Merit Badge Counselor Information2022-08-03T16:27:33-05:00

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.


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 NEW online Merit Badge Counselor Application.
    Be sure to upload adult application, youth protection certificate, and/or qualifications.  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
    Include a copy of your certificate of completion for Youth Protection Training with your applications.

Please note:  The Application review and approval process can take up to 10 business 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 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 NEW Online Merit Badge Counselor Application


Online training sessions for Merit Badge Counselors are available through  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

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:

Do any badges have special qualifications or certifications needed by the Merit Badge Counselor?2022-01-31T10:21:24-06:00

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

Specific requirements for these badges can be found here 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.

As a Merit Badge Counselor am I only able to work with my unit?2022-12-07T11:51:16-06:00

Yes, you can go into your personal profile and select a listing preference between: Council list, District list, Unit list, (if your council has uploaded the list: Worldwide) or Not Listed. You should go into your positions, select the merit badge counselor position, and select the preference you wish.

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.

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.

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