Merit Badge Counselor Information


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What Is a Merit Badge?

A special part of a Scout's learning adventure, merit badges are awards presented to a Scout when he completes the requirements for one of the merit badge subjects. There are more than 100 merit badges a Scout may earn. The subject matters range from vocational and careers introduction to personal development, hobbies, sports, high adventure, citizenship, and life-skills development. Every merit badge is designed to teach the Scout new skills while outwardly encouraging him to challenge himself and have fun in the process. Merit badges offer a range of difficulty over a breadth of subject matters, and a Scout is free to pursue any merit badge he wishes. The merit badge itself is a simple embroidered patch, but the intangible end result of earning it is that the Scout gains self-confidence from overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal.

What Is a Merit Badge Counselor?

A merit badge counselor is both a teacher and a mentor to the Scout as he works on the merit badge. Merit badge counselors should be satisfied that each Scout under their guidance meets all the requirements set forth for the merit badge. In this sense, a merit badge counselor is an examiner. In a larger sense, the real opportunity for a counselor lies in coaching—helping Scouts over the different hurdles of the requirements and helping make them aware of the deeper aspects of the subject from their knowledge and experience.

The merit badge counselor may help a Scout by providing instruction and guidance on the subject matter. However, the counselor must not complete the Scout's work on the requirements. The counselor needs to test the Scout to ensure that he has completed all the required work but may not modify the merit badge requirements in the process. This standard ensures that the advancement requirements are fair and uniform for all Scouts.

Trainer: Lead a brief discussion to emphasize that counselors must not add or modify the merit badge requirements.

A merit badge counselor must always ensure that a Scout has a "buddy" present at all instruction sessions. Working on merit badges is especially enjoyable when Scouts work together, and the BSA encourages this by making the buddy system a part of the merit badge program. Together the two meet with merit badge counselors, plan projects, and keep their enthusiasm high. The Scout's buddy could be another Scout, a parent or guardian, brother or sister, relative, or friend. The Scout should bring a buddy to all his appointments with his counselor.

To become a Merit Badge Counselor you need (4) things:

    1. Complete Merit Badge Training - Online @ My.Scouting
    2. Fill out and turn in Merit Badge Application to GSC
    3. Fill out and turn in Adult Leader Application to GSC
    4. Complete Youth Protection Training and submit with Application to GSC

** For certain merit badges such as Scuba, Shooting Sports, Climbing etc. you will need to be a certified Instructor. Please check the front of the merit badge book to see what the requirements are for the merit badge you wish to teach.

A money saving idea - Build your Troop lending library by having your Scouts donate or 'sell' their used Merit Badge books from SAW or Summer Camp back to the Troop for Scout bucks (Troop Scout Accounts).