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Merit badge counselors: Facts about limits and counseling family members

posted Jan 18, 2015, 10:12 AM by Rowan District BSA   [ updated Jan 18, 2015, 10:12 AM ]
Posted on November 19, 2014 by  in Ask the ExpertBoy ScoutingMerit Badges 

I get a lot of questions about merit badge counselors, so today I’ll answer three I’m frequently asked.

My source for all of these answers: This page in the “2013 Guide to Advancement.” That’s a good reminder to look there first for your merit-badge-related questions. Not to say I mind hearing from you, of course!

Today I’ll answer:

  • Is there a limit to the number of merit badges an individual may counsel?
  • Is there a limit to the number of merit badges a Scout may earn from a single counselor?
  • Can someone counsel his or her own family member?

Here we go …

Is there a limit to the number of merit badges an individual may counsel?

Short answer: The National Council doesn’t set a limit, but local councils may do so as long as it doesn’t limit a Scout’s choices and become a barrier to advancement.

Long answer: Here’s the relevant part of the “Guide to Advancement”:

The National Council places no limit on the number of merit badges an individual may be approved to counsel, except to the extent a person lacks skills and education in a given subject. The intent is for Scouts to learn from those with an appropriate level of expertise.

Although it is permissible for councils to limit the number of badges that one person counsels, it must not do so to the point where Scouts’ choices, especially in small or remote units, are so limited as to serve as a barrier to advancement.

Is there a limit to the number of merit badges a Scout may earn from a single counselor?

Short answer: The National Council doesn’t set a limit, but a unit leader may do so as long as that rule applies to everyone in the unit.

Long answer: Here’s the relevant part of the “Guide to Advancement”:

Neither does the National Council place a limit on the number of merit badges a youth may earn from one counselor.

However, in situations where a Scout is earning a large number of badges from just one counselor, the unit leader is permitted to place a limit on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor, as long as the same limit applies to all Scouts in the unit.

Can someone counsel his or her own family member?

Short answer: Yes. But it’s preferable to broaden a Scout’s horizons whenever possible or practical.

Long answer: Here’s the relevant part of the “Guide to Advancement”:

Approved counselors may work with and pass any member, including their own son, ward, or relative.

Nevertheless, we often teach young people the importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with counselors beyond their families and beyond even their own units are doing that. They will benefit from the perspectives of many “teachers” and will learn more as a result. They should be encouraged to reach out.


http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/11/19/merit-badge-counselors/