Merit Badge Counselors Listed in Scoutbook

I was searching for Welding Merit Badge Counselors to work with Scouts in our Troop to finish up the Merit Badge that was not completed at camp (generator broke at Camp so no actual Welding was done). I found two Counselors the next town over from us in Scoutbook. One of those Counselors informed me that he signed up to only work with Scouts in a specific Troop, not ours. Since I just volunteered to be our District’s Advancement Chair, and Merit Badge Counselors fall under my umbrella of responsibility, I was hoping someone could explain to me how the Counselor list works within Scoutbook. I thought that Units should only see Counselors who were willing to work with them, either because their Unit was the only one the Counselor selected to work with, or is within the District the Counselor stated they were willing to service, etc.

My concern is that if our District tells a Counselor that we will honor their wishes on who their contact information is shared with, but then they get a bunch of contact from others outside their indicated comfort zone, we are going to have less people willing to recharter as Counselors when the time comes. It will also make it hard for us to get new volunteers for Counselors once word gets around. But I’m also too new in my position to know where to go to fix the problem, and honestly don’t know enough about how the information gets into Scoutbook or how Scoutbook is intended to work in this area. So I figured I would just ask.

Merit Badge Counselors can log into Scoutbook and change their listing preference from Council to Worldwide, District(s) or Unit(s). All MBCs come into Scoutbook with listing preference set to Council. Only the MBC can change it.

Personally, I wish the BSA would stop allowing MBCs to say they only work with Scouts from a specific unit. MBC is a Council or District position depending upon registration, not a unit position. In my Council, in order to register as an MBC, the adult must agree to work with any Scout from the Council provided the MBC has time. They are not permitted to say they only work with Scouts from a single unit.


Yes MBC is a paid position by Council - if they only want to work with one unit let the unit pay for the position

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@DonovanMcNeil , I’m not understanding your comment. Counselors are not a paid position, at least not in our Council or District. If the Counselor doesn’t hold a position any other position, they don’t even pay a registration fee like you would for a Unit position.

I agree. There are many reasons why unit only MBCs are not good. A big one is that Scouts should work with a variety of adults on MBs and having unit ones defeats this. The other is that, as the OP found out, sometimes it is hard finding a MBC. They should share their time more widely. The point is to draw from the community. Now if they are counseling too much, they can say “hey, I am already working with 4 scouts, either wait or find a new MB”. that is fine.


He means it is a free registration to the person and unit. The council has to pick up the fees.



There are costs involved with registering any adult. In the case of an MBC, the Council is paying for the criminal background check and other associated costs instead of these costs coming out of the membership fees. What Donovan is suggesting is that if an MBC wants to work with only a single Troop, the Council should not have to foot the bill for these expenses.


@edavignon Thank you for the information. I didn’t know that other Districts/Councils did not allow for Unit specific options when registering as a Counselors. While I do agree with you and @Matt.Johnson that it only betters the program if we have Counselors that work with a larger area of Scouts so that they do get interactions with adults not just within their Unit, if our District/Council has allowed them to only select working with a specific Unit, that should be honored. It just feels to me like going back on terms in a contract. But now that I’m aware that as a District we can change the form to only allow the option of a larger area, I will start looking into how to make that happen.

I will let this Counselor know that he can go into Scoutbook and change his preferences to prevent this situation from happening again. Can someone point me to where it is explained how to make that change so that I can include that in the email to him?

@Matt.Johnson Got it. Thanks for clearing that up :slight_smile:

@edavignon Thanks. Learning a lot today :slight_smile:

Very very good points. You are, though, in such a neat spot to fix for your district going forward!

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Sorry to ask another question, not completely linked to my original post, but

got me thinking…I’ve been told that no one at our Council has access to Scoutbook, so most of the time when Unit Leaders reach out they are told Council can’t help because they don’t use it. I heard the same from our District’s Merit Badge Dean, which is what made me ask the question here. Because the Merit Badge Dean doesn’t have access to Scoutbook, she doesn’t know anything about the process or how it works. So if I didn’t have a Unit position I would not have access to Scoutbook. Is that correct, or has our Council not set things up to have access and thereby access is not allowed further down?

If they are registered as a merit badge counselor they should have scoutbook access. I believe with the SSO it is the same login info as their My.scouting account.

This is the menu they should see (I think) when they log in.

Go to my account

Go to my positions

Go to merit badge Counselor

Change status

It is disheartening to hear that your council is telling leaders they cannot help them, especially now that there is a sandbox environment they can use to familiarize themselves with scoutbook.


@JohnGeiser Thank you for helping me figure out how to walk them through making the change.

I agree that it is disheartening, and I wish Council would understand that that is part of the reason they do not get more help when needed. Our Council is going through a lot of financial issues, as are many Councils, but their’s started before the pandemic and has been going on for the past 5 years or so. They have cut their staff to only 8 positions I think, but that is also their response when anything comes up…they need money, they don’t have staff, etc. I doubt they even know there is a sandbox environment they can use, and while I will reach out to let them know that, I will probably hear that they need a volunteer to step up if we want someone to have that knowledge within Council. I am not a technology person, so I am not the right person to take that on, but hopefully with the knowledge that there is such a thing, they can find the right person to help. Do you happen to know if there is a sandbox environment on the District level as well?

Here is the info on the sandbox. There would not be one for “district” level because scoutbook is intended for unit or individual use.

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@JohnGeiser Awesome!

Thank you all for all of the help :slight_smile:

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@KristinAdams - you will want to scroll down on that thread for the access to scoutbook sandbox doc.

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