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sctmom

Merit Badge Counselors

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As I learn more about the Boy Scouting world in my area, there seems to be no mention of official Merit Badge counselors. From what I've seen of 2 troops, the assistant scoutmasters become Merit Badge counselors as needed.

 

How common is this?

 

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We have merit badge counselors who are committee members only. I am an ASM and also counselor for most of the High Tech badges, Electronics electricity etc. The only other requirment is set by council that the person be registered and to do this yearly.

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When we first joined the troop I found out that the listings were for the entire district and they were about 3 years outdated. So I started an initiative to recruit counselors by typing up a letter to distribute to teachers, community leaders, parents, and other qualified adults such as Cub leaders. We got a lot of counselors that way, not as many as I would have liked but a pretty good listing. Most of the adults in our troop, including the SM, ASM, and committee members, are counselors for at least several topics. If the boys want to work on something that we do not have a counselor for, I have managed to track one down somewhere although since we live in a rural area we may have to travel a bit.

 

I found out that the council registers adults as counselors in their database, but does not list what they are counselors for! So in order to get a district or council listing, someone has to manually create one. Sounds like theres room for improvement in the software they use.

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Hi sctmom,

Merit Badge counselors can be recruited through the didtrict to work with all scouts or through the unit. The counselor recruited through the unit can choose to only counsel the scouts from that particular unit or can choose to counsel scouts on a very limited basis.

 

The counselor must be 18 years of age or older and have sufficient skills or knowledge in the area(s) that he or she counsels.

 

Counselors can do more than one merit badge and scouts can use the same counselor more than once. It is within the policies and regulations for a parent with appropriate skills to counsel their own son (units do not have the authority to alter this rule). However, it is better to use someone outside the unit adults whenever possible. Part of the personal growth that goes with merit badges comes from the scout making contact with the MB expert.

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY-All MB counselors must be registered withthe BSA. Use a standard adult registration form (some councils have an additional form to complete). The Counselor must read and sign the registration. Be sure to follow the youth protection policies when a scout is meeting with a counselor.

 

Information on Merit badges and other advancement can be found in the 'Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures' manual available at your council service center.

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The Districts in our Council all have their own Merit Badge Council List which to my knowledge is current. Furthermore it is frowned upon when an Eagle candidate has a majority of Merit Badge Councelors from withing his own Troop. In my opinion it helps the Scout grow if he expands his universe outside of his comfort zone.

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Several ex-troop dads and former Scouts who still live in the area serve as merit badge counselors for our Scouts, as well as some local social studies teachers for the citizenship series.

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Using teachers is a great way to go. Most are very willing to use any tool that will motivate their students. We have used teachers for all the fitness related MB, all the sciences, Arts, Reading, Academic and Citizenship badges. Most junior high students can get 6 to 7 merit badges a year just by doing their schoolwork and meeting a few extra times with their teachers.

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Bob White-

 

You are absolutely correct about using teachers. My principal in sixth grade acted as my counselor for both the Scholarship and Citizenship in the Community MB. While in eighth grade, we signed up my band director as a MB counselor so she could work with me on my Music MB. I guess she ended up working with several other scouts over the next few years and really enjoyed it.

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Recruiting and maintaining a database of counselors can by itself become a major volunteer activity. As noted in other posts, many districts try to maintain databases at the district level. Also as noted, most district databases are badly out of date. People lose interest, relocate, etc. As a general rule parents should not be counselors for their own sons, but sometimes this becomes unavoidable, if that parent is the only counselor for a particular badge.

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