This topic contains 4 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by SM for five years 10 months, 2 weeks ago.
July 31, 2017 at 8:45 am #73689
It seems Merit badge offerings in the Dallas Area are drying up. The National Museum which was in my backyard and which had workshops has checked out (now I feel the rest of the country’s pain). My Troop has only 3 leaders and are having a hard time cultivating counselors out of our parents. So I’m left to get classes outside of the Troop. Perot Museums seems to not offer merit badges anymore, the universities in the area have checked out, National museum is gone. It leaves me to network with other scout leaders to search for good counselors. I know our council has list, but those are rarely updated and many counselors are not practicing anymore when you do reach them. I wonder if it would be a problem is a third party could run a online networking platform that kept up to date records of willing counselors in your area. I talking even for $$$.
August 1, 2017 at 9:09 am #73788
Not the best response, but if your council’s merit badge counselor list is not up to date it seems that one thing that should be done is to go to your district’s Advancement person and request they get you an updated list. Maintaining that role is a district level responsibility.
Does that help you in the end? Maybe in the long run.
I think this is a problem in many places. Our council has been doing a year-long project to get there merit badge counselor rolls up to date. But once it is up to date, it takes just as much effort to maintain it.
The only other thing I’d suggest is that you don’t look at just your troop leaders, but also the parents of the youth in your troop. Do any of them have an expertise that could allow them to be a counselor for a specific badge? The other thing might be to hit up local business people for the different badges (a local doctor or pharmacist for medicine, for example). There’s a host of information available to give to prospective counselors.
September 6, 2017 at 5:43 pm #75398
“My Troop has only 3 leaders and are having a hard time cultivating counselors out of our parents.”
Actually, it sounds like its time for a “mandatory parents meeting” to help them understand how this works. I’d go so far as to bring in a few pizzas and NOT talk to them “in uniform” as to avoid an “us versus them” atmosphere. Scouting is VOLUNTEER RUN. Period. End of story. People WILL pitch in or this BSA Train doesn’t leave the station. It’s just that simple.
After you explain that a MBC only gets used when THE BOYS CHOOSE to work on a badge, and that it’s actually a pittance of time (compared to what you do as a “uniformed leader”). then ask each parent what they do for a living and TELL THEM that they sound perfectly suited for XYZ badges and ask them IN FRONT OF EVERYONE if they will sign up as a councilor. Go around the room. EVERYONE speaks and EVERYONE gets a “job”.
And let’s be clear about 1 other thing… You have NO obligation to beat yourself to death to come up with fun and exciting activities (or MB opportunities) for these boys. Give the PLC “ideas” and “suggestions”… maybe even fire up your laptop and Google in front of them “Camping ideas for “my town” USA”… SHOW THEM how to do this stuff for themselves.
You’re the SCOUTMASTER… not the CUBMASTER and sure as heck not a “baby sitter”. Get the **@#!@ out of the way! Your job is to build the troop to the point that YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO. A good Scoutmaster puts himself out of job. Will you get their in 2 weeks? Nope. But you need to head in that direction, so you might as well start now.
Set REALISTIC goals for them. BE CONSISTENT in your expectations. BE HONEST in your feedback and treat them like “MEN”. That means, if they stink, tell them they stink (with a smile on your face!)… but here are some ideas and TOGETHER we’ll make it better next week…
Maybe I’m preaching to the choir, but it sounds like you’re trying to do it “all” yourself. That’s not helping anyone, especially you. Remember, people will TAKE as much as you’re willing to give. We’re not here to make “takers”, we’re here to make “givers”.
October 4, 2017 at 1:20 pm #76463
SM for five years
Councils are required to keep updated MB counselor lists. MB counselors are required to fill out an application form each year or be taken off the list. Same thing happened in our council until two years ago when they started following National policy. Don’t worry, our troop only has two MB counselors, mostly to finish up summer camp unfinished requirements.
October 10, 2017 at 11:41 am #76692
I’ve spent most of my career in higher education, so my advice is to pick a local college – maybe a small liberal arts school – and seek a connection with an admissions representative. Faculty are prime candidates to be merit badge counselors in their respective areas and the college can see it as a potential recruiting tool. As a professor, I had set office hours and I would not have minded students stopping by for MB work. Faculty get kudos for service work and it looks good on their record, so it’s a win-win situation.
Where I live, we have a couple of colleges that host MB universities that fill up each year. Admissions offices help coordinate them, as they understand students are more likely to enroll in a college with which they are familiar.
I do agree that the troop and individual scouts need to take responsibility for MB work, but having larger offerings is possible – and beneficial for all concerned. I have colleagues at places like UT Dallas and Dallas Baptist and can only imagine their faculty would be willing to help.