MERIT BADGE COUNSELORS - Please complete this form to access the merit badge counselor lists.
As a merit badge counselor, your mission is to join fun with learning. You are both a teacher and mentor to the Scout as he works on a merit badge and learns by doing. By presenting opportunities for growth via engaging activities like designing a Web page (Computers), performing an ollie and a wheelie (Snowboarding), or fabricating rope (Pioneering), you can pique a young man's interest in the merit badge subject. Just think: Your hands-on involvement could inspire a Scout to develop a lifelong hobby, pursue a particular career, or become an independent, self-supporting adult.
To qualify as a merit badge counselor, a volunteer must:
Be at least 18 years old.
Register annually with the Boy Scouts of America by completing an Adult leader application. To ensure youth protection, a criminal background check will be done. You can begin teaching once your application is approved and you receive your membership card.
Be of good character.
Be proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training.
Be able to work with Scout-age youth.
Be approved by the district/council advancement committee.
All merit badge counselors must be trained in the aims of Scouting and in advancement procedures. Training module link:
The Boy Scouts of America strongly requires that merit badge counselors take BSA Youth Protection training. This program addresses strategies for personal safety awareness for youth as well as adults. BSA Youth Protection policies include:
- Two-deep leadership
- No one-on-one contact
- Respecting privacy
- Reporting problems
Fast Facts for the Merit Badge Counselor
- A merit badge counselor can counsel any Scout, including his own son—although this is discouraged in order to offer a Scout the chance to meet a diverse group of outstanding adults.
- A counselor may be certified in unlimited merit badge subjects, but he or she must be approved for each one.
- There is no limit on the number of merit badges that a counselor may counsel with one Scout. However, the Scout will benefit the most from working with a variety of outstanding adults.
- A merit badge counselor may limit his or her services to one unit but still must be approved by the council advancement committee. Volunteers who serve in multiple positions must fill out another form and show registration as a merit badge counselor.
- Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters are not automatically approved as merit badge counselors.
- Group instruction is acceptable, but each Scout must be tested and passed individually.
- There is no time limit for completion of merit badges, but all work on merit badges must be completed before the Scout's 18th birthday.
- The merit badge counselor assesses the Scout's knowledge to ensure he has completed all the required work—no more, and no less. You may not add to, delete from, or modify the merit badge requirements in any way, although certain considerations can be made for Scouts with disabilities.
Scout Buddy System. A Scout must have a buddy with him at each meeting with a merit badge counselor. A Scout's buddy can be another Scout, a parent or guardian, a brother or sister, or a relative or friend. From his Scoutmaster, the Scout obtains a signed merit badge application and the name of the appropriate merit badge counselor. The Scout sets up his first appointment with the counselor. The counselor should explain the requirements to the Scout. The Scout and his buddy then meet as appropriate with the counselor until the Scout completes the badge's requirements.
Make the Scout feel welcome and relaxed.
Stimulate the Scout's interest by showing him something related to the merit badge subject, but don't overwhelm him; remember, he is probably a beginner.
Carefully review each requirement, start with easy skills or questions, and encourage practice.
Insist that the Scout do exactly what the requirements specify. Many of the requirements involve hands-on activities that call for a Scout to show or demonstrate; make; list; discuss; or collect, identify, and label—and he must do just that.
Don't make the requirement more difficult—or any easier—than stated. A Scout may undertake more activities on his own initiative, but he cannot be pushed to do so.
During testing, the Scout might need help in a particular area or with a certain skill, and may need to be retested later to ensure the requirement has been fulfilled.
Encourage self-evaluation and self-reflection, and establish an atmosphere that encourages the Scout to ask for help.
Take a genuine interest in the Scout's projects, and encourage completion
A merit badge counselor will be registered in the Boy Scouts of America at the District level regardless of whether they teach for a specific unit only. The Merit badge Counselor position code is a non-unit registration. No publishing of Merit Badge counselor’s names, telephone numbers or emails will be done without specific permission from the counselor.
Guest speakers or other RESOURCE people who help a counselor with certain requirements of a merit badge are NOT required to be registered as Merit Badge counselors unless they will be teaching outside of the approved counselor’s class.
Units can extract their own unit listing by using the council or district approved listing only.