Merit Badge Counselors
NCAC has delegated the responsibility of approving and maintaining a list of current merit badge counselors to the districts. A merit badge counselor is a district-level position, not a troop position, which means leaders must submit a new adult leader application even if already registered in another capacity.
There are four steps for a new MBC to register with BSA and begin merit badge counseling:
- Complete Online Youth Protection Training (YPT).
To become a merit badge counselor, a volunteer must complete Youth Protection Training (YPT) which can be found on My.Scouting.org. Once complete, you will be offered the opportunity to print a completion certificate. Please print it as you must submit this proof of completion with your application to be a merit badge counselor. It is also a good idea to save a copy to your desktop.
- Complete the BSA Adult Leader Application.
Having completed Youth Protection Training, you need to complete a new adult application which can be found at these links. This form is required in addition to your current registration with your unit or District. Please pay special attention to filling in the “Council/District Position” as “Merit Badge Counselor”, District Name, and the “Position Code” as “42”.The signature blocks for the unit committee chairman and chartered organization representative do not have to be signed. Those approvals are for a unit. Do not forget to answer questions 1-6 on the right side of the application. Without answers to these questions, your application cannot be processed. The adult application must be submitted with the Merit Badge Counselor Information Sheet. NOTE: The entire application form must be filled in and signed, including the Disclosure/Authorization page located before the application form page itself. All applicants and currently Registered Scouters go through a background check – as noted and authorized on the Disclosure/Authorization page of the Adult Application form.
- Complete the Merit Badge Counselor Information Form.
This form is used by the District to know which merit badges you want to teach, to show why you are qualified to teach the listed merit badges, and to approve your request.Before filling it out, read both sides of the form. If you have any questions or need assistance, please talk with your unit MB coordinator, the District MB Dean, or the District Advancement Chair. If you plan to only counsel within your unit, remember to check the “Only with Scouts in these units (indicate whether troop, team, or crew)” and fill in your unit number. If you wish to counsel Scouts outside the unit please check the “All Scouts in these districts” and fill in the District(s). MBCs are authorized to counsel anywhere within the NCAC.
- Turn in all the paperwork.
Turn in the completed forms to your Troop Merit Badge Coordinator who will provide them to the District Merit Badge Dean, District Advancement Chair or District Executive for approval and council processing. Please DO NOT take a completed merit badge counselor application package directly to the council office. Since the council has delegated the responsibility of maintaining a list of counselors to the districts, they are the ones who keep track of what counselors are counseling what merit badges. If you take applications directly to the NCAC, the District will have no knowledge of that person desiring to serve as a merit badge counselor.
Counselor Registration Considerations
- There is no fee for registering as a merit badge counselor even if you are only registered with the Boy Scouts of America as a merit badge counselor.
- You must be current with Youth Protection Training (YPT) to work with scouts and this training must be completed every two (2) years. The Council and District may track this requirement but it is your responsibility to remain current. Failure to keep up to date on YPT will also result in being dropped from the list. If a MBC is dropped from the council/district MBC list the dropped counselor will have to re-register as a new counselor again.
- Several merit badges involve activities for which BSA has implemented strategies to improve safety, improve the Scouts’ experience, and manage risk. These activities often require supervision with specialized qualifications and certifications. Merit Badge counselors who do not meet the specific requirements may use the services of others who do. See the Guide to Advancement paragraph 188.8.131.52 for these merit badges and their requirements.
- Consider not limiting yourself to only those scouts in your troop. Many of the less popular merit badges may not have a counselor in their troop and you could help scouts pursue an interest in an area where you have some expertise.
Useful Links for Merit Badge Counselors
- General BSA Merit Badge Counselor Information
- The Essentials of Merit Badge Counseling
- BSA Merit Badge Information
- MeritBadge.org Wiki Site
- BSA Scouting Forms
Annual Renewal of Merit Badge Counselors
All Merit Badge Counselors must confirm their registration annually. Districts should periodically send out a list of MBCs to their units asking for an update. The unit list is the best and easiest method for Districts to accomplish updates.
Likewise, the unit MBC coordinator should send a list of the unit’s MBCs to the District MBC Dean to confirm annual rollover of registration for that unit. Persons not on the list submitted by the Merit Badge Dean may be automatically dropped.
Unaffiliated MBCs (not affiliated with units) are responsible for advising the District MBC Dean and confirming their registration annually. Failure to confirm this information will result in being dropped from the Merit Badge Counselor list. If a MBC who was dropped wishes to continue as a MBC he/she must register as a new MBC again using the forms and processes listed above.