Scouting Forums

Summer camp merit badge completion errors

I have reviewed my troop’s merit badge (and trail to first class) completion report feom summer camp and have found muktiple, significant errors. We attended a local camp in a neighboring council. I have left voice messages twice with the council but have not gotten a call back. Any suggestions on how to procede would be appreciated.

@kevinwindisch - I know for the camps we have attended there is a leader wrap up on Friday in which they review these things and will correct errors. The input is on camp staff so you may well have to reach out to the camp admin and the program directors or at least that is where I would work the issue.

Kevin, you are a Scoutmaster, correct?

For the trail to first class items, you have discretion as the Scoutmaster. You can view it as these skills were taught by the camp staff, but you want one of your troop leaders (youth or adult) to do the testing and sign off.

For the merit badge items, I agree with @Stephen_Hornak. Try giving the camp admin. a call and see what you can work out with them. Sometimes they are dealing with a lot of Scouts and mistakes happen.

Also, BSA Guide to Advancement (GTA) sections and might be relevant to your situation.

I am the scoutmaster and yes, i realize that i can just sign off or retest the kids and then sign off. I would just feel better if i had an accurate report from camp first. Quality teaching and qccurate record keeping is what the girls paid for and in this digital age, there is no excuse for such poor record keeping. More importantly, the council isn’t returning my calls.

What happened to the Scout Handbook and Merit Badge blue card being the official record?

As a MB counselor at an event I sign off a partial requirement on the blue card when the Scout (who might be from another council) completes the requirement.

A Scout attending a class that covers certain skills is not the same as the Scout completing a requirement.

I am against skill requirements being signed off for Scouts (and Scouters) based on attendance without individual testing.

If Scout completions were originally recorded on paper you may have a change of recovering the data if the remote council retained the records.

The remote council’s advancement committee chair (a volunteer) may not be aware that there is an advancement record keeping problem.

To improve advancement record keeping at that camp I think you may need to contact the remote council’s volunteer VP Program and/or council advancement committee chair to discuss this incident and how to improve things, or point them to this discussion for help.

Try contacting the the council via an online contact form or via email? The professional staff where you left the voice mail may be away from the office.

In my council the support staff which includes a program assistant, the council registrar and others is under a Director Support Services who I believe is also the advisor to the volunteer council program committee who are responsible for both camping and advancement (and other programs).

I dont know of a single summer camp that actually signs blue cards. All you get is a report from the camp.

Regarding trail to first class, i see no reaspn to retest every skill that another scouter, especially professional scouters, have said that they did well. At some time, you have to delegate when you are the scoutmaster

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@kevinwindisch - which council are you calling ? I trust the one that owns the camp. Now which camp management app was used ? Tentaroo, black pug or doubleknot ? I know there should be exports from tentaroo and black pug so you would have that data access. The issue should be a camp responsibility.

I’m calling the council from the camp. Sorry, I wasn’t clear.

I have no idea which software was used. Registration was handled by the committee and i’m out of the loop with that.

Tomahawk Scout Camp in Northern Star Council uses Blue Cards. At the end of the week, Scoutmasters receive either partial or completed Blue Cards.

The camp staff records progress on paper then transfers the data to Blue Cards. A Scout is not permitted to start the MB without presenting a signed blue card to the staff.

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You are lucky then. East texas council, longhorn council, circle 10 council, the council representing san antonio and the ones representing houston, as well as the nevada area council dont use blue cards. I dont think that greater los angeles area does either but dont quote me on that one.

The summer camp we’ve used the past few years made the change from blue cards to a confirmation report this year. Definitely a mixed bag in terms of ease of use. I didn’t really see a big downside. We didn’t have to create and sign a hundred blue cards the week before camp started, which was really nice. We also didn’t have to run around on the last day of camp trying to track down missing blue cards while the whole camp is bugging out – we got a confirmation report emailed to the ASM on the last night of camp instead. There were a couple of errors that were pretty easy to fix, and our advancement chair entered the info from the confirmation report into SB to create blue cards as needed – that was easier to work with than a hundred folded/spindled/mutilated blue cards, too.

In fact the errors were easier to fix this year, than in years past. I don’t know for sure if that has anything to do with the system improvements or not, but in years past there wasn’t a clear method to get an error fixed on a blue card…

Camp Wolfeboro (Mt. Diablo Silverado Council) uses Blue cards and provides a Black Pug report. I had two brothers attend an out-of-Council camp due to family schedules and the report I received was gibberish and need to follow-up some more.

This is the way it was at San Isabel in Colorado, but at most other camps we’ve been to including Camp Alexander in Colorado we received a report.

I’m not sure where you went to camp, but I agree that most in Texas don’t do blue cards. I have had luck contacting the camp at the email given for communication and gotten things straightened out that way.

I’m lost… when you say you found errors on the report what do you mean? …and how would you know something was an error???

Two kids attended the same merit badge class for the same day. Both report completing the same requirements that day and both agree that the other completed the same requirements that day. When the report comes out, one kid shows a completed merit badge and one shows a partial lacking the day in question’s activities. With six kids and more than 3 such errors at a summer camp, it is a little disconcerting. This is a 50% error rate. If I made major errors like this 50% of the time, my license to work in my industry would be revoked.

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Same thing happened to our troop at summer camp. We had 3 boys do Small Boat Sailing together, but we ended up with 2 completed MBs and a partial… It was straightened out easily after a phone call with the camp director (of course, actually getting a camp director on the phone during summer camp season is a whole 'nother topic…)

We still use blue cards in the Cradle of Liberty (Philadelphia). There is a blue card reconciliation Friday night at camp, and you can sit down with the staff and go over any unexpected partials. Takes some time, but everything gets resolved while everyone is there. And the boys definitely like getting their part of the completed card.

I think technology helps for long term advancement record keeping at the unit level, but not for individual merit badges in the moment. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.