truction was EXTREMELY variable. So to the extent that the less qualified instr
uctors (i use the term loosely in some cases) were signing off requirements, no
matter what the age of the instructor in question there would be some doubt ab
out whether the scout actually had demonstrated knowledge of the topic, since t
he "instructor" didn't have that knowledge him or herself.
Where you almost inev
itably have well-qualified counselors in camp will be in the shooting area, sin
ce the camp won't hire somebody who isn't well qualified! Same with waterfront.
Same with First Aid, if you have your professional health person signing off on
it. At Barton First Aid was under direct supervision of a nurse who was in cha
rge of the medical area at the camp, and had been doing that and the MB for man
y years. She was great; I'd have a lot of confidence in a boy who did first aid
with her. At Tuscarora the waterfront is under the supervision of Fred Wheat;
by the end of the week he knows every boy in every waterfront MB and he knows w
hat they have done and haven't done. I had the strong impression that every blu
e card from his area went past him. I have a lot of confidence in those MB's as
well, even though some of his helpers are under 18.
My recommendation, for what it's worth, is that a troop make sure its ASMs
visit all the MB classes at camp and assess their value. All week. Frequently.
(I mean all the MB classes that boys from their troop are in, of course.)
I'm fundamentally in agreement with the official requirement that MB couns
elors be over 18. It's a little artificial, since you could have a 16-year-old
who could be your best canoe instructor or leatherwork instructor, and you coul
d have a 40-year-old who is totally incompetent at the MB he's trying to counse
l (I won't name an MB in order to protect the guilty). But BSA makes 18 the lin
e between scout/scouter- over 18, you are no longer eligible to advance as a sc
out, you are eligible to serve as a scouter.
Sorry about rambling a bit.
YIS, Tony Preus, Troop 102, Johnson City NY
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City