Merit Badge Counseling
Become a Counselor for Motorboating, Small-Boat Sailing, Water Sports, or Whitewater Merit Badges
The Coast Guard Auxiliary recently entered into an agreement of mutual support with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This will help lead local Boy Scouts to you so they can earn the Motorboating and Small-Boat Sailing Merit Badges, and it gives you the chance to take on an important roll that may potentially grow your membership with the Scouts, their parents, and their leaders.
There are more than a million Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers in the United States -- This agreement - complemented by BSA's Motorboating, Small-Boat Sailing, Water Sports, & Whitewater Merit Badges - presents an incredible growth opportunity. According to a BSA statistics, Scouts nationwide earn aquatics merit badges at higher rates than just about any other topic. Boy Scout troops, Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers need our assistance with fulfilling the requirements for aquatics merit badges.
Merit Badge Counselor and Auxiliary Instructor
Although they don’t have to be, the merit badge counselor and the Auxiliary instructor can be the same person:
- Instructors do not have to be BSA members but becoming a merit badge counselor (and BSA Member) helps support Scouts as they work through Merit Badge activities. It can also provide positive public affairs and recruitment opportunities - such as having your flotilla meeting place as the location for appointments with Scouts to review merit badge progress.
- Merit badge counselors are key players in the Boy Scout advancement program. Whatever your area of expertise, you can play a vital role as a merit badge counselor. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge and other resources to help Scouts explore a topic of interest.
It's easy to volunteer
You'll need to register with the Boy Scouts of America through your BSA local council. This entails contacting the local council to obtain, complete and return the Adult Application and a Merit Badge Counselor Application where necessary. Every applicant is screened as the council processes the application.
To qualify as a merit badge counselor, you must
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be proficient in the Merit Badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training
- Be able to work with Scout-age boys
- Be registered as a Merit Badge Counselor with the Boy Scouts of America (a BSA Adult Application is used for the requirement)
- Renew your registration annually if you would like to continue as a Merit Badge Counselor for the following calendar year
As a Merit Badge Counselor you agree to
- Follow the requirements of the latest BSA Merit Badge requirement revisions for each Merit Badge selected
- Make no deletions or additions to the requirements, ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform for all Scouts
- Counsel the Scout to:
- Keep appointments
- Be in uniform
- Bring a legibly filed out Merit Badge Application card (Blue Card) signed by his unit leader
- Bring a buddy (friend or adult) to all instructional sessions as per BSA Youth Protection Guidelines
Approved volunteers are expected to complete BSA Youth Protection training through the BSA’s Online Learning Center - within 90 days of assuming a leadership position. The Boy Scouts of America seeks to create a safe environment in which both young people and adult leaders can enjoy the program and related activities. BSA Youth Protection training helps preserve that environment.
As a merit badge counselor, your mission is to marry fun and learning by acting as a teacher and mentor to Scouts as they learn by doing. Your duty as a merit badge counselor is to satisfy that Scouts meet all the requirements for the merit badge you are coaching. You do this by helping Scouts overcome the challenges inherent in the requirements and teaching them the nuances of the subject through their learning experience. You may relate your own experiences to positively reinforce the subject matter but may not add new requirements or extra work. You guide and instruct Scouts as a merit badge counselor, but they must do the work themselves.
The Motorboating, Small-Boat Sailing, Water Sports, and Whitewater Merit Badge requirements are located inside the merit badge pamphlets for each badge, which you obtain at your local council's store or online at scoutstuff.org.
By becoming a merit badge counselor, you can make it easier for Scouts to complete their aquatics merit badges, provide insight into boating safety, and give Scouts' parents and leaders a reason to consider membership in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. By becoming a Motorboating, Small-Boat Sailing, Water Sports, or Whitewater Merit Badge Counselor, you can capitalize on this exciting opportunity with the Boy Scouts of America.
- Introduction to Merit Badges
- BSA Local Council Locator
- BSA Online Learning Center
- Scoutstuff: BSA Supply
- BSA Youth Protection Guidelines
COMO Nick Tarlson, BC-BLY