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How many is too many counselors?

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Our advancement coordinator told a parent she could not become a merit badge counselor because we already had 1 for the badge she wanted to sign up for.


I'm going to be bringing this up tonight at the committee meeting because I feel she was wrong to turn the parent away. The parent complained to my husband (who is the scout master - I am the treasurer on the committee) and we were in shock that she was made to feel "not needed".


I've been scouring the web sites to see if there's a "limit" to the number of merit badge counselors a particular badge can have, but have not come up with anything. Like I said - there might be 2 people at the most for these Eagle badges she wanted to sign up for. There are 3 other troops in the area, so it's not like it's 2 counselors for a small amount of boys...



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I'm confused. Are you saying that merit badge approval/disapproval is done at the troop level?


"Our advancement coordinator" - troop? district? council?


What our district advancement coordinator uses as a criteria for a merit badge counselor is if they are qualified or not. Troops do not make this decision. Scoutmasters select MB counselors for the Scouts however.

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If I had been around when that AC had told me that I would have busted out laughing. Guess it was a good thing I wasn't there.


So a swimming MBC can't also counsel for Lifesaving? Or a Whitewater MBC can't work with Canoeing? And a Veterinary Medicine MBC cannot also be the MBC for Dog Care or Pets?


There can sometimes be extremes regarding this, but it is usually the other extreme, that a MBC is signed up for too many merit badges. I have seen some people which are which are responsible for as many as 30 or more MBs including all the Eagle required. That is too much.


If you look at the Merit Badge Application (form 34405), it has 7 numbered lines for Merit Badges to counsel. That, into and of itself should dispell this myth on behalf of the AC. Show her the form:




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I am unaware of any such limits.


Some random thoughts, for what they may be worth


Not sure if this is really the advancement chairs call. Merit Badge Counselor is a district position. Even if your troop has a counselor, others might benefit. If anything, I would hope an advancement chair would want more people involved.


The more options available, the better. More opportunities for adult association with people they may not have worked with before.


Philosophically, I hate to see parents who want to get involved turned away. It can create bad feelings, which you have observed.


I might be tempted to talk to the advancement chair to see where he is coming from. Is he confused about the rules? Or is there another reason for not wanting this person involved in this role. Might be a back story we don't know about.





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BuffaloSkipper - it's not that the parent was denied wanting to councel more then one badge. She was denied because she wanted to sign up for the Citizenship badges and apparently the troop has 2 counselors for these already.


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Of course she can sign up. And she can do so via your district or council (not the troop AC, whose job does not include this). Having multiple MBCs gives boys choices. Some people just do better with certain types of counselors.


When she signs up, encourage her to register as a MBC for the whole council, and not exclusive to your troop. Ideally, boys will work with some counselors who are not as well-known to them (like, from other troops or people not affiliated with a troop). This broadens their circle and allows for different sorts of adult interaction than if they are only ever working with adults that they have known for many years.



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Thanks for the clarification. I can understand why the AC may have said this, even if I do not agree with her.


I know there are some districts out there (mine is not one of them) which has any "troop MBCs" go through their troop and have their app signed by CC and COR before sumbitting to the district. I agree, however, that the logical place for the parent to start is with the AC, whose job it is to recruit MBCs for the troop (at least in some troops).

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As it was explained to you back in August when you asked if you could turn down the former SM's merit badge counselor application - MBC is a DISTRICT position, NOT a Troop one.


Neither your Troop Advancement person, or any other Troop leader, has any say at all in who can/can not be a merit badge counselor. Your parent simply needs to fill in the merit badge counselor form Buffalo posted the link for (I too recommend checking the "will work with all units" box), take it to your local Council office, fill in a BSA Adult volunteer application there, and hand it all over to the council staff. The parent does not even have to pay a BSA registration fee.


It is the SM's job to recommend merit badge counselors to the Scouts in his Troop for particular badges. It is NOT the job of anyone in a Troop to say a person can not sign up and be a merit badge counselor.



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"Our advancement coordinator"?

I really must be getting old!

Never heard of such an animal!

Back in my day the Scouts coordinated their own advancement.


I'd really like to see a Troop where all the Scouts went "Out of house" to do most of the MB's.



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Advancement Coordinator is the Troop Committee person who does the scut work of advancement management, including the hardcopy or ScoutNet reports.


I endorse what Lisa said. I like what Eammon said!


Push the youth outside the adults they know in the Troop, push them to District people!


It means the SM has to get out and meet people outside his unit!



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Okay, so the technicallity of who decides on MBC's is answered.


But am the only one concerned about the AC's attitude?


Not sure about your troop bearshark..but in my pack, we would love to have as many parents as we can to help out.


Even in our Webelos Dens...we could stand a few more MB counsilers.



Granted, nobody wants a hundred parents getting in the way of the scouts, but help is help. At the very minimum, the AC should have said: "Hey, we couldm really use your help on the "X" committee".


My concern is if your current AC lets personal feeling or a "This is MY program!" attitude get in the way.


Granted, the parent wanting to help may not be suited for MBC, but again, seems like your AC would steer them to another spot that the troop could use assistance in.

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You can't have too many MB counselors! And this isn't the unit's call! This is a district/council approval.


I'm with Scoutfish. Sounds like there are some control issues here and it also sounds like the majority of MB's are done in house. While this is OK, it sorta bypasses the adult association part of MB's.


Who in this unit assigns the MB Counselor?

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