How do I earn Merit Badges?
A Scout may start merit badges at any time. Although most Scouts earn most of their badges at summer camps and special workshops, that's not the only way to earn them. The procedure for earning a merit badge outside of a merit badge camp or class is as follows:
1. Scouts: Get a signed blue card from your Scoutmaster. The blue card is the authorization for you to begin work on the merit badge. Your Scoutmaster can give you the name of the merit badge counselor for the badge you want to earn.
If no counselor is listed for that merit badge, your scoutmaster will help you find a counselor. Scouts should avoid, if possible, having their parent as the merit badge counselor. If you start or (even worse) complete a merit badge before getting a signed blue card from your Scoutmaster, you will have to do the work all over again.
Note to Scouts: It is your responsibility to fill out the Blue Card before giving it to your merit badge counselor. You’ll make life easier for your Scoutmaster if you fill out as much of the front of Part C as possible (see diagram of blue card). Our
District is “Chain Bridge” and our council is “NCAC.” But leave blank the “Signature of unit leader” – that’s where the Scoutmaster signs.
2. Scouts: Contact the merit badge counselor. Tell them your name and the badge that you would like for them to help you with. Please remember to be polite in all dealings with your counselor. They are generous to give their time and
skill in order to help you advance. They get no rewards or compensation for their time other than your thanks. The counselor will instruct you on how the requirements should be completed. You must always meet with the counselor with a buddy such
as another Scout, a parent or a friend. Never meet with the counselor without your buddy present.
3. Scouts: Give your counselor the signed blue card. As you complete the requirements, the counselor will initial and date the specific requirement (see the front of Part B in the diagram) to show that you have completed it.
4. Counselor: After all requirements have been completed:
5. Scout: Give the completed card (Parts B and C) to your Scoutmaster if you received it from your counselor.
- complete and keep Part A of the card for your records;
- sign the back of Part B where it asks for “signature of counselor”;
- complete and sign the back of Part C (top section); and
- give the scout the rest of the card (Parts B and C), OR send directly to Scoutmaster
Note: if you don't need to track partial completion, you can just write "Completed" and the date across Part B to show all requirements are completed
It is your responsibility to make sure the blue card is completed and submitted. If you attend a merit badge camp, you must get the blue card from the instructor.
No merit badges will be awarded without a completed blue card.
6. Scoutmaster: complete and sign the back of Part B;
7. Troop Advancement Record keeper:
- sign the front of Part C (if you didn’t do so before the scout began work on the badge); and
- give both parts (B and C) to the troop advancement record keeper.
8. Scouts: Your merit badge will be presented at the next Court of Honor, along with Part B of the blue card.
- Submit an online update to the Scout's record via Scoutbook
- Keep Part C as part of the troop’s permanent merit badge records.
- Keep Part B in a temporary collection until it’s time to prepare for the next Court of Honor; you and the Scoutmaster will purchase badges as needed for the blue cards earned since the last Court of Honor.
You should keep all of your blue cards in an organized place, such as the clear plastic binder sheets that are designed for trading cards. When it’s time to earn advanced ranks such as Life and Eagle, you may need to show your blue cards as proof of the merit badges you’ve earned. They are also VERY useful if there is a discrepancy with the official record of what badges you've earned.
One final note:
Merit badges started at merit badge camps often must be completed at a later time—this is a "partial" merit badge. It’s best to complete these requirements as soon as possible. You must provide proof that you finished the missing requirements to another merit badge counselor. Documentation such as a note from your parent, teacher, or leader or a finished report must be provided.