Why Merit Badges?

Merit Badges have been around since the beginning of Scouting for a few important reasons:

  • Merit Badges provide opportunities for Scouts to learn new skills.
  • Merit Badges provide opportunities for Scouts to explore possible careers or hobbies that they may pursue for the rest of their lives.
  • Merit Badges help Scouts develop social skills such as the ability to call someone they don’t know on the phone, have a conversation, set up an appointment, and follow through on what is discussed.
  • Merit Badges help Scouts develop confidence through overcoming obstacles.

To learn more about the BSA’s Merit Badge Program, the process to earn a Merit Badge, and the BSA’s policies and procedures related to Merit Badges check out Chapter 7 of the Guide to Advancement. If you have further questions or issues related to Merit Badges or Merit Badge Counselors contact your District’s Advancement Chair from the contact list found here: Advancement Committee Information.

For Scouts and Unit Leaders:

To learn about the most current Merit Badges available and their requirements check out the National BSA Merit Badge Program page.

To Find a Merit Badge Counselor log in to Scoutbook to see the Pennsylvania Dutch Council Merit Badge Counselor List

  • Merit Badge Counselors will remain on the list until either 1 of 3 things happen:
    • They ask to be removed from the list.
    • Their Youth Protection Training expires and has not been renewed as of the publication of an updated list.
    • Their PA Act 15 Clearances have expired and have not been renewed as of the publication of an updated list.

Becoming a Merit Badge Counselor:

Without interested, engaged, subject matter experts, Scouts would not be able to earn Merit Badges.  Merit Badge Counselors guide Scouts through the process of learning and earning a Merit Badge.

All NEW Merit Badge Counselors must complete and submit the following to the Council Service Center:

  • A new BSA Adult Volunteer Application – This is a separate registration from a unit registration so a new BSA Adult Volunteer Application must be completed.
    • Use position code 42 and Merit Badge Counselor in the position field.
    • Applicants do not need to obtain any signatures other than their own before submitting the application.
  • Merit Badge Counselor Application.
    • Each person is allowed to counsel up to 20 merit badges.
    • Please ensure this form is filled out completely, including your qualifications for each badge.
  • Proof of current BSA Youth Protection Training.
  • Proof of completion of the Background Clearances required by PA Act 15.
    • For more information please see the PA Act 15 page of this website
  • Proof of completion of Merit Badge Counselor Training
  • If you are registering as a Merit Badge Counselor for an Aquatics, Climbing, or Shooting Sports Merit Badge, see the following for additional training requirements.  Proof of current certification must be submitted with your Merit Badge Counselor Application.