Re: Confusion on MB changes
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Thu, 20 Aug 1998 11:21:06 -0400
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 21:47:52 -0400
From: "Bruce E. Cobern" <bec@PIPELINE.COM>
Well, my experience isn't that most Scouts complete all the merit badges
first, and I certainly counsel them against that policy. I believe they
should start their project planning immediately after their Life board. That
way they are guaranteed to have at least six months to work on their
We've been trying to break them of the habit of thinking of the requirements
linearly, but it seems they get intimidated by the project and try to put it
off as long as possible. My discussions with the district advancement
chairman last year left me with the impression that most of the "last
minute" Eagles in our district waited until they had completed all of the
other requirements before they even started working on their project.
You are correct, however, that your district advancement committee was wrong
on that point.
Their argument was "if the Scout does the project and doesn't complete all
of the merit badges, he will have wasted his time." Of course, they also
proposed assigning Life Scouts and Eagle Scout Advisor (someone from the
advancement committee) who would advise them through ALL of the
requirements; and then they announced that these advisors would be
introduced to the Scout via a letter from the advancement chairman.
Don't get me wrong, they're some pretty smart guys on that committee who had
a noble cause. They wanted to make sure the standards were consistent for
all of the Scouts working on Eagle (there was a great deal of disparity
between the various troops interpretation of the requirements). What they
realized, toward the end last year, is that almost everything they had tried
went against the advancement guidelines.
As to your point that as long as he has all the merit badges completed he
need not worry about the change is not correct as I understand the changes.
As long as he has his board of review before 4/1/99 he will be able to use
the old required merit badge list. However, should he not complete his
project or be able to have his board until after 4/1, I believe he will be
required to use the new list, regardless of whether he had earned all the
"old" required badges before 4/1.
This seems a bit unfair if you ask me. One of the requirements for Eagle is
"Earn a total of 21 merit badges." If I complete that requirement before
4/1, but don't have my BOR until 6/1, you're saying (or they're saying) a
requirement previously recognized as completed is no longer completed.
Hypothetical: National changes the First Class swimming requirement and
implements the change with the same effective dates and grandfather period.
Billy completes the current 1st Class swimming requirement long before the
new requirement's effective date. As the months go by, Billy keeps himself
busy completing Tenderfoot and Second Class ranks. Suddenly it is 4/1 and
Billy hasn't had a 1st Class BOR. Does he now have to re-do the swimming
requirement even though it had already been signed off? If not, what is the
difference between this requirement and the MB requirement for Eagle? If so,
how do we explain to a Scout who struggled to complete the requirement that
he's got to do it all over again?
I still believe that there is plenty of time, in that situation, to get the
whole thing done in the next 8+ months.
I agree there is plenty of time, if you're working on Eagle right now, or
will be soon. What about those Scouts who have their Life BOR in November or
December? What about those Scouts who completed all of the MBs last year and
will wake up in January realizing they've got seven months to finish their
Eagle? I don't want to be the one who has to explain to any Scout that he
has to do a requirement over for that reason.
AJ Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org, Scoutmaster Troop 381
http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/ "Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop
Great Trail Council - Old Portage District - Akron, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City