Re: Merit Badges - read the book?
Kim B. Hannemann (Khannemann@WORLDBANK.ORG)
Mon, 9 Feb 1998 10:08:34 -0500
>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?
Others have replied to this question, and now we all know that there is no
requirement to read the book. But, often the book contains information
about the requirements and their intent which is absolutely vital to
understanding and following through on the requirement. Regardless of
whether or not the Scout uses it, the counselor definitely should.
For instance, the other day a Scout working on Communications asked if it
would be alright to come to our Troop Committee Meeting to fulfill
"Attend a town meeting where two or three points of view are being given.
Record what you hear. Make a report from your notes. Tell your troop or
patrol what you think you heard."
Well, of course we didn't mind the Scout at the TC meeting, but there was
some concern about the badge. While "town meetings" formally or informally
labeled as such may occur in some places - New England comes to mind - we
don't have them where we live. So the consensus among most of our
counselors was that something close to that was necessary, e.g., the Board
of Supervisors, School Board, etc.. In the process, the CC agreed that he
could come to the meeting, and his counselor after hearing that the CC gave
permission, caved it (not realizing that the CC only meant he could come,
not that it would count!)
After learning about the confusion, and after the meeting, the counselor
met with the Scout and told him it couldn't be counted. Naturally he was
upset, but he drew out the book, went to the section about listening, and
pointed out the part at the end of the section where it was noted that,
"What the meeting is doesn't matter. The important thing is for you to
learn how to listen so you can report what you hear." Examples including a
meeting of the troop's chartered organization were mentioned.
After discussing this point privately with other counselors (including me),
we concluded that the Scout was right. His counselor let him know what
happened. I personally had confused the requirement with the meeting
requirement of the Citizenship in the Community badge, and with prior
experience where most Scouts go to a similar meeting (and sometimes fulfill
the requirements of both badges with one meeting), while not focusing on
It's not Town Meeting, just town meeting (i.e., a meeting in town), and the
purpose was quite well fulfilled by our TC meeting where we exchanged
points of view on a number of different subjects, and displayed our own
inventory of communications skills (such as they are). At least the Scout
had a chance to work with topics in which he - and the patrol to which he
will report - will have some interest.
And we learned something about communicating.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City