Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.
âś•
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Scouting Forums

Virtual Eagle level MB taken by nonranked 12 yo

I have a 12 yo scout with no rank that just signed up for 5 eagle level merit badges to take virtually from an out of counsel virtual camp. He would not be allowed to do this is he was attended in person. We have reached out to the host but what options do we have if he takes the classes. We have concerns that he is not mature enough or skilled enough to complete these courses to the level our older scouts have completed them.

Thoughts?

5 Likes

GTA - 7.0.0.2 - any scout can start work on any merit badge at anytime. You cannot restrict that.

18 Likes

Then how do camps do it?

1 Like

@Mary_AnnDalton - I do have to ask why would he not be allowed to take those merit badges ?

7.0.0.3 The Scout, the Blue Card, and the Unit Leader

A few merit badges have certain restrictions, but otherwise any registered Scout, or qualified Venturer or Sea Scout, may work on any of them at any time.

7 Likes

Camps do it by being very bad examples to units - by not following the GTA. As a SM I might suggest why don’t you work on this one first, but if scout wants to do the work it is there in black and white in the GTA.

5 Likes

Our troop stresses rank improvement. He has not yet attained scout rank and has not attended any of our virtual classes to complete requirements. We do not feel he has the maturity to understand and process the information to complete 5 eagle level courses in one week.

1 Like

Policy on Unauthorized Changes to Advancement Program

No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to members with special needs.

4 Likes

Camps often restrict Merit Badges based on age because of supply and demand. They want to give the older Scouts the opportunity to complete the Merit Badges at camp before they age out. In some cases they will open Merit Badges to younger Scouts if there is space available closer to the camp date.

8 Likes

I would add that often these merit badges may have smaller participant counts as well. You will often find that with some merit badges they will also post “recommended” summer camp year markers. But in the end it is as Ed has noted.

1 Like

It’s reasonable to counsel the scout that you don’t recommend that setting or that you prefer they focus more on rank work first. But in the end it’s their decision.

3 Likes

If the concerns about the scout’s maturity and skills are warranted, they ultimately won’t be approved for the badges by the MB counselor. The integrity of the system requires that the MB counselor actually review the work done by the Scout. I think you do right by the Scout to encourage them to take MB classes consistent with their abilities and the time allotted.

3 Likes

I don’t consider it being a bad example. Camps don’t have infinite resources to counsel all merit badges, so they have to have some method to allocate the resources they do have.

2 Likes

It is a bad example when they set hard age or rank limits and not suggestions. Then it seems like doing so is ok because “well, Council does it, so can we.”

2 Likes

You can make waves by filing this report with your council.

A Merit Badge Counselor should not be meeting with a Scout without a blue card (either paper or virtual in SB) signed by his unit leader.

We have similar issue here…Scout’s parents received an email inviting Scout to went to a MB College out of council. They registered him and he went, sans Unit Leader discussion or blue cards. MBC’s gave no record of completion. Scout comes to me and says he finished two MB’s…no record, no MBC contact info, etc…

Grrrrrr

1 Like

I think that the difference is that any merit badge counselor can choose not to work with a scout. So the camp merit badge counselors have chosen not to work with scouts below a certain rank or age. In that case, the scout can still work on the merit badge with a different merit badge counselor that is willing to work with younger and or lower ranked youths. A merit badge counselor is not required to work with a scout just because the scout asked.
A troop leader cannot choose to not accept a completed merit badge or choose not to allow the scout to start one. The leader can lay out reasons why it is a bad idea but cannot forbid it.
It is not a bad example by the camp; it is a different parameter that is being measured.

At the risk of coming off as too harsh: no shirt, no shoes, no service? :^)

In that situation, it wouldn’t have mattered to me if the scout had been given a signed card from the SM on the front end or not. No counselor-signed card tends to result in “Go back to your counselor, and tell them that you need a signed blue card to get credit for this.” There comes a point when it’s time to put on your Big Scout britches and own the situation you’re in, whether it’s entirely of your own making or not. That’s one of the big benefits, IMHO, of the MB program.

2 Likes

Charley, agreed. And that is what we are going through. When the Scout asked for info, the other council did provide a (get this) report run from Doubleknot saying simply that the Scout had completed the badges.

GTA says

Though it may not have been clearly stated in the past, units, districts, and local councils do not have the authority to implement a different system for merit badge approval and documentation. In any case, through the years, many councils have created new forms and approaches to the process, some including IT components. In an effort to gather and consider these potential best practices, councils are now asked to submit descriptions and copies of their blue card alternatives to the National Pilots and Program Development Department.

This isn’t a debate. A Scout is allowed to take any MB they wish. If a camp is not allowing Scouts to do that, they are not following national standards and are setting a bad example. To say it is free market and find a counselor that will
take them, is not meeting the intent of the rule that a Scout can take any badge they wish.

2 Likes

And we don’t even know if they were registered MBC’s :crazy_face:

1 Like

There’s obviously some limit to your statement, right @Matt.Johnson? Most camps can’t/don’t offer every MB, so that’s a limit right there. Most can’t/don’t offer a large enough total quantity of slots to have unfettered access. That’s another limit.

It seems like there will always be some sort of preferencing system. Even if it’s not explicit, first-come first-served still would be a preferencing system. If the sign-ups are online, that preferencing system could become “the person with the fastest internet service wins”, and we (theoretically) start seeing services like eBay snipers to facilitate getting the MB choices you want.

I don’t know that it’s 100% compliant with the national guidelines, but it seems like, as preferencing systems go, rank and/or age is not the worst possible option. I personally don’t support “hard” limits that aren’t safety based. However, I can see that, if as a MBC I had a limited amount of time (e.g. one week at camp) to counsel a fixed number of scouts, I would want the scouts who are most likely to benefit from that instruction to be the ones who are attending. I can’t easily keep a waiting list, and punt the scouts who think that sitting at the back of the shade structure texting memes to one another in favor of the ones who were serious but didn’t make the headcount limits. Those scouts are already attending their back-up merit badges.

1 Like