Training Dumpster Fire

I was asked to complete Merit Badge Counselor Position training by March 31 in order to maintain my status as a counselor. Yesterday I spent several hours trying to accomplish this, but I have given up. I’m a counselor for about a dozen MBs and have been doing it for fifteen years. The online training BSA is offering is garbage and has zero respect for the time of volunteers.

I am on MacOS, and I am sure that is the main problem. I tried the training on Firefox, but the video would not play at all. Next I tried Safari, the video played fine, but the quiz was impossible to take as the interactive check boxes would not fill. I actually have seen that issue before – on Safe Swim Defense – but for SSD I was able to make it work as all the questions were single answers. For Merit Badge training question #2 has multiple selections and it’s not possible to do that currently.

Next I tried the mobile app on my iPhone. By the way my phone and laptop were both purchased in the last six months so they are up-to-date in every way. On the mobile app I watched the video for the third time, then tried the dreaded quiz. I was able to select answers, but again got caught up in question #2. I kept getting the message “Item D is not the correct answer”, but I had not selected Item D. I had selected B & C which I think is correct.

Guys, I give up! BSA has always lagged technology by years but this is a new low. The iPhone is the most popular phone on the planet. I am an app developer myself so I know this is not that hard to get right. My experience shows three separate bugs in the training system. My days as a counselor are over.


They recommend using the latest version of Chrome or Edge – not Safari.

With regard to the quiz and without giving the answer away, you need to select all of the correct answers. It is trying to give you a hint. This might also help:

BSA Aims and Methods at


I don’t think the quiz issue is an incorrect answer. The message states that my selection is wrong, but it is indicating something I did not select – as I described above. I tried all other combinations anyway but I always get the same message.

There is no justification for not supporting Safari, that is the default browser on every Mac.

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You have to “select all” correct answers to the question. We have seen this question many times, and people are not selecting all of the correct answers to the question.


@MD1999 - otherwise known as a trick question. The key is select ALL


Take a look at this image. Are you saying that the message “Incorrect – Religious study is not one of the eight methods” is not stating that the answer is not “Incorrect” as “Religious study is not one of the eight methods”? In other words…actually in completely different words since the meanings are not at all the same – Religious study is the one that should not be chosen?

If that is what you are saying then not only is the programming of BSA training terrible but so is the UI. This is even worse than I thought.

@MD1999 - you need a b & c

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If either of you had read my original post, it states that I passed the first question. That requires four checks. I understand the “select all” aspect.

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@MD1999 - a b and c are the selection you need

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From The Boy Scouts of America’s Mission, Vision, Aims, and Methods

The methods by which the aims are achieved are listed below in random order to emphasize the equal importance of each.

Ideals – The ideals of Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Scout measures themselves against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and, as they reach for them, they have some control over what and who they become.

Patrols – The patrol method gives Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches Scouts how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where they can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through their elected representatives.

Outdoor Programs – Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. It is here that the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps Scouts gain an appreciation for God’s handiwork and humankind’s place in it. The outdoors is the laboratory for Scouts to learn ecology and practice conservation of nature’s resources.

Advancement – Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Scout plans their advancement and progresses at their own pace as they meet each challenge. The Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps them gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.

Association with Adults – Scouts learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of their troops. In many cases a Scoutmaster who is willing to listen to the Scouts, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.

Personal Growth – As Scouts plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Scouting. Young people grow as they participate in community service projects and do Good Turns for others. Probably no device is so successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn. The religious emblems program also is a large part of the personal growth method. Frequent personal conferences with their Scoutmaster help each Scout to determine their growth toward Scouting’s aims.

Leadership Development – The Scouting program encourages Scouts to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership and becoming a servant leader helps a Scout accept the leadership role of others and guides them towards participating citizenship and character development.

Uniform – The uniform makes the Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Scouting is an action program, and wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Scout’s commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals. The uniform is practical attire for Scout activities and provides a way for Scouts to wear the badges that show what they have accomplished.


@MD1999, The issue of the methods of scouting question has been raised on several occasions by various people. The BSA position, as conveyed by the folks from SUAC, is that they understand the issue and there is not an error in the question. Thus, they don’t see a need to make changes. Pretty much everyone agrees that the error message is confusing at best, but again the BSA position is that it doesn’t require changes.

@MD1999 - let us know if a b and c worked

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Yes, a, b, and c worked – thank you, but it does not matter at this point. I had to waste way too much of my time getting to this point. I am no longer a counselor. Issues like this are part of the reason Scouting is in a death spiral. Charley’s post says it all – “yes it is broken, but BSA does not want to fix it”.


The BSA is in bankruptcy proceedings. There are higher priority issues that are the focus of the BSA’s time and money than fixing the tip on an incorrect answer message.

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The most widely used browser (all platforms) is Chrome 65% followed by Safari 19%. Mobile browsing crushes desktop at 56% vs 31%. Why doesn’t development focus on mobile and Chrome/Safari if that’s where people are?


It does not matter if you focus on mobile or desktop if the content/questions are poorly worded.

Also, on the Mac roughly 50% of users use Safari.


Chrome and Edge are both based on the Chromium rendering engine. Safari is based on Webkit and Firefox based on Gecko.

I suspect the training engine used by ScoutingU is optimized for Chromium which is why Chrome and Edge are recommended. I also suspect it would take a lot of resources the BSA may not have to optimize the training engine for other rendering engines.


I too stumbled through the Merit Badge Counselor tests myself, on my Mac, until it was pointed out to me that the website instructions specified Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
Why spend/waste all of our resources challenging something as trivial as whose operating system “should” be preferred.
Let’s all take this pent up energy to the Scouts. After all this is why we offer our time and resources as “volunteers “.


For the reason I mentioned in my first post – if the time/energy of volunteers is not respected by BSA, then many will simply give up. And this is not a question of which OS is best. It’s crazy that there is an expectation that a user will install a new browser simply to visit the BSA training site. This is not a complex website and there are tens of thousands of comparable sites that work fine with most popular browsers. And not checking a visual checkbox on a form has absolutely nothing to do with rendering. And finally, since it seems like my final complaint was only due to very poor wording on a user message, there is no excuse for having to deal with all this.

I do agree though that this is a waste of time, so this will be my last post here.


As I said before, the BSA has limited resources to develop software. I’m sure there are people inside the BSA that would gladly accept a contribution earmarked to “make training browser independent”. Until someone comes up with the money to fund such an effort, nothing will change. The BSA is allocating its limited development dollars where they see the biggest need. Making training browser independent is not at the top of the priority list.