Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: SM as merit Badge Counselors
Re: SM as merit Badge Counselors
Bruce E. Cobern
Sat, 6 Feb 1999 09:20:33 -0500
> From: WBBear@AOL.COM
> Date: Friday, February 05, 1999 3:26 AM
> Tonight I ran the old question of whether Scoutmasters by virtue of
> position as SM could sign off Camping, Cooking. Hiking, etc., merit
> whether they would have to also be registered as Merit Badge
> those merit badges. Does anyone have a citation to some printed
source for the
> answer to this question?
You won't find anything in writing giving blanket permission for anyone
to be a counselor for any badge by virtue of position, title, etc.
because it doesn't exist. In fact, ALL counselors including unit level
counselors as well as district/council counselors MUST be registered as
merit badge counselors and approved by the council advancement
committee. In support of that statement are the following:
Quoting from "1998 National BSA Advancement Policies and Procedures"
(Cat. # 33088A), on page 4 you find, from the BSA Charter and Bylaws,
Article X - Program (Advancement) - Rules and Regulations, Section 1,
Clause 13 - Responsibility for Merit Badges:
"The responsibility for merit badges shall rest with the merit badge
counselor approved by the local council and district advancement
Then, on page 10, in the section on "Troop and Team Merit Badge
Counselors" it says:
"All merit badge counselors, even those who serve only one unit, must
be approved by the council and district advancement committee, and
counselors must register as a merit badge counselor."
On page 9, under "Qualifications of Counselors" it says:
"Persons serving as merit badge counselors must be registered as a
merit badge counselor with the Boy Scouts of America. They must be men
and women of good character, age 18 or older, and recognized as having
skills and education in the subjects for which they are to serve as
merit badge counselors, as well as having the ability to work with
The position of "merit badge counselor" (code 42, I believe) is a
district/council level registration position. The application of any
adult registering in this capacity must be approved by the scout
executive. It is clear that ALL counselors must be registered as merit
badge counselors, so ALL counselors must be approved by the scout
executive. Thus, just being registered in Scouting in some other
capacity is not enough.
It is possible that a council has given blanket authority to all SM's
to serve as counselors for those badges, but not likely. Just because
one sews on a SM patch doesn't give him any knowledge or expertise in
camping, cooking, etc. Besides, there is still the affirmative action
of filling out and signing an adult application specifically to serve
as a counselor, even if only for your own unit.
Bruce E. Cobern