Re: SCOUTS-L Digest - 2 Oct 1997 to 3 Oct 1997
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Sat, 4 Oct 1997 17:44:30 -0400
> From: Jean Poulton <jpoulton@FRONTIERNET.NET>
> Date: Saturday, October 04, 1997 3:42 PM
> Otetiana Council is now requiring troops to submit the Troop copy of the
> badge card when we purchase badges.
This is not unusual. ALL of the councils in the NYC area require that the
card at least be presented when purchasing the badges. Several,
specifically Theodore Roosevelt Council (formerly Nassau County Council)
keep the cards with the advancement report as part of the unit file.
> The cards are not returned to the troop .
As I said, this is not unique. Frankly, I wish that the advancement
report would require that the name of the counselor be listed. Otherwise,
without the blue cards there is no way to verify that the Scout has, in
fact, earned the badge with a registered counselor.
> I am concerned with this for several reasons.
> 1. This is our record of the Scout completing his badge, with counselor
> case there is ever a problem with the Council records. ( a frequent
Well, part of growing up in the Scouting program is learning
responsibility. The Scout still has HIS part of the blue card with the
counselor's signature. That, plus the troop's copy of the advancement
report should be sufficient to resolve any disputes.
> 2. National literature states that only the advancement form is required
> councils are not to make things more difficult by increasing the amount
of red tape.
I am not sure where you have seen anything from national which
specifically states that ONLY the advancement report is required. The
merit badge card itself, on what you call the "troop" part, is somewhat
ambiguous about WHOSE part it really is. Clearly, some councils consider
it to be THEIR proof that the mb was earned. The longer I have been
involved in advancement the more I have come to agree with this. Lots of
people on this list seem to think that merit badge cards are OPTIONAL, and
so, apparently, do many councils. But if you read the steps for earning a
merit badge, which is national's statement of policy on merit badges, they
clearly state that the Scout is to get a signed card from his SM and then
turn it back to the SM who procures the badge. Nowhere does it say that
this part of the card REMAINS with the troop. Many councils issue the
white "certificates" which are filled out and presented to the Scout with
the merit badge. Many councils will accept this as proof as well
although, unless THEY fill them out, I can't see what probative value they
> 3. As a registered Scouter for 10 years, I feel they should accept my
> I have the cards.
So, you are saying that there should be NO verification that the Scout has
earned his merit badge from a registered counselor outside the unit's
word. Then how do I, as a district advancement chairman, monitor what is
going on with the merit badge counselors in my district. If we want to
deal with "trustworthy" in that context, then why can't a Scout just come
to the SM and tell him that he has completed his requirements for any rank
or merit badge? That would certainly make my job a lot easier.
> 4. How can they possible expect to verify that every blue card turned in
> by a certified counselor when the boys complete many badges at an out of
> summer camp?
That's there problem, isn't it? If they don't have the cards they
CERTAINLY can't verify. With the cards they can verify all of the local
counselors and maybe spot check those from out of council. What we have
ALWAYS told units with merit badges from out of council is that it is
THEIR responsibility to obtain verification from the other council that
the people signing the cards are authorized to do so. Similarly, every
year, your council's camp is supposed to provide the advancement committee
with the names of those individuals on camp staff who will be signing
cards. The advancement committee then approves this list. After all,
summer camp advancement is the responsibility of the council advancement
committee, not the council camping committee, even though this rarely
> Is anyone else encountering this problem and have you solved this? I'm
> annoyed in that they've trusted my judgment enough that I've run day
camp for the
> council, but not that I won't give out an unearned badge.
Can you state unequivocally that EVERY leader has as much integrity as you
do? If not, are you willing to suffer the consequences of Scouts
"earning" things even though they haven't and then having to explain to
your Scouts why they actually had to do the work and someone else didn't?
The only way to do that is to establish a uniform system of verification
that makes it equally inconvenient for everyone. You seem to be taking
this much too personally. If you had seen some of the games units play,
like I have over the last 20+ years you would be thankful for a council
that attempted to institute some quality control.
Bruce E. Cobern
Advancement Chairman, Founders District, Queens, NY
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City