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merit badge counselor


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#21 christineka

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:49 PM

Took a survey about the new digital merit badge books. Will be interested in seeing how they turn out.

Christine--if you want "business" as a merit badge counselor, choose some of the less common Eagle required badges. Our troop, for example, is in need of more Family Life counselors.

I didn't know what was needed for Eagle, but Family Life was one I chose. I figure as mother of a large family, I should know quite a bit about family meetings and responsibilities. (I also picked Genealogy, Music, Reading, and Safety. The others are Bugling and Traffic Safety, both badges I've decided are "unofficial requirements" for both of my sons.)
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#22 Tim in NJ

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 09:04 AM

Some scouters get fed up with all of the "Byzantine bureaucracy." They get fed up of shelling out $ for pamphlets. I kind of agree. I would far prefer pamphlets that are low-budget, black-and-white books because that shows a good faith effort that BSA is trying to make scouting accessible to everybody. I'm not a big fan of worksheets, because ink and paper is expensive, and they could easily be produced for pennies on the dozen. So would it hurt the scout shop to have items that sell for a nickle? But they don't. So folks get fed up of MBs starting with a $3.50 purchase of a pamphlet, and chasing down adult applications, etc ...

But they they also miss the point of going outside of the troop for a resource, or calling somebody and maybe have them come and present their career/hobby to them, or maybe arranging a visit to a location related to a merit-badge. Scouting was never meant to be an insular, go-it-alone endeavor.

There are other missed opportunities. In this thread, the OP would like to be an MBC, and one troop basically shut the door on her. That's a shame. Because if one of those knuckle dragging boys would have said, "Mrs. C. would you like to council us on __ MB?" Maybe she would not be so apprehensive about the age difference between them and her son.

Christineka: No, you do not need to buy the merit badge pamphlets, and any worksheets you find online are created by well-meaning people that are creating unofficial documentation. Its been 16 years since I have personally earned a merit badge, but I never used a worksheet for a single one. If you do become a merit badge counselor, your goal will be to work with the scouts in a way that gets through to them and allows them to understand the subject material. Worksheets might help some scouts, while others will benefit from different methods. You and the scouts work together towards the goal. Please take a look at the official description that I linked to above on BSA's own website when you get a chance. It really is a fantastic program when done right!
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#23 Tim in NJ

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 09:07 AM

Took a survey about the new digital merit badge books. Will be interested in seeing how they turn out.

Christine--if you want "business" as a merit badge counselor, choose some of the less common Eagle required badges. Our troop, for example, is in need of more Family Life counselors.

Bugling has been the least-earned badge nationally for the last few years. Family Life will probably be the source of most of your phone calls. I've been registered as a Safety MB Counselor for over 2 years now... still waiting for the first scout on that one!
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#24 IM_Kathy

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 02:10 AM

Every Merit Badge REQUIRES a district approved councilor to sign the completed Blue Card (Scout Record) and provide Merit Badge instruction on THAT Merit Badge .

Run, do not walk from this SM.


The SM councils the Scout before starting ANY badge and provides or suggest concilor contact info. The SM signs a portion of the card to acknowledge the Scouts is starting the badge (not granting permission).

Some require special certification like Rifle (NRA Rifle Instructor).

The SM is not automatically authorized to sign Merit Badge cards jut because he is a SM... there is a Merit Badge applicaton for adults who are vetted by the District Advancement chair.

Merit Badge Councilors are a District responsibility, not a SM one.

just an FYI rifle and shotgun don't require the MBC to be NRA certified as long as they use a range that has the NRA certified there. I'm registered to council those and go with a scout and 1 of his parents to a near-by range. The range is great it's the one I go to a couple times a month (weather permitting)

Though in saying this. All the boys I've worked with are ones that took the badge at camp but failed to qualify. And for our summer camp the shooting badges do fill up quick and prefer boys not re-take the full class. And while the camp range is open during free time they are often pushed through too fast to really try and get qualifying completed.
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#25 Old_OX_Eagle83

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:21 PM

Scout Nut I'm not sure where you get your misinformation, but it's way off. You would do well to remember the District and Council are merely 2nd line support for the Charter Orgs who own the program.
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#26 qwazse

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:03 PM

Scout Nut I'm not sure where you get your misinformation, but it's way off. You would do well to remember the District and Council are merely 2nd line support for the Charter Orgs who own the program.

I think my District Advancement Chair would side with scoutnut. He said HQ checks "funny" things with blue cards (e.g. lot's of different MBs with the same signature, too many MBs where boy's and councilor's last name match).

It's not too far fetched that a registrar could check a signature that he/she didn't recognize to see, just for kicks, if the counselor ever registered with the BSA. I'm not saying it would happen (certainly not as overtaxed as many council staff are), but it could. However, I'd like to think that the boy who actually worked to do the badge would not loose credit because some adults couldn't see eye-to-eye on paperwork.

For purposes of advancement, council is "2nd line support" in much the same way a sports club is "2nd line support" by providing referees on game days, and conference-judges for those close calls, unruly parents, etc... You could work around them, but things are more smooth if you work with them.
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#27 blw2

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:14 PM

I hope this isn't hijacking too much..... So how does one become a MBC? What qualifies a person for a particular badge? I might consider volunteering for our troop if it would help.
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#28 qwazse

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 04:03 PM

I hope this isn't hijacking too much.....
So how does one become a MBC?
What qualifies a person for a particular badge?
I might consider volunteering for our troop if it would help.

Fill out a BSA adult app. No fee required. (I wonder, how much of our registration costs go into background checks on MBCs?) Technically you're a volunteer for the district. But, that doesn't mean you have to counsel out of anywhere besides your troop meeting place. A few of our ASMs arrange to meet boys from other troops during our meeting times. (Guaranteed youth protection.)

Generally, we're looking for folks for whom the badge is either your training, occupation, or hobby. When your application is approved, think of a presentation or activity that you could provide by way of introducing the subject, and let the SPL know you're available if the boys would like to schedule it. If yours subject is not required for Eagle, that how you get a few boys to contact you about earning the badge in the following months.

Now the SPL may not be able to fit you in any time soon, but he may announce
"Let's give a big hand for Mr. blw2, is now officially a counselor for ___!" Depending on the assertiveness of the boys in your troop, you might still get enough interest to occupy your time.
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#29 Fehler

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 05:05 PM

Three "Big things": 1) FIll out the BSA Adult Application. 2) Fill out the Merit Badge Counselor Application (see http://www.scouting....e/pdf/34405.pdf) 3) Complete Youth Protection Training, print out the certificate at the end.

Turn these three things in at your council service center, and wait.

More details: http://www.scouting....counselors.aspx
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#30 ScoutNut

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:47 AM

Scout Nut I'm not sure where you get your misinformation, but it's way off. You would do well to remember the District and Council are merely 2nd line support for the Charter Orgs who own the program.

Olld_OX you would do well to remember that the Charter Orgs "own" the rights to have a unit that uses BSA's program. In other words, a CO "owns" the unit - not the program.

My "misinformation" came directly from BSA, the organization that DOES "own" the program.

BSA's 2013 Guide to Advancement has an entire chapter on the Merit Badge Program. Here is a link to that chapter in the online version of the Guide -

http://www.scouting....dgeProgram.aspx
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#31 Old_OX_Eagle83

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:57 AM

ScoutNut, you read one BSA policy on advancement ... this is BSA. so complete your education by doing the following:

1. Take MBC Orientation
2. Read the current SM Handbook
3. Take current Committee Challenge
4. Read BSA District and Council Operations Guides
5. Take Scoutmaster position specific training
6. Take Philmont Training Center course for Key Three and District Operations

What you'll find, after completing this list, is that like with so much else in BSA, the material is not in agreement. When you take all of this as a whole you will understand the accuracy of my original answer.

As far as the CO/BSA relationship, you are once again correct in the written word of one policy regarding this question, but ignore several other items that interpret and modify what you're citing.

For better, and worse, BSA policy is never a matter of one clearly written statement, from one source. You'll also find that many of the "policies" are not only written but someone who is clueless on how to make things work, and generally discarded, but that this was the intent when they were written ... corporations are good at CYA, and equally good at supporting what works, even if they can't get a room full of stuffed shirts to pass it as policy.

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#32 Gone

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:02 PM

I wish BSA would rule that Youths could not be Taught in House...No More Troop MBCs.

Here's the other side of that coin. Where I live we do a ton of MB "colleges". They churn our MBs like a Texas BBQ joint turns our brisket. It's amazing. The level of detail is suspicious to say the least. There is little to no hands on work. They are supported by Districts (heck, they are run by Districts) and even Council.

A few years back (when I was new to Scouting and so was my son) my son took the First Aid MB. It was an 8 hour course...of Powerpoint slides. No hands on. No demos. No EDGE. Nothing. My son came home and I asked him how the class was. He said he did not deserve the MB because he didn't do anything but sit there. I urged him to report his findings to his SM, the District and to Council (boy-led) which he did. Unfortunately the latter two did nothing to change this program. Our SM put together a program in-house -- using two doctors, an EMT and a few nurses we have -- to reteach the badge. It was not required for the boys to attend (since they already "earned" the badge) but every single boy attended. Yes, they even went through the steps of registering these professionals with Council to be MBCs.

The result? The boys who attended thought it was the best MB program they had been to.

The next year when that same District offered the same class (same format) we simply discouraged our boys from attending. We could not keep them from attending if they wanted to, but we simply gave them our opinion of the course and left the decision with them. I wish the District or Council had done something but they didn't.
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#33 packsaddle

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:16 PM

First Aid is one of the merit badges for which I will heap praise on the scout summer camp. The guys at the health lodge do a really good job of 'hands on' and really fun activities for this one. They do a far better job than we could do as a troop. I guess if there was an EMS person who wanted to take some serious time to do it right that would work as well. I also give them credit for a good job on the waterfront merit badges, shooting sports, and a few others like fishing. I heap scorn on them for the terrible waste of time they offer with citizenship, and similar merit badges. Regarding the 'colleges', I agree and we discourage the boys from attending.
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#34 perdidochas

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:19 PM

Here's the other side of that coin. Where I live we do a ton of MB "colleges". They churn our MBs like a Texas BBQ joint turns our brisket. It's amazing. The level of detail is suspicious to say the least. There is little to no hands on work. They are supported by Districts (heck, they are run by Districts) and even Council.

A few years back (when I was new to Scouting and so was my son) my son took the First Aid MB. It was an 8 hour course...of Powerpoint slides. No hands on. No demos. No EDGE. Nothing. My son came home and I asked him how the class was. He said he did not deserve the MB because he didn't do anything but sit there. I urged him to report his findings to his SM, the District and to Council (boy-led) which he did. Unfortunately the latter two did nothing to change this program. Our SM put together a program in-house -- using two doctors, an EMT and a few nurses we have -- to reteach the badge. It was not required for the boys to attend (since they already "earned" the badge) but every single boy attended. Yes, they even went through the steps of registering these professionals with Council to be MBCs.

The result? The boys who attended thought it was the best MB program they had been to.

The next year when that same District offered the same class (same format) we simply discouraged our boys from attending. We could not keep them from attending if they wanted to, but we simply gave them our opinion of the course and left the decision with them. I wish the District or Council had done something but they didn't.


I do not understand that MB class, except that whoever ran it did not really worry about the Boys in the Troop that the First Aid boys were in. First Aid is the most important MB, IMHO, for a scout to have. I tell my scouts to pay attention (and we review things all the time), because I know that there is a chance that they will have to do first aid on me :-)
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#35 boomerscout

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:29 PM

I like worksheets because they help keep some flighty minds organized. Downloading the ones from USScouts will only cost the print per sheet charge
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#36 Gone

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:47 PM

I do not understand that MB class, except that whoever ran it did not really worry about the Boys in the Troop that the First Aid boys were in. First Aid is the most important MB, IMHO, for a scout to have. I tell my scouts to pay attention (and we review things all the time), because I know that there is a chance that they will have to do first aid on me :-)

In my neck of the woods these MB colleges are big business. They are always full. I know this issue is in another thread, but if you ever wanted to see "paper Eagles" just go to one of these classes.

I ran in to an Eagle Scout at one of these with his MB sash all filled with MBs (nearly both sides). Young kid, probably 14. He was taking Pioneering with two Scouts from our first-year program. The kid could not tie a clove hitch, so I have my two Tenderfoot Scouts teach him that and his lashings. ;-)
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#37 perdidochas

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 02:11 PM

In my neck of the woods these MB colleges are big business. They are always full. I know this issue is in another thread, but if you ever wanted to see "paper Eagles" just go to one of these classes.

I ran in to an Eagle Scout at one of these with his MB sash all filled with MBs (nearly both sides). Young kid, probably 14. He was taking Pioneering with two Scouts from our first-year program. The kid could not tie a clove hitch, so I have my two Tenderfoot Scouts teach him that and his lashings. ;-)


I think they are experimenting with MB universities here, but they don't get much business, at least not from my troop. I will admit, we do have Merit Badge classes, but for the most part these are just times for the boys to get together with MB counselors. I have several boys who were in my Cooking MB class last year that still haven't finished. It's up to them.
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#38 TAHAWK

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 02:19 PM

In registering as a MBC, you have the option of controlling with which Scouts you will work. "I agree to work with: All Scouts All Scouts in these districts: _________________________________ Only with Scouts in these units (indicate whether troop, team, or crew): _____________________________________________ Counselors are encouraged to be available to work with any Scout in any unit. I plan to serve as a merit badge counselor for this event or outside organization: ______________________________________" You are still approved and removed solely by the council, usually acting through a district advancement committee member by delegated authority. You are still a Council-registered Merit Badge Counselor. I have watched. Some unit-only MBC are fine. Some are not. I have no feel for whether a Scout necessarily has a better experience outside his troop, but he has a different experience - one he is supposed to have: calling up a stranger for an appointment. The Scoutmaster can judge which is better or best if he has actually been present during the work and can compare. Few Scoutmasters have that information, but they like the ones they have set up. That is how it goes. Like many Merit Badge Counselors, I would prefer that initial contact come from the Scout candidate. It is not always thus. 1. Many Merit Badges are handed out, and some earned, at Summer Camp. Many of the "counselors" there are not registered as required by B.S.A. (and many cannot be since under 18 years of age), and the "merit badges" the non-MBC's approve have not been earned for any purpose. (Will that matter somewhere down the road? It's the Scout's risk.) Try First Aid for 47 candidates in 250 total minutes with no testing whatsoever. 2. Many troops, believing that "advancement is what it's all about," organize mass-MB events, including arrange for MBC.s. Scouts may pass requirements at such events. 3. Many districts, believing advancement is what it's all about, arrange mass-MB events., including MBC's. Scouts may pass requirements at such events. Advancement is the Scout's responsibility --- like school "homework" Advancement of patrol member's is also the Patrol Leader's responsibility. Some merit badge pamphlets are good. Some are OK. Some are weak. Some are an embarrassment to B.S.A. and have been for years. None of this can be determined by the pretty covers. A good MBC will direct the candidate to reliable sources of information for a Scout. If all the MBC has is familiarity with the pamphlet, the odds are strongly against his or her being remotely competent.
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#39 Gone

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:01 AM

I like worksheets because they help keep some flighty minds organized. Downloading the ones from USScouts will only cost the print per sheet charge

I have found a program called Quiz Star that allows me to develop online quizzes for the Scouts to take. I can customize as needed and it reports scores. Pretty nice free tool.
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#40 TAHAWK

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 09:37 PM

I have found a program called Quiz Star that allows me to develop online quizzes for the Scouts to take. I can customize as needed and it reports scores. Pretty nice free tool.


What is the purpose of the quizzes?
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