This is the kind of project that needs some basic ground rules.
Accountability & Transparency
It’s not enough to say I’ve done the work to earn a badge. I should be able to prove it. Think back to math class: it was never enough to get the answer right, you had to show your work. Same idea here. Only today we call it “transparency.”
When I was a scout, my mom was an assistant troop leader. She confirmed my assumption: troop leaders always decided whether or not a scout had done the work required to earn a badge.
Clearly, the BSP needed a few (virtual) troop leaders, and you can meet them here. I report to these women each quarter, submitting task work and requesting approval. Though most of my efforts are posted right here on the blog, they are privy to supplemental work. They provide a thumbs up or down, and if it’s a split decision, majority rules.
These people are not pushovers, and they don’t take bribes. They call me on the carpet for any lame stuff I try to pull. And that’s how I live up to my end of the bargain and stay honest.
Having said all that…
There are about 100 badges in the badge book, and a scout has to complete 6 out of 10 possible tasks to earn any badge. That means about 600 tasks. A lot of these tasks, I grant, are quick and easy. But lots and lots of them are true projects, requiring a real investment of time and energy.
And it turns out that the tasks between badges occasionally – rarely, but occasionally — overlap. For instance, most of the exercise badges have a task about warming up before physical activity, and some of those warm up tasks are pretty close to identical. So, as a reasonable expectation, I asked that troop leaders accept this premise: by completing any requirement for Badge A that also fulfills a requirement for Badge B, I get that credit for Badge B without having to duplicate the task a second time. Remember, I’m not getting a free ride on Badge B – I’ll still have five other tasks to complete before I’ve earned the badge.
Here’s another reasonable expectation I asked of troop leaders right up front:
Some of the tasks and badges are simply all about being a girl. There’s just no way around it. In some cases, it’ll be fun to do these tasks exactly as prescribed and intended for a 12 year old girl. But then you bump into a wall when you get to earning a badge that’s called “Becoming a Teen.” See the problem there, don’t you?
So the ground rule is this: when tasks and badges are clearly youth oriented, I may request that troop leaders allow me to adapt the tasks for things that are more age appropriate. Hence, instead of a badge called “Becoming a Teen,” I’m gonna push for a rewrite of those tasks altogether; I’m gonna push to invent a substitute badge called “Becoming Menopausal.” I think you get where I’m going with this.
Flexibility & Adaptability
No doubt troop leaders and I will bump into places where we didn’t anticipate the need for a ground rule. That’s why we promise to maintain an attitude of flexibility and a willingness to adopt new ground rules as the need may arise.
I’ll post any updates to the ground rules on this page as the BSP progresses. Scout’s honor.
Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos, jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos