I just got my wife signed up as a merit badge counselor. It made sense. As our ward's family history specialist she has taught classes at the local family history center and in our ward. She's good at it too, what with a degree from BYU in family history research. After hearing Elder David A. Bednar's recent conference address we've been discussing getting a class started for the young men and young women in our ward. Since there is a genealogy merit badge, we decided that we might as well get her signed up. That way, the young men can take this class and earn a merit badge at the same time. So we registered her as a counselor; it made sense.
This has raised within me the old debate about whether or not I should do the same. I could probably be reasonably qualified for several merit badges including bird study, environmental science, fish and wildlife management, mammal study, nature, plant science, and soil and water conservation. There could be a few others as well (family life, reading, hiking, camping, geocaching, etc) but I haven't looked into those much.
The committee chair in my ward thinks I should. One of his arguments was that if I was registered and we happened to be doing those activities anyway, I could sign off the boys for a merit badge. Pretty much what we were thinking about with my wife and her family history class.
But so far I've resisted; I haven't registered. Mostly because I have been a Venturing leader instead of a Boy Scout leader and merit badges are not a part of Venturing. I've thought that if I'm getting my young men to do activities and we can pass off requirements, those requirements will be for Venturing awards, not merit badges. As a Venturing leader I haven't wanted to get bogged down with merit badges. I haven't wanted to even think about it.
But then I question that decision. Maybe I could be a counselor and help some of the other boys. Just being a counselor doesn't mean I'd have to work on merit badges during our regular meetings. I could actually do it right and insist that the boys come talk to me and set up their own time to work on things and pass off requirements. Maybe I could be a resource to some of these young men. Maybe I could offer them a chance to work on some they wouldn't have thought about before. Maybe I could help some with a few that are required for Eagle.
I haven't registered yet. Maybe I won't until I'm moved from Venturing to Boy Scouts. But then again, maybe I should.