You are both teacher and mentor as the Scout learns by doing. By presenting opportunities for growth via engaging activities like designing a webpage (Computers), performing an ollie and a wheelie (Snow Sports), or fabricating rope (Pioneering), you may pique a Scout’s interest and inspire a Scout to develop a lifelong hobby, pursue a particular career, or become an independent, self-supporting adult.
Learning to Be a Merit Badge Counselor
All merit badge counselors should seek training. It is important that they have a full understanding of their responsibilities and also of the recommended practices for quality counseling. All merit badge counselors should take part in Merit Badge Counselor Position Specific Training found in their my.scouting account under Scouts BSA.
Another resource is the Guide for Merit Badge Counseling, No. 512-065. This resource can be found online at www.scouting.org/ programs/boy-scouts/advancement-and-awards/resources/.
Processing This Application
Merit badge counselors must register as adult Scouters and be approved by the council advancement committee for each merit badge listed on this Merit Badge Counselor Information form. A merit badge counselor does not have to pay a registration fee, but must complete an Adult Application for position code 42, fill out this form, and complete BSA Youth Protection training. Submit the Adult Application with the Merit Badge Counselor Information form to your council. Counselors may wish to associate with a particular unit but are encouraged to serve any Scout from any unit.
Special Qualifications and Guidelines for Merit Badge Counselors
A number of merit badges involve activities that are restricted or require certification or special training for those supervising these activities. See the Guide to Advancement, topic 220.127.116.11, “Qualifications of Counselors.” Merit badge counselors may personally meet these required qualifications, or they may use others so qualified. Additionally, the BSA Guide to Safe Scouting has specific requirements and procedures for shooting sports and for aquatics, winter, and other activities. These policies apply to all BSA activities, including merit badge instruction. For other merit badges where specific BSA requirements do not exist, counselors should have sufficient depth of knowledge and experience to understand how to safely present the material.
Instructions to Counselors
• The unit leader (Scoutmaster, crew Advisor, or Skipper) recommends and provides the name and contact information of at least one merit badge counselor to each Scout desiring to work on a merit badge. Before beginning to work with a youth, counselors should check the Scout’s merit badge application (blue card) to ensure it is signed by the unit leader.
• Every Scout must have another person with them at each meeting with a merit badge counselor. This person can be their parent or legal guardian or another registered adult. There is no one-on-one contact allowed with Scouts and counselors.
• Counselors may not add to or delete any merit badge requirements. Group instruction is allowed where special facilities and expert personnel make this most practical, or when Scouts are dependent on a few counselors for assistance. However, any group experience must provide attention to every individual candidate’s projects and progress, and assure each has actually and personally fulfilled all the requirements. If, for example, a requirement uses words like “show,” “demonstrate,” or “discuss,” then every Scout must individually do so. It is unacceptable to award badges on the basis of Scouts sitting in classrooms and watching demonstrations or remaining silent during discussions.
• When a Scout begins working on a merit badge, the current-year Scouts BSA Requirements book lists the official requirements in effect at that time. If requirements change after a Scout has started working on a merit badge, the requirements that were in effect when the Scout began working on the badge can still be followed unless the BSA’s National Council places a specific timeline on the implementation of new requirements.