The Merit Badge Process

Credit: Counselor's Compass Vol. 2, No. 1 & The Merit Badge Program

The collaborative process of how the unit leader and counselor help Scouts earn merit badg-es begins with an initial discussion.

1. The Scout develops an interest in a merit badge and may begin working on the requirements.

2. The Scout indicates an interest and discusses it with his unit leader.

The Scout develops an interest in a merit badge and may begin working on requirements. He discusses his interest in the badge with his unit leader. This is intended to be a growth-oriented and positive conversation to encourage the Scout and offer guidance on how he can approach the required work, as well as to inform the Scout of possible challenges he may encounter along the way.

3. The unit leader signs a blue card and provides the Scout with at least one counselor contact.

The unit leader signs the front of the blue card and gives it to the Scout. He also provides at least one currently registered counselor’s contact information. The Scout may want to work with a different counselor, which is permitted as long as he has discussed it with his unit leader.

4. The Scout contacts the counselor.

This is usually done by phone or e-mail. The counselor tells the Scout what is expected of him and sets up a meeting with the Scout and his buddy. Personal contact makes earning the badge a better experience for all concerned.

5.The counselor considers any work toward requirements completed prior to the initial discussion with the unit leader.

6.The Scout, his buddy, and the counselor meet, often several times.

During the initial meeting, the counselor starts by finding out what the Scout already knows about the subject. He may set up additional meetings to coach him on completing the challenging requirements or projects. If the Scout has already started working on requirements, he should provide evidence of completed work. It is the counselor’s decision whether to accept work completed prior to the initial discussion with the unit leader.

7. The Scout completes the requirements.

The counselor must be satisfied the Scout actually and personally completed all requirements. During review sessions, the counselor may ask questions to get an idea what the Scout has learned.

8. The counselor approves completion.

Upon successful completion of requirements, the counselor signs the Scout’s blue card on the reverse side (to the left) and on the applicant’s record (in the middle.) He tears off and retains the Counselor’s Record, and gives the Scout his remaining two-thirds. If the Scout did not complete all the requirements, the counselor simply indicates and initials those fulfilled in the spaces provided on the back of the applicant’s section, and returns the card to the Scout.

97. The Scout returns the signed blue card to his unit leader.

The Scout meets with his unit leader to discuss his experience. The unit leader then signs the applicant record section of the card.

10. The unit leader gives the Scout the applicant record.

The Scout is responsible for retaining his applicant record. This becomes especially important because it is proof the badge was earned.

11.The unit reports the merit badge to the council.

The troop advancement chair records the Scout’s advancement and reports the badge earned.

12. The Scout receives his merit badge.

The Scout is presented his badge either during a troop meeting or later during a formal court of honor.

For a list of Merit Badges that Troop 575 has a counselor for, Troop Merit Badge Counselors. Please contact the Scoutmaster for contact information for a counselor for the Merit Badge you are interested in.