Certain merit badges cannot be completed in a single week of camp. While a specific requirement cannot be completed at camp, this should not prevent a Scout from undertaking that Badge experience.
For this reason, Ockanickon uses a pre-requisite system.
Why We Use Pre-Requisites:
- So we can offer more badge activities
- To allow Scouts to leave with badges instead of partials
- As a guide for Scouts who may not know how much work a badge requires
- To give Scouts more time for activities at camp rather than paperwork
- As a reward for Scouts who don’t mind doing a little preparation
What the Scout Needs to Do:
Before attempting a badge, Scouts should check the Merit Badge page for pre-requisites. Please note that pre-requisites change as merit badge requirements change. Please re-visit the Ockanickon webpage, frequently, for any changes to merit badge pre-requisites. We make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the pre-requisite information is timely. There may be a small delay between Ockanickon receiving new requirements and updated pre-requisites.
How to Prove a Scout Completed a Pre-Requisite:
Pre-requisites fall into three basic categories. Each one requires different proof of completion. Many Scouts are surprised to learn that a Scoutmaster’s note won’t always do. Some requirements are complicated or require knowledge in a field to properly evaluate work. Sometimes a leader has these skills, sometimes they don’t. For example, most unit leaders are not familiar with Environmental Impact Statements. They would have a difficult time evaluating such a statement for the Environmental Science Pre-requisite #6. Leaders can definitely lend support and guidance to Scouts.
Three Types of Pre-Requisites and What They Require
These requirements simply ask the Scout to participate in some activity. The requirement doesn’t ask the Scout to make anything, document or analyze something to get feedback from an instructor. These requirements are straight forward and just about any leader can verify them.
Examples– Taking a year of Spanish, visiting your State Capital, taking part in a group sport, or attending an orienteering competition are all excellent examples of activity participation.
Validation– Something that proves a Scout did it; this could be a report card, a picture or perhaps a note from a Scoutmaster.
Activity Participation with Results
These requirements ask a Scout to do something that must be evaluated by the merit badge instructor. These requirements often ask the Scout to analyze, collect something, or ask for feedback from an instructor.
Examples– Make an ecosystem in a bottle and monitor it for 7 days, perform an energy audit of your home and track ways that you have saved energy for 14 days, make a budget and try to stick to it or collect 10 rocks and minerals and properly identify them are all examples of requirements that ask Scouts to participate in activities with results.
Validation– If the requirement asked the Scout to make something, the Scout needs to bring what they made, whether it is a rock collection, an ecosystem in a bottle, a copy of your letter to a Congressman, or your budget for the last three months. If the requirement asked you to do something with what you made, bring that too. Observations of your bottle, a paragraph on how you stuck to your budget, the response from your Congressman all fit this category. Sometimes, a requirement asks you to make something that isn’t easily brought to camp like the 230 lb lake sturgeon you caught for fishing merit badge. In these cases, a photo is sufficient or a nice drawing and a Scoutmaster’s note.
These requirements ask the Scout to write something, whether it is report, letter, drawing, or essay.
Examples– Drawings for Art, reports for Environmental Science, or essays for Communications all fit this category.
Validation– The Scout must bring whatever they produced. What the Scout wrote will be reviewed by merit badge instructor to see if the work meets the instructor’s expectations.
Revisions, Changes and Misses
Just like everywhere else, an attempt doesn’t always bring success. A rock may be misidentified, a report may leave out important information or what the Scout did may not be what the requirement asked. If this happens, the Scout may make arrangements with their instructor to see what can be done to complete the requirement.
A Note About Pre-Requisites
Scouts are a diverse group with different abilities and sometimes special needs. Special learning needs may come into play with information-based badges such as those in Ecology or Eagle. The staffs in these departments are ready to help make sure the spirit of a requirement can be met by the efforts of a Scout with special needs. Modifications and alternate completion criteria to requirements based on special needs will be determined by each department head and requests for a modification should be addressed to him or her.
Partials refer to merit badges that for whatever reason are not completed during the summer camp session. The Scout has done work towards being awarded a merit badge but for one reason or another, has not been able to cover all requirements. A partial is a written record of what has and has not been done. At a later date, Scouts can complete partials in a number of ways:
- When attending another summer camp session at Ockanickon
- With another instructor for the same merit badge.
Partials are used when a Scout can’t finish his stay at camp, when weather or when other natural factors interfere with merit badge completion or when pre-requisites simply don’t meet the instructor’s expectations and the Scout is unable to meet them. Partials are not for Scouts who arrive at camp unprepared.
With this in mind, we try very hard to make sure that if your Scout has made the effort to complete pre-requisites that your Scout leaves camp with the merit badge. This may involve revising work, adding missing work or other additional work outside of the normal merit badge session. What needs to be done to finish a pre-requisite is up to the discretion of the merit badge instructor.
Policy on Accepting Partials
The decision to accept all or part of a partial is at the discretion of the merit badge instructor with guidance from the area director. Often, the instructor will request proof of competence, such as tying a knot or explaining the water cycle to demonstrate understanding of the requirement. This may be the basis for acceptance. The instructor may request the Scout complete requirements outside the normal time scheduled for a badge or attend certain sessions to complete the required work.
If a merit badge has changed, the merit badge instructor may choose to complete the badge under either the original requirements or under the revised requirements and this decision will be made with guidance from the area director.
Procedure for Completing a Partial:
Any scout planning on completing a partial should, at the start of the week, meet with the Area Director that oversees the merit badge to work out the best time to come and complete the requirements.