Merit badges were added to the Scouting program early on to promote “merit” in the Scouts beyond the Scouting basics. Badges were designed both to reinforce important life skills (Eagle required) and to introduce Scouts to other skills and knowledge with the expectation that exposure to these topics might encourage Scouts to expand their interests into areas they may otherwise never have been introduced to. Sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm when counseling these badges can and often does have a positive effect on Scout lives in the future. Doing a fine job as a counselor can lead a Scout to a career that will serve them well for the rest of their life.
Who takes care of merit badges for the District?
- Rick Millward (Merit Badge Dean – email@example.com, 240-675-4037)
- Eric Legg (Merit Badge Dean – firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Merit Badge Counselor is a registered leader who assists Scouts in achieving merit badges. There are specific rules and training for performing this function.
- An MB Counselor is a District position. It is not connected with your unit registration.
- There is a $25 fee yearly to become a Merit Badge Counselor IF you are ONLY an MB Counselor. If you are registered with a unit, there is no fee.
- When you are a properly registered Merit Badge Counselor, the merit badges you counsel are visible on your Scoutbook account, and that is where Scoutmasters can find you and link you with their unit scouts.
- You can sign off on merit badges for any Scout on Scoutbook once you are connected.
- You can find Merit Badge Counselor facts and forms on the District webpage at ncacbsa.org -> Resources (top tab) -> Districts -> FSK District -> District Resources -> Merit Badge Resources.
- Once registered, you will remain on the registered MB list as long as you keep your YPT current and want to stay on the list. If you find out that you are no longer appearing on my.scouting.org or Scoutbook, contact Rick Millward or Eric Legg, the FSK District Merit Badge Co-Deans, immediately. The system can be glitchy. We will work to get you reinstated ASAP.
- If your YPT lapses, you may need to go through the registration process again to be reinstated.
- Once you are registered as an MB Counselor, you only need to send a new MBIF to the District MB Dean to either add or drop merit badges.
It is important that a Merit Badge Counselor has some experience/knowledge of the subject matter. It is highly recommended that they possess the Scouting BSA merit badge book and be familiar with the requirements to earn the badge.
- Complete YPT training and get a BSA ID # (if already a registered leader, this is already in place)
- Complete the Merit Badge Training at my.scouting.org -> My Training -> Scouting BSA -> Merit Badge Counselor. There are 4 sections in 2 modules.
- Module 1 – Before the First Meeting – 24 minutes
- SCO_472 – Aims and Methods of Scouts BSA
- SCO_474 – Introduction to Merit Badges
- SCO_486 – What is a Merit Badge Counselor
- Module 2 – Merit Badge Counselor – Position Trained – 10 Minutes
- SCO_471 – Advancement
- Complete an adult application electronically (again, at the District level) at https://my.scouting.org/VES/OnlineReg/1.0.0/?tu=UF-MB-082fsk40. Note: If you are already registered at the District level, you may need to complete a fillable adult application if it will not let you register. After completing, signing and scanning it, send it to Rick Millward or Eric Legg.
- Complete and sign a Merit Badge Information Form (MBIF). Make sure it includes something about why you believe you are qualified to counsel that badge. Scan it with the signature and send it to Rick Millward or Eric Legg at the address shown at the website. Note: Some merit badges require specific extra training and certification to be a counselor. This is mostly for shooting sports and water-related merit badges. This information can be found at https://lpcbsa.doubleknot.com/advancement/special-merit-badge-counselor-requirements/50206. If you are signing up for one of these MBs, state your certification and provide a copy of the certification.
What happens after that:
The system contacts the MB Dean that an application is present in the system. The MB Dean needs to know that all training is in place and he has a signed MBIF in hand prior to approving the application. Once signed, the counselor is added to Scoutbook within a couple days. The District MB Dean reviews the MBIF for errors and to verify any extra training requirements. He signs it, then sends it to the NCAC Council Merit Badge Dean. The Council Dean will add the merit badges to Scoutbook. This should happen within a week after registration.
Once your application has been accepted, congratulations, you can now work with Scouts!
- It is the Scout’s job to contact you. If a parent makes the contact, encourage them to have the Scout contact you. Make sure that any communications with the Scout include a parent or Scoutmaster as per YPT.
- Each Scout should have a blue card signed by their Scoutmaster. Complete the counselor sections on the card.
- As you complete requirements, list the requirement completed and initial/date it in the appropriate section of the card. Once the badge is fully complete, sign the card, keep the counselor portion for your records, and provide the rest of the card to the Scout.
- If a Scout approaches you with a partially completed merit badge, you are responsible for helping them complete the rest of the requirements. If the Scout says they completed something, but it is not signed, you are required to have them repeat it.
- Follow the basic rule: meet the requirements, no more, no less.
This activity can be a tremendously rewarding experience for you and the Scout and can be something that the Scout and you remember for the rest of your lives. Thank you for being a Counselor!
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