All troops should expect every adult to take on some kind of leadership role. One that’s often overlooked is Merit Badge Counselor (MBC). Merit Badge Counselor can be designated as troop only or open to the council use. Adult Cub Scout leaders are also qualified to be Merit Badge Counselors. This is a good way to start the bridging process to a troop.
• Must have or completed an adult application process (YPT and background check)
• Must keep Youth Protection Training current
• Online or live Merit Badge Counselor Training
• Have proficient skills, experients, training, and/or knowledge of the Merit Badges
⚠️ Important: It is recommended to focus on 3 to 8 Merit Badges. However, there is no limit set if you are qualified.
As a Merit Badge Counselor:
• Follow the requirements of the merit badge, making no deletions or additions.
• Scout should use the buddy system. MBC keeps “two-deep” leadership during all instructional sessions. This includes Email (CC), Online meetings, Phone calls, and texting.
• Keep your Youth Protection Training current.
• Renew membership registration annually if I plan to continue as a Merit Badge Counselor.
⚜️ Note: Merit Badge Counselors can continue after their no longer with a unit. Merit Badge Counselors must be registered with Scouts BSA with the district/council.
In cub scouting, we focus on good character building. This helps give the cub scout confidence and self-reliance. This skill is necessary for everyone. Merit Badges are a great way of finding talent and interests. If you look into most merit badges you will find a requirement that focuses on career aspects. The 13 Eagle-required merit badges make a Scout a better citizen and a happier employee. The Scoutmaster should ideally work with the scout on what the scout is showing interest in for the other 8 or more. I know scouts who when they entered the “work world” or decided on a major in college, often look back to a merit badge. Not every high paying job out there requires a college degree. Eagle Scout Mike Rowe from “Dirty Jobs” fame has a YouTube channel @realmikerowe. There are quite a few jobs and careers out there that need more experience or apprenticeships than additional schooling.
⚜️ Note: We as adult leaders need to check our biases at the door. We need to encourage scouts to look into careers that may not require a college degree. Using the Scoutmaster’s conference to find out what the scout is interested in will help their merit badge path become easier.
⚠ Correction: ScouterStan accidentally stated there were 12 Eagle-required merit badges. It’s actually 13 Eagle-required merit badges today. Cooking merit badge was added in 2013. The remaining 8 additional merit badges (for a total of 21,) can be alternative Eagle-required or other non-Eagle-required merit badges. An attempt will be made to make corrections to the video and within the closed captioning.
All rank advancements beyond First Class Scout require merit badges. Everyone should know the system and the blue card process is a big part of that. Blue Cards or Merit Badge Applications are the documents needed to get merit badges. To start this process the unit leader and Scout should meet and go over the merit badge procedure together. The unit leader and Scout select the merit badge counselor; sign and date the blue card to get it officially started. Remember that the two-deep leadership applies to Merit Badge counselors too. That includes online conferencing, emails, text messaging, etc. Merit Badge counselors must be approved by the council, trained, the proper age, and be YPT certified. On completion of the merit badge, the counselor will sign-off the first two parts and remove the part for their record. The Scout then gives the application part of the blue card to the unit leader or the unit’s advancement team. The Scout should retain the “Applicants Record” part of the blue card. Scout Camp and Online Merit Badge Academies may have a different form however the blue card process should be maintained. One of the rumors going around is that Blue Cards are phasing out. As of the date of this filming, it is only a rumor. Eventually, it will become electronic and even moved over to Scoutbook.
⚜️ Note: Cub Scout leaders should not skip this video. Even though the blue card process will not apply to Cub Scouts. Most cub scout requirements are in their book and signed off by leaders or parents. However, Cub Scout leaders should know about the process for future reference and interactions with Den Chiefs and other Scouts. Some Cub Scout leaders are also merit badge counselors.