Troop 58 Boys Need Merit Badge Counselors!!

originally written by Sarah Filliter

April 1, 1999, (updated April 2005)

What makes Boy Scouting so successful and rewarding? For the boys, it's

  1. the hard work, self-motivation, and the accomplishment they feel from attaining their goals;
  2. the sense of camaraderie;
  3. the educational and life experiences gleaned from outdoor activities not otherwise exposed to;
  4. the leadership skills practiced by the boys as they mature and advance in rank;
  5. the community spirit and pride gained by the participants as they volunteer their time and energy towards making Cumberland/No. Yarmouth a better place to live; and (most importantly)
  6. having fun!

But parents, we must have your help to make this possible. All Scouts must earn 21 merit badges in order to become an Eagle, the highest honor among scouts. In order to earn each and every badge, a boy must meet with an approved merit badge counselor. This counselor is usually a parent from within our own troop (but can be a professional community member) who has agreed to become actively involved in helping our boys achieve their goals. Without merit badge counselors, boys cannot advance in rank!

There are over 110 possible merit badges that our scouts can sign up for; we currently have no counselors for 50 of those. Each merit badge has its own set of requirements that the Scout must complete and show evidence thereof to his merit badge counselor.

If you are wondering about the specifics of the badges, you might want to take a peek at two great references: the Merit Badge Requirements booklet (available at Council office for $3.50; contains a description of ALL merit badges) or the boy Scout Handbook (available at Council or L.L. Bean for $7.95óyour boy probably already has this thick book; contains a description of only the Eagle-required merit badges). Also go online at http://www.usscouts.org/usscouts/mb/framesindex.html to read specific requirements for all badges.

Here is how the process works!

To earn a merit badge, a Scout must:

1. Obtain a Blue Card from the Advancement Chairperson (Mrs. Baughan). Fill in the necessary information on the card and obtain the signature of the Scoutmaster (Mr. Thomas).

2. Contact an approved merit badge counselor from the counselor list and ask him/her if he/she would be willing to supervise the scout's progress as he meets the requirements of the badge. The counselor who works with the scout will keep the blue card until all work has been completed for the badge. Ask the MB Counselor Coordinator (Mr. Zrioka) if you aren't sure who a possible counselor is, or check our website.

3. When all requirements are met, meet with the counselor to finalize the completion of the work and obtain the counselor's signature on the blue card.

4. Turn the blue card back in to the Advancement Chairperson (Mrs. Baughan) and you will receive your hard-earned badge at the next Court of Honor!

  1. Feel proud! :-)

Notes from www.usscouts.org website, 04/04/2000: There is NO DEADLINE for earning Merit Badges, except the Scout's 18th Birthday. Once a Scout has started working on a Merit Badge (i.e. obtained a signed "Blue Card" Application for Merit Badge from his Scoutmaster, had an initial discussion with a merit badge Counselor, and started working on the requirements), he may continue using those requirements until he completes the badge or turns 18.
THERE IS NO ONE YEAR LIMIT ON SO-CALLED "PARTIALS". In contrast to the rule for rank advancements, which imposes a specific deadline for using the old requirements, The rule for Merit Badges is as follows: If the requirements change while a Scout is working on the badge, he may continue to use the OLD requirements until he completes the work, or he may use the new requirements if he wishes. It is HIS choice, and his alone.

 

To become an approved merit badge counselor (yo, parents ---yes, you!):

1. Complete the Troop Resource Survey (in our On-line Forms Cabinet) checking off any badges on the 2nd page that you feel you have knowledge, interest, or a special background in. This could mean that the badge relates to your career, your hobby, your life experiences, etc.

2. Contact our Merit Badge Counselor Coordinator, Pat Zrioka, by phoning him at 829-4026 or mail in your interest survey to him at 884 Sligo Road, No. Yarmouth, ME 04097, or e-mail to pzrioka@maine.rr.com.

3. Pat will provide you with an Adult Application Form and a Merit Badge Counselor Application (can put up to six merit badge requests on one form).

4. After completing these two applications (they are quick and easy to fill out!), return them to Pat. He will get the two necessary signatures on the forms and will forward them to the Council office.

5. Within three short weeks, the Council reviews the applications and sends you notification that you have been approved. Be sure to notify the MB Counselor Coordinator when you receive this response!

6. Enjoy your rewarding work with the Scouts! Remember, without you, they cannot reach their goal of earning any merit badge!

How much of a time/energy commitment is it for you as an approved counselor? You will only be called to duty if a boy or a group of boys decides to pursue the badges you are approved for. The initiative for completing the badge rides completely on the individual boy; some boys may complete their requirements in a short time, others may take longer. However, you are a supervisor of their work, not their babysitter.

Some badges require more of a commitment from the counselor than others; be sure to read the requirements expected from the boy before you decide if you would like to become an approved counselor for that badge! (Call Pat Zrioka to borrow the latest booklet or if you have any other questions).

Please seriously think about how you can help your boy and Troop 58 by becoming an approved merit badge counselor. You will get to know the scouts better and will feel a real sense of pride at helping a young person reach his potential! I look forward to working with all of the multi-talented and interesting adults we have in our troop. GO FOR IT!