scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Summer Camp Merit Badges
Gross, David C (David.Gross@HSV.BOEING.COM
Tue Jun 27 2000 - 09:40:47 CDT
Greetings to the List!
Just back from Summer Camp, where we had a great time, at a good camp with
good staff. However, we encountered one of (at least) our perennial
problems, "shaky" merit badge counselors. During walk abouts and talking to
the boys, we learned that several MBs counselors were not covering all of
the requirements. I'm not mentioning the camp or the counselors, because
this problem is hardly unique to this camp, and the counselors are
(typically) overworked, underpaid, underequipped 15-16 year old boys, who
are generally trying hard.
A short example. The requirements of Metal Working MB are (courtesy
1.Use tin cans to make two useful things that need cutting, bending,
2.Make two (or more) useful things from metal which is 20 gauge or
thicker. In making these, use each of the following methods.
a. Etch a design.
b. Hollow or otherwise shape a part.
c. Join two pieces of metal with solder or rivets.
d. Stamp a pattern with stamps you have made yourself.
Our counselor had the boys make one (1) "useful" thing out a tin can, and
stamp a design with a nail in a sheet of thin copper and pronounced them
"complete" (took about 30 minutes). I took the counselor for a little walk
to talk about it, and he was not "excited by the challenge of working on all
the requirements" <G>. BTW, for the legal eagles, we do not (generally) get
signed blue cards from the camp counselors, just a sheet indicating
"complete" or "partial". The Metal Working ones came back marked complete.
Again, this problem is NOT unique to this badge or camp.
Well, that's reality. But what is the right thing to do about it?
It is a real kick in the teeth for a boy, who was told he "finished this
badge", to find out otherwise later, like after camp. It is impossible for
our scoutmaster to know in advance the quality of the camp's counselors
(which is the case outside of camp). Sometimes we can encourage the
counselor to improve, sometimes not. It seems like cheating the boy to
"give" him a badge he didn't earn (he will eventually figure out he didn't
I know what I did, but I'd like to know what you'd do. How would/do you
"I used to be a Fox ....", Eagle/3 OA-B, AOL
SA, DTC, CS RTC
Greater Alabama Council