Introduction to Merit Badges
Pick a Subject. Talk to your unit leader about your interests. Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you, and pick one to earn. Your leader will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors. These individuals have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping you.
Scout Buddy System. You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor. This person can be your parent or legal guardian, or another registered adult.
Call the Merit Badge Counselor. Get a signed Application for Merit Badge (Blue Card – SCROLL DOWN FOR PROCEDURE) Pro, No. 34124 or No. 34130, from your unit leader. Get in touch with the merit badge counselor and explain that you want to earn the badge. The counselor may ask to meet you to explain what is expected and to start helping you meet the requirements. You should also discuss
At the first meeting, you and your merit badge counselor will review and may start working on the requirements. In some cases, you may share the work you have already started or completed.
Unless otherwise specified, work on a requirement can be started at any time. Ask your counselor to help you learn the things you need to know or do. You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject. Many troops, schools, and public libraries have them.
Show Your Stuff. When you are ready, call the counselor again to make an appointment. When you go, take along the things you have made to meet the requirements. If they are too big to move, take pictures or have an adult tell in writing what you have done. The counselor will test you on each requirement to make sure you know your stuff and have done or can do the things required.
Get the Badge. When the counselor is satisfied you have met each requirement, he or she will sign your application. Give the signed application to your unit leader so your merit badge emblem can be secured for you.
Merit badge requirements are revised as needed to reflect updated information and technology. Refer to the latest Scouts BSA Requirements book for merit badge requirement updates. The current Scouts BSA Requirements book is available from your local Scouting merchandise distributor. It may also be ordered online at ScoutShop.org .
Requirements. You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated—no more and no less. You must do exactly what is stated in the requirements. If it says “show or demonstrate,” that is what you must do. Just telling about it isn’t enough. The same thing holds true for such words as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” and “collect,” “identify,” and “label.”
If a new edition of a merit badge pamphlet is introduced with updated requirements after the Scouts BSA Requirements book has been released, a Scout who is starting the badge may choose to follow either set of requirements until the end of the year. At the start of the new year, Scouts who are beginning must use only the new requirements.
If a Scout has already started working on a merit badge when a new edition of the pamphlet is introduced, they may continue to use the same pamphlet and fulfill the requirements therein to earn the badge. They need not start over again with the new pamphlet and revised requirements.
There is no time limit for starting and completing a merit badge, but all work must be completed by the time a Scout turns 18.
Troop 173 Blue Card Procedure
Earning a merit badge is a great way to enjoy the benefits of the scouting program. With over 135 merit badges to choose from, it’s easy to find something that interests you. Merit badges can be started and then worked on at your own pace, so why not find something that interests you and get started!
If you are interested in starting a merit badge, the first step after selecting the badge is to obtain a signed Blue Card – the Blue Card is used to track your progress and provide proof of completion.
Beginning in January 2020, we will be managing Blue Cards a little differently than we have in the past. The first change is that we are asking you, the Scout, to fill in the information on the card. Below is a sample card showing the areas that need to be filled out prior to getting it signed by our Scoutmaster.
Please be sure to write legibly! Unreadable blue cards will be require filling out a replacement before it can be signed.
After getting the signed card back, you’ll need to reach out to a merit badge counselor to ask if they are available to help you with the badge. If you don’t already have contact info for a merit badge counselor you can get one or more names from the Advancement Chair or Scoutmaster.
Turning in the Blue Card
When you’ve completed the merit badge requirements, you will meet with your merit badge counselor to review each requirement. The counselor will sign off on successfully completed requirements, and if all are complete, they will date and sign on the Applicant’s Record section. They will then remove the Counselor’s Record portion of the blue card and hand the remaining sections back to you.
Bring this completed blue card with you to the next troop meeting and present it to the Scoutmaster or Committee Chair for them to sign. They will then return the Applicant Section to you and keep the remaining part for processing. In the past, we have taken both parts and returned both parts to the scout when the merit badge is awarded. By retaining the Applicant Section, you have a record of the completion, including the date (which you will need to record when you are applying for Eagle Scout). The Troop will retain the remaining section for our own records. Please also note that merit badge information for each scout can be found on scoutbook.com.