What permissions are needed to view MB counselor list?

I’ve got a parent who wants to view the MB Counsellor list so he can make a decision on which badges he wants to be a counsellor for. This guy is a registered leader, but his registered position is a den leader in the pack. He has two older daughters in the troop, but he’s not on the troop’s charter/roster. The MB counsellor list doesn’t show up in the troop menu for him when he’s logged in. What do I need to adjust to give him permission to view the MB Counsellor list?

All Merit Badges A-Z | Boy Scouts of America is all he needs to see the MBs available. Does not need the MBC list to see that, in fact many would be missed if he used that method.


what he wants to do is look up several badges to see where there are counsellors available.
We’re in a large council and pretty much every MB has at least a handful of counsellors, but they’re not always very close to us. He’s trying to choose MB topics that have a void in coverage in our area. Our council limits each counsellor to only 8 MBs, so he’s trying to pick MBs that have the greatest need.

Well he needs to be a leader in the troop in SB, and it is easier with the Feature Extension


He need to be an adult leader in a troop, crew or ship.

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Thanks. I’m now trying to use the add leader button on the roster page. When I search for him by BSA ID, it’s telling me that nobody is found. I copied the number directly from his profile on the pack side. Not sure why it’s not finding him.

FWIW, I’m a COR of the pack and a K3D in the troop. I’m a pack/troop admin in both units. It shouldn’t be a permissions problem for me.

Adults must be registered with the BSA as scouters in order to be listed as leaders in Scoutbook.

The fastest path for getting the access they’re looking for is to either do a screenshare with one of the registered unit leaders (or just sit down at the same computer) and have the leader do the search.

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@JonChuchla - are the pack and troop under the same Charter Org ?

@CharleyHamilton As I mentioned above, he is a BSA registered leader in good standing. But his registration is with the pack not a troop. Same council.

@Stephen_Hornak The pack and troop are different COs.

@JonChuchla - then he would need to be registered as a leader in the troop

@Stephen_Hornak devils advocate. What is the “Add leader” button for then?

@JonChuchla - that button has been around in scoutbook for quite some time and when you could add a parent as a leader outside of the official application process. Best to follow the registration guidelines as published by the BSA.

The Search is broken, in theory you could add them as a leader in Scoutbook as he is a registered leader, but with the search broken it is harder. He could add the position himself under his positions, then admin just approves it

That could work but it would leave that adult with the caution sign that they are not a registered leader in the unit.

A Merit Badge Counselor is not a unit level registration, it is a Council / District registration - so you will need to work with your District or Council Merit Badge Dean – they would also be able to highlight what Merit Badges your area needs MBCs for as well – to get them registered and added as a Merit Badge Counselor into my.Scouting and in turn, Scoutbook, you’re unlikely to be able to do so at the unit level.

Also, +1 to @DonovanMcNeil 's answer – What permissions are needed to view MB counselor list? - #2 by DonovanMcNeil – for the list of Merit Badges! No need to add someone as a leader to see the current list of Merit Badges. This page is also important from a Scouting program view as well, as a number of Merit Badges have been retired and others have new requirements! Always good to stay up to date with BSA Advancement news!

I think we’re missing the point here. Don’t you think it’s reasonable for a parent to need to see the list of available counsellors? Even if we take the initial purpose of the question out of the picture, that’s not the only reason a non-leader would need to see the MBC list. There’s many scouts who don’t have access to scoutbook themselves yet because they’re too young to have their own email. So the parent needs to be able to view this information for them. There’s also times where scouts choose which badges they’re going to work on based on who is available to counsel them.
Our council maintains the MBC list solely in scoutbook, they have no other published list. Whenever you ask them about MBCs, they say to look in scoutbook. And this is a large council with thousands of MBCs. Even if they had a paper list, it would be unwieldy.

@JonChuchla - Web-Based Counselor Lists
Online counselor lists present a number of challenges.
They should only be placed on official council websites
that conform to the National Council guidelines. Council
sites must consider the safety and privacy of their members
and participants by obtaining the necessary permissions to
release information about or images of any individual.
Give attention to protecting counselor privacy. Limit access
to those who have merit badge-related responsibilities,
such as advancement committee members and chairs, or
unit leaders and selected assistants. Scouts should not have
access. Their interaction with the Scoutmaster in discussing
work on a badge, and obtaining a counselor’s name, is
an important part of the merit badge plan.

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I don’t think we’re missing the point at all, in fact, providing a list of MBCs to parents runs counter to the BSA Guide to AdvancementGuide to Advancement 2021 | Boy Scouts of America – and the goals of the Merit Badge program, as only registered adult leaders in the troop should have this information, as noted above by @Stephen_Hornak and quoted from the Guide to Advancement: “Limit access to those who have merit badge-related responsibilities, such as advancement committee members and chairs, or unit leaders and selected assistants.”

This is the process that Scoutbook is designed to support.

Complete lists of MBCs should NOT be provided to parents.

Having the list of MBCs only in Scoutbook, and only available to leaders, and not published elsewhere, is by design, as Scoutbook finally addressed in a very easy way what had been a challenge for districts / councils, which was to easily maintain an up to date MBC list online, but also manage control and access to it. Scoutbook does all of this.

The Merit Badge process should be that the Scout is meeting with the Scoutmaster and discussing and selecting a Merit Badge, and then be provided with the contact information of several MBCs to reach out to and make that introduction and connection, is part of the process by design.

The parents’ role is in supporting their Scout in reviewing what rank requirements and merit badge resources are available to their Scout, but the work of being introduced to MBCs should be happening by the Scout with the assistance of their Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmasters, and as needed, their parents.

There’s a great overview of the Merit Badge program and process over in the Scouting blog – the post is from several years ago, so some of the language referring only to boys is now out of date; “This is how to earn a merit badge” at >> How to earn a merit badge

Here’s the pull out of the recommended process (with some minor edits to reflect the current Scouts BSA program + Scoutbook):

The recommended process for earning merit badges

  1. The Scout develops an interest in a merit badge and may begin working on the requirements.
  2. The Scout discusses their interest in the merit badge with his unit leader.
  3. The unit leader signs a blue card / approves in Scoutbook, and provides the Scout with at least one counselor contact.
  4. The Scout contacts the counselor.
  5. The counselor considers any work toward requirements completed prior to the initial discussion with the unit leader.
  6. The Scout, their buddy and the counselor meet (often several times).
  7. The Scout finishes the requirements.
  8. The counselor approves completion on blue card / in Scoutbook.
  9. The Scout returns the signed blue card to their unit leader, who signs the applicant record section of the blue card and/or approves in Scoutbook
  10. The unit leader gives the Scout the applicant record / or notifies the Scout it has been recorded in Scoutbook.
  11. The unit reports the merit badge to the council; if recorded in Scoutbook, it is synced automatically with BSA Internet Advancement.
  12. The Scout receives their merit badge.

I can tell I’m talking to a wall here. But I’ll pontificate regardless.

There’s a few flaws in the “recommended” process. First off, access to the list. If the list is kept solely online, this assumes access to the list when it’s needed. As I’m an OA adviser in the middle of election season, I can safely say that at least half of the units meet in church basements and other places where internet/cell access is spotty at best. In many of these places, leaders struggle to connect to Scoutbook and pull information during troop meetings. So this often results in either an "I’ll get back to you with counsellors’ or “I forgot to look that up”. It would be much easier if they could just go home and look it up themselves.

Many unit leaders don’t know how to do the electronic MBC connection in SB. Or perhaps some don’t even know that they need to do some action in Scoutbook. Yeah that’s a need for leader retraining, but nonetheless, it’s the real world. I’ve never had a scout come to me to start a MB who had been successfully connected to me in SB. Ideally, they come with a blue card. But I always have blank blue cards available in case the scout didn’t get sent with one. I’m not going to turn a scout away from starting because they lack a blue card or signature or SB connection. I’ll record the progress on plain paper if I have to. In a few cases I was able to get the scout to have his parent go into Scoutbook to make the connection when he goes home but that doesn’t always work (maybe due to the broken search)

Note that the guide to advancement also says that even when the unit leader and scout disagree on choice of counsellor, “a scout must be allowed to work with the registered and approved counsellor of his choice.” This implies the scout has other means of finding counsellors. It also says that that a scout may begin working on any badge any time they register in Scouts BSA. So this can be done even before the scoutmaster’s signature and counsellor referral.

A parent is always part of the process. They have the say on how far they’re driving their kid to meet with a counsellor, etc… Also, the parent is always the electronic proxy for the scout, especially when the scout is younger than 13 and shouldn’t have his own email account, and therefore no access to scoutbook on his own. Scouts can mark that they completed things in scoutbook, whether it be merit badge requirements, or rank requirements. This is a great way to track his own progress. But if they don’t have their own account as would be the case for all 11-12 year olds, the parent needs to do it for them.

This may all become a moot point in the near future as we’re being pushed to register all parents as leaders later this year anyhow.

We are getting off into policy questions now, so I am closing this thread.