scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Merit Badges in Troop Meeting
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET
Sun Mar 05 2000 - 17:57:54 CST
<Conrad Shultz wrote>
My troop, apparently, is an exception to the rule. It is rare during the
school year for us to not have at least on merit badge going. Right now, in
my troop of about 20 people, we have Backpacking, Family Life, and Cit. in
the World all going on at once (during the regular meetings). Is this
highly unusual? It seems to work pretty well for us.
It's not unusual. It also tends to work, which is why many troops do it. The
problem is that merit badges aren't intended to be done in a classroom, and
troop meetings aren't intended to BE classrooms. It's also a lot easier to
plan meetings if you pick a merit badge and split the requirements over the
course of a month. The good thing is, if it maintains the interest of the
Scouts at meetings and it's what they want to do, there's no harm in
My question, then, is if other units are not working on merit badges during
meetings, what do they do? Games all of the time? Rapid non-MB related
advancement? Guest speakers/workshops? I'm just curious...
Hopefully the answer is, whatever the Scouts decide to work on. In most of
the troops I've worked with (including the current one), the Scouts might
choose a merit badge as a monthly topic, but troop meetings aren't
structured around completing requirements. In most cases, the troop meeting
will be a demonstration of something related to the merit badge.
For instance, Backpacking. If backpacking was chosen as a subject for the
month, meetings would include a demonstration from a local backpacking group
on backpacks and equipment, another on how to pack for a backpacking trip, a
talk about backpacking trails in the area from another backpacking group or
a representative from the state parks, and a trail food cooking
demonstration. The important thing would be that each meeting would be
informative and hands-on, not necessarily involving a requirement for the
merit badge. At least one meeting would involve a talk by the merit badge
counselor about the requirements.
Other parts of the meeting would involve practicing backpacking skills, or
planning a backpacking trip. In every respect, we try to avoid lectures and
to maintain our meeting structure. We won't, for instance, extend our skills
development time to accomodate a particular guest speaker and wipe out our
patrol meetings or inter-patrol activity. We will, try to accomodate his
schedule so, if he can't be at the meeting at 7:10 for skills development,
we'll have patrol meetings first.
Troop meetings are supposed to be a place to learn and practice skills, or
get an introduction to a merit badge subject. The merit badge requirements
themselves should be the responsibility of the individual Scout in
consultation with the counselor, not completed enmasse in 20 minutes.
<Allen Maddox wrote>
I have adamantly discouraged Merit Badges during regular meetings, until
now. Historically, the Committee decided that it was time to introduce Merit
Badges and the Advancement Chair would set up the boys to do these, breaking
them into groups through out the town. This was very disruptive to the week
to week subject flow of the meetings, and just throw what the boys had
planned out the window.
Now the PLC has decided that it would like to incorporate some of the Merit
Badge skills into what they are currently working on. I see this as being
good for the boys, as long as they continue to do the planning and running
of the meetings.
And as long as the PLC doesn't rely entirely on the list of merit badges for
meeting ideas. I hope your advancement chair has learned what happens when
you try to fix something that isn't broken.
AJ Mako, Scoutmaster, Troop 381 http://www.scouts381.org/
Great Trail Council, Old Portage District
14 days and counting...