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OK, I know we have discussed that the District Advancement Chair can not limit the number of meritbadges an MBC can teach.. But does he have the right to look at what they put down as qualifications & question it?



Husband is District Advancement Chair, and he has this question into the Council Training chair but just wondering wha the forum thinks.


We have one guy who has filled out umpteen forms and I would guess signed up for every MB that is listed.


Our council does have the requirements that with guns you need to be certified, and with swimming/lifesaveing you need to be certified by red cross as a water saftey instructor.. After that we have no guidelines.


This guy has listed everything and save one or two, he lists his qualifications as that he learned it as a scout..


So maybe this was one of the guys who earned every MB when he was a scout.. Does that make him qualified to teach every MB? Does my husband have any say in asking for higher qualifications? Or is this one of those things that since there are no guidelines, we have to accept everyone regardless of if they are qualified or not(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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Basement -


On a personal note - my hubby & I are in complete agreement with your interpretation. It may be his son or it maybe the troop, but, seems like someone is gearing up to run a meritbadge mill.. (He is listing himself as troop only)


On a professional level the question is, do we have any rights to stop it..


My personal idea is to put this troop on our list of troops that we would like to make a visit to.. and if this guy is not normally at a troop meeting (I would bet he would be).. To ask if he could swing by for a visit while we are visiting the troop..


Maybe we will have a SM who is not on board with this guys ambitions, or maybe we do..

We could do some informal training / education (Hubby as DAC, me as District Training Chair).. Could walk away thinking that we did some good, or anything we said flew past deaf ears..


Then What?.. Do we have to sign him up for everything because we have no rights to say No?


Does anyone see the visit as overstepping our bounds? I know some people complain that no one from district cares.. Others complain that no one from district should get involved with their personal units.


(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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Tell him that completing a Merit Badge as a Scout isn't adequate qualification as a Merit Badge Counselor and ask him for examples of the qualifications he has in a particular Merit Badge or two.



That answers the question of why you are turning down his blanket application and invites him to explain which areas in which he has a measure of expertise.





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"So maybe this was one of the guys who earned every MB when he was a scout.. Does that make him qualified to teach every MB?"

No, it doesn't. Requirements for MBs have changed over the years, some quite significantly. Many MBs didn't likely exist - at least not in their current form - depending on when he was a Scout.


"Our council does have the requirements that with guns you need to be certified, and with swimming/lifesaveing you need to be certified by red cross as a water saftey instructor.. After that we have no guidelines."

Or is this one of those things that since there are no guidelines, we have to accept everyone regardless of if they are qualified or not"

If you really think there ought to be more "guidelines" talk to the council about establishing some. But certainly feel free to contact the volunteer and determine their qualifications.


"Husband is District Advancement Chair, and he has this question into the Council Training chair but just wondering wha the forum thinks."

Is this a "training" issue or an "advancement" issue? Seems like it would be an advancement question to me. I am interested to hear what the Council response is when your husband hears back from them.


On the other hand, I've never heard of really getting that much into a MBC application. Generally the apps are processed and the person is a counselor. I mean, we don't check to see if the person really is "proficient" based on what they list, we kind of trust what they have to say. What makes this one stand out - the number of MBs, the troop only, or does your District just have more scrutiny than others, all of the above? :)

I myself am a couselor for many, many MBs and have been for 18 years in various Councils across the States regardless of my "official" role in Scouting. I no longer have any children in the program and have never been "troop only" - which I don't really know the reason for anyway. I am, however, quite handy in a variety of things for multiple badges. Do I make baskets? Yes, from a variety of materials - that I collect myself - from cattails to used newspaper. Do I have "formal" training in basketry? No. Do I sell my work? No, but I do give away quite a bit for formal display. My qualification? Avocation - which started as a Boy Scout when I earned my MB at Summer Camp from a youth counselor who certanly was no more proficient than reading the instructions on the kit and the requirements in the pamphlet.

Is this guy the same? I don't know but I wouldn't assume he isn't - just ask him. Maybe he doesn't know any better...

I don't really know what the SM has to do with the application. SMs have no role in MBC application process - besides taking the form because they're the front man of the BSA. The SM's role is providing MBC names to the Scouts. Are you thinking motre along the lines that when a SM sees an odd app that he would ask about it and ensure the person understands the intent? That can work, as long as the SM "is on board" with you. Many do indeed see a merit badge mill as a good thing...

As a (small) tangent, to engage the SMs out there maybe having the shining star MBCs come to Roundtable and the District showcase what's really out there in the talent pool would help the SMs when making recommendations to the Scouts. Or at your annual Scout Show, or a day at Summer Camp, or University of Scouting, etc. This can be very difficult, especially in large districts, I know. But it may work for you and your area. Just a thought anyway.



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No the SM is only in the function of the SM being the one that refers the scout as to which MBC's to use. A meritbadge Mill SM may not care if the MBC's have no experience to teach a MB, but a SM that cares about the quality of his program may..


If this guy is troop only, then the SM should know him. Maybe would recommend him for MB that are in his vocation or interests, but steer the boys away from him if he has no background in it, just signed up for everything.


The Council Advancement Chair did agree with what you stated. Basically stated he can't be an expert in it all, so he needs to narrow down to what he is an expert in.



We have some MBC's who legitimately do hold ALOT.. But not all.. Those who have a vocation at the Fire Department seem to be ones that are experts in ALOT, between first Aid, Emergancy Prep, fitness, forestry etc. Their jobs seems to make them stick their fingers in alot of pies.. And they could even have a few intrests outside their vocations, but I would still raise an eyebrow if they professed to be an expert on Every single subject in the world.

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This is part of the reason we are starting a new troop. My son became disenchanted with the MB methodology of the first troop we joined. One of the ASMs asked me "Have you signed up for your 30 yet?" Meaning, the adult leadership in the troop registered as MBC for up to 30 MB, thereby controlling the MB process from beginning to end. What this meant was MB class troop meetings. Also, it means my son has his Canoeing MB and is still a bit nervous when getting into a canoe.


When he tried another troop, and one of the first things he experienced was Citz in Comm class troop meetings, it was our sign to start something fresh. I am in NOOOOOO way saying I'm the best thing since slice bread in terms of Scouting, and I feel it is possible on rare occasions MBs can be troop events (First Aid, and if the boys come up with the idea and they do the planning). But when I look at the Canoeing MB on his sash and know he wouldn't know a j-stroke from a jay bird, I know he got cheated.

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I'm responding to that part where your advancement chair is seeking guidance from the council and you're just wondering what 'we' think. So here's what I think, given that I HAVE no clout whatsoever. In this district the DE picks the district advancement chair. That person maintains a list of approved counselors. In order to become an approved counselor, we require registration and counselor training. I have no idea how extensive that training is. Moreover, there is an application form that a prospective counselor fills out on which he notes which MB(s) he or she thinks they can do.

This district (last time I checked) limits the number of MB's to a maximum of five per counselor. There are questions regarding the expertise which qualifies them. That is the official version. In theory it seems to be a good system.


In practice, in the past at least, almost anyone could be a MB counselor except for ones like lifesaving or first aid in which we seem to have an abundance of doctors and first responder/lifeguard types. Also in practice, few boys actually go to the list to find a counselor. The scoutmasters don't use it much either.


IMHO, this person should only be allowed to be a counselor for MB's in which he has professional expertise. Earning the MB as a scout should not qualify him. (I still object to summer camp which uses teenagers who did nothing more than earn a MB be the counselor for subjects like the natural sciences. I've watched what they do and they basically waste the boys' time.)

Good Luck

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I support my DAC by doing District MB Counselor training. My initials are not on the MB Counselor app, he does not certify the app, does not send it to the Registrar, and through our Professionals, informs the COR/CC/SM the counselor is not yet qualified


For 110 or so of the MBs, the only standard is self-selection. If there is a clear problem, the DAC has a friendly cup of coffeewith the Scouter.


As I understand it, shooting sports in our council require the counselor to be a NRA range officer if he intends to open a range for his Scouts to shoot on. As I understand it, the proficiency standards in Safety Afloat (Scouter must be able to demonstrate all the skills of the MB to counsel aquatics. MBs.


Our Council Advancement Committee, with the approval of the Exec Board, has put a six MB limit per counselor. No one is willing to die o that hill today, there are bigger fish to fry

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MBC's and the darn Merit Badge list was a real pain in the neck back when I was District Chair.

Had one guy who was on the list for 40 badges.

The good thing was that at least this guy was still living. Better that the first few names on the list who had been dead and buried for a very long time.

The list was a real mess.

It had over the years been reformatted a number of times, but was so large that trying to contact everyone on the list was impossible -Not only the dead ones! But guys who had moved, quit.

In the end the District Committee decided that we'd give everyone six months notice after which time the list was going to be done away with.Scouts working on a badge with a MBC could of course finish the badge.

After that everyone who wanted to serve as a MBC had to apply or re-apply.

The District Advancement Committee met and reviewed all the applications.

It was also made clear that a post card would be sent out each year asking if they wanted to remain on the list or make any changes.

Had a chat with the Council Advancement Chair about limiting the number of badges that any one person could cover?

He said that limiting the number would go against the BSA.

The reason he gave was that some Scouts in very rural areas just don't have enough adults to have making a limit work.

So we didn't limit the number, we did make it known that the Advancement Committee recommended that people only cover five badges and if they wanted to do more than five it would be for badges where there wasn't enough MBC's.

This all worked out well.

The only fly in the ointment was the Council Registrar.

We asked her to ensure that only names on the list be used and she said that she didn't have time to check all the cards.

So once a month the Dean of Merit Badges toddled off to the Council Service Center and went over the cards.

I was expecting a lot of people to squawk and make a fuss, but it didn't happen.

The recommendation of only five made people think about which badges they really wanted to do, so the question about being qualified never really came up.



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Whats make it worse is the guy is only willing to work with his troop. Come on, go big or go home!


Agreed - refuse it as is. I would too ask him for a short meeting and explain that you are looking for experts in areas that can expand the merit badge experience for the boys, not fumble through it. Suggest maybe he pick a handful and provide the qualifications that apply. Make no bones about it and tell him you are looking for qualified experts in these areas only. And try to get him to work with ALL units (whimp). The sad part about it is when you have people that justify this crap due to lack of any counselors (which is another discussion).


Reminds me of the ASM I had that signed up to for Personal Management MB and his qualification was I run my household (he was a quality assurance analyst). The first and last time I ever let a MB class be held at one of our meetings when after the third night only about 3 of our 20 guys showed. I ended the class after correcting his awful and outright wrong explanation of interest.


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MT - have hubby make a deal with the guy.


Let him counsel five merit badges for every unit he counsels for. Right now, assume he's only available to the troop, so he starts by picking his best five. As soon as the DAC sees a boy from a different troop completing a badge through this counselor, let him know he can sign up for another five, and so on ...


Since there are no guidelines, there's nothing keeping a DAC from making deals that meet the needs of the district.

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