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Troop Parents as Merit Badge Counselors

Absolutely. Now that being said, I encourage my son, and similarly will encourage my daughters, to earn merit badges, especially required eagle badges, from somebody other than me.

Here is my Funny take on this. Councils (and therefore National) does NOT go back at Eagle verification time and see who the MBCs were for a Scout, and verify signatures on Blue Cards. Much Less - verify if the said MBC really was an MBC on the date it was recorded.

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Yeah, about that. Our Council Advancement Chair says that he does. I know our registrar also pored over other details of our scouts’ applications. It’s a big country. Your mileage may vary.

Along similar lines, our DAC asks for copies of credentials when adults apply for MBs that demand them. He’s a stickler for details. (Sometimes folks use other language.:zipper_mouth_face:)

I tell parents that if they are the most qualified in their neighborhood to counsel the badge, counsel their kids. They won’t regret it.
On the other hand, if there is someone equally qualified, but will come at the topic slightly differently, they should have their kid give that person a try. They won’t regret it.

As a personal statement I did counsel a merit badge for my son, but it was surveying at a STEM merit badge program at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The 10 scouts we worked with had a great time and experienced real time surveying and my son was just a part of the class. The only problem I have now is that no scouts are interested in pyramid building merit badge… now I am sad


Pyramid building would be a cool MB. I’d take it …except I’m an adult so it would just be for fun.


I’m adding it to my annual April Fool’s list of Eagle-required Merit Badges :grinning:


I would love to see a project management MB for the completion of the Eagle Project. I know several scouts who completed their project but did not complete the rest of their required MB in time to make Eagle. It would be nice to see the project completion recognized
on the sash.


Yes. Fundamental problem solving, too! What do you do when your plan doesn’t work?

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Unless I’m missing something a parent should never be told not to signup to be a merit badge councilor if they are qualified. Going by how many you have isn’t really a good idea, as shown recently with YPT changes. My district had only 50% update a month before councilors were required. It gives the troop options and get them involve. Have new councilor help teach classes with older councilors, a mentor program. But to turn away qualified help I can’t see, use it as a gate way to get they involved. As to how many again are they qualified? Let district decide, you don’t have to recommend them to the scout.

We had a situation where we were down to 2 leaders / mb counselors. We agreed not to be a mb counselor for our own sons eagle req’d. Even if that way doesn’t appeal to you, the SM and Adv. Chair still need to review the blue card and approve, so that’s an additional check.

As a District Advancement Chair, I want to tell you that the MB counselors are approved by the District Merit Badge counselor coordinator. No one is an approved MBC until their application for this DISTRICT position is approved and entered into ScoutNET. if a parent wants to be an Merit Badge counselor tell them to fill out the required paperwork and submit it to the district committee for approval. GTA lets you limited the number they can counsel if it is applied uniformly in the unit. My council is starting to use ScoutBOOK to publish the Merit Badge Counselor listing as it will be easy to do quarterly update vis a annual printing so you can see who is available to teach the badge and you as scoutmaster can assign the scout to a merit badge counselor. this would solve your issue of Dad doing all MB for his child.

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The Scoutmaster can only rescind a Merit Badge once the Merit Badge Counselor has signed the blue card for a couple very specific reasons. See the Guide to Advancement for details The Scout, the Blue Card, and the Unit Leader
“Although it is the unit leader’s responsibility to see that at least one merit badge counselor is identified from those approved and made available, the Scout may already have one in mind with whom he or she would like to work. The unit leader and Scout should come to agreement as to who the counselor will be. Lacking agreement, the Scout must be allowed to work with the counselor of his or her choice, so long as the counselor is registered and has been approved by the council advancement committee. However, see “Counselor Approvals and Limitations,”, for circumstances when a unit leader may place limits on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor.”

True. Just pointing out some safeguards to keep this from getting out of hand or to allay fears in impropriety. SM also has the ability to assign the MB counselor, so if there concerns they could route the scout to a MB counselor not their parent. Overall, I think we try to apply the “Scout is trustworthy” to leaders, but we all have human failings. Just try to do your best without causing unneeded drama in the troop (there’s plenty if opportunity for that…)

Dave Cutler
Keller, TX 76248

Please note: SMs don’t have the ability to assign merit badge counselors. They can recommend them, but the Scout always has the option of choosing someone else.

The interaction the SM has in the MB process is primarily as one who encourages the Scout, recommends a MBC, and at the end of the process finds out what the experience of the Scout was and if they should recommend the MBC again; and communicate with the unit committee to record the badge and purchase the badge. That’s about it unless the SM discovers it was impossible for a Scout to have done a requirement.

See the Guide to Advancement for more information.


Merit Badge Counselor is not a unit position. They are registered with the district or council. You do not have any merit badge counselors in your troop. Registration is a two step process. First an adult application has to be filled out and submitted to the district or council along with a copy of the Youth Protection certificate. Secondly, a Merit Badge Counselor application is submitted to the appropriate advancement chair listing merit badges and qualification to be a counselor for each specific badge. There is no limit on the number of merit badges one person can be a counselor for as long as they meet the requirements for the badge.

The unit has no say on which counselor a scout chooses to work with for a merit badge. They can make a recommendation but it is not enforceable.If you suspect the requirements are not being met by the scout and the counselor is just signing things off you can report it to the appropriate advancement chair who will investigate and take appropriate action. The Guide to Advancement specifically prohibits any action to be taken against a scout for the action or inaction of an adult.

As a parent who’s also a Merit Badge Counselor (I asked for the application within a month or two after my oldest son turned 11 and joined a troop; now he’s 15)…

I’ve ended up being the “counselor of record” for some of my children’s badges. That doesn’t mean I was the only one who taught them. There were some troop meetings where other leaders, or a guest, lead a discussion of the material. I had them pass off some requirements by writing e-mail to another counselor. They’ve taken merit-badge classes at camp for which I’m a registered counselor.

And they’ve earned other badges where I was not the counselor; some at camp or at district activities, some where the Scoutmaster or another troop leader was the counselor, but my eldest started Personal Management and Family Life with someone he called on speakerphone, me next to him, cold out of the council directory; and he earned Hiking from a counselor we contacted by e-mail, met once in his home to plan, and then once at church on a Sunday afternoon to debrief.

I wouldn’t be concerned by the eight merit-badges the parent is a counselor for; that’s about what I signed up for when I started, including four Eagle Required badges, and I imagine that a scoutmaster who earned Eagle as a boy could easily be a counselor for most of the Eagle Required badges and several others based on personal interest.

I would be more concerned if “has been a counselor for multiple badges” means his boys, and only his boys, have apparently earned several badges in such a short time… that’s not impossible, but quite a feat, especially for a brand-new scout.

I’m part of a Troop in a rural area. I’m currently covering Advancement and Training chairs as well as plain Committee member. I have no children in the Troop. We are stretched thin on MBC’s in our area so I’m applying to be a counselor for 8 MB’s, 3 of which are Eagle requirements. As an Eagle with Silver Palm from 1973, I have a fair idea of what I’m getting in to. We have an agreement in our Troop that parents will not be MBC’s for their children unless absolutely necessary. I have checked the list of MB’s very carefully and chosen those that I feel fully qualified to work with. My biggest challenge will be, IMHO, to avoid the appearance of favoring the Troop I am attached to. As a retiree I can cover a somewhat wider area, but I’m restricting my scope to these 8 badges because I don’t believe I can do full justice to more than that. But that’s just me. We are so thin on active parents and volunteers that I’m not sure we can afford to alienate any that choose to take part unless there’s an egregious flaw in their work. I have to agree on keeping the eye on those who wish to counsel ALL of the badges. I would rather have the badges more difficult to attain than have the Scouts knowledge of the given subject be shortchanged. I’m somewhat disturbed by the trend towards numbers rather than quality. It’s the latter that has generated the respect our program has come to represent. That respect is, or should be, our bottom line.


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