Merit Badge

Upcoming MBU . . . at a real university

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There is a true Merit Badge University coming up. This term used to refer to opportunities to work on merit badges with university professors and researchers in the field.

Over the years, it has devolved into a generic term of any large gathering of merit badge classes.merit2bbadges

Wabash University is going back to the original concept . . . some of our district’s former scouts, according to rumor, helping organize it.

Here is more information from Jessica Hofman, Sugar Creek’s District Executive via Con Sullivan:

Want to learn about game design from a theater professor and video game reviewer?  Or help with a research study on turtle behavior as you learn the material for the Reptiles and Amphibians merit badge?  Or learn about astronomy from professors who have taught courses on Mayan archeoastronomy?  Or consider how buildings are designed from a Roman Architecture and Archeology expert?

These are just a few of the offerings at the Merit Badge College at Wabash on May 6th!  All of the badges (except First Aid) will be taught by college professors who are experts in the subject.  The cost is $20, and includes a T shirt and lunch.  There will be fun lunchtime activities and sessions for parents to learn about scouting and college opportunities.  You can register at  Registration closes on April 15th, and classes will fill, so register early!

Wabash’s faculty already has a strong relationship with council. One of their economics professors is Sugar Creek’s district commissioner.

This is a great opportunity for older scouts to go visit the beautiful campus in Crawfordsville and work with Wabash’s impressive faculty . . . with no grade pressure!

Here is more information:

Sugar Creek District
2017 Wabash Merit Badge College
Join us for a great learning opportunity and chance to work on your merit badges at an awesome venue!  Join us at Wabash College for the first annual Wabash Merit Badge College.  Reserve your spot now!
  • The college will be at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana on Saturday, May 6th.
  • There will be two sessions (one from 9:30 to Noon and another from 1:30 to 4:00) with lunchtime activities in between.
  • Registration Cost is $20.00 for Scouts which includes courses, lunch, and a event T-shirt
All Day Merit Badges (requires both morning and afternoon sessions):
  • Robotics
  • Space Exploration
  • Reptile and Amphibian Study
  • Game Design
  • Animation
  • First Aid
Half Day Merit Badges (offered in one or both sessions, but does not require both sessions to complete):
  • Nuclear Science (afternoon, might open morning if there is enough demand)
  • Architecture (morning or afternoon)
  • Medicine (morning or afternoon)
  • Astronomy (morning)
  • Citizenship in the World (afternoon)
  • Family Life (morning)
Lunch Break Activities:
  • Chemistry Merit Badge
  • Ultimate Frisbee on the Mall
  • Activities for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Ranks (tree and plant identification, knot tying, flag etiquette, map and compass/GPS navigation course around campus)

Take a look!

Thoughts on Merit Badge Counseling

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The role of the Merit Badge Counselor always needs to be re-examined. It helps us keep the mission of the Counselor top of mind.

To that end, read this short article on Bobwhite Blather.

An important point is

Although not expressly prohibited, large group counseling is generally frowned upon. The Guide to Advancement cautions that in such situations, the counselor must confirm that each and every Scout completes each and every requirement, including the show, demonstrate, do and tell actions. It is not sufficient for a Scout to just sit in a class, write notes on a worksheet and turn it in.

The counselor, therefore, needs to tailor his or her counseling style to the merit badge and to the Scout. This means determining just how much teaching and hand-holding the counselor should do versus how much self-study and learning the Scout is expected to accomplish. Generally speaking, a Scout will learn more if he studies on his own, but he can certainly benefit from the teaching that a counselor can provide. As with other interactions with Scouts, it’s more effective if the counselor leads the Scout to learn and discover the answers on his own, rather than handing them over, as might be done in a classroom setting.

Del-Mi’s Merit Badge University 2017

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From Con Sullivan, our District Executive:

The Del-Mi Merit Badge University is approaching early next month. At this event we have 1,600 slots for Scouts over the course of Friday evening and all-day on Saturday. There are numerous Merit Badges that are offered and might make a good program offering for your units. I have included the information below. Please forward out to your units in your district if you believe this opportunity would fit with what your units might be looking for. We already about 900 of those 1,600 slots filled by Del-Mi Scouts, however there is plenty of room left. Here is info you can copy and paste while sending to your units:

What: Del-Mi District Merit Badge University

Where: Carmel High School, Freshman Center (520 E. Main Street, Carmel, IN) – Entrance 13

When: Friday, March 10th and Saturday, March 11th

Online Registration:

The Merit Badge University is open to any registered Boy Scout, Varsity Team member or Venturer working towards Boy Scout rank advancement.  Tiger, Cub, and Webelos Scouts are not eligible to participate (even if they will be crossing over into a troop later this year after the merit badge university).

  • Pre-requisites are required for many badges.
  • Online registration fee is $6 per Scout per session. Individual courses may have additional equipment or material fees.
  • Three sessions are available. Some merit badge classes span across 2 sessions.

o    Session 1: Friday evening from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

o    Session 2: Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.

o    Session 3: Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Lunch is available from Noon to 1 p.m. at a cost of $6 per person.

There are over 1,600 Merit Badge slots open and available for Scouts. If your first choice is not available, there are plenty of other options.

Questions? Contact: Laura R. (

Ryan Kelleher  |  Del-Mi District Director 
Crossroads of America Council
Golden-Burke Scout Center
7125 Fall Creek Road North
Indianapolis, IN 46256
P: 317.813.7085 
C: 317.445.0658

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Merit Badge Counselors Terms Expire

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Remember that your Merit Badge Counselors are District Staff, not Troop Staff. That means their positions expire every year when the District’s Recharter Application (yes, District has a recharter application, too) expires on December 31, 2016.

We still have several troops and crews that have not confirmed the renewal of their Merit Badge Counselors. We need those immediately to prevent any loss of authority to sign Blue Cards.

Next week I will report on troops and crews that have completed the MBC rechartering process.

For more information, see prior postings.

Merit Badge Counselor Rechartering

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Remember as part of District’s Recharter (yes, District recharters annually, too), we need to confirm your troop’s and crew’s merit badge counselor list. (They are technically district staff and not unit staff.)

Please confirm with District Merit Badge Counselor Registrar Mike Yates that all of your MBC’s are

  1. Trained as an MBC
  2. Current on their Youth Protection certification through, and
  3. Still active with the troop.

Units that fail to certify this information to Mike Yates are subject to having their MBC’s dropped in the rechartering process. That means all blue cards they sign are void. Please do not let that happen to your scouts.

Merit Badge Counselors: District Rechartering

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Remember, North Star District has to re-charter each year just like our units. This means all volunteers listed as “District Staff” must be dropped, added, or retained at the district level as part of the rechartering process.

For Cub Scout Packs, this is not an issue. Ever.

For Scout Troops and Venturing Crews, this is important. Many scouters in troops and crews serve as Merit Badge Counselors (“MBCs”). MBCs are District Staff. They do not recharter as part of the unit. They recharter as part of the district.

That means we need every troop’s and crew’s immediate assistance. Each troop or crew needs to verify by email that the MBC list of their volunteers is accurate by November 30, 2016.

All it takes is a quick email to District Merit Badge Registrar Mike Yates at, saying, “We wish to recharter all of our existing MBCs for 2017.” If those MBCs have their MBC training and YPT expiring after 3/1/17, they will be good to go.

If you have new MBCs or some veterans don’t meet the above criteria, they can do the MBC training online or find live seminars at They will need to update their YPT training. New MBCs will also need to fill out an Adult Application on paper or online at (a dedicated website for District applications).

If a unit fails to report in to Mike Yates, all MBCs currently registered will expire on December 31, 2016 and be required to re-register. Any blue cards a deregistered MBC signs after January 1, 2017 will be invalid.

Please help us avoid that unpleasantness. All committee chairs for troops and crews (or their MBC designate) should check in with Mike Yates at their earliest convenience so that District can be rechartered on time.

Thank you for your assistance.


NOTE: for more about why these rules exist, see past posts on merit badge counselors.

New Merit Badge Counselor Material

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BSA has just posted a quick article on Bryan on Scouting about becoming a merit badge counselor.

This has been timed to coincide with a how-to pamphlet on the merit badge counseling process and expectations of merit badge counselors. North Star District Merit Badge Counselor Registrar Mike Yates recommends this pamphlet highly.merit-badge-counselor-manual-cover

All troops should print out this material and use it for new counselors to better understand their roles.

Advancement Resources

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Often we have questions about advancement issues. BSA puts out a great deal of information. Often this feels like drinking from a firehose.

One of the ways to avoid this problem is to be sure your unit’s advancement coordinator subscribes to the irregularly published BSA Advancement News. (Irregular because it is sometimes monthly and sometimes bi-monthly.) Advancement News masthead

For a new advancement coordinator, catching up on old articles in the archive can be daunting. They may just want to look at specific issues of the moment. One of the best ways to do that is to review the Advancement News index of articles on the BSA Advancement website. The article titles are often catchy and artistic, but misleading about the main idea. Have patience with it. It is not intended to be a advancement manual (the Guide to Advancement serves that purpose). Instead it is intended to focus on hot topics.

If an advancement coordinator wants to study the history of advancement changes, he or she can read back issues of Advancement News. There is a lot to be learned to look at how a once “hot topic” was handled and resolved. It helps guide an advancement coordinator to have a better sense about how to handle future problems. The method of resolution will often be similar: the timeframe required to identify the issue then resolve, the groups giving input who have the most persuasive authority on the final result, and the types of issues that are resolved with finality versus lingering effects.

Always start with the Guide to Advancement, the most recent revision for the current year of Boy Scout Requirements, the most recent issue of Advancement News for answers, and the related Merit Badge Counselor’s Compass newsletter. If those prove unsatisfactory, review the News index. You may surprise yourself with the quality of answers that are already published.

If you still do not find your answers, reliable and regular private bloggers can provide insight, such as Clarke Green at with a focus on scoutmastership, Frank Maynard at with a focus on committee issues, and the Ask Andy column at

To subscribe to the Advancement News, follow these instructions:

Send an email to
Put ‘Subscribe’ in the Subject line and in the body of the email put only your:
Email Address:
Council Name:

Thursday Roundtable

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This Thursday we will hold a Boy Scout  and Cub Scout roundtable. We will meet on the fourth floor of second Presbyterian church as always. The general session and district news will begin at 6:30 PM with breakout sessions beginning at 7 PM.

Merit Badge Counselor Registration Open Forum

The Boy Scout round table will focus on merit badge counseling registration, education, troop counselor list maintenance, and related troubleshooting. The district merit badge counselor registrar Mike Yates will lead the conversation. We will focus on identifying problems, solutions, and procedures for maintaining a reliable District Roster of Merit Badge Counselors and their Badges going forward.

Cub Scout New Program Review

The Cub Scout roundtable will focus on “the New Advancement Program: How’s It Going So Far?” The discussion will focus on how to improve and clarify understandings.