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Author Topic: Calling All Beeekeepers: Please Support Beekeeping Merit Badge Project  (Read 5527 times)
ndvan
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« on: March 29, 2010, 08:43:35 AM »

NOTE:  Thanks to Neil, the forms are all available here

Hey everbody,

There has already been a post on this site about the Boy Scouts Beekeeping Merit Badge Project, but I want to give everybody an update and ask for you help.

Christopher Stowell lives nearby, and I know him and his parents through our beekeeping club, Northeast Oklahoma Beekeepers Association.  Christopher is a great kid, and he loves being in BSA and keeping bees.  a few months ago, he was looking for a merit badge project in an old book and saw references to a beekeeping merit badge.  Christopher told his Scout Master that he wanted to earn that badge.  His Scout Master explained that the beekeeping merit badge had been discontinued.  

Christopher then learned that BSA discontinued the badge in 1995 because there were very few scouts earning it.  The basic problem was a lack of beekeepers who would teach the information.  

Here is a picture of Christopher:  http://www.helpthehoneybees.com/#buzzlove so you will know that he actually exists.

Christopher has asked me to help with his campaign to reinstate the merit badge.  For a lot of reasons, the beekeeping community needs to take a lead on this issue.  I think that it is our duty as beekeepers to pass this craft on to a new generation of beekeepers.  The best way to accomplish that goal is to expose young people to beekeeping.  

Here is what Christopher would like for you to do:

1.  If you have not already done so, please go to this website and sign Christopher’s on-line petition: http://www.experienceproject.com/beepetition .  Then, do your best to make this petition drive “go viral.”  If you have a list of friends you can contact by email or facebook, please forward the link to the petition to your contacts/friends, aske them to sign the petition and ask your friends to also forward the petition to their contacts/friends.

3.  AND HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT REQUEST.  It is nice that lots of people are willing to support Christopher with words.  However, only the beekeeping community can convince BSA that mentors will be available if BSA reinstates the merit badge.  There are two ways that you can do this.  If you are a member of a beekeeping club or association, please ask your group to pass a resolution pledging to provide training to scouts, if BSA will reinstate the badge.  

Here is a form resolution:  http://www.beesource.com/files/bsaclubresolution.bsa.pdf

If you are not a member of a beekeeping group but would be willing to mentor on your own, or if you do not want to involve your group, please send a letter to BSA, c/o Christopher, advising BSA that you will be willing to act as a mentor.  

Here is a form letter:  http://www.beesource.com/files/bsabeekeeperletter.bsa.pdf

FYI, Dr. Dewey Caron has agreed to lead the effort to draft a modern Beekeeping Merit Badge Handbook that would serve as the written materials to be used to teach the scouts.  You would not have to make up the teaching materials.

After you take any of these steps, please come back to this link and tell the world.  We need to get some momentum behind this grass roots effort.

Thank you for your support!

Neil Van Dalsem
Tulsa, OK

NOTE:  Thanks to Neil, the forms are all available here
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 10:33:33 AM by Robo » Logged
iddee
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2010, 09:35:52 AM »

Although i do agree with your message, why start a new thread?

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,26615.0.html

It's kinda like kickin' webeejammin out, isn't it?
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ndvan
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 08:12:34 PM »

Hey there Iddee, hope you are doing well. 

Not trying to kick anybody anywhere.  I can't figure out who webeejammin is, but I'm absolutely certain that they are in NEOBA (my local club) and he/she is very likely a friend of mine.  I don't kick my friends, or strangers for that matter.

I started the new thread on this subject because there is new information and new requests, and I did not want people who had responded to the other one to skip over it and miss the new stuff. 

What are the odds that you can either get your bee club to pass the resolution or that you would sign the letter promising to be a mentor?   

Here's the real truth of the matter.  Christopher has great success getting non-beekeepers to sign a petition, but we are having trouble getting beekeepers to commit to doing anything.  Signing a petition is a nice gesture, BUT WE DESPERATELY NEED HELP GETTING BEEKEEPERS TO COMMIT TO ACTING AS MENTORS IF THE BADGE IS REINSTATED!!!!! 

BSA has publicly said that they are worried that there will not be teachers.  That apparently was the case when they cancelled the beekeeping merit badge 15 years ago.  If beekeepers won't commit to being teachers, then I'd say that BSA has a good point and this project is doomed. 

I'm really just trying to help Christopher, because he and his folks thought I could help.  I need all the help I can get. 

Thanks,

Neil
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iddee
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2010, 08:24:12 PM »

Getting my club to do anything is questionable, but as for myself, I am mentoring a dozen plus now and would be willing to add to that. I am also teaching removals and extractions, trapouts, etc. I will be teaching personally and on the net as long as i am able. If you want to take it to pm's or telephone, I will be glad to help any way i can.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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ndvan
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 08:05:34 AM »

Iddee,

If I recall correctly, you've answered a bunch of my questions.  grin

For now, we just need you to sign the form letter (see the line above) and mail it to Christopher.  Also, see if you could get your club to pass the resolution.  Don't know for sure until you ask.  FWIW, our club passed it by a unanimous vote of the members present.  This is one cause that the vast majority of beekeepers will support.  It is just a matter of asking people to get on board.

Neil
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weBEE Jammin
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2010, 10:13:18 PM »

I'm not kicked out! Thanks for taking up, but it's all cool. Neil and I know each other and are good buds now that he knows who weBEE jammin is. The more people we can get involved in Chris' crusade to get the merit badge reinstated the better. Please pass these links on to all your friends, and tell them to keep on passing it on to thier friends. This is a great thing that Chris is doing- please help.
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 11:52:39 AM »


Not trying to kick anybody anywhere.  I can't figure out who webeejammin is, but I'm absolutely certain that they are in NEOBA (my local club) and he/she is very likely a friend of mine.  I don't kick my friends, or strangers for that matter.
I have been debating whether to post my views on this issue.  Your statement has pushed me over the edge. grin

I am a new beek and was a Boy Scout.. many many years ago.  I certainly support the mentoring of young girls and boys in the art and science of keeping bees.   But I have a problem with the BSA on precisely the point you mention.  The BSA does kick out their friends and strangers.

Scouts who are gay or agnostic may not remain as members if they are honest and state their status.  It's not a matter of sexual practice, since many of these Scouts are not old enough for sex anyway.  It's about who they are... their underlying sexual preference, which they have no control over.  And it's ok to be a Buddhist or Muslim, just not atheist or agnostic.   The BSA has every right to their views, but I could not in good conscience support the BSA until they change their discriminatory position on these matters.  Intolerance is not the American way.

The Girl Scouts of America have no such restrictions.  May I suggest that the offer of mentoring would be better made to the Girl Scouts until the BSA has a change of heart.   Many of you are probably saying to yourselves that religion and politics have no place in bee keeping.  I agree, but it's the BSA that has imposed these odd religious and political tests.  If you mentor for the BSA, you are supporting religious and sexual prejudice. 

Ok, I'm done with my rant.  grin   Not trying to tell anyone what to do.... just making you aware of these BSA policies.
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 09:14:22 PM »

We had a great podcast on Thursday night with Christopher.   What an outstanding young man and it is no wonder that a large portion of our nation leaders where boy scouts.  I encourage you all to have a listen.

http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-16456/TS-356656.mp3
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iddee
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 10:01:05 PM »

I don't know about the Buddhist or Muslim part, but I'm of the opinion that the BSA should include them with the homosexuals "no, I won't call them gay, as I see nothing to warrant them being referred to as happy and cheerful", and agnostics, along with the atheists. I don't think it matters whether I'm willing to tolerate or not. The BSA was founded as a Christian group, the same as the YMCA and YWCA. I think they should have the right to keep it that way, regardless of my or your feelings. It's not mandatory service, so if you don't fit in, you should start your own group.

PS. Since we both know this isn't the place for politics, if you remove your post, I'll remove mine. If you insist on turning it into a liberal tolerance exchange, I'll make it so bad Beemaster will lock and delete it.
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 11:02:46 PM »

I don't know about the Buddhist or Muslim part, but I'm of the opinion that the BSA should include them with the homosexuals "no, I won't call them gay, as I see nothing to warrant them being referred to as happy and cheerful", and agnostics, along with the atheists. I don't think it matters whether I'm willing to tolerate or not. The BSA was founded as a Christian group, the same as the YMCA and YWCA. I think they should have the right to keep it that way, regardless of my or your feelings. It's not mandatory service, so if you don't fit in, you should start your own group.
Of course the BSA has the right to keep their organization as it was.  I said that in my first post on the issue.  This thread is a call to all beekeepers ( I guess that includes me then) to support an organization that places religious and sexual preference requirements on participation. That, in itself, is a political statement.  I am replying to that call with an explanation of why I can't be involved.  If it is ok to voice support for the BSA in this thread, then I would think it's ok to voice the opposite opinion.  I am trying to have a civil discussion of the matter.
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PS. Since we both know this isn't the place for politics, if you remove your post, I'll remove mine. If you insist on turning it into a liberal tolerance exchange, I'll make it so bad Beemaster will lock and delete it.
You, of course, may do as you like.  I'm not sure why you are so anti-gay but I would hope you would understand one thing: People who are a bit different from you in matters of religion or sexual preference can be and are good beekeepers.  Why should those folks be excluded from the mentoring program that is being promoted by this thread?
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iddee
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2010, 11:31:47 PM »

I didn't see where the mentors had to join the BSA. Could you point that out to me?

I doubt there will be too many personal questions like that asked on the mentor forms.

>>>> I'm not sure why you are so anti-gay<<<<

And I don't know how you can be so ready to accept all people, regardless of their traits, in all areas of life.
One instinct that seems to be widely missing in the US today is self-preservation.

This thread is a request for BSA assistance. If you want a "bash the BSA" thread, start one. This isn't the place for it.
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2010, 06:11:00 AM »

This thread is a call to all beekeepers ( I guess that includes me then) to support an organization that places religious and sexual preference requirements on participation.


Wrong!  This thread is about supporting youth and the advancement of beekeeping.  It happens to be the Boy Scouts who are taking the lead in this case,  but as stated in the original thread here,  this effort is to promote beekeeping with all youth and any organization that wants to take the initiative. 

You are surprised that an organization founded on the belief of a higher being and teaches morals has stipulations to participate? 

Once again,  this effort is about supporting youths and beekeeping, not about supporting the BSA, they are just the channel supplying youth that are interested in learning beekeeping.  You are under no restrictions to limit your mentoring to BSA youth.   If you are so hung up about the BSA, than don't participate.

I was discriminated against in college and not allowed to participate in an event because I was not black (think a white group could get away with that?).  So be it, I got over it.  But send a young black gay agnostic boy looking to be mentored in beekeeping my way and I'll surely help him out.

We got your point, now let's get back to the original topic, mentoring youth in beekeeping......
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2010, 10:11:56 AM »

i'm very much in agreement with duckinface.  i've never turned down helping anyone with bees, and it would take an extreme situation for me to turn anyone down (ie, if someone had a swastika tattooed on their forehead i might ask them to find someone else to help them).

...but would i run a beekeeping class at a whites (or blacks) only club?  no.

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The BSA was founded as a Christian group, the same as the YMCA and YWCA. I think they should have the right to keep it that way, regardless of my or your feelings. It's not mandatory service, so if you don't fit in, you should start your own group.
is that really true?  my reading is that the BSA has made it clear that they DON'T WANT THE BEEKEPING MERIT BADGE, and that one scout (and doubtless there are others) that would like the badge reinstated...and it's all the beekeepers who are trying to impose their desires to the powers that be in the BSA. 

if it's not ok for those outside the BSA to try and influence their policies wrt religious beliefs (because they have the right to run their organization the way they want), then why is it ok for beekeepers to try and influence their policies wrt to the beekeeping merit badge?  certainly there are gay, agnositic, and athiest scouts that would love a similar campaign to support their place in the scouts...but over and over we are told that the scouts should run things as they see fit....apparently unless it involves beekeeping?

i was a scout, and it was an important experience/foundation in my life.

as a beekeeper, i'm enthusiastic about getting "the next generation" involved.  it makes me uncomfortable to support this effort, however, as the policy of the BSA is that a scout that does well in a leadership position is removed from that position if found to be athiest, agnositic, or gay.

deknow
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2010, 10:44:31 AM »

If Christopher  gets the beekeeping badge back he shod get a merit badge for campaigning to reinstate the merit badge   Wink
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2010, 11:47:17 AM »

If Christopher  gets the beekeeping badge back he shod get a merit badge for campaigning to reinstate the merit badge   Wink

He has recently earned his public speaking merit badge because of his efforts in this campaign and will continue to achieve requirements for other merit badges as he goes.

Despite the effort to vilify the BSA,  there is no truth to the fact that they don't want a beekeeping merit badge.  There where valid reasons that the badge was discontinued, but beekeeping has had a resurgence since then and we feel it is time to consider bringing it back. The BSA identified legitimate concerns (scout interest, mentors, experts to define requirements, etc),  just like they would for any merit badge request.   We are attempting to gather the support to alleviate those concerns when the formal request/proposal is submitted on July 15th.
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