MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR INFORMATION
Thank you for wishing to serve as a Merit Badge Counselor in the Minsi Trails Council. The Scouting program emphasizes helping young men develop character, citizenship, and mental and physical fitness. Among the handful of methods used to build on these aims of Scouting are adult association, leadership development, and advancement. Besides parents and relatives, schoolteachers, religious leaders, and possibly coaches, most Scout-age youth don't have much contact with many other adults or professionals. A Scout's association with his merit badge counselors provides an excellent way for him to grow and gain confidence through exposure to quality adults who serve as positive role models and mentors to him. Meeting people from business and community leaders to trained specialists and enthusiastic hobbyists, a Scout can experience a chance for personal growth and a positive life-altering experience while in pursuit of a merit badge.
Following is all the information that you need to know and the application process to register. Upon receiving your application, properly filled out, the Boy Scouts of America will do a criminal background check. You will be notified via e-mail when your application is approved. You cannot work with any youth until this process is complete and you receive the e-mail.
You are committing to following all of the requirements for the badge and ensuring the Scout has met these requirements before signing his card. No Scout can work on a badge with-out a “blue card” signed by his unit leader.
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.
- Complete Application form # 115 - New Adult – You need to fill out pages 4 and 5 only. On page 4 you must print and sign your name and date the application. On page 5 you need to enter all personal information including #6 on the right hand side of the form. Position code is “42 – Merit Badge Counselor”. You must initial all of the statements above the signature line and then sign the application. The only signature needed is yours on pages 4 and 5 with date. No fee is required. Click here to download an application.
- Complete a Merit Badge Counselor Application. Click here to download an application.
- Complete Youth Protection Training (YPT) and submit a copy of the YPT card with your application. To do this go to www.my.scouting.org and click on “create an account” if you do not already have one. Follow steps that come up – take training and print card. You must also be compliant with PA Act 15. Click Here for more info.
For an introduction to merit badges, click here. The following link gives you the guide to follow to do the job as a counselor.
Here are some simple tips that every merit badge counselor should keep in mind.
- Make the Scout feel welcome and relaxed.
- Stimulate the Scout's interest by showing him something related to the merit badge subject, but don't overwhelm him; remember, he is probably a beginner.
- Carefully review each requirement, start with easy skills or questions, and encourage practice.
- Insist that the Scout do exactly what the requirements specify. Many of the requirements involve hands-on activities that call for a Scout to show or demonstrate; make; list; discuss; or collect, identify, and label—and he must do just that.
- Don't make the requirement more difficult—or any easier—than stated. A Scout may undertake more activities on his own initiative, but he cannot be pushed to do so.
- During testing, the Scout might need help in a particular area or with a certain skill, and may need to be retested later to ensure the requirement has been fulfilled.
- Encourage self-evaluation and self-reflection, and establish an atmosphere that encourages the Scout to ask for help.
- Take a genuine interest in the Scout's projects, and encourage completion.