Merit Badge Counselors

“Boys can see adventure in a dirty old duck puddle, 

and if the Scoutmaster is a boys’ man he can see it, too.” Robert Baden-Powell

Dear Merit Badge Counselor,

Thank you for volunteering to teach at our Merit Badge Clinic. We couldn’t do anything without your participation.  The best place to find the 137 current merit badges & requirements is this official BSA site:    www.scouting.org/scoutsource/boyscouts/guideformeritbadgecounselors/introtomeritbadges.aspx

Register as a Merit Badge Counselor

There are a few tasks that you need to take care of:

  1. Take Youth Protection Training (Y01): Your youth protection training needs to be current and not expire before May of 2018.  This training needs to be taken every two years.  You can go to https://my.scouting.org/ to take the course online.  You may need to create an account if you don’t have one.  Be sure to print your certificate when done.  You’ll need it with the volunteer registration form in #2 below.
  2. Register as an Adult Leader: Many unit leaders have a blank Adult Volunteer Application or you can access one online at http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/524-501.pdf .  You may send it to the council office or get it to your building captain.  There is no cost to register with the BSA if you are a merit badge counselor.  Use position code 42.
  3. Take the Merit Badge Counselor Orientation (D76 Training):  This is a one-time training.  If you have already taken the course in person, you don’t need to do anything more. If you have not yet taken this course, it is now available online at www.my.scouting.org.  The D76 training is required for new counselors and any counselors not previously trained.  This short course will help you to become an effective, confident MB counselor.  It takes less than 90 minutes to take all of the modules (under one hour if you have already had any BSA training before).  These are the modules needed to complete D76 Merit Badge Counselor Orientation:
    1. Ideals and Beliefs of Boy Scouting
    2. Aims and Methods of Boy Scouting
    3. Advancement for Boy Scouting
    4. Intro to Merit Badges for Boy Scouting
    5. Merit Badge Counselors for Boy Scouting
    6. Merit Badge Counselors Sign Up for Boy Scouting
    7. If you prefer an in-person, live class, check the Occoneechee Council calendar for training dates or email stevehanna@email.com with questions.
  4. Register as a Merit Badge Counselor: Select the merit badge(s) you will teach this year.  This form must be updated annually in April or whenever you want to change/add merit badges.  The form for Occoneechee Council is here:  MBSignup2017
  5. Set up your meritbadge.info profile:  If you have taught with us before, you probably have a profile on MeritBadge.info. If not, you will need to create one.  The website is http://meritbadge.info.  You will see a [Sign On] button.  If you don’t have a profile, click on register new user.  Some items that you will need to know before setting up your profile:
    • Your personal email address
    • The password you would like to use
    • Troop # and District (if affiliated with a troop).  You are probably in the Impeesa, Neuse River, Awahili, Black River, or Crosswinds District in the Occoneechee Council.
    • Your personal phone number
    • Your address
    • BSA Registration # (if you haven’t registered with the BSA yet, you can make up a number and change it later)
    • Youth Protection Date (has to be May 31, 2016, or later)
    • When you get to the section where they ask for the merit badge you want to teach, just skip it.  It doesn’t work and will crash the program.  Skip it, and I’ll connect you to your merit badge after you tell me that your profile is created.  However, you will need to check the box in front of I want my profile to be listed in the Merit Badge Counselor Directory.
  6. Please do this ASAP:  After you have created a profile, contact Steve Hanna at stevehanna@email.com.  He will connect you to your merit badge so you will have access to your session roster.

That’s it.  You’ll be good to go.  Thanks for your dedication and service to our youth.  You will have an impact on these young men beyond what you can imagine.

(For all current and new MB counselors)

Suggestions:

Get a copy of the MB Pamphlet for your merit badge and read it soon.  It is what the Scouts will be asked to read before coming to your session.  Of course, not all Scouts will actually read and prepare ahead of time.  You may get a few “walk-ins” the day of your session, it is up to you if you allow them in or not.  You may want to visit http://www.meritbadge.org/ to see requirements, worksheets, and other helpful materials.

Please keep your Scouts involved and engaged for the entire three hours of your session.  Refrain from letting them out early to run the halls.  If your merit badge legitimately takes less than three hours, consider adding an additional merit badge or team up with another counselor to teach the second one.

For example, in the past, we have had a couple of double MBs in a three-hour session (Entrepreneurship & Salesmanship, Citizenship in the World & Family Life, Fingerprinting & Electricity) and a couple in a six-hour session (Animal Science & Horsemanship, Pathfinding & Scout Heritage, Welding & Farm Mechanics).

A week or two before the event (or when your class is full), go to www.meritbadge.info to download a list of your students.   Please email or call each Scout to welcome him to your session.  This is the time to send him any instructions or assignments that you expect done before coming to your class.  This is also the time to let them know of material fees and how to get the money to you.  Please remind your participants that they need to bring:

A Class A uniform
A signed blue card for each MB session attended
Each Scout’s own sack lunch
A donation of non-perishable foods for the Food Bank
Paper and pencil and a copy of the MB pamphlet if possible
Cash or a check for any special fees required for your merit badge

If your merit badge includes a field trip of any kind, please provide this link to your participants.

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/19-673.pdf

It will give them access to the official BSA hold harmless/permission form that they must complete, sign, and present to you before their field trip.

After your session is filled, or after the registration deadline is reached, you may get requests from scouts’ parents and/or leaders to open up one more spot.  You are welcome to put those kids on a waiting list or open a spot if you would like.  If you want to let them in, just notify me, and I can open a spot with their registrar on the phone so they can register as soon as I make a spot for them.  What you do about these requests is entirely up to you.

Please make sure that at the end of your session all blue cards are returned to the Scouts.  That is their record of what they accomplished.  You may sign off the ones that are complete or indicate which requirements remain for partials.  In both cases give two sections of the card to the Scout and keep the section marked counselor’s copy for your records.  Some find it helpful to photocopy the entire card before dividing it up.  The church library will be open with a copy machine at your disposal.

Thanks again for sharing your time and talents with the Scouts who will attend our MB Clinic.  You are the BEST!

Thanks & YiS,

Steve

All Merit Badge Counselors must complete Youth Protection Training, file an Adult Application (and merit badge selection form: MBSignup2017); and be approved by the local council. (See the Guide for Merit Badge Counselors for additional details.)

10/9/17 Revision