scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Merit Badge Procedures - A Parent/SM Dilemma
Paul S. Wolf (PaulWolf@CUYCTYENGINEERS.ORG
Tue Mar 14 2000 - 11:21:57 CST
Bob Lazell wrote:
> > Boy Scout Handbook (current ed.) page 187 (emphasis added):
> > "Obtain from your Scoutmaster a signed merit badge application AND
> > THE NAME OF A QUALIFIED COUNSELOR FOR THAT MERIT BADGE".
> > Very clear-cut. While first contact is, indeed, a part of the
> > Scout's responsibility, the assignment of the counselor is the SM's
> > job.
> Sorry Pete, but I have to disagree. The quote from the Handbook says
> nothing about ASSIGNING the merit badge counselor. It says only that
> the SM can supply a name.
No, what it says is that the SM will give the Scout the name of a
> Check out the current edition of the SM's Handbook. On page 123,
> under Merit Badge Counselors it states "Where can scouts find merit
> badge counselors? Troop leaders can IDENTIFY(emphasis mine)
> potential counselors by using the Troop resource survey sheet. Many
> troop assemble a list of approved counselors in their area..... In
> addition, each district advancement committee is responsible for
> developing a merit badge counselor list......"
What you wrote is quite true as far as it goes, but your conclusion is
wrong. The troop resource survey is used to identify potential merit
badge counselors. The list the troop assembles is used by the troop
committee to have the potential counselors submit membership
applications and the BSA Merit Badge Counselor Information Form (No.
33405). Those applications and forms are forwarded to the district
advancement committee for review, and inclusion in the published list of
HOWEVER, once that list is prepared, when a Scout asks to work on a
merit badge, THE SM ASSIGNS THE COUNSELOR. He can if he wishes, give the
Scout the option to call two or more from the published list, if he is
concerned that one may not be available, but he can also say "Call this
counselor. If he/she can't work with you, see me again and I'll give
you a different counselor to call."
>From "Introduction to Merit Badges" in the current Boy Scout
Requirements" Book (No. 33215C):
Pick A Subject. Talk to your Scoutmaster about your interests. Read the
requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you. Pick one
to earn. Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a
list of counselors.
and from "Merit Badge Counselor Orientation - Supplemental Adult Leader
Training (No. 34542)":
The Scout obtains a signed Application for Merit Badge and the name of
the appropriate merit badge counselor from his Scoutmaster.
> Even if you choose to interpret the "can" as a "must," how about
> rethinking that? Providing the boys with a list to choose from, gives
> them fuller responsibility.
And that is an option.
> I can hear you saying now: "but they will just choose the easiest
> counselor" Well, as has been discussed here lately, merit badge
> requirements are nothing more and nothing less than what is written.
We agree here completely.
> Think of what you are saying to the boys by insisting on choosing for
> them? You are adding you own set of requirements and telling them
> that the system of qualifying counselors is meaningless.
No. What you are doing is adhering to the procedures, which say that the
SM assigns the counselor.
> Meanwhile, their buddy in the troop across town goes to the "easy
> guy" and gets the same badge.
That can happen, but I agree it shouldn't. However, if both are
following the policies, there is very little likelihood that one is
"easier" than the other.
> If you feel a counselor is signing off on anything "less" than the
> requirements, the way to deal with this NOT to punish the boys, but,
> contact the district committee and give them you input!
Here we agree. But how is assigning a counselor that follows the
published policies and procedures, and not letting boys "find the easy
guy" that doesn't adhere to the rules, "punishing the boys?"
> Finally TRUST your boys to choose carefully and earn their merit
No one said we don't.
Paul S. Wolf, PE mailto:Paul.S.Wolf@alum.wpi.edu
Advancement/Safety Webmaster, USSSP http://www.usscouts.org
Winding Rivers Dist. Advancement Comm., Greater Cleveland Council, BSA