What Would You Do: Ensuring Follow-Through

Do you want to get your boys to complete their merit badge requirements after summer camp is over? Here’s how.

Often, at summer camp, boys begin badges but return home with partial completions. What can I do to make sure these Scouts complete the requirements?

Talk to the parents, and explain what the Scout needs to do to complete the badge. If the parents understand what is needed and why, the Scout is much more likely to complete the badge.

Advancement Chairman D.K.
Suffield, Ohio

We do two things for Scouts who return from summer camp with partial merit badge completions:

  1. Pair him up with a troop merit badge counselor to finish the requirements.
  2. Send the Scout back to camp next summer with his partials and schedule a time slot to complete the badge(s).

We’re not going to do it for him, but we will enable a Scout to finish up any accumulated partials. Most of the time this works fine, and in a year or two the merit badge is complete.

Scoutmaster B.T.
Hyattsville, Md.

Earning a merit badge exposes Scouts to many different subject areas. It might even lead to a new hobby or profession.

The possibility exists, however, that after exposure to the topic the Scout simply decides he is not interested in putting forth the effort to complete the merit badge. I have one Scout who took climbing at camp but did not complete the badge. He simply was afraid to climb. I don’t think he will ever complete the badge. However, I don’t see this as a wasted effort. He learned some skills and gained some knowledge from the classes anyway.

I think all we can do is make sure Scouts have the resources to complete the badge. Then we have to accept their decision to finish it or not.

Scoutmaster D.W.
Arkville, N.Y.

If a Scout is “made” to complete requirements, that defeats the purpose of earning a merit badge. If a Scout tries something new and then decides to go in a different direction, there is no point in having him return to something he is no longer interested in. If he wishes to complete a merit badge, he will do so. If not, that is his decision. It would be inappropriate for an adult leader to attempt to override a Scout on such a matter.

OA chapter vice-chief M.M.
Kirkland, Wash.

I’ve created a notebook in which I log each Scout’s name, merit badge, counselor’s name, date started, and date finished. I periodically review the notebook, and when I have Scoutmaster’s conferences, I make a point to check the notebook for incompletes. This provides me with an at-a-glance resource for charting the Scout’s progress.

Scoutmaster B.M.
Glens Falls, N.Y.

Our troop meets at the public library twice a month to work on merit badge requirements. This gives Scouts a set time to get things done together.

Advancement Chairman S.V.
Greenfield, Ind.

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