Merit Badge Counselor Information2021-03-25T15:07:37-05:00

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 young man’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.


  • 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 Bay-Lakes Council Merit Badge Counselor Application.

    • Fully describe your qualifications for each merit badge on Page 2.
    • You may apply to be a counselor for a maximum of seven merit badges.
  • Complete Youth Protection Training at My.Scouting.orgInclude a copy of your certificate of completion for Youth Protection Training with your applications.

  • Mail your completed applications, disclosure authorization form, and the certificate of completion from your Youth Protection Training to:

    PO BOX 267
    APPLETON, WI  54912-0267

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 the Bay-Lakes Council will be sent to you.

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.


Merit Badge Counselors Position Specific Training *Highly Recommended*

  • Accessible through > Scouting U > Boy Scouts > Merit Badge Counselor Specific Training

Merit Badge Requirements

Latest Merit Badge Program Updates

A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling

The Essentials of Merit Badge Counseling

The Merit Badge Program

Scouting Advancement

Frequently Asked Questions

Do any badges have special qualifications or certifications needed by the Merit Badge Counselor?2019-01-02T13:41:20-06:00

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?2019-01-02T13:45:41-06:00

To Add or Remove merit badges you are approved to mentor please send 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?2019-01-02T13:47:20-06:00

Bay-Lakes Council caps the number of badges a Counselor can mentor at 7.

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?2019-01-02T13:49:09-06:00

A lapsed (unregistered) Merit Badge Counselor must submit an updated 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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