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Merit Badge completion

How is the marking of merit badge requirements and completion envisioned ? The advancement committee envisions the scoutmaster marking the initial consultation. The appointed counselor marking the completion and the scoutmaster marking leader approved.

In reality, we have the scoutmaster, parents and scouts as well as the counselor marking the badge as completed. There needs to tighter controls on this. Having to review and correct all of this takes up way more time than inputting information for blue cards.

Well, you can’t assume that all MBCs are using Scoutbook, so that’s the first wrinkle…

Also, remember that nobody can mark a merit badge as “approved” except a unit leader with the appropriate permissions. Parents, Scouts, and MBCs can mark it “completed”… Which leads to the second wrinkle, which is Scoutbook’s confusing usage of the term “completed” vs. “approved”. In Scoutbook, “completed” means the Scout is ready to be tested, and “approved” means an appropriate leader has confirmed the Scout’s satisfactory completion of the requirement.

Important to remember that individual MB requirements can be marked “completed”, “MBC approved”, or “Leader approved” also, and you can see who marked what approved in the requirements list.
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Here’s how the requirements list shows the differences – completed, Counselor Approved, and Leader Approved.
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What we’ve been doing for MBCs that aren’t using Scoutbook is asking the Scouts to snap a picture of their bluecards when they get signatures, and then one of the leaders updates the info in Scoutbook. That’s worked pretty well for us over the past couple of years.

I don’t have “counselor approved” boxes in my scoutbook. Could I be missing an update? That box would help. then we can see when the requirement is ready to be tested and then tested.

I did a quick check; it looks like you will only see the “Counselor-approved” box if you are the MBC for that Scout.

The ideal situation for MBs in Scoutbook is:

MBC Uses Scoutbook

  1. The Scout learns - marks the requirement COMPLETE
  2. The Scout is tested - MBC marks the requirement Counselor Approved
    When Scout has completed the MB, MBC marks overall MB Counselor Approved
  3. The Scout is reviewed - Scoutmaster (or designee) meets with the Scout, discusses the MB experience and approves all requirements and the overall MB
  4. The Scout is Recognized - The Scout is presented with the physical Merit Badge and the advancement chair marks the MB awarded.

MBC Does Not Use Scoutbook

  1. The Scout learns - marks the requirement COMPLETE
  2. The Scout is tested - MBC initials the requirement on the physical Blue Card
    When Scout has completed the MB, MBC signs the physical Blue Card as complete
  3. The Scout is reviewed - Scoutmaster (or designee) meets with the Scout, receives the physical Blue Card, discusses the MB experience and approves all requirements and the overall MB
  4. The Scout is Recognized - The Scout is presented with the physical Merit Badge and the advancement chair marks the MB awarded.
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We add notes to the approval of a requirement if the counselor is not on scoutbook. How do I suggest adding the counselor approved box to the merit badge section instead of just the counselor section? its the new feature forum, right?

I’m not sure what you mean about “adding the counselor approved box to the merit badge section instead of just the counselor section”. Currently, for the counselor who has been connected to the account, the option to Counselor Approve appears when you click on the overall MB completion or on the individual requirements. Where are you suggesting it be added?

Mary Ann,

The Counselor Approved check box appears only to the MBC that is connected to the Scout for the MB. Unit leaders will see an indication that the MBC checked the Counselor Approved check box. Unit leaders use the Leader Approved check box once they know the Counselor has approved either directly in Scoutbook or by signing a physical Blue Card.

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Currently, the option to Counselor Approve only appears to the Counselor until clicked, then it appears when you click on the overall MB completion or on the individual requirements. I would like the option to Counselor Approve to appear on the overall MB completion and on the individual requirements rom the beginning. Perhaps greys out until clicked by the counselor.

Currently, it only appears in the audio data once the counselor approves it. Otherwise, its absence in the audit data indicates that the counselor has not yet approved the requirement. I’m not clear on why there would be a need for the counselor non-approval to be explicitly visible (other than by its absence). Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re asking for.

I see the Counselor Approved tick box (in a MB I am counseling) for both overall completion and underlying requirements whether or not I’ve approved any underlying requirements. It just remains unticked (and therefore nothing appears in the audit data) until I approve the requirement or the overall badge, respectively.

Right now I have a scout assigned a counselor for the hiking merit badge. He has recently completed the requirements. The scout marked the requirements as done and filled in the date for completion It is now on the “needs approval” list for the scoutmaster I am concerned this could be approved and set to be awarded without the merit badge counselor’s input.

Mary Ann,

If the Scout’s MBC uses Scoutbook, the MBC should mark it Counselor Approved, if the MBC does not use Scoutbook, then no leader should approve the MB (or requirements) until the Scout presents a physical Blue Card.

This process is no different than a Scout saying a requirement for First Class is complete. The requirement will appear in the Needs Approval report. No leader should mark this requirement complete until the Scout is tested and passes the test.

The Needs Approval report is there to notify the leaders that the Scout is ready to be tested or have a conversation with the leaders. Nothing on the Needs Approval report should be approved without first hearing from the Scout or a leader that tested the Scout and has agreed the requirement is complete.

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So our troop has been doing this wrong.

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