Merit Badge Counselor Information2021-11-16T15:17:38-06:00

The merit badge counselor is a key player in the Boy Scout advancement program. Whatever your area of expertise or interest – whether it is a special craft or hobby (basketry, leatherwork, coin collecting), a profession (veterinary medicine, aviation, engineering), or perhaps a life skill (cooking, personal management, communications) – as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a youth’s curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.

If you are not yet a merit badge counselor, it is easy to become a volunteer. To register with Bay-Lakes Council, please follow the steps listed below.

HOW TO BECOME A MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR

Review the Merit Badge Counselor Instructions before completing your application.

New Adult BSA Leaders:

  • Complete a BSA Adult Application.

    • List “42” as the Position Code.  Enter “Merit Badge Counselor” in Scouting Position Description.
    • Unit Committee Chairman and Charter Organization Representative Signatures are not required.
    • There is no fee to register as a Merit Badge Counselor.
  • Complete the Disclosure Authorization Form. (Page 3 of the BSA Adult Application.)

  • Complete the Merit Badge Counselor Application:
    Be sure to fully describe your qualifications for each merit badge on Page 2.  Also, you may apply to be a counselor for a maximum of ten merit badges.  Only four of the ten badges can be Eagle Required badges at any given time.

  • Complete Youth Protection Training at My.Scouting.org
    Include a copy of your certificate of completion for Youth Protection Training with your applications.

  • Return your completed application materials to Bay-Lakes Council:

Please note:  The Application review and approval process can take up to 30 days to complete.  Upon approval of your application by the District Advancement Committee, an email confirmation from Bay-Lakes Council will be sent to you.

Currently Registered Leaders:

MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR ANNUAL RENEWAL

Merit Badge Counselor registrations renew automatically each year on August 1st, as long as, Youth Protection Training is up to date. Youth Protection Training must be renewed every 2 years.

Renewed Merit Badge Counselors will receive notice via email when their position renewal is completed.  If your registration as a Counselor is not renewed due to a lapse in Youth Protection Training and you would like to be re-instated as a Counselor, please:

  1. Complete Youth Protection Training
  2. Complete the Online Merit Badge Counselor Application

MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR TRAINING & RESOURCES

Online training sessions for Merit Badge Counselors are available through My.Scouting.org.  Log-in instructions on Pg. 2 of Merit Badge Counselor Instructions.  Recommended courses include:

  • Merit Badge Counselors Position Specific Training *Highly Recommended*
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity in Scouting

Your registration as a Merit Badge Counselor will sync with your account in Scoutbook within 24-48 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do any badges have special qualifications or certifications needed by the Merit Badge Counselor?2021-11-16T11:20:17-06:00

Yes, special qualifications or certifications are required for:  Archery; Canoeing; Climbing; Kayaking; Lifesaving; Rifle Shooting; Rowing; Scuba Diving; Shotgun Shooting; Snow Sports; Swimming; Whitewater.

Specific requirements for these badges are listed on page 2 of the Bay-Lakes Council Merit Badge Counselor Instructions.

How Can I Update My List of Approved Badges?2021-11-16T11:22:13-06:00

To Add or Remove merit badges you are approved to mentor please submit an updated Merit Badge Counselor Application.  On the application form, please indicate that the application is to Add/Drop badges.

Can I only work with youth in a specific unit?2019-01-02T13:46:35-06:00

Yes, you can choose to only work with youth members of a specific Troop or you can choose to work with youth members for your District.  The Merit Badge Counselor Application is where you will be able to specify this preference.

How many badges can I be approved for?2021-11-16T11:02:22-06:00

Bay-Lakes Council caps the number of badges a Counselor can mentor at 10.  Of the 10 approved badges, only 4 can be from the list of Eagle-Required badges.

Do I need to be a registered unit leader in order to be a Merit Badge Counselor?2019-01-02T13:47:54-06:00

No, Merit Badge Counselors do not have to hold a unit leader position.  Additionally, there is no membership fee for being a Merit Badge Counselor.

If I am a registered unit leader do I have to complete the BSA Adult Application again to become a Merit Badge Counselor?2019-01-02T13:48:32-06:00

Yes, the National BSA requires that an adult leader submit an application for each registered position they hold with the organization.

What happens if my registration lapses because I didn’t have current Youth Protection Training?2021-11-16T11:04:08-06:00

A lapsed (unregistered) Merit Badge Counselor must submit an updated Online Merit Badge Counselor application along with proof of completed Youth Protection Training.  Upon receipt of your application the District Advancement Committee will re-evaluate your qualifications and if everything is in order your position as a Merit Badge Counselor will be re-instated.

How do I find a Merit Badge Counselor near me?2021-11-16T11:27:17-06:00

Registered merit badge counselors are viewable via Scoutbook within 24 hours of their registration.  Click here for more information about Scoutbook’s features for Merit Badge Counselors.

Are there details about the new Citizenship in Society badge?2021-11-16T12:19:30-06:00

The BSA released a new Eagle-required merit badge in November 2021, Citizenship in Society.  Details about this new badge can be found at the following pages:

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