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Uniform Emblem for Merit Badge Counselor

Has BSA considered a “Badge of Office” for merit badge counselors who are not a member of a troop committee?

(See pg.42 of insignia guide at: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33066/33066_Scouts_BSA_Insignia_WEB.pdf )

Merit Badge Counselor is a council position, not a unit position. Still the same issue, though, as there is not a council position patch for MBC (see page 79).

Of course, I have yet to meet an MBC that didn’t have some other position in a unit, district, or council, so there’s already a patch there on the uniform…

If we’re doing this right, a lot of MBC’s should only be that and perhaps not affiliated scouting in any other way than as a counselor. The YP requirements do not make that easy.

That said, it would be neat to have something like an interpreter strip for each badge that a scouter counsels. It should be in electronic ink and bluetooth enabled so that it fades to black when YPT lapses.


In the Registration Guidebook, p. 24, a Merit Badge Counselor is listed as a District Scouter position, not a Council Scouter position. (In a previous registration guidebook it was listed in a combined council/district non-unit position code list which led to different interpretations.)

From what I can determine Merit Badge Counselors are Scouters, but not District Scouters even though they are registered at the district level.

Merit Badge Counselors

In order to register, merit badge counselors (position 42) must be at least 18 years old and must complete an adult application including a criminal background authorization form, complete the Merit Badge Counselor Information form (No. 34405, see Appendix) specifying which merit badges they are qualified to teach, and take Youth Protection training. See the Guide to Advancement for qualifications of counselors. Merit badge counselors who wish to receive Scouting magazine must pay a registration fee and be registered as position 42F - badge counselor—with fee.

Bill, thank you. I have learned something. :smile:

You quoted the Registration Guidebook, p. 24, about Merit Badge Counselors. This section is continued on p. 25. This paragraph defines how the MBC position is a district level position.

Adult applications are required of all new counselors whether they are currently registered in another position or not. Merit badge counselors are registered and approved on the district level and all applications must be approved by the district merit badge counselor coordinator before the application is entered into the BSA membership system.

I made an assumption that MBC’s were council level because we turn in applications to council and the council maintains the Scoutbook MBC list. I did not realize there was a step in between where someone at the district level approved the application.

Merit Badge Counselor is a council position, not a unit position. Still the same issue, though, as there is not a council position patch for MBC

Thank you for catching that and providing the correct link to the correct page in the insignia guide. :smile:

Of course, I have yet to meet an MBC that didn’t have some other position in a unit, district, or council, so there’s already a patch there on the uniform…

Steve, my unit position is “parent,” and I’m registered with BSA as a merit badge counselor. When there are occasions I need to appear in uniform, I would prefer it not appear that my uniform is missing patches. :wink:

I’ll be honest and admit that the majority of uniformed MBCs I know, as @SteveCagigas noted, are already registered in another position as well. Most of the MBCs I know who are not already otherwise registered with the BSA aren’t particularly interested in being uniformed.

That said, I certainly wouldn’t object to such a patch (although my wife might object to me bringing more patches into the house. :slightly_smiling_face:). I wonder if it might be something that your council could get authorization to produce at the local level to see how much interest there is. If there’s enough interest, it might be something supply group would want to pick up. There are procedures for getting “local” patches approved, and I don’t recall if they have provisions for adult leader roles or not.

@CharleyHamilton - what the hay. Let’s lobby for yet another patch on our sleeve. So seriously those of us with multiple role do what we do because we understand and believe in what the global scout movement offers. If you are look for temporary recognition then the scouting movement will not exactly fit

@SaraJeanPetite, most folks whose only registration is merit badge counselor do not own a uniform. Kudos to you for wanting to wear one.

I’ve only known one other like you in my many years. This young man was very active in his Order of the Arrow lodge. In his early 20s, he was no loner registered with the troop in which he had been a Scout, but he continued to be registered as a merit badge counselor, and he remained active in the OA lodge as a registered adult.

I’ve staffed several Wood Badge courses, and one day he expressed interest in taking Wood Badge. He thought he couldn’t, because he did not hold a unit position. I told him that he only needed to complete training for his district Scouter position of merit badge counselor, which at the time meant completing Merit Badge Counselor Orientation, which takes about an hour. Some of us put together a session, and we made sure he attended.

Of course, being properly uniformed at Wood Badge is very important, so we looked into this carefully. The conclusion was that he should wear a Boy Scout (at the time) uniform with silver shoulder loops, a council shoulder patch and nothing else. Although he was a trained merit badge counselor, the trained strip may only be worn below the badge of office for which training has been completed. Since there is no badge of office for a merit badge counselor, only the CSP was appropriate. Of course, it was fine for him to wear his OA lodge flap, any knots he had earned and temporary insignia just like any other Scouter.

He took Wood Badge and was inspired. He is now the lodge adviser of his OA lodge, and his wife is the Scoutmaster of their daughter’s Scouts BSA troop.

Although you may feel your uniform looks like it is missing something, it is properly worn with no badge of office and no unit numerals. Some people will be curious as to what your district or council position might be, when they see your shoulder loops. It’s a great way to start a conversation.

Why, you might ask, can there not simply be a merit badge counselor badge of office? Being a merit badge counselor is a great responsibility, but it is not an “office.” It requires working with Scouts to see that they have met the requirements for a badge and learned something in the process. It isn’t an overall responsibility for a district function or for the district’s governance.

If we had merit badge counselor badges of office, I can imagine how many people would put together another shirt to wear at merit badge rallies. Oh, the bedlam!



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Traditionally, MBC’s weren’t registered with the council. The desire to maximize youth protection has made registration without fee a necessity. Same applies for scout parents. They were presented to boys as good people outside of scouting who they could count on.

So, traditionally, the roles weren’t ones that required a uniform. I still don’t think they should. Part of the objective of adult association is to teach scouts to work with adults outside of their troop.

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So, traditionally, the roles weren’t ones that required a uniform. I still don’t think they should. Part of the objective of adult association is to teach scouts to work with adults outside of their troop.

I understand the uniform isn’t required, but I have it from when I was on my son’s Webelos pack committee. I believe it is appropriate to wear it when meeting with counselees (when meeting a scout and his/her parent in a public place, it makes me incredibly easy to spot), and I would like to wear it properly. :smiley:

That’s totally fine. In this case, if you don’t have another position, “wearing it properly” means no position patch.

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I don’ t know if this would be correct or not but you might think about the District Committee patch Number 444, district scouter shown on page 80 (https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33066/33066_Section_3_WEB.pdf)
and with the silver shoulder loops.
I know that in our council the districts are where the MBC rechartering happens.
(COR for 3 units and the District Advancement Chair)

interesting idea. I don’t know if someone registered as “scout parent” waould be a district scouter.

Although registering to be a member of a district committee is good idea. If you’re gonna put in that hour a week, might as well do it somewhere!

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Hour a week! That’s a good one!

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MBC is a District position, not a scout parent position or Troop position.

Districts are to maintain a list of counselors for specific badges, and the no-fee registration process has allowed districts to do this and ensure the dissemination of BSA’s youth protection requirements. In the past decade MBC has evolved into a “position” for management purposes, but making any more of it than that chips away at the heart of adult association.

I don’t think anyone in any district considers MBC’s as district scouters. They are community members who happen to be willing share their specific knowledge and experience with scouts. Nobody expects them to show up at roundtable, organize events, recruit, etc … Other community members write checks or offer their institution to sponsor a unit. We don’t call them scouters.

So uniform? Maybe. (Sounds weird to me, but not objectionable in the least.) District scouter patch? Not at this writing.

That said, I have a feeling that an MBC who wants to wear a uniform should pay the registration fee and ask to volunteer at some level. (E.g., maybe organize a camporee with his/her MB as a theme.) It’s a good indication that he/she is passionate about scouting and wants to go beyond “Yeah, sure have your scouts give me a call if/when they want to learn about my career/hobby.”


In my district the “district committee” position emblem is worn primarily by elected district members at large who do not have a position specific emblem for the office or staff position that they preform at the district level.

I believe the voting members of the district committee (per the national model) are the:
a. District Committee Chair
b. District Commissioner (elected as a District Member at Large before becoming the district member a district commissioner.)
c. Annually elected district members at large.
d. Chartered organization representatives with units in the district
e. Council members at large residing in the district.

My understanding is that the following registered at the district level are not normally part of the district committee:
a. Merit badge counselors
b. Super NOVA mentors, NOVA award counselors
c. Lone Scout Friend and Counselors, Lone Scouts

A district committee member can also serve as a merit badge counselor, but being a merit counselor by itself does not make a volunteer a voting member of the district committee.

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