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Merit Badge Counselors

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How does your council/district/troop get merit badge counselors?

 

Does everyone actively recruit them? Does one person handle it? Do you recruit from parents? Do you just handle it when a scout asks to work on a particular merit badge?

 

 

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The Dist. Adcancenent Chair. is responsable for Merit Badge Counselors. It his his job to recrute and train them, in addition he will maintain the list of active counselors (most are usually updated once per year).All the unit reports are recorded in the councel office and then sent to him along with the blue cards which he keeps for 5 years. There should also be a council advancement chair. who works with the district people and a (paid) scout exc. who is resopnsible to see everything works. YES you can easily sign up if you know the subject either as work or a hobby.

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I may be wrong on this, but it was my understanding that the new policy on merit badge counselors required that names, addresses, and other pertinent information for each and every merit badge counselor be sent to the Council offices both for record, and for distribution to the districts. The districts could then use this information for keeping their lists current and active. It was also my understanding that merit badge counselors could, at their own request and instructions, be listed as "district" counselors, or strictly "troop" counselors (their own troop).

 

Do I have this correct?

 

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jmcquillan,

 

You are correct. All merit Badge Counselors must complete an adult leader application and be registered with the local council, whether they are counseling for the entire council, district or just within the troop. Merit Badge Couselors do not pay a membership fee and are not considered full members of the BSA. However they must follow the youth protection regulations, and Guide to Safe Scouting. They do not have scouting insurance coverage, or other leader benefits.

 

In order to remain active as a counselor they must reapply annually.

 

There is also a merit badge counselor application form that must be filed with council/district. It records which MB they will counsel and what qualifications they have to do so. It is preferred that they only counsel to badges within a single category.

 

They also need to be trained on how to administer a Merit Badge. This is a step that is all too often ignored at the unit and district level and causes most of our merit badge problems.

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Bob,

If I want to drop a badge & pick up a new one, do I need to go thru the same paperwork?

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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We have adults with expertise in our troop assigned to some of the badges. Some have more than one. Our district maintains a list also. On unusual badges the scouts sometimes have to hunt up an expert and then we register them as a counselor. (My boy had a semi-professional stamp collector, Master birder, and Community theater director register because he was interested in Stamp collecting, Bird Study, and Theater. The opportunity was offered to the rest of the troop but there weren't any takers.) The forms allow for restrictions on the application so that if a counselor only wishes to work in a certain county or area or if they only have specific dates or times available they can indicate so on their application form. Some of our specialty counselors did not wish to become committed long term and placed many restrictions on the form. Not ideal, but sometimes your resources are not really interested for the long haul....just a couple of months and in this county for example. Works well for us.

 

Oh and also, the merit badge colleges have district registered counselors too. We have at least 6-8 MB colleges in the drivable area over a year period that are run by several districts. In Colorado "drivable area" is more broadly defined than in a smaller state. It's 20 miles for a gallon of milk for me and we don't think much of driving 200 miles for activities (camping, MB Colleges, etc.) Bet Texas is the same way.

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Okay, but how do you GET them?

Do you go around asking people or do you wait for them to show up on your doorstep?

 

Like, if you think the local vet would be a good counselor, do you ask him? How do you tell him what it is all about?

 

I'm thinking there are a lot of quailifed people out there who would help if they KNEW about it. If someone doesn't have boys in the BSA or haven't been in the Boy Scouts, they would never think to volunteer.

 

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In our council, the office takes the paperwork (the keep a copy send one to national and one to the district) and lists the adult on a merit badge advisor list but dose not list the badges - each dist. (they receive the paper that lists the badges any any statment why they are qualified to do the badge) maintaines their own list and a few council people have a copy of all the district lists. Yes merit badge counselers are covered by the scout insurance policy that is why council keeps the list. Usually the advancement person will ask for new volunteers and sometimes people do call to ask how they can do the job. We have adult training once per year but less than 20% attend. Most will at least read the phamplet we give out when they are first put on the list. In addition the Camp Directors hire their own and decide how to train them.

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As far as where to get MB counselors, one of our favorite places is at the Junior high and High Schools. A large percentage of teachers were Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Many of the merit badges are easily workeed into the lesson plans. we recently met with my sons teachers for High School next year and immediatly signed two of them up as MB counselors. This year 3 of his teachers are counselors in our District, plus his principal.

 

k9gold-scout, I will have to double check, but the last time I looked into it, the scouts are covered by accident insurance while visiting a counselor but the counselor is not covered by the liability umbrella that our paid registered leaders enjoy.

 

Bob White

 

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If you don't have a counselor for a badge your boy or others are interested in or the district doesn't you have your boy ask them. Make sure he knows what he is asking and can describe the extent of the commitment. Show the man/lady a MB Pamphlet and have the counselor papers ready for the prospective counselor to sign. Our troop pays for their registration if necessary although most councils don't charge for counselors.

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Leadership skill #1-Knowing and using your resources.

 

Just ask...

I know of a troop that asked a nationally recognized birder who lived nearby to come in and counsel bird study. The man (who helped illustrate and compile the National Geographic field guide to birds among other things) liked it so much he came back as a leader.

 

As a Bird Study counselor through summer camp, the week the man was at camp I learned more about identifying birds by sound than ever before (I was up to almost thirty by the end of the week).

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You're right. So many experts are out there and many willing to work with youth and of course the great part is that we adults probably learn the most.

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You're right. So many experts are out there and many willing to work with youth and of course the great part is that we adults probably learn the most.

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