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Merit Badge Counselor Update

National Procedure: When a Scout has an interest in earning a particular merit badge, he obtains his Scoutmaster's/Varsity Scout Coach's approval and identifies another Scout with similar interests to become his partner. They are then directed to the appropriate merit badge counselor...

PLEASE NOTE: The MBC Application is a custom form by Northern NJ Council. The National form will not be accepted as NNJC restricts counselors to 10 merit badges. Additional training questions are also on the NNJC form.


Merit Badge Procedural Concerns 

When working with merit badge counselors, it is important to know if they have been registered as merit badge counselors. This is a separate registration from that of a scout leader. It requires both an Adult Application form and a Merit Badge Counselor Application form. It is also important that the counselors attend a Youth Protection training session and a merit badge counselor training session. These are council requirements as is the limit on the number of merit badges per counselor to 10.

It has come to the attention of the Council Dean of Merit Badge Counselors that there are some persons taking Youth Protection training and signing the attendance sheets that they are merit badge counselors. In updating the counselor records for youth protection it has been noted that some of those so listed are NOT registered as a merit badge counselor. This means that the scoutmaster must check with the counselors whom he/she uses to be sure that they are registered. Some of the counselors may feel that they will only serve scouts in the troop with which they are associated, but the council policy is that all counselors will be available for all scouts and must be listed on the council list. 

Secondly, the person signing the Advancement Report (form 34403), which is turned in to the council office with the record of advancements, is certifying that all of the counselors who signed the blue cards used to prepare the advancement report are registered. There is always the possibility that a scout's advancement could be jeopardized with the used of unregistered counselors.

A scoutmaster is supposed to sign the scout's blue card and select a counselor with the scout before the scout contacts the counselor so there is an opportunity to make sure that the counselor is registered. This also enables corrections to be made to the merit badge counselor list if the information is fed back to the Advancement Committee. There are counselors who have moved without notifying anyone or no longer wish to counsel scouts.

As a note, there is a rumor around that all scoutmasters are entitled to sign merit badge cards as a counselor because of their position. This is not true. A scoutmaster must be registered as a merit badge counselors, just as any other counselor. Remember, it is separate registration from that as a scout leader.
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