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Merit Badge Counselors - a brief overview 

How does a Scout find a Merit Badge Counselor?

  1. Identify what badge(s) you would like to take.  Talk to your Unit Leader about your interest.
  2. Your leader will give you the name(s) and phone number(s) of at least one Merit Badge Counselor from an approved list of Counselors.
  3. If your Unit Leadership does not have the list, the unit leader may request a new counselors list from the Council Service Center.  This list is only available to unit leaders (Scouts must go through their unit leaders to obtain any counselor names and contact information).

To qualify as a Merit Badge Counselor, you must

  • Be at least 18 years old, of good character, and agree to follow the Scout Oath and Law and the Declaration of Religious Principle.
  • Be registered with the Boy Scouts of America as a Merit Badge Counselor (position code 42).  This includes consent to a criminal background check as with all BSA Adult Volunteer positions.
  • Complete BSA Youth Protection Training before your registration will be approved.
  • Be recognized as having the skills and education in the merit badge subjects covered and hold any required qualifications and training as outlined in the Guide to Advancement
  • Be able to work with Scout-aged youth.

As a Merit Badge Counselor, you agree to:

  • Follow the requirements of each merit badge when counseling Scouts, making no deletions or additions, ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform for all Scouts.
  • Have a Scout accompanied by his buddy during all instructional sessions.
  • Keep your Youth Protection training current (must be taken/re-taken every two years).
  • Renew your registration annually with the council if you plan to continue as a Merit Badge Counselor.

How do I Register to be a Merit Badge Counselor?

You must do the following to be a registered Merit Badge Counselor:

  1. Fill out a BSA Adult ApplicationMerit Badge Counselors are Council/District-Level positions, so a unit or chartered organization does not sign an adult application for an adult wishing to register as a Merit Badge Counselor.
  2. Fill out a Merit Badge Counselor Information form, listing the badge(s) you wish to counsel, including a brief description of your qualification(s) for each badge.
  3. Take Youth Protection TrainingExternal Link through the My.Scouting online training modules.  Make sure to turn the Youth Protection certificate that you will receive at the end of this training with your application. 
  4. Turn all of the paperwork into the Council Service CenterExternal Link.  After you turn the paperwork into the council service center, your paperwork will be reviewed and approved, or followed up with for additional questions. 

**For Shooting Sports Merit Badges you must be NRA certified

I'm already a registered BSA volunteer, do I really need to fill out another application?

You must file a BSA adult application for every new position that you would like to participate in Scouts.  Merit Badge counselors are approved by the council/district, and are not part of the Unit Charter Renewal. 

If you are already a registered Counselor, and would like to add or remove merit badges you available to counsel, you need to file another Merit Badge Counselor Information form with the Council Service Center.

How do I renew my Merit Badge Counselor registration?

All Merit Badge Counselors must confirm their registration annually. Merit Badge Counselor registration for the Redwood Empire Council runs May 1  - April 30. Merit Badge Counselors are mailed a renewal letter in April. The letter needs to be signed and returned to the Council Service Center. If you have misplaced your letter, please contact Tracy Good for a replacement letter.

For complete details regarding Merit Badge Counseling, please refer to the current edition of Guide to Advancement.

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