scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Myth or Fact: MB Question
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET
Mon Mar 27 2000 - 12:28:29 CST
<James Wilson wrote>
I have heard that there is a limit on the number of merit badges an
individual counselor can counsel with a scout. I have heard the number "6"
thrown around, but no one can give me a good reference.
I have a unit advancement chair who believes this limit as fact and I would
like to see it in writing somewhere before I buy it.
It's not hard to see where a limit could be inferred. The merit badge
application only has space for a small number of merit badges. As others
have already noted, there is in fact no limit.
<Ted Holz wrote>
If a person does 10-12 merit badges he or she must be a very highly educated
person to be adept in so many fields. We should be looking for counselors
that are knowledgable in their fields that can correctly answer difficult
questions a Scout may pose.
To be a merit badge counselor, one does not need to be employed in a field
associated with the merit badge subject. You need not be an expert in the
As an example:
I am a qualified merit badge counselor for the following merit badges:
American Heritage, Camping, Citizenship (Community, Nation, World),
Communications, Computers, Cooking, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental
Science, Fishing, Hiking, Home Repairs, Indian Lore, Mammal Study,
Orienteering, Personal Management, Pioneering, Public Speaking, Reading,
Safety, Space Exploration, Traffic Safety, Wilderness Survival.
Only one of these badges concerns what I do for a living. The rest involve
either hobbies or experience. I am not "very highly educated" in most of
these subjects, but I'm confident enough in the knowledge I have to help a
Scout explore them.
Instead there seem to have all sorts of reasons why a person has to do many
badges. Not enough counselors, not enough time, too far to travel, etc. If
a Scout never has to go outside his troop for merit badge counselors aren't
we defeating one of the purposes of the merit badge program - letting him
meet and learn to talk with other adults?
As a Scoutmaster, my purpose is to find a counselor accessible to the Scout.
I don't HAVE to do many badges - I choose to do many badges. That doesn't
mean I assign myself as counselor for every badge. It's up to the SM to make
sure the Scout receives the full experience of earning a merit badge. If we
limit the number of badges a counselor can do, we're limiting our ability to
spread counselling duties around.
If your district lacks sufficient merit badge counselors maybe you should be
asking why. Instead of taking on another badge maybe your time would be
better spent trying to sign one up thus benefiting the entire district.
There's no reason you can't do both. Most of us know what our lives would be
like if we were the only merit badge counselor available even for just one
badge. We should be actively looking for new counselors (and our Scouts can
help). But there's no reason to delay a Scout from earning a badge we are
capable of counseling until we find someone. If the Scout knows someone who
might be willing, the task is that much easier.
AJ Mako, Scoutmaster, Troop 381 http://www.scouts381.org/
Great Trail Council, Old Portage District