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Meritbadge workbooks

Can a Troop ask for the Scout to turn in a merit badge workbook when he turns in blue cards.

BSA Guide to Advancement section 7.0.4.8:

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I suppose they can “ask” but it cannot be required-that would be an additional requirement.

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What would be the purpose of getting a workbook with a signed Blue Card? Once an MBC has signed the Blue Card, except for specific circumstances listed in the Guide to Advancement Sections 7.0.4.6 and 7.0.4.7, the MB cannot be revoked.

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Let’s be very clear: a workbook is superflouous to earning an MB. Some of us are of the opinion that the better troops will never direct scouts to workbooks, but rather have him/her read the merit badge pamphlet and then converse with a counselor about the material they’ve read and actions they’ve taken.

The accomplished scout should be able to say, “Sir/madame, I never used a MB workbook, ever. But if the committee wishes, I will be more than happy to discuss all that I did and learned from each badge at my next board of review.”

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The problem is rubber stamping MBC not from are troop but when a Scout goes to summer camp and comes back with a blue card signed off for camping or when they go to a merit badge collage you know theirs no way they could earn some MB in one day. just asking thought it could be a way to help the Scout learn the info.

That’s a common problem, but not one that would readily be addressed by requiring a scout to fill out a booklet. What I mean by that is twofold. The first point is what’s been noted before: once signed-off by a registered MBC, the MB requirement/badge is complete. Units aren’t allowed to “hold up” that advancement any more than we can hold-up any other type of advancement. The second point is that no unit has qualified MBCs for every badge. If a unit doesn’t have a qualified MBC (e.g. we don’t have one for Lifesaving), how would that unit reasonably judge whether or not the scout had completed the requirements?

I agree that no scout could earn the Camping MB (for example) in a weekend (or even a single week). That doesn’t mean he or she couldn’t go in to a MB Weekend with all of the camping (req 9) and cooking (req 8c) requirements finished, and complete all of the “other” requirements (e.g. 1-4a, 5a-d, all of 6,…) at that event (or by bringing some of those items pre-completed such as duty rosters, trip plans, etc). Even regarding summer camp, if a scout went in with all of the camping requirements (except long-term) completed, did rappelling and a hike climbing 1000ft at camp, and got in the long-term camping nights at camp, that scout could, reasonably, go from not having everything finished to finishing the last bit out.

I would even be hesitant to ask, with the concern that it could be interpreted as an expectation. For example, I told some of my scouts that there are booklets from USSSP they could use to take notes on in preparation for our counseling session if they want, but that they don’t have to use the booklets or even take notes at all. Nevertheless, I had one scout say to me “but I thought we couldn’t meet until I had finished the workbook”. Now, I’m very careful to make sure they understand that the workbook is not a requirement only one possible tool (like a notebook) for them to use, and that the only written things I need to see from them are when the MB requirement says “prepare a written…”

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Thank you all for your thoughts.

BSA Guide to Advancement
7.0.4.7 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges

In most cases, with a fair and friendly approach, a Scout who did not complete the requirements will admit it. Short of this, however, if it remains clear under the circumstances that some or all of the requirements could not have been met, then the merit badge is not reported or awarded, and does not count toward advancement. The unit leader then offers the name of at least one other merit badge counselor through whom any incomplete requirements may be finished. Note that in this case a merit badge is not “taken away” because, although signed off, it was never actually earned.

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Two problems exist here. First, you aren’t rubber stamping anything. You are recording that the scout brought in a completed card for the merit badge. The unit’s job is not gatekeeper.

Second, is that one clear point of our program is to impart values. (This falls under citizenship and personal development.) If you don’t believe a scout completed the requirements then have a discussion with the scout. This is far more effective than some paper printed off the internet.

As a note, the BSA has taken a position on the workbooks and it isn’t a positive one. If they wanted workbooks to be the norm, they would provide them. I have no use for them personally. I think they tend to turn the experience into a “school like” experience and that is a major issue with our numbers today. Every scout I have ever spoken with has mentioned the idea of not wanting to attend a meeting because they had transitioned out of “school mode” and not wanting to go to a meeting. My troop avoids school like settings like a plague.

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