The Counselor's Responsibility

  • Assist the Scout as he plans the assigned projects and activities to meet the merit badge requirements.
  • Coach Scouts through interviews and demonstrations on how to do the required skills of the craft, business, or hobby.
  • Certify the Scout after determining whether he is qualified for the merit badge.

Your task 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, though your larger opportunity lies in coaching-helping the Scout meet the challenge of the requirements and making him aware of the deeper aspects of the subject through your knowledge and experience.

BSA Registration:

Boy Scouts of America (BSA) requires that all adults who work with Scouts be registered as an adult leader and be approved merit badge counselors. If you are not already a registered adult leader with the BSA, please complete the BSA adult registration form, No. 28-501. There is no fee for this registration. The BSA counselor application form, No. 33405, should also be completed.

Please read the following to better understand the purpose and standards of the Boy Scouts of America: the "Purpose of the Boy Scouts of America," "Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle," and "Leadership Requirements".

Purpose of the Boy Scouts of America

The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to promote, through cooperation with other agencies, the ability of youth to do things for themselves and others, and to teach youth patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues. In achieving this purpose, emphasis is placed upon the Boy Scouts of America’s educational program and its oaths, promises, and codes for character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness.

Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. The Boy Scouts of America's policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

Leadership Requirements

The applicant (instructor) must possess the moral, educational, and emotional qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive leadership to youth. The applicant must also be the correct age, and subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle, and abide by the Scout Oath or Promise, and the Scout Law.

The Merit Badge Process

Each Boy Scout should do the following to earn a merit badge.

  1. Get approval and a "Blue Card" from your Troop to work on a specific merit badge.
  2. Contact the merit badge counselor.
  3. Do the work to satisfactorily complete all or part of the merit badge.
  4. Review with the Counselor the merit badge requirements you have completed. Bring your blue card. The counselor will initial and date the requirements he or she feels have been done satisfactorily.
  5. Once the entire merit badge is complete, return the signed blue card to your Troop.

Passing off Requirements:

A merit badge should be EARNED, not just handed out. Remember many of the Boy Scouts attending are only 11 to 13 years of age so while you should not be stern or vindictive you should also not pass off any scout who has not demonstrated that they have satisfied the merit badge requirement(s). It is also important that instructors require no more or less than the actual requirements. BSA policy states that "each Scout is judged on his own performance of the requirements."

The tendency as an instructor to teach more than is required may be your biggest challenge. If Scouts do not complete all requirements then just initial only the complete requirements on their Boy Scout Merit Badge application form (also know as a "Blue Card") and your own records so the Scout can complete the merit badge with a merit badge counselor in their area. It is NOT your responsibility to follow up with any Scouts who do not complete the merit badge after the last day of the Pow Wow.

Current registration results are available for you to check on how many boys are currently signed up for your badge.