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Who approves district-registered counselors and mentors? Maintains directories?

This topic is about counselors and mentors registered at the district level. Where directories (and lists) are maintained and how information is distributed can vary by council.

Unit commissioners need to know how units can obtain Merit badge contact information. For units there are four environments:

a. Council is uploading MBC data to Scoutbook. Unit leader has access to Scoutbook.
b. Council is uploading MBC data to Scoutbook, Unit leader does not have access to Scoutbook.
c. Council is not uploading MBC data to Scoutbook. Unit leader has access to Scoutbook.
d. Council is not uploading MBC data to Scoutbook. Unit leader does not have access to Scoutbook.

Then there is the Scouts BSA Lone Scout Program:
f. Council is uploading MBC to Scoutbook. Lone Scout Friend and Counselor does not have access to MBC data on Scoutbook.
g. Council is not uploading MBC to Scoutbook.

Lone Scout Friend and Council obtains information from professional staff (e.g. DE) or district advancement chair. How these people get the information to provide to Lone Scout BSA Friend and Counselor needs to planned for.

NOTE: Those who do not have access includes those that do not have access to the Internet.

This topic currently focuses on the Scouting BSA merit badge program and multi-program STEM Nova Awards program. It may included procedures for other programs later.

Approval of Merit Badge Counselors

Related guide extracts:

Guide to Advancement, 2019

Last paper version: 33088, ISBN 978-0-8395-3088-6, ©2019 Boy Scouts of America, 2019 Printing
Reference: Guide to Advancement website section Sources of Merit Badge Counselors

District or council advancement committees are charged with recruiting and training sufficient counselors to meet unit needs. … Counselor Approvals and Limitations

The council advancement committee is responsible for approval of all merit badge counselors before they provide services, although it is acceptable to delegate authority for this function to districts. The process should not be rushed to the point where unqualified counselors are allowed to serve. …

Merit badge counselors must submit the Merit Badge Counselor Information sheet, according to local council practices. The form must show each badge for which the counselor requests approval. Additions or subtractions may be submitted using the same form. … Registration and Reregistration

Merit badge counselors register at no fee, using the Boy Scouts of America’s standard adult registration form with position code 42. Designated members of the council or district advancement committee should provide the approval signature. The council advancement committee annually coordinates counselor reregistration. …

Volunteers who are properly registered as merit badge counselors can renew annually without completing a BSA adult application; their names will appear on the district roster for renewal. Anyone who is currently unregistered, or who is registered in another position but also desires to serve as a merit badge counselor, must complete an adult application. Merit Badge Counselor Lists: Getting Started

It is the responsibility of the council advancement committee to maintain a current list of registered and approved counselors, although this may be delegated to districts. … Unit Counselor Lists

Units may establish their own lists of counselors, who may or may not opt to work with youth in other units. … Note that all merit badge counselors, including those serving only one unit, must be registered and be approved by the council (or district, if authorized) advancement committee.

Registration Guidebook of the BSA, July 2019

Reference: Registration Guidebook of the Boy Scouts of America, ©2019 Boy Scouts of America, online document on BSA national forms page written for council registrars, page 25.

Merit Badge Counselors

… 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.

Reregistering merit badge counselors must complete a new Merit Badge Counselor Information form annually for approval, but a new application is not required.

Council and District MBC Lists

Reference: Building Effective Advancement Committees, 510-756, 2019 Printing, 5 pages, extract. page 3, “Merit Badge Counselor and Supernova Mentor Coordination”

Merit Badge Counselor and Supernova Mentor Coordination

Council advancement committees are expected to keep up-to-date lists of merit badge counselors. In many councils, district advancement committees play a significant role. With the advent of the STEM Nova Awards program, councils and districts are also called upon to keep lists of Supernova mentors.

First and foremost, the advancement committee ensures that enough merit badge counselors and, depending on the organization of each council, Supernova mentors are recruited, that they properly register annually with the BSA, and that their Youth Protection training is current. In performing this function, the committee also sees that units are using the services of registered and approved merit badge counselors as described in topic of the Guide to Advancement.

The committee chair or coordinator of this function assists with the approval of merit badge counselors and Supernova mentors according to local council practices and should do the following

  • provide training for merit badge counselors, Supernova mentors, and Nova counselors
  • distribute copies of A Guide for Merit Badge Counseling, No. 512-065, to those who need them
  • advise counselors and mentors on changes to applicable BSA policies and procedures
  • remind counselors and mentors to consult the Guide to Safe Scouting, No. 34416, as it applies to their work

Finally, the person taking the lead on this function may serve as a key contact when questions arise from unit leaders about related procedures and concerns.

District Committee Responsibility from 2011

DISTRICT COMMITTEE Responsibility Cards, form 34266, BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, 2011 Printing (obsolescent?)



  • Recruit and train an adequate group of merit badge counselors for the district.
  • Produce a district merit badge counselor directory.

In my Council, the Council Advancement Committee delegated the approval and maintainance of the lists of counselors.

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