Learning And Earning
Merit Badges are some of the most rewarding, educational aspects in Scouting. Any Boy Scout can earn a merit badge at any time—there is no rank advancement required. Working on merit badges gives Scouts the opportunity to learn valuable skills and gain valuable knowledge on a variety of subjects. Everything from business and science to crafts and sports. With more than 100 merit badges available, there is sure to be something for every Scout!
Getting Started. It’s easy.
- Choose Your Subject
Discuss your interest in earning a merit badge with your Scoutmaster. Read and understand the requirements for the merit badge that most interests you. After you’ve made a choice, your unit leader will give you a signed merit badge application (blue card) and the name of a merit badge counselor to contact when you need help.
- Contact Your Merit Badge Counselor
Discuss the merit badge you want to earn with the counselor. The counselor may ask you to meet in order to discuss badge requirements and the steps for getting started. At this step you should share any work that you have already started or possibly completed.
- Merit Badge Work Can Be Started Anytime (unless otherwise specified)
Obtain and read the brochure and any literature covering your merit badge subject. Always ask your counselor for any help you may need while working toward your merit badge.
To meet the requirements you are expected to do exactly what is stated in the merit badge literature no more and no less.
- Show Your Work
When you are ready, make an appointment with your counselor to share the work you’ve done to meet the merit badge requirements. If any of the items are too big, photos can be used or an adult may document your work in writing. The counselor will test you to determine that you’ve performed the required tasks and are thoroughly knowledgeable in the merit badge subject.
- Earn Your Badge
When the counselor is satisfied that you have met every requirement, your application (blue card) will be signed. Give the completed application to your unit leader so that a merit badge emblem can be secured for you.
- Use The Scout Buddy System
You must be accompanied by another person at each merit badge counselor meeting. This person can be another Scout, a friend, your parents, a family member or a guardian.
Assistance is available year round at all council Merit Badge Skill Centers. Greater St. Louis Council policy states: Attendance at a Merit Badge Skill Center does not guarantee that you will meet and pass the requirements for a merit badge. In accordance with the merit badge policy, a Scout must meet with a counselor to complete the merit badge requirements.
The Eagle Scout Association hosts a Merit Badge Make-Up Day every August at Beaumont Scout Reservation.
Merit Badge Card Update
The Council Advancement Committee has approved the adoption of the National “blue card” for merit badge record keeping. These will replace the “white cards” currently used by the Greater St. Louis Area Council. The remaining inventory of “white cards” will be sold at Scout Shops until sold out. The “blue card” is also available at all scout shops. Both versions of merit badge cards will be accepted indefinitely.
For information on how to use the blue card, please see the following information from the Guide to Advancement:
126.96.36.199 About the Application for Merit Badge (“Blue Card”)
It is important to note the “blue card” is the nationally recognized merit badge record. It has been updated from time to time and carries the information needed for proper posting and for evidence and reference as needed later. The card has three parts: the actual “Application for Merit Badge” portion, the “Applicant’s Record,” and the “Counselor’s Record.” It requires a total of four signatures—two each from the unit leader and a merit badge counselor. The unit leader signs first on the front of the Application for Merit Badge portion and gives the entire blue card to the Scout. See “The Scout, the BlueCard, and the Unit Leader,” 188.8.131.52.
Typically after the unit leader signs the blue card, the Scout contacts the merit badge counselor and sets an appointment. Even though Scouts may benefit from reviewing requirements with a counselor before pursuing them, a boy may begin working on a merit badge at any time after he is registered. It is the counselor’s decision whether to accept work or activities completed prior to the issuing of the signed blue card. Common sense should prevail, however. For example, nights already camped as a Boy Scout, or coins or stamps already collected, would count toward their respective badges.
A merit badge counselor—once he or she is satisfied a Scout has met all the requirements—signs in two places: on the reverse of the Application for Merit Badge (to the left) and on the Applicant’s Record (in the middle). These two parts are returned to the Scout. The approving counselor should retain the part of the card called the Counselor’s Record for at least one year—in case questions are raised later. If the Scout did not complete all the requirements, the counselor initials those that were fulfilled in the spaces provided on the back of the Applicant’s Record part. This is called a “partial” (see “Partial Completions,” 184.108.40.206). Once a registered counselor signs that all requirements have been met, the Scout should meet with his unit leader to discuss his experience. The unit leader then signs the Applicant’s Record portion and returns it to the young man, who should retain it in his personal permanent records.