Diversity, Equity and Language - Research & Tools

Language Research and Tools

This discussion topic thread is a review of the language needs, requirements and best practices for producing English (US) and non-English (in particular Spanish), Scouting documents and social media.

The topic is about best practices and standards for the five main programs of the Boy Scouts of America: Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouting, and Exploring; and pilot programs like STEM Scouts.


Scouting forums discussion

Second Topic

A secord topic related to a perceived need to add a warning to all society related posted resources was starts at post 4 of this topic. The language information provided in the first 3 posts of this discussion thread has nothing to do with the Scouting BSA merit badge program or implementing the “Citizenship in Society” merit badge introduced in 2021

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All content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.


Discussion created 2021-09-17. Version 2021-11-26-J DRAFT

Population language use information and data

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Created 2021-09-17. Version 2021-11-25-B

BSA® Language Standards

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25 Nov 2021


Not all councils permit their Citizenship in Society merit badge counselors to provide any resources or reference materials to the Scouts they are working with. You should add a disclaimer stating this to any lists of such resources you provide to the general Scouting community.

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The instruction is more direct. The Citizenship in Society merit badge pamphlet at page 3 Instructions for Scouts provides, "Your counselor will not be providing you with answers or resources (emphasis added), but will be engaging you in conversation to ask about what you have learned and how you plan to apply your new knowledge to your life as a Scout and as a good citizen in society.

The related Merit Badge Counselor Guide contains similar language then provides resources for counselors, where the counselors are instructed, “Resources should not be shared directly with Scouts.” The guide leaves the back door open with, “Parents of the Scouts should be engaged if there is a desire or need to share resources with the Scout.”

So for this merit badge the counselor’s desires and/or needs are to be incorporated?

I’m not sure what your question means?

Agreed, the question isn’t phrased too clearly, but my response would be that the intent of the new MB is absolutely not to have the MB counselor’s personal desires, needs, and opinions be incorporated into the discussion; the goal is to encourage the Scouts to reflect on their own personal beliefs and how they interact with the goals of Scouting.


I still stand by my original statement that any lists of resources should come with a statement that they are not to be given to Scouts by MBCs nor used by MBCs in discussions with the Scouts.


The requirements and merit badge counselor guide employ the words “will not”, and “should not” to prohibit counselors from supplying outside reference materials to the Scout. The guide provides 35 web links to outside resources where each is categorized by intended audience, youth and/or adults. Neither the Scout nor the parents are likely to read the guide. The desires and/or needs are the counselor’s, who is afforded the discretion to introduce the material thereby negating the prohibition.

To be clear, I do agree that no outside reference materials should be introduced or supplied by the counselor.

My question probably should have been, “What’s going on here?”

I guess in that context, I would say that it appears from the phrasing that it’s the BSA’s intent that, if resources are requested by the scout (“desire”), or if the counselor thinks that the scout would benefit from one of the resources supplied in the counselor’s guide (“need”), then the scout’s parent should be engaged as part of that process (“counselor will not be providing [the scout] with…resources”).

It’s awkward phrasing to be sure. I’ll have to reread the entire guide again to see if it makes any more sense in a broader context. Then, knowing me, I’ll probably end up asking for official clarification anyway. :^)

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Fulfilling the Scout’s “desire” as described in your post is precluded in the merit badge pamphlet Instructions for Scouts. That leaves us with the counselor’s “need” to shape the Scout’s thinking. Contrast this with the role of the counselor described in the guide as, “to elicit thinking, learning, conversation and sharing.”

I too would be interested in official clarification, although I fear the response will include the words, “Optional for Use”, which in my opinion is no answer.



This topic, “Diversity, Equity and Language - Research & Tools”, applies to multple BSA programs. That is why it is in the My Scouting Tools category and not the Scouts BSA category.

I do not believe it is appropriate to add a single program disclaimer to all resource topics used by multiple programs.

I have created a topic

where your concerns about the merit badge may be addressed.