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Suggested Merit Badge Counseling Techniques

For the Scout to get the most benefit from the counseling session, he must feel welcome and relaxed. One way for the Merit Badge Counselor to put him at ease is to ask a simple question. For example, "How long have you been in Scouting?" or "What got you interested in the Astronomy merit badge?

 Another way to put a Scout at ease is to show him some-thing related to the merit badge subject. For example, a Coin Collecting Merit Badge Counselor might show the Scout his coin collection. However, don't overwhelm the Scout. Remember, he is probably a beginner.

 A third way to put a Scout at ease is to ask him to do a simple skill. For example, a Woodwork Merit Badge Counselor might say, "Would you sand this piece of wood while I get some tools ready?"

 At the first meeting with the Scout, the Merit Badge Counselor should carefully review each requirement to be sure the Scout understands what he must do.

 Before the Merit Badge Counselor signs the Scout's Application for Merit Badge, he must insist that the Scout do exactly what the requirements call for. If it says, "show or demonstrate," that is what he must do. Just telling isn't enough. The same things hold true for words such as "make," "list," "in the field," and "collect, identify, and label."

On the other hand, the Merit Badge Counselor cannot require more of a Scout than stated. You must not, for example, say, "I want to be sure you really know your stuff, so instead of the 20 items you need for your collection, you must have 30 to get my signature."

It is, of course, acceptable for a Scout on his own initiative to do more than the requirement calls for.


When reviewing the requirements with a Scout or testing him, the Merit Badge Counselor may find that the Scout needs help in learning a particular skill. One of the jobs of a Merit Badge Counselor is to teach the Scout the skills required.


The most effective way to teach a skill is to get the Scout to practice while learning.


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