Guide for Merit Badge Counselors

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''From: [http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/GuideforMeritBadgeCounselors.aspx Guide for Merit Badge Counselors]''
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<center><big>Merit Badge Counselor resources include the [[Guide for Merit Badge Counselors]], [[Merit_Badges#Introduction|Introduction]], & [[Merit Badge FAQ|FAQ]]<br>The [[Merit Badge Worksheets|Merit Badge Worksheets & Requirements]] include the maps, checklists and other materials you need.<br>Other resources include the online [[Merit Badge Application]] and [[Merit Badges Earned|Most Popular Merit Badges]]<br>[[Merit Badges Requiring Prior Approval|Certain requirements need prior approval]] but most do not.<br></big></center>
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A Merit Badge Counselor is a registered [[adult leader]] in a [[local council]] of the [[Boy Scouts of America]]. The local council advancement committee approves the merit badge counselor to counsel one or more specific merit badges for [[Boy Scouts]], [[Varsity Scouts]] or qualified [[Ventures]] who are registered ''in that local council.''
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{{Shortcut|[[Counselor Guide]]}}
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[[Image:A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling.jpg|thumb|right|150px|<center>A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling is now online only.</center>]]
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:''The following is quoted from the online [http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/GuideforMeritBadgeCounselors.aspx Guide for Merit Badge Counselors]'', an update to the previously printed version: ''A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling, No. 34532''.
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The [[merit badge]] counselor is a key player in the [[Boy Scout advancement]] program. Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special craft or hobby ([[basketry]], [[leatherwork]], [[coin collecting]]), a profession ([[veterinary medicine]], [[aviation]], [[engineering]]), or perhaps a life skill ([[cooking]], [[personal management]], [[communications]])—as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a young man's curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.
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Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special craft or hobby ([[basketry]], [[leatherwork]], [[coin collecting]]), a profession ([[veterinary medicine]], [[aviation]], [[engineering]]), or perhaps a life skill ([[cooking]], [[personal management]], [[communications]])—as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a young man's curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.
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To find your [[local council]], use the council locator feature [http://scouting.org/Media/lcl.aspx here]. Plug in your zip code, then click on "Find Local Council." Voilà!
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The [[Merit Badge Counselor Guide]] has information on becoming a counselor and much more. [[Merit Badge Policies]] has details about important rules and policies including the Qualifications shown below.
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If you are not yet a merit badge counselor, it is easy to become a [[volunteer]]. You will need to register with the [[Boy Scouts of America]], through your BSA [[local council]]. This entails contacting the local council, then obtaining, completing, and turning in the "[[Adult Application]]." The council will then process the application. (Every applicant is screened.)
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The [[Merit Badge]] program is part of the advancement plan of the Boy Scouts of America. It has guided the interests and energies of Boy Scouts for 85 years and is one of the most unusual educational programs ever devised. A merit badge is an award that is presented to a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout when he has completed the requirements for one of more than 100 subjects in a wide variety of art, craft, hobby, sport, trade, profession, agribusiness, service, or self-improvement areas. The badge is only a small piece of cloth with a design embroidered in color -- but its significance is as large as the interest of the [[Merit Badge Counselor]] who helps a Scout earn it.
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Upon approval to serve as a volunteer, individuals are expected to complete BSA [[Youth Protection]] training within 90 days of assuming a leadership position. This training can be done through the BSA's Online Learning Center at [http://olc.scouting.org/ olc.scouting.org]. The Boy Scouts of America seeks to create a safe environment for young people and adult leaders to enjoy the program and related activities. BSA Youth Protection training helps preserve that environment.
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This could not have happened without the service of thousands of merit badge counselors -- like yourself -- expert in a particular subject and interested in helping Scouts grow into men of character, ready to take their place in the world of work as participating citizens. You're probably saying, "That's all great, but what do I do, and how do I do it?"
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==Understanding the Scouting Program==
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:''See: [[Boy Scouts of America]] for much more.''
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The Scouting program emphasizes helping young men develop character, citizenship, and mental and physical fitness. Among the handful of methods used to build on these aims of Scouting are adult association, leadership development, and advancement.
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Besides parents and relatives, schoolteachers, religious leaders, and possibly coaches, most Scout-age youth don't have much contact with many other adults or professionals. A Scout's association with his [[merit badge]] counselors provides an excellent way for him to grow and gain confidence through exposure to quality adults who serve as positive role models and mentors to him. Meeting people from business and community leaders to trained specialists and enthusiastic hobbyists, a Scout can experience a chance for personal growth and a positive life-altering experience while in pursuit of a merit badge.
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== What's My Job? ==
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==The Boy Scouts of America at a Glance==
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Your job is to satisfy yourself that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge. In this sense you are an examiner. But, your larger opportunity ties in coaching -- helping the Scout over the different hurdles of the requirements and making him aware of the deeper aspects of the subject from your knowledge and experience.
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Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has maintained its purpose and mission to prepare youth to become responsible, participating citizens and leaders. Throughout the years, the Scout Oath and Law have served as the guiding light for BSA youth members.
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To help carry out its mission, the BSA relies on more than 300 [[local councils]]. These service centers operate autonomously, sort of like franchises. Every local council has its own support staff and operates under the guidance of a Scout executive. To more efficiently serve its members, the local council is divided into districts, which are managed by district executives. The district executive serves as the grassroots contact between the local council and its volunteers.
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== What do I agree to? ==
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;Scout Oath
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As a merit badge counselor, I agree to:
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''On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
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* Follow the requirements of the merit badge, making no deletions or additions, ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform for all Scouts.
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* Have a buddy present with each Scout at all instructional sessions.
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;Scout Law
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* Renew my registration as a merit badge counselor annually if I plan to continue serving as a merit badge counselor.
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''A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
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== Earning a Merit Badge ==
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==A Merit Badge Counselor Is ...==
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:''Also see the [[Merit Badge Application]] - including the online, printable Word doc file version.''
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As a merit badge counselor, your mission is to join fun with learning. You are both a teacher and mentor to the Scout as he works on a merit badge and learns by doing. By presenting opportunities for growth via engaging activities like designing a Web page ([[Computers]]), performing an ollie and a wheelie ([[Snow Sports]]), or fabricating rope ([[Pioneering]]), you can pique a young man's interest in the merit badge subject. Just think: Your hands-on involvement could inspire a Scout to develop a lifelong hobby, pursue a particular career, or become an independent, self-supporting adult.
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These are the steps that a Scout takes to earn a merit badge, as outlined in the [[Boy Scout Requirements]]:
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* Gets a signed [[merit badge application]] from his Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach and finds a buddy who can attend the merit badge counselor meetings with him. (His buddy can be another Scout, a parent or guardian, a brother or sister, or a relative or friend.)
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* Gets the merit badge pamphlet on his subject. His patrol or troop may have one he can borrow. So may the library. Or he may purchase one from the local council service center.
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* Contacts the merit badge counselor and explains that he would like to earn the badge. Along with his buddy, meets the counselor and discusses how he can get the most out of the time he spends working on the badge.
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* Learns and does the things that the pamphlet explains. Goes as far as he can to fulfill the requirements on his own.
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* When he is ready, he and his buddy make another appointment with the counselor. The counselor will spend time with him going over the important parts of the subject. A good counselor will also help him see beyond the requirements and discover ways to continue learning about the subject. If the counselor is satisfied that the Scout has completed the requirements, he will sign the merit badge form. If not, the counselor will explain what he still must do.
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* Gives the signed form to his Varsity Scout Coach or Scoutmaster. The Varsity Scout Coach or Scoutmaster will get the badge for him and present it to him during a troop ceremony.
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== How does this relate to you? ==
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A Scout first expresses an interest in a particular [[merit badge]] by letting his [[unit leader]] know. To get him started, the leader may give him a signed [[Application for Merit Badge]] (blue card) along with the name and telephone number of a district/council approved merit badge counselor. The Scout then contacts the merit badge counselor and makes an appointment. The merit badge counselor sets a date and time to meet with the Scout and his [[buddy]], and may suggest the Scout bring the merit badge pamphlet along with the blue card.
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# The Scout should bring a [[merit badge application]] signed by his Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach on his first visit to you. He must be accompanied by a buddy.
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# The Scout contacts you, probably by phone. You may tell him what is expected of him over the phone, or you may want to make an appointment to discuss this with him face-to-face. Personal contact will make earning the badge a better experience for both you and the Scout.
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# In your discussion of what is expected, you may want to start by finding out from the boy what he already knows, so you can spend your time on helping him learn the remaining items, or give guidance in completing projects. You can set up additional meetings with the Scout -- not only for the purpose of passing him on the requirements, but rather to help him in his understanding of the subject.
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# The Scout, along with his buddy, should make another appointment with you when he thinks he is prepared to prove his ability. You set the date, time, and place.
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# This review session will be approached by the Scout with some apprehension. He is familiar with final exams in school and may look on this meeting with you as another such experience. You can help a great deal by putting the boy at ease.<br>Talk with him rather than examine him. There is a big difference, yet you can find out what the boy knows. Express honest enthusiasm for the things he has done, particularly if projects are involved. Your approval will give confidence to the Scout.
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# When he meets you, he should bring with him the projects required for completion. If the things he has done cannot be transported, he should present you with satisfactory evidence, such as a photograph of the project or adult certification. His Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach might, for example, certify that a satisfactory bridge or tower has been built for Pioneering, or that the required meals were prepared for the Cooking merit badge. Your job, in addition to coaching, is to satisfy yourself that the requirements have been met. Question the Scout and, if you have my doubts, contact the adult who signed the statement.
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# When you are satisfied that the Scout has met the requirements, you sign his [[merit badge application]].
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You may work with many Scouts each year as they earn merit badges. However, you may only work with a few. Your contact with these Scouts is tremendously important. Your influence is measured not by how many Scouts you work with, but the effect upon the lives of those you have the opportunity to work with.
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Most [[local councils]] (including [[summer camps]]) use the [[Application for Merit Badge]], or blue card, although it is not required. This tool just makes the recordkeeping easier for the Scout, the merit badge counselor, and the unit leader. At summer camp, a Scout may receive partial credit for completion of a merit badge on the blue card, which goes to the Scoutmaster at week's end. Back home, the Scout would need to contact a merit badge counselor for assistance with completing the rest of the requirements.
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Throughout your association with the Scout, keep in mind that you are in reality assisting the Scoutmaster, the Varsity Scout Coach, and other troop and team leaders in the program of advancement which the Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach helps each of his Scouts plan. Often, the Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach will help the Scout select the merit badges he will earn for a particular award. Whether he does or not, he is always interested in the Scout's progress. You should feel free to discuss his work with the Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach at any time.
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At the first meeting, the Scout and his merit badge counselor review and start working on the requirements. In some cases, the Scout may share with the merit badge counselor the work he has started or accomplished. As the merit badge counselor, you and the Scout work out a tentative schedule for completing the requirements. You should consider both short-term and long-term goals, keeping other obligations (school, Scouting, sports, and so on) in mind, and set dates, times, and a location for future meetings. The number of meetings will depend on the difficulty of the requirements and the preparation and ability of the Scout.
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Your duty is to be satisfied that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the [[merit badge]] you are coaching. You do this by helping Scouts overcome the different hurdles of the requirements and making them aware of the deeper aspects of the subject through their learning experience. You may tell about your own experiences to help positively reinforce the subject matter. However, you may not tack on new requirements or extra work. While you may guide and instruct a Scout on the subject matter, he must do the work himself.
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== More or Less? ==
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As each requirement is completed, you will test the Scout individually, with his buddy present. If you are using a blue card, update this card as the Scout completes each requirement. When the young man has completed all the requirements, you sign off on the blue card and the Scout returns the completed card to his unit leader.
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The Scout is expected to meet the requirements as stated -- no more and no less. Furthermore, he is to do exactly what is stated. If it says "show or demonstrate," that is what he must do. Just telling about it isn't enough. The same thing holds true for such words as "make," "list," "in the field," and "collect, identify, and label."
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==Summer Camp Merit Badge Counselors==
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The same qualifications and rules for merit badge counselors apply to council summer camp merit badge programs. All merit badge counselors must be at least 18 years of age. Camp staff members under age 18 may assist with instruction but cannot serve in the role of the merit badge counselor.
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On the other hand, you cannot require more of a Scout than stated. You must not, for example, say, "I want to be sure you really know your stuff, so instead of the 20 items in your collection, you must have 50 to get my signature." You can suggest, encourage, and help the Scout to get 50 things, but you must not require it.
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The merit badge counselor assesses the Scout's knowledge to ensure he has completed all the required work—no more, and no less. You may not add to, delete from, or modify the merit badge requirements in any way, although certain considerations can be made for Scouts with disabilities.
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You might wonder, then, if the requirements as stated are the limits, what there is for you to do other than help the Scout with the specifies of these requirements. Actually, you can go far beyond them in your discussions with the Scout. He probably will welcome your willingness to share with him your knowledge well beyond the requirements, and you will be making a real contribution to him by doing so. But it isn't required. That's the key. The Scout does not have to show his knowledge of those things beyond the requirements.
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==Helpful Hints==
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Here are some simple tips that every merit badge counselor should keep in mind.
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*Make the Scout feel welcome and relaxed.
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*Stimulate the Scout's interest by showing him something related to the merit badge subject, but don't overwhelm him; remember, he is probably a beginner.
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*Carefully review each requirement, start with easy skills or questions, and encourage practice.
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*Insist that the Scout do exactly what the requirements specify. Many of the requirements involve hands-on activities that call for a Scout to show or demonstrate; make; list; discuss; or collect, identify, and label—and he must do just that.
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*Don't make the requirement more difficult—or any easier—than stated. A Scout may undertake more activities on his own initiative, but he cannot be pushed to do so.
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*During testing, the Scout might need help in a particular area or with a certain skill, and may need to be retested later to ensure the requirement has been fulfilled.
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*Encourage self-evaluation and self-reflection, and establish an atmosphere that encourages the Scout to ask for help.
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*Take a genuine interest in the Scout's projects, and encourage completion.
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You might stress the fact that while knowledge is necessary, whether he can put his knowledge to work is the important thing in life. As you work with the Scout you can give him indirect career guidance. Many merit badge subjects can acquaint a Scout with the job opportunities in various fields, In these cases the merit badge work is a real exploration in an adult work experience, showing him whether or not he has the interest or ability along such lines. His activity also can show him what educational requirements a subject area has. You can provide the Scout with valuable information on job possibilities, show him what is most interesting to you and what is difficult. The final choice -- the selection of what he is going to do with himself in life -- is up to one person. That person is the Scout himself. However, he will appreciate your help in showing him the relationship of his merit badge work to his life as he goes to school, into business or a trade, and on into adult life.
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==Qualifications of Counselors==
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{{Qualifications of Counselors}}
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== Where do you meet? ==
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==See also==
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{{Merit Badge See Also}}
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If the merit badge subject relates to your job or profession, then your place of work is probably the place to meet with Scouts.
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{{Advancement navbox}}
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Subjects that are related to your hobbies usually will be handled in your home. Here you will have hobby-related materials to use in your coaching of Scouts. For a few subjects, coaching will happen in the field or where special equipment is at hand. Rowing, Rifle Shooting, Swimming, and Astronomy are good examples.
 
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== How many at a time? ==
 
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Frequently the skills of a subject can he taught to several Scouts at one time. This has a time advantage for you. However, the completing of the requirements always must be done on an individual basis. Scouts may not qualify for merit badges by just being members of a group that is instructed in skills. They must qualify by personally satisfying you that they can meet all the requirements. It's pretty hard to do this in a group. When one Scout in a group answers a question it can't possibly prove that all the others in the group also know the answer. Then, too, each Scout learns at his own pace. He should not be held back or pushed ahead by his association with a group.
 
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So remember -- you can coach more than one at a time, but only one Scout at a time can satisfy you that he can meet the requirements.
 
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== Can you sell your subject? ==
 
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Scout troops and Varsity Scout teams are constantly seeking program material for meetings. If you would like to expand interest in your subject and to attract more Scouts to earn the merit badge, contact Scoutmasters and Varsity Scout Coaches in your area and offer to come to a troop or team meeting to "sell your subject." All Scouts won't be interested in the subject, so plan an exciting 10- or 15-minute presentation designed to tickle the fancy of your audience. Then, offer to meet with those who are really interested after the meeting to plan for your next get-together.
 
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== Do you need a Merit Badge pamphlet? ==
 
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The information in the pamphlet is probably familiar to you, but it will help you to know what the Scout is told. They are written for Scout-age boys. They also contain suggestions for projects that might give you ideas for being helpful.
 
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It's a good idea to obtain the latest printing of the pamphlet on your subject. It will contain the latest requirements and information on meeting them. The printing date is in each pamphlet.
 
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A complete list of merit badge pamphlets is printed on the inside back cover of all pamphlets with the latest revision date of each. By checking this list in any current year's pamphlet, you can find out whether your pamphlet is updated. Most pamphlets are reprinted each year, and the contents are updated periodically.
 
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If you have suggestions for improvements in the requirements or pamphlet, please send your comments to: Boy Scout Division, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.
 
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==See also==
 
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{{Merit Badge See Also}}
 
[[Category:Advice]]
[[Category:Advice]]
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[[Category:Adult training]]
[[Category:Merit Badge counseling]]
[[Category:Merit Badge counseling]]

Current revision

Merit Badge Counselor resources include the Guide for Merit Badge Counselors, Introduction, & FAQ
The Merit Badge Worksheets & Requirements include the maps, checklists and other materials you need.
Other resources include the online Merit Badge Application and Most Popular Merit Badges
Certain requirements need prior approval but most do not.
Shortcut:
Counselor Guide
A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling is now online only.
A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling is now online only.
The following is quoted from the online Guide for Merit Badge Counselors, an update to the previously printed version: A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling, No. 34532.

The merit badge counselor is a key player in the Boy Scout advancement program. Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special craft or hobby (basketry, leatherwork, coin collecting), a profession (veterinary medicine, aviation, engineering), or perhaps a life skill (cooking, personal management, communications)—as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a young man's curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.

To find your local council, use the council locator feature here. Plug in your zip code, then click on "Find Local Council." Voilà!

If you are not yet a merit badge counselor, it is easy to become a volunteer. You will need to register with the Boy Scouts of America, through your BSA local council. This entails contacting the local council, then obtaining, completing, and turning in the "Adult Application." The council will then process the application. (Every applicant is screened.)

Upon approval to serve as a volunteer, individuals are expected to complete BSA Youth Protection training within 90 days of assuming a leadership position. This training can be done through the BSA's Online Learning Center at olc.scouting.org. The Boy Scouts of America seeks to create a safe environment for young people and adult leaders to enjoy the program and related activities. BSA Youth Protection training helps preserve that environment.

Contents

Understanding the Scouting Program

See: Boy Scouts of America for much more.

The Scouting program emphasizes helping young men develop character, citizenship, and mental and physical fitness. Among the handful of methods used to build on these aims of Scouting are adult association, leadership development, and advancement.

Besides parents and relatives, schoolteachers, religious leaders, and possibly coaches, most Scout-age youth don't have much contact with many other adults or professionals. A Scout's association with his merit badge counselors provides an excellent way for him to grow and gain confidence through exposure to quality adults who serve as positive role models and mentors to him. Meeting people from business and community leaders to trained specialists and enthusiastic hobbyists, a Scout can experience a chance for personal growth and a positive life-altering experience while in pursuit of a merit badge.

The Boy Scouts of America at a Glance

Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has maintained its purpose and mission to prepare youth to become responsible, participating citizens and leaders. Throughout the years, the Scout Oath and Law have served as the guiding light for BSA youth members.

To help carry out its mission, the BSA relies on more than 300 local councils. These service centers operate autonomously, sort of like franchises. Every local council has its own support staff and operates under the guidance of a Scout executive. To more efficiently serve its members, the local council is divided into districts, which are managed by district executives. The district executive serves as the grassroots contact between the local council and its volunteers.

Scout Oath

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

A Merit Badge Counselor Is ...

As a merit badge counselor, your mission is to join fun with learning. You are both a teacher and mentor to the Scout as he works on a merit badge and learns by doing. By presenting opportunities for growth via engaging activities like designing a Web page (Computers), performing an ollie and a wheelie (Snow Sports), or fabricating rope (Pioneering), you can pique a young man's interest in the merit badge subject. Just think: Your hands-on involvement could inspire a Scout to develop a lifelong hobby, pursue a particular career, or become an independent, self-supporting adult.

A Scout first expresses an interest in a particular merit badge by letting his unit leader know. To get him started, the leader may give him a signed Application for Merit Badge (blue card) along with the name and telephone number of a district/council approved merit badge counselor. The Scout then contacts the merit badge counselor and makes an appointment. The merit badge counselor sets a date and time to meet with the Scout and his buddy, and may suggest the Scout bring the merit badge pamphlet along with the blue card.

Most local councils (including summer camps) use the Application for Merit Badge, or blue card, although it is not required. This tool just makes the recordkeeping easier for the Scout, the merit badge counselor, and the unit leader. At summer camp, a Scout may receive partial credit for completion of a merit badge on the blue card, which goes to the Scoutmaster at week's end. Back home, the Scout would need to contact a merit badge counselor for assistance with completing the rest of the requirements.

At the first meeting, the Scout and his merit badge counselor review and start working on the requirements. In some cases, the Scout may share with the merit badge counselor the work he has started or accomplished. As the merit badge counselor, you and the Scout work out a tentative schedule for completing the requirements. You should consider both short-term and long-term goals, keeping other obligations (school, Scouting, sports, and so on) in mind, and set dates, times, and a location for future meetings. The number of meetings will depend on the difficulty of the requirements and the preparation and ability of the Scout.

Your duty is to be satisfied that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge you are coaching. You do this by helping Scouts overcome the different hurdles of the requirements and making them aware of the deeper aspects of the subject through their learning experience. You may tell about your own experiences to help positively reinforce the subject matter. However, you may not tack on new requirements or extra work. While you may guide and instruct a Scout on the subject matter, he must do the work himself.

As each requirement is completed, you will test the Scout individually, with his buddy present. If you are using a blue card, update this card as the Scout completes each requirement. When the young man has completed all the requirements, you sign off on the blue card and the Scout returns the completed card to his unit leader.

Summer Camp Merit Badge Counselors

The same qualifications and rules for merit badge counselors apply to council summer camp merit badge programs. All merit badge counselors must be at least 18 years of age. Camp staff members under age 18 may assist with instruction but cannot serve in the role of the merit badge counselor.

The merit badge counselor assesses the Scout's knowledge to ensure he has completed all the required work—no more, and no less. You may not add to, delete from, or modify the merit badge requirements in any way, although certain considerations can be made for Scouts with disabilities.

Helpful Hints

Here are some simple tips that every merit badge counselor should keep in mind.

  • Make the Scout feel welcome and relaxed.
  • Stimulate the Scout's interest by showing him something related to the merit badge subject, but don't overwhelm him; remember, he is probably a beginner.
  • Carefully review each requirement, start with easy skills or questions, and encourage practice.
  • Insist that the Scout do exactly what the requirements specify. Many of the requirements involve hands-on activities that call for a Scout to show or demonstrate; make; list; discuss; or collect, identify, and label—and he must do just that.
  • Don't make the requirement more difficult—or any easier—than stated. A Scout may undertake more activities on his own initiative, but he cannot be pushed to do so.
  • During testing, the Scout might need help in a particular area or with a certain skill, and may need to be retested later to ensure the requirement has been fulfilled.
  • Encourage self-evaluation and self-reflection, and establish an atmosphere that encourages the Scout to ask for help.
  • Take a genuine interest in the Scout's projects, and encourage completion.

Qualifications of Counselors

Persons serving as merit badge counselors must be registered as a merit badge counselor with the Boy Scouts of America. They must be men and women of good character, age 18 or older, and recognized as having the skills and education in the subjects for which they are to serve as merit badge counselors, as well as the ability to work with Scout-age boys.

Register merit badge counselors by using the adult leader application. All merit badge counselors must be approved by the council advancement committee. Merit badge counselors are not required to pay a fee if they are only registered as merit badge counselors.

There is no restriction or limit on the number of merit badges an individual may be approved to counsel for, but they must be approved by the committee for each specific merit badge.

There is no limit on the number of merit badges a Scout may earn from one counselor.

An approved counselor may counsel any Scout, including his or her own son, ward, or relative.

Advancement Policies #33088, p. 13)

See also

Boy Scout portal
Varsity Scout portal
Venturing portal

General Merit Badge information


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