All of the following steps must be completed by the scout. Parents shall not under any circumstances do any of the steps below on behalf of their scout.
How to Earn a Merit Badge
- Pick a merit badge and review requirements.
- Get a signed blue card from your Scoutmaster indicating their approval for you to begin work on the badge. Note that Merit Badge Counselors are not permitted to work with scouts without the signed blue card.
- Find and Contact a MB Counselor.
- Use this link to search for a local SDIC-approved MB counselor. Contact the counselor and explain that you want to earn the badge. The counselor may ask to meet you to explain what is expected of you and to start helping you meet the requirements. You should also discuss work that you have already started or possibly completed. Be sure to use the buddy system below for the call to the MB counselor.
- Consistent with the BSA’s Guide to Advancement, Troop 506’s policy is that merit badge counselors should be from outside the Troop. Exceptions are generally made for Eagle Required badges or unusual circumstances that are pre-approved by the Committee Chairperson and Scoutmaster.
- Use the Scout Buddy System. You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor. This person can be another Scout, your parents/ guardian, a sibling, a relative, or a friend.
- At the first meeting, you and your merit badge counselor will review and may start working on the requirements. Share with your counselor the work that you have already started or accomplished.
- Show Your Stuff. When you are ready, call the counselor again to make an appointment. When you meet, present what you have done to meet the MB requirements. The counselor will verify that you have completed each requirement.
- Get the Badge. When the MB counselor is satisfied that you have met each requirement, they will sign your application. Give the application to your Scoutmaster, who will also sign it. Then submit the completed blue card to the Advancement Chair. You will receive your merit badge at the next court of honor.
- Meet the Requirements. You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated, no more and no less. You are expected to 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.”
Merit Badge Best Practices
- The scout’s copy of the blue card is extremely important as it is the only tangible evidence of achieving the badge. If the card is lost during processing, the scout will have no proof they earned the badge. Scouts should keep their blue cards in a safe place. We recommend a 3-ring binder with baseball card sleeves as a good means of storage.
- Replacement rank badges may be purchased over the counter at the Scout Shop by presenting the scout’s blue card at the cash register.
- Under no circumstances should a scout or parent purchase rank or merit badges that were not already awarded at a Troop Court of Honor.