|Image Source: Boy Scouts of America|
Starting tonight, I may not have to miss it much longer because I attended a training tonight in order to become a Merit Badge Counselor for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) with my local unit. I have been a fan of the Boy Scouts program since I was a youth participating in it and feel it is my duty as an Eagle Scout to help as many other young men earn their merit badges and attain the honor of Eagle Scout. While I haven't done much with Boy Scouts since my own time in scouting (the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are both operated by the Boy Scouts of America, but they both have different requirements along with the age differences) I am very excited to get back involved in a role that won't be as active as that of a Scout Master or Assistant Scout Master.
In order to become a Merit Badge Counselor, you have to attend a training that involves learning about what is expected as a counselor as well as how to best fulfill your duties. You also have to complete a required course called BSA Youth Protection that details how to keep yourself and your scouts safe from inappropriate situations as well as how to handle bullying and working with each other. The BSA Youth Protection is a great video that all parents of scouts should consider watching, in fact, the BSA recommends that all parents watch it. The last thing is some paperwork that allows the BSA to run a background check on you as well as register you with their records. Since I've spent time as a Cub Scout Den Leader I'm already in their system but have been inactive, so it'll just be a reactivation for me.
So what merit badges did I offer to be the counselor for? With 136 total merit badges to earn in Scouting, it's a wonder that the boys are able to even get started. However, in order to receive their Eagle Scout award (the highest award in Boy Scouting) youth need to earn 21 and 13 of those are required while the other eight can be their own choice. Below are the merit badges I have offered to be a counselor for:
- American Heritage
- Digital Technology
- Family Life (This is one of the 13 required badges that need to be completed for Eagle)
- Public Speaking
While it looks like a long list, only one of them is a required badge and the rest are just fun. I do hope to have a few of the youth in my local unit come and work on some of these badges because then it will allow me to have some additional opportunities to work with another age group of students. Plus, look at that list, doesn't it look like a fun list of things to learn about? I think they look awesome to work on and will definitely go through each of the requirements so I can better teach them.
If you would like to get involved with the Boy Scouts of America, check out their website and see if there is a local unit nearby that you can help. If you would like to be a Merit Badge Counselor, you don't have to be male. In fact, there was a lady there at the training tonight and she will be a great counselor for the merit badges she has offered to help with. So get involved and see if the Boy Scouts of America can help you help yourself as well as young men around you.