Troop 43 – Guide to Merit Badges
Merit Badges done in the Troop
When merit badges are done in the troop, Scouts will be asked to Print the Merit Badge Worksheet for the merit badge they are working on.
Merit badge worksheets can be located at http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badge_Worksheets
Depending on the merit badge, scouts may or may not write anything down on the worksheet, sometimes they are used for discussion and reference, sometimes they are used for notes, it just depends. If items are discussed, I would recommend that scouts place a check next to the requirement so they remember they have completed that part. For some merit badges, scouts will be asked to complete certain sections at home, they should complete the worksheet for these sections so they can discuss what they learned with the merit badge counselor (MBC).
Blue cards will be filled out and completed once the merit badge is finished, scouts do not need to request a “signed blue card” for anything done in the troop. MBC’s will track each of the scouts progress for the merit badge, if there is ever a question of what they have left to do, the scout needs to ask the counselor for that merit badge.
Merit badge books/pamphlets are not required; you do not need to purchase these from the scout shop. Even if they are working on sections at home, everything can be found online, Google is your friend!
Merit Badges done individually with a Merit Badge Counselor
If a Scout would like to work on a merit badge on their own, they need to talk to their Assistant Scout Master (ASM), that is the adult in charge of overseeing their patrol. The ASM will sign a blue card giving their permission for the scout to start working on the merit badge; they can also assist the scout in finding a MBC if the scout does not have one in mind. The advancement chair maintains a list of merit badge counselors for the troop.
Call the counselor and set up an appointment. This can be at any place that is suitable to both of you, including troop meetings. Along with a buddy (another Scout, a parent, or a friend), meet with the counselor. Scouts are NEVER to meet with a counselor alone. The counselor will explain the requirements for the merit badge and help you get started. It is recommended that the scouts print out a Merit Badge worksheet to keep track of their work as they progress with the merit badge.http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badge_Worksheets
Work on the badge requirements until they are completed, meeting with the
counselor (along with their buddy) whenever necessary. The scout must complete the stated requirements and satisfy the standards of
each merit badge. The SCOUT (not the counselor, Scoutmaster, or Advancement Chairman) keeps the blue merit badge card until they have
completed the requirements and the counselor has signed the card. If the scout loses this card, they will have to start the badge
over unless the counselor is willing and able to vouch for what they already completed.
After the scout complete all the requirements for the merit badge and the counselor signs the blue merit badge card, he or she will keep the counselor’s section and return the rest of the card to the scout. The scout needs to bring the rest of the card back to their ASM who will sign off that it is complete, then the scout will turn the remaining sections of the blue card to the Advancement Chairman.
Merit Badges done Outside the Troop
This includes, Merit Badge days hosted by other Councils, Districts or other Troops or Merit badges taken through classes offered by businesses, parks & rec, etc. Scouts are welcome to take part in these types of events.
There are many merit badge opportunities in the area outside of the troop. For these types of events, the Scout will need to talk to their Assistant Scout Master to get a “Signed Blue Card” to take with them to the class. It is highly recommended that the scout print the merit badge worksheet for the class as well. Many events will say you need the merit badge book/pamphlet, but it is not required that you purchase them as they get very expensive.
The scout will attend the event/class and have their blue card signed off by the merit badge counselor. The scout will then bring the rest of the blue card back to their ASM who will sign off that it is complete, and then the scout will turn the remaining sections of the blue card to the Advancement Chairman.
One caveat to these types of events, many have pre-requisites that must be completed before the event. If they are not done beforehand the scout will get a “partial” and the counselor will not sign the card, it is then your responsibility to track down that counselor to finish the merit badge, which is a pain!
Watch the pre-requisites carefully with these types of events/classes. If the pre-reqs state do 1, 2 and 4 at home, the scout must do those items on their own before the event. Some pre-reqs I have seen in the past include visiting planetariums, museums, art shows, raising an insect through its complete life cycle, sketching the daily position of the moon for so many days, building a bird feeder, many requirements can’t be rushed at the last minute and take time. Merit badges can take a considerable amount of time to complete, just make sure the scout can get everything done beforehand.
Merit Badges at Summer Camp
Summer camp is a wonderful opportunity for scouts to earn many merit badges. New scouts can enroll in the first year Pathfinder program. It allows scouts the opportunity to work on most requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class as well as earn the Indian Lore, Nature, and Mammal Study Merit Badges.
Older scouts can work on up to six merit badges during their week at camp. I attached the guide for this year’s camp at Hawk Mountain. In the near future the scouts will be selecting which merit badges they would like to do at camp. Some of these merit badges also have pre-requisites and an additional cost that also needs to factor in to their decision.
Blue cards will be completed at camp or afterwards in the troop meetings, scouts do not take signed blue cards to camp with them.
Merit Badge Reviews
Here are a couple of websites that offer reviews of the merit badges and grades them easy to hard and the time requirements involved in earning them. Scouts can use these to guide their decisions in which merit badges they are interested in.
http://kitsapscouts.com/merit-badges/review/ A scouts perspective on all the merit badges