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Merit badge worksheet

Hello,

I am a MBC and I like the scouts to complete the worksheet for the merit badge before we discuss the badge. The father of scout says that there is no requirement for the scout to do the worksheet and insists that I interview the scout without it. Would love to hear peoples thoughts on this matter.

Don,

The father is correct. Scouts MAY use the worksheet if they chose but an MBC cannot require it. The worksheets are not created by the BSA nor hosted by BSA web sites. These are unofficial aids created by 3rd parties. Since there is none of the MB requirements say “Complete the worksheet”, requiring a Scout to do so is adding to the requirements which is specifically prohibited by the Guide to Advancement.

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The BSA Guide to Advancement says that “Scouts shall not be required to use these learning aids [unofficial worksheets] in order to complete a merit badge” (7.0.4.8 Unofficial Worksheets and Learning Aids).

I find them to be helpful generally, but sometimes the way that they are set up / organized can give Scouts a misleading impression of what the requirements actually are. As @edavignon said, Scouts may use them, but they cannot be required to use them.

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Thank you I appreciate the information.

I have always suggested (not required) to my scouts that they use the worksheet. For items where the requirements state that a written answer is required lines are provided. The other items listed I suggest that the scout writes down when they completed it
and who with. This way they have a simple method for keeping track of where they are and what they need to finish all in one place.
With the tracking abilities in Scoutbook this isn’t the problem it used to be and now I generally suggest this for scouts that don’t have access to their own account.

Andrea Simpson
Als416@outlook.com

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I’ve always encouraged scouts to not use worksheets. It might make it easier for a counselor, but it does little to aid retention.

I personally always thought scouts would benefit with their own free-form notebook dedicated to MBs. It would have a margin where they could not the MB name and requirement #, and the scout would make his own notes. Son #2 effectively did the same thing with his handheld device. (He also used it for Scout Sunday presentations, etc …)

Well I can assure you that there are parents that insist on the forms and worksheets. But as has been noted the counselor has first right of refusal.

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Use of the worksheets is a two-edged sword. I like them, but a scout or MBC can lean too much on them rather than the material in the actual MB Workbooks. I don’t enjoy a scout (or parent) that is just looking to get the next MB to sew on his sash and move on to the next. I really want a scout to really get a true flavor of the MB course. With a worksheet, it’s very easy to merely work of the sheet filling in the blocks while never reading the pamphlet and so much gets missed.

I like the Worksheets when writing is required. In fact I like writing things down in general be it on a worksheet or notebook paper because I think it helps retention.

Just remember as MB Counselor, you should know that handbook front to back and be able to review a MB with a scout with or without the worksheet.

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I’ve sometimes suggested the worksheets to scouts as a way for them to collect their notes and thoughts. This is especially true for STEM badges that tend to be heavy on the vocab & descriptions (not a fan). That said, I’ve found most scouts seem to prefer creating their own customized notes in Word.

As with most things in scouts, as counselors we can provide advice and options, but it’s up to the scouts to figure out the best way to meet the requirements, which we cannot add to.

I have had some scouts use the worksheets and read to me what they wrote on their paper. I follow that up with, “OK, so what does that mean in your own words?” You can tell at this point whether they understand it or not.

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When I was a scout, I met with my MBCs, and we had face-to-face conversations. No notes, pamphlets closed. I still have memories of the faces of these caring adults looking me in the eye and sharing their profession or hobby.

I encourage our counselors to do the same thing. It’s amazing how important those eye-to-eye conversations are for a youth’s success.

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As a MBC you can require no more and no less of your scouts working on the requirements. I let scouts know it is a resource available to them to help them complete the workand/or keep it organized however if the requirement says discuss then discuss we will do. I have had scouts hand over the worksheet and say There I’ve done it. and expect that to be sufficient. It is not. It is not the requirement on any MB that I am aware of.

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Although we can’t insist they use them, I have found the Worksheets for the Eagle required MB’s where there are logs to be kept or expenses to be tracked universally accepted by the scouts. I encourage them to utilize them where it makes sense.
As others have said though, it can be a double edged sword. It’s a good tool, but too often they use the work sheet requirements but don’t even bother to read the MB Pamphlet. The sheets themselves may be out of date depending on where the scout is downloading it from and may not be complete. The MB pamphlet shows the requirements in a better context and has almost all the info they need to complete the MB.

One note on these Worksheets:
meritbadge.org is being phased out and soon (I have heard) will no longer be updated as U.S. Scouting Service Project has taken over that website.

They will be consolidating their worksheets to just their website - http://www.usscouts.org - http://usscouts.org/mb/worksheets/list.asp

I never use worksheets, those make fun activities into school. My goal in merit badge counseling is not to drill facts, but to pass on my love for the subject. That requires doing stuff. As B-P said, “A boy is not a sitting-down animal.”

The only thing worse than worksheets is PowerPoint presentations. Has anybody ever said, “Let’s go out tonight and watch a fun PowerPoint preso!”

Also, the parents don’t get to insist on anything about how the merit badge is taught. As long as it follows the Guide to Safe Scouting and the requirements, it is none of their business.

wunder