Re: Merit Badges - Read the Book?
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Tue, 3 Feb 1998 11:29:24 -0500
> From: Rickey Steverson <RSteverson@BEACHLIFE.NET>
> Date: Tuesday, February 03, 1998 11:04 AM
> Can anyone tell me if there a written requirement that a Scout read the
merit badge book
> for the subject on which he is working to earn his badge?
There is absolutely NO requirement that a Scout use the merit badge book
to complete a merit badge. All that is required is that he do the
requirements as listed (in the 1998 <now> Requirements Book, which is the
authoritative source of the requirements), no more, no less. However, the
mb books are generally considered a good resource since they are directed
at the specific requirements for the badge.
However, there are other resources out there. Michael Kauffmann, for
example, has compiled a list of resources at http://www.meritbadge.com
with links to web sites that can provide information to help a Scout
complete his merit badges. Other such resources exist, including (I didn't
forget you Mark) your local library.
> The reason I ask; In my troop, the adult leaders are using the
Requirements handbook as
> their only reference for a number of badges. There has been a number of
> where the Scout, or the adult awarding it (typically the SM or ASM)
never saw the inside
> of the merit badge book. I have pushed for a small troop library of
> booklets, but was voted down for reasons of "boys will not return the
> Somehow I believe that the BSA fully expects the merit badge books to be
a central part
> of the merit badge program. Am I wrong?
The BSA may expect it, but that might have more to do with economics than
anything else. That said, however, I strongly recommend that the troop
accumulate a library of merit badge books for use by the Scouts in
completing the merit badges. You might start with the required badges and
expand as resources permit. Or, you might agree to buy back the books
purchased by Scouts who buy them for their own use, at a reduced price,
and build the library up that way. We have had a troop library for
probably over 50 years, and our current losses, in a troop of 50 or so,
probably are no more than 3 or 4 books a year, if that many. The secret
is setting up a system where a Scout has to sign out for the book and
there are specific rules about the library use.
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City