Merit Badge Policy Overview (Updated March 2018)
The National Capital Area Council has adopted an NCAC MB Group Instruction Policy for our council to abide by. The intent of the policy is to afford the district advancement committees an oversight role of group instruction merit badge offerings that are done outside an individual unit.
To comply with the NCAC policy, the Patriot District asks units wishing to offer merit badge opportunities to scouts beyond their unit to provide the advancement committee sufficient information to answer the following questions:
- Are proposed counselors actually registered as a merit badge counselor and approved to counsel the badge(s) they intend to counsel?
- Is there a limitation on the group size to afford the counselor the ability for every scout to complete the requirements as they’re written within the time frame proposed? Should more counselors be recruited?
- Is the fee charged consistent with the event not being a fund raiser?
- Are any prerequisites defined?
- Is there a plan to explain to scouts how a partial completion from the event can be completed?
- Is there a mechanism for anyone with a concern about the event to report it to the council advancement committee?
Please send information to Patriot Advancement Committee Chair, Thomas Tyra, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Troop Level Process for Registering Merit Badge Counselors
- To become a merit badge counselor, a volunteer must complete Youth Protection Training (YPT) which can be found on the website http://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.
- A merit badge counselor is a district position and even if already registered with a pack, troop, or crew you must complete and submit the Boy Scouts of America Adult Application Form 524-501 and the Merit Badge Counselor Information Sheet 34405. The disclosure/authorization page must be completed even if you have done it on a previous application. On the application the block for “Scouting Position” should be merit badge counselor and the code for the position is 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.
- Turn in the completed forms to your troop merit badge coordinator who will provide them to the District Merit Badge Dean for approval and council processing.
Counselor Registration Considerations
- There is no fee for registering as a merit badge counselor even if your 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. So long as your YPT is current at rechartering time at the end of the calendar year, you will be carried forward into the new year as a registered counselor. Should your YPT not be current at that point, you will be dropped from the counselor list and must reapply.
- Several merit badges involve activities for which the Boy Scouts have 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 18.104.22.168 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 with which you have some expertise.
Useful References for the Merit Badge Counselor
- NCAC MB Group Instruction Policy
- Guide to Advancement, Section 7, The Merit Badge Program
- BSA Guide for Merit Badge Counselors
- Merit Badge Counselor Orientation, Supplemental Adult Leader Training
- The Essentials Of Merit Badge Counseling
- The Essentials Of Merit Badge Counseling Presenters Notes
- Boy Scouts of America Website for Merit Badge Counselors
- Bryan on Scouting
- Merit Badge Program Quiz
- Merit Badge Program Quiz Answers