Merit Badge Counselor Orientation

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					 Merit Badge Counselor Orientation

Isabelle Muller
Chain Bridge District
• Purpose of merit badge program
• Merit Badges and the AIMs and Methods of
• Requirements to be a Counselor
• Buddy System
• Role of the merit badge counselor
• Methods of counseling and coaching
• Examination
 Purpose of the Merit Badge Program

• To learn a skill (some are required for Eagle)
• To be exposed to new vocational fields
• To explore a career field or subject not normally
  available to youth
• To gain confidence
• To find a greater purpose in life
• To be a better informed leader
          Merit Badge Program
    BSA Regulations & AIMs of Scouting
• BSA Rules and Regulations:
  – Article X, Clause I: Program – Advancement
     “Education is the chief function of the
     Scouting movement and it shall be the basis
     of the advancement program.”
• AIMs of Scouting
  – Character Development
  – Citizenship Training
  – Personal Fitness
               Merit Badge Program
               Methods of Scouting
• Methods of Scouting (8)
  –   Advancement
  –   Personal Growth
  –   Leadership Development
  –   Outdoor Programs
  –   Association With Adults
  –   Uniform
  –   Patrol Method
  –   Ideals
    Requirements to be a Counselor

• Be knowledgeable and proficient in merit badge
  subject matter
• Complete Youth Protection Training
• Must be a registered adult of Boy Scouts
  – There is no cost for merit badge counselors.
  – Register every year
• Approved by local District Advancement
• For 6 or fewer merit badges
                  Merit Badge
              Counselor Resources
• A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling, BSA pamphlet 3453
• Current Merit Badge Pamphlets and Merit Badge
  Revision dates, table:
• Current Merit Badge Requirements:
                Merit Badge
            Counseling Procedures

• Merit Badge Pamphlets (govern over anything else)
• Merit Badge Requirements
   – Current Requirements
   – Modified “corrected” Requirements
• Scouts with Disabilities
                   Merit Badge
                  Buddy System
• Meet BSA Youth Protection policies (online version)
• Two deep leadership
• Meet in Scouts home with his parents or someone
  else at home
• Place of profession with other adults around in plain
• In your home with his parents waiting in the other
  room (in clear sight or access to clear sight)
• In the field (rifle range, swimming pool, lake, etc.)
  with other adults in clear sight.
                   Merit Badge
               Scout’s Responsibility
• Read and know all requirements in advance
• The Scout obtains a merit badge form that is
  signed by the Scoutmaster
• The Scout makes an appointment with you
• Is accompanied by a buddy (two deep leadership)
• Bring the required projects or evidence that the
  projects were completed (some project may be too
  large to transport)
                  Merit Badge
            What the Counselor Does

• While meeting, talk with the Scout, not at the Scout.
  Be a friend.
• Share your knowledge
• Don’t grill him or examine and reexamine
• Satisfy yourself that the requirements have been
• If his card is partially signed off and you have doubt
  then call and ask the adult who signed off on the
                Merit Badge
           Counselor Responsibility
• Help the Scout meet the challenge of the
  requirements and make him aware of the deeper
  aspects. Share your knowledge
• Do not add or remove ANY requirements.
• If a Scout wants to do more then do more
  – No extra credit for doing more
• Examiner – (larger role is coach)
• Your time with the Scout is important
                 Merit Badge
                Counselor Role
• Assist the Scout as he plans the assigned
  projects and activities to meet the merit badge
• Coach Scouts through interviews and
  demonstrations on how to do the required skills
  of the craft, business or hobby
• Satisfy yourself that each Scout has met the
  requirements for the badge
                Merit Badge
               Counselor Role

• Be VERY CAREFUL with large groups
• You may work with many Scouts at a time
  or just one.
  – Your influence is not measured by the number
    of Scouts whom you work with, but by the
    effect upon the lives of whom you work with.
• Certify the Scout
            Methods of Counseling
• Make the Scout(s) feel welcome
   – Ask simple questions at first
   – Show samples of your work related to the merit badge
     (be careful to not show off)
• Review the requirements and insist that the Scout does
  exactly what the requirements state to earn the merit
      (Note: You may not require a Scout to know more or do more than
      a requirement states but, if he is interested and wants to know
      more, you can certainly discuss deeper aspects of a skill.)
• Listen
• Share what you know on a subject.
• Share what is most interesting to you.
              Methods of Coaching
•   Teach the skills required
•   Practice the skill while teaching it.
•   Take genuine interest in projects
•   Encourage questions.
•   You might stress that being able to put
    knowledge to work in life is the important thing.
    – Relate his merit badge work with his life
• Offer information on career opportunities or
• Encourage completion
• Verbal vs Demonstrate by doing
• When is it acceptable to pass/fail?
   – No clear definition to this.
   – Not looking for perfection.
   – Showing up for a meeting is not a criteria.
   – Scout must demonstrate that he has met each requirement.
   – It Depends
       • Is it a skill that a Scout will teach to others?
       • Will the Scout learn more as he practices and teaches others?
• Be fair and consistent
• Does the Scout understand the skill well enough to help him choose
  his lifework?
           Merit Badge Application
                 “Blue Card”
• Scoutmaster signs application first
• Counselor initials requirements completed
• Counselor signs and dates application


• Scoutmaster signs application second time
  – For record keeping ONLY

Thanks for LEARNING