Merit Badges and Counselors
Qualifications of Counselors
People serving must maintain registration with the Boy Scouts of America as merit badge counselors and be approved by the local council for each of their badges. Counselors must have completed Youth Protection training within the last two years. They must be men or women of good character, age 18 or older, and recognized as having the skills and education in the subjects they cover. It is important, too, they have good rapport with Scout-age boys and unit leaders. Counselors are encouraged to work with Scouts from multiple units.
List of Approved Counselors
In Patriots’ Path Council, each district maintains a list of approved merit badge counselors. Those lists are provided to unit leaders and other registered adults directly involved in advancement, but should never be distributed or otherwise shared with Scouts or their parents or guardians.
Role of the Unit Leader & Signed “Blue Card”
Except for prerequisites or other restrictions specified in the merit badge requirements, any registered Scout may work on any merit badge at any time. Best practice, especially before significant efforts are invested, is for the Scout to discuss his interest with his unit leader and obtain the name of one or more approved counselors on the Application for Merit Badge, No. 34124, commonly called the “blue card.” The Scoutmaster is responsible for identifying a counselor from those approved (including those approved by other councils) and made available, and is encouraged to give appropriate consideration to a Scout’s preferences and the opportunities to work on merit badges at merit badge fairs or midways, or rock-climbing gyms or whitewater rafting trips that provide merit badge instruction from a registered merit badge counselor. See The Merit Badge Program and Blue Card instructions in the Guide to Advancement.