Complied by Chris Haggerty
Chochise District, Catalina Council, BSA
Version 1.0, November 12, 1995
for the Instructor
This Guide was designed using the references listed on this page including
portions from the Merit Badge Counselor Orientation Supplemental Adult
Leader Training outline. The author has expanded on the BSA outline, organizing
the material in a easy to follow format and supplementing information
which the author feels is important in his local area. This guide was
designed to be used in conjunction with a Youth Protection Program (YPP)
training session or to adults already YPP trained.
This guide contains an appendix (pages numbered mbc_#) which
are masters for making transparencies for an overhead projector. If
no overhead projector is available, use newsprint. If you use newsprint,
it is recommended that you prepare the pages in advance. The mbc_# numbers
are used to reference the overheads in this guide.
This guide also provides suggested examples and text to use with
the masters. This estimate length of this course is about 50 minutes.
This allows for questions during the training and five minutes of questions
at the end.
This Instructor's Guide was developed in the FALL of 1995 and
is based upon the current policies and information. PLEASE keep up with
changes in the references listed. Change is about the only thing constant
in this world!
Merit Badge Counselor
Orientation #34542 (34541?)
A guide for Recommending Merit Badge Counselors #34532
Boy Scout Requirements (current edition) #33217
Advancement Policies and Procedures Committee Guide #33088
Merit Badge Counseling #34520
Application for Merit Badge #34124
Boy Scout Handbook #33229
BSA Adult Application #28-501J
Delivering the Promise #18-917
MBC Instructor's Guide, SE WI Council, author Michael Holmes
Merit Badge Counseling
Application for Merit Badge #34124
Delivering the Promise #18-917
Merit Badge Counselor Application, local version of #34405 BSA Adult
Instructors introduce themselves
and provide background.
Explain that as a result
of this unit of training, the merit badge counselor (MBC) should be
(Place mbc_1 on overhead
Go over class outline explaining
this is how we plan to cover these training objectives.
- Use the buddy system
- State the purpose of
the merit badge program for Scouts.
- Explain the role of
the merit badge counselor.
- List some methods of
counseling and coaching.
(Place mbc_1a on overhead
Merit Badge Counselor
- Scout Buddy System
- Purpose of the Merit
- The Merit Badge Process
and the Role of the Counselor
- Counseling Techniques
Since Scouts who come to
you are under your temporary guardianship, the Boy Scouts of America have
established certain guidelines for all counselors and Scouts. As part
of this course, we will be doing the BSA Child Protection Training. This
will go into detail about BSA's youth protection program (YPP). Briefly,
at this point we want to cover the buddy system and BSA's policy on group
(Place mbc_2 on overhead
A Scout must have a buddy
with him at each meeting with a MBC.
Buddies may be:
- Another scout working
on the same merit badge.
- A parent, guardian,
brother, sister, or relative.
- A friend.
Due to the way the merit
badge process is normally described, we frequently get questions about
Group Instruction of Merit Badges?
Here is the National Executive Board policy statement:
(Place mbc_3 on overhead
"To the fullest
extent possible, the merit badge counseling relationship is a counselor-Scout
arrangement in which the boy is not only judged on his performance of
the requirements, but receives maximum benefit from the knowledge, skill,
character, and personal interest of this counselor. Group instruction
and orientation are encouraged where special facilities and expert personnel
make this most practical, or when Scouts are dependent on only a few
counselors for assistance. However, this group experience should be
followed by attention to each individual candidate's projects and his
ability to fulfill all requirements."
Go over what this means,
answering any questions. Stress that the real emphasis of merit badge
work should be Scout-counselor, as much as possible. (Ref. Adv. Policies
OF THE MERIT BADGE PROGRAM
the Promise - The Aims and Methods of Boy Scouting and display mbc_4 on
overhead or newsprint.)
One of the methods of Scouting
is "Advancement". Go over what is in Delivering the Promise
and how that relates to the Three Aims. Specifically:
- Basic character-developing
- Scouts learn career
- Scouts develop physical
fitness and hobbies that give a lifetime of healthful recreation.
- Contact with adults
with whom they might not be acquainted.
The merit badge program
is one of Scouting's basic character-developing tools. Earning merit
badges gives a boy the kind of self-confidence that comes only from
Overcoming difficult obstacles to achieve a goal.
Through the merit badge
program, a boy is introduced to skills which may help him choose his
adult vocation. Use Spielberg or other example - Scouting introduced
Spielberg to movie making, look where he took this.
Other merit badges help
a boy develop physical fitness, or discover "outside" interests
and hobbies, encourage citizenship and generally become a more well-rounded
Many youths are uncomfortable
dealing with adults they are not familiar with. Working on a merit badge
with an adult should provide a super environment to help youth overcome
this discomfort. It can be a excellent opportunity to help the youth
BADGE PROCESS AND THE ROLE OF THE COUNSELOR
for Merit Badge, Merit Badge Counseling, & MBC Application. Display
mbc_5 on overhead or newsprint.)
I. The Procedures Scouts
follow to earn merit badges.
A. Selecting Merit Badges
1. The Scout selects
merit badges from the Scout Handbook, requirements book, or from individual
merit badge pamphlets available in his troop library or at a public
B. The Scout gets the merit
badge pamphlet on his subject from his unit library, public library,
or purchases one from the Scout office.
2. The Scout indicates
his interest in a merit badge to his scoutmaster who gives him:
a. An interview to
determine interest, enthusiasm, and preparedness.
b. A signed Application
for Merit Badge.
c. The name and
phone number of a council or district approved MBC.
to wear the official uniform when he visits the counselor with
C. The Scout calls
the counselor and makes an appointment.
D. The counselor sets
a date, time, and place for the meeting, making sure that the YPP
guidelines are followed. He or she suggests that the scout bring the
1. Merit badge pamphlet.
E. At the first interview
the counselor and Scout decide upon
2. SCM signed application
3. Any projects he
may have started.
4. Any other indication
(Place mbc_6 on overhead or newsprint.)
F. The scout learns and
does the things that the pamphlet explains, going as far as he can to
fulfill the requirements on his own. The number of sessions you have
during this period depends on the difficulty of the subject and the
preparation and ability of the Scout. YPP guidelines continued to be
2. Short-term and
long-term goals with dates of completion in mind.
3. Dates, times,
and places for further interviews.
G. When the Scout has finished all required projects and learned all
relevant material, he arranges with the counselor for examination. At
1. Each Scout is tested
2. Scouts are expected
to meet the requirements as stated in the handbook -- no more and
3. Individual requirements
for a merit badge may be signed off and recorded on the Application
for merit badge as they are completed. Re-testing of these completed
requirements is not necessary. If a partial was done by another
counselor, you may review these requirements to satisfy yourself
that the Scout has indeed completed the project or learned the material.
4. The MBC assists
the Scout to meet the requirements and certifies when he has completed
5. MBC keeps counselor's
record of the Application for Merit Badge. Scout returns Unit copy
to SCM and keeps Applicant's copy.
6. You continue to
follow YPP (a buddy is present).
II. The Counselor's Role
The counselor's job is to
act as a coach and an examiner. As a coach you help the Scout over the
hurdles of the requirement developing his self-confidence as you proceed.
Through your expertise and experience, you also make him aware of the
broader and deeper aspects of the subject, developing in him an interest
which may lead to further explorations of his own. As an examiner you
satisfy yourself that each Scout who comes to you meets all the requirements
for the merit badge and that all boys are treated equally.
(Place mbc_7 on overhead
A. Duties as a Counselor
1. Interview the Scout
with a buddy present to determine
B. Duties as a Coach
a. His preparedness.
2. Short-term and long-term
goals are set by the Scout with encouragement from the counselor.
b. The amount of
knowledge he already has in the subject.
c. His interest
in the subject.
3. Counselor follows
up with the Scout on his goals-projects, collections, written work.
4. Counselor helps
the Scout evaluate his progress.
5. Counselor encourages
the Scout to ask for any help he needs to gain more knowledge or
skill in the subject.
on overhead or newsprint.)
1. Teaches the Scout
the skills required.
(Place mbc_9 on overhead
2. Gives the Scout
an opportunity to practice the skills under his or her guidance.
3. Takes a genuine
interest in the projects and encourages completion.
4. Always remember
that your enthusiasm and interest not only make the merit badge
experience more rewarding for the Scout, but may induce him to pursue
the topic on his own in the future.
C. Duties as an Examiner
1. Make sure you have
the most current requirements for the merit badge and that you follow
these requirements in a FAIR and UNIFORM manner.
(Place mbc_10 on overhead
The current Boy Scout
Requirements lists all of the merit badges in the back and it shows
the dates when the merit badge requirements were last updated. About
15-20 merit badges are updated each year.
2. Before you sign
the Scout's Application for a Merit Badge, you must insist that
the Scout do exactly what the requirements call for. If it says,
"show or demonstrate," that is what he must do. Just telling
is not enough. The same holds true for words such as "make,"
"list," "in the field", and "collect, identify,
Disabled Scouts must also complete all the requirements as stated,
within the bounds of common sense. A disabled youth who could not
write, may use a voice recognition computer to dictate and send
an E-mail letter to his congressman for Citizenship in the Nation.
But he still has to fulfill the requirement in order to receive
the merit badge.
3. On the other hand
you may not require more of a Scout than stated. You must not, for
example, say, "I want to be sure you really know this material,
so instead of the 20 items in your collection, you must have 30
before I will sign your card."
No more, no less insures that every Scout plays on a "level
field." No one is asked to do more; no one is allowed to do
D. Duties to the District/Council
(Place mbc_11 on overhead
A. Put the Scout at ease
1. For the Scout to
get the most benefit from counseling sessions, he must feel welcome
and relaxed. One way for the counselor to put a boy at ease is to
ask a simple question such as "How long have you been in Scouting?"
or "How did you get interested in this merit badge?"
B. At the first meeting
you should review each requirement to make sure that there is no confusion
over what the Scout must do. This will avoid later misunderstandings
and frustrations on both sides. Make sure you ask the boy if he has
any questions and encourage him to contact you if he has future questions.
2. Another way is to show him something related to the subject. A
Coin Collecting MBC might show the Scout his own collection. But be
careful not to overwhelm the Scout; remember he is only a beginner.
3. A third way is to ask the Scout to do a simple skill. For instance,
a Woodwork MBC might say, "Would you sand this piece of wood
while I get some tools ready?"
C. When reviewing completed requirements, you may find the boy needs
help. You may give such aid provided that the boy himself ultimately
does the work.
D. While you may test
for neither more or less than the requirements, you may teach more
than is required as a method of encouraging a Scout's further interest
in the subject.
E. It is, of course,
acceptable for a Scout on his own initiative to do more than the requirement
F. Remember that the
most effective way of teaching these skills is to get the student
to practice while learning.
(Place mbc_1 on overhead
How many merit badges may
one person be a counselor for?
Can a parent be a counselor
for their son?
How many merit badges
can one counselor sign for one scout?
These and other similar
questions are discussed in the Advancement Policies and Procedures Committee
Guide. In the 1995 printing, they were covered on page 9 under the heading
of Recruiting and Training Merit Badge Counselors and Publishing Lists.
WARNING: DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO TEACH THIS COURSE IF YOU DO NOT HAVE
AND ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE CURRENT ADVANCEMENT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
COMMITTEE GUIDE. There is too much misinformation in this area already!
I usually add to the
explanation in the Advancement Policies by pointing out that different
areas have different needs. In certain rural areas I would not want
to force the Scouts to travel for two to three hours just to meet with
a Merit Badge Counselor because I have limited the number of badges
that the few counselors in their area can teach. I would then turn around
and state that if you submitted a list of 10 or more merit badges that
you wanted to be a counselor for, I just may ask for evidence that you
have the skills necessary to teach all these merit badges. While National
states there is no limit, they also state it is the duty of the Council
Advancement Committee to approval all counselors. If you submit a list
of 20 badges, you may not be approved for all of them.
I usually end up by stating
that National's policy is "NO LIMIT", however, I recommend
that they teach no more than five or six merit badges. I then remind
them of one of the purposes of this program is to have the Scouts make
contact with adults with whom they might not be acquainted.
Is there a time limit,
from start to finish, for completing a merit badge?
The only time limit is
their 18th birthday, all merit badges must be completed before their
18th birthday. (Except for disable Scouts with prior approval, via the
procedures outlined in the Advancement Policies Guide.) This usually
brings up the question of partials done with another counselor. I tell
them that as the person who finally signs of the merit badge, you need
to satisfy yourself that they did the work or know the material. They
should not have to do the requirements over if they can demonstrate
this. Keep in mind the NO LESS discussion, as well as the NO MORE when
working with scouts with partials.
Why do I have to fill
out another adult application?
I like to agree with
them that it would be nice, if they were already registered, that they
would not have to fill out another adult application. But, unfortunately
the system is not yet that sophisticated. Merit Badge Counselors, even
those working only with their unit, are kept on the DISTRICT CHARTER
(registration), not the unit charter. This means two separate organizations
with the unit responsibility (read that liability if you like) in the
hands of the chartered organization and the District in the hands of
We also have problems
with the registrations going in at different times. How does the person
putting this in the computer already know you are registered with the
unit? How often does the Merit Badge Counselor registration go in at
the same time the adult's initial registration with the unit goes in?
If they do go in at the same time, let us know. We will copy the application
making the copy with the code 42 for the Merit Badge Counselor registration.
The second application also helps assure registration as a Merit Badge
Counselor. During re-charter time, things get hectic and the registrars
are very busy. I have know cases where the Merit Badge Counselors were
entered in on the unit charter as committee members because they went
in with the unit charters.
THE NEWSPRINT OR OVERHEAD SLIDES
the buddy system for counseling.
the purpose of the merit badge program for Scouts
the role of the merit badge counselor.
some methods of counseling and coaching.
Badge Counselor Orientation
of the Merit Badge Program
Merit Badge Process and the Role of the Counselor
must have a buddy with him at each meeting with a MBC.
scout working on the same merit badge
- A parent,
guardian, brother, sister, or relative
- A friend
the fullest extent possible, the merit badge counseling relationship
is a counselor-Scout arrangement in which the boy is not only judged
on his performance of the requirements, but receives maximum benefit
from the knowledge, skill, character, and personal interest of this
counselor. Group instruction and orientation are encouraged where
special facilities and expert personnel make this most practical,
or when Scouts are dependent on only a few counselors for assistance.
However, this group experience should be followed by attention to
each individual candidate's projects and his ability to fulfill
learn career skills.
develop physical fitness and hobbies that give a lifetime of
with adults with whom they might not be acquainted.
Merit Badge Process
selects merit badge
indicates interest to SCM who
Name & Number of MBC
gets MB book
sets date, time, and place encourages Scout to bring
Other indications of preparedness
first interview decide upon
does work on own and with help from counselor
No more - No less
Test as you go
MBC helps Scout
MBC keeps record
Scout turns in Unit copy
Scout keeps his copy
Duties as a Counselor
the Scout to determine
Duties as a Coach
Duties as an Examiner
Duties to the District
District when stop
the Scout at ease
when reviewing completed requirements
teach more than required
may do more than required