A part of the advancement program of the Boy Scouts of America, the merit badge plan is one of the most unique educational tools ever devised. It is an exploration method to connect scouts with different hobbies, vocations, and careers.
A merit badge is an award that is presented to a Scout when he completes the requirements for one of the merit badge subjects. The badge is only a small piece of colored cloth with a design embroidered in
color, but its significance is as large as the interest of the merit badge counselor who helps a Scout earns it. Millions of Scouts "browse" among the more than 100 subjects, choosing those that seem most interesting to them. Some subjects are in craftwork, some in vocational fields, some in service to others, and many in cultural or life skills areas. In addition, certain merit badges are required for the Eagle Scout rank. Merit badge counselors provide the means for Scouts to explore many subjects that may not be available to them otherwise. The Scout who has earned a number of merit badges gains confidence, finds greater purpose in life, and becomes a better person from his experience. This cannot happen without the service of thousands of merit badge counselors' expert in particular subjects and interested in helping Scouts grow into men of character who are ready to take their place in the world as participating citizens. You are probably saying, "That's all great, but what do I do, and how do I do it?"
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.
The counselor's responsibility is to assist the Scout as he plans the projects and activities to meet the merit badge
requirements. Coaching Scouts often occurs through interviews and demonstrations on how to do the required skills of the craft, business, or hobby. Certify the Scout after determining he is qualified for the merit badge. Most local council's list merit badge counselors by district so that Scouts may call for appointments. These merit badge lists are kept in the strictest confidence by the district and a troop's scoutmaster. Counselors are only listed by name, phone number, and email address (if provided). The number of Scouts requesting help is usually no burden to the counselor, since the number of counselors is normally determined by the popularity of the badge. Counselors
schedule appointments at their convenience.
No one on one contact with scouts is permitted. Please encourage a scout to bring a friend or parent.
Your task is to satisfy yourself that each Scout meets all the requirements for the merit badge. In this sense you are an examiner, though your larger opportunity lies in coaching the Scout to meet the challenge of the requirements. Merit badge counselors cannot add or delete requirements.
Merit badge counselors must be members of the Boy Scouts of America. A counselor must have approval from the BSA local council, but there is no cost to serve. A prospective counselor completes an adult application and a merit badge counselor application form. All volunteers must complete BSA Youth Protection training before approval maybe given to counsel scouts.
This training is available online at http://myscouting.org
Approval to serve as a merit badge counselor is not an automatic approval. The perspective counselor should have a hobby, specific interest, or work in the career field of the merit badge.
As a merit badge counselor, I agree:
1) to follow the requirements in the merit badge pamphlet, making no deletions or additions, ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform for all Scouts.
2) to renew my registration as a merit badge counselor annually if I plan to continue serving as a merit badge counselor.
An official Boy Scout merit badge pamphlet has been created for the BSA by topic authorities for each merit badge. The pamphlets contain requirements, introductory information and supplemental reference text. A scout can purchase pamphlets from BSA, find them in a troop library, or often-times check them out from a public library. There is also a BSA Requirements Booklet with a merit badge list for quick reference.
A complete list of current merit badges can be found at the national BSA website:
Calapooia registered merit badge counselors.
If there are any errors or omissions, please continue on to the Merit Badge Counselor Application page.