Re: Parents as MB Councilors
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Fri, 29 Aug 1997 17:01:44 -0400
> From: Frank Porter <Frank.Porter@ASSOCDATA.COM>
> Date: Friday, August 29, 1997 11:41 AM
> Some MB's (I came up with: Fishing, Collections, Gardening, Genealogy,
> Repair, Pets and Reading) seem to lend themselves to parents as
> Does your Troop have a policy or list of MB's that you encourage the
> parents to work with the Scouts? Maybe the Scouts-L could come with an
> "approved" list!
> I have seen stated policies such as, max 5 Non-Eagle required MB's for a
> parent, on the list. I have also seen limits as to the number of MB's
> one councilor could administer for any one Scout.
Okay, here we go again. I can see it coming. :-)
Let's start with the rules. According to national guidelines there can be
no limit on how many badges any one individual is a counselor for, how
many badges any Scout earns with any one counselor, or who a counselor can
counsel (relatives, etc.)
Okay, now we have the rules out of the way. Lets deal with some
First of all, as an advancement chairman in a district which has district
counselors only, I RECOMMEND to my counselors that they not counsel more
that 5 or 6 merit badges. If they wish to counsel more I evaluate their
qualifications for the additional badges and usually approve them. (Just
had one SM submit a list of twenty or so additional badges she wishes to
counsel, without any qualifications listings. Not sure what I'm going to
do about this one.) So that takes care of how many badges a counselor can
counsel (which I know you did not ask).
The rest of the items deal with which counselor a Scout will see for a
merit badge. THAT decision is up to the SCOUTMASTER, and the SM alone.
Thus, if the SM decides that it is inappropriate for the Scout to see his
parent for a merit badge, then the Scout does not see the parent. If the
SM decides that a Scout has already worked with a particular counselor on
too many badges, then he doesn't send the Scout back to that counselor for
any more badges.
Thus, the SM really controls the process. The rules prevent ME, for
example, as a district advancement chairman, from challenging the merit
badges of a Scout who has earned them from his parents or all from one or
two counselors. I can't say that he earned too many from one counselor
because the rules say there is no such limit.
Now, finally, to your original question. (The preliminary discussion
above was preemptive.) I personally do not feel that a Scout should earn
ANY merit badges with his parents, and that is what I advise. In my troop
we generally will not assign a Scout to his parent as a counselor. We
discuss this with all of the parents who are counselors and have never had
one disagree. We also try to spread the Scout out amongst a larger number
of counselors because we believe that one of the benefits of the merit
badge program is for the Scout to get to meet different people.
Bruce E. Cobern
Advancement Chairman, Founders District, Queens Council, NY
Member of Committee, Troop 1, Flushing, NY
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City