Merit Badge Instructions
These are the steps that a Scout takes to earn a merit badge. Download a checklist here.
When you start as a Boy Scout, you first want to focus on achieving the rank of Tenderfoot. As you work on the skills that are part of Second Class and First Class, you may want to look at the Merit Badges that are available in Scouting, though they are not required until Star rank. Your Boy Scout Handbook has a lists the Merit Badges. When you are ready to begin working on a Merit Badge, follow these steps:
Choose a Merit Badge
1. Look at the requirements for the Merit Badge and determine that they are age appropriate and that you could earn that Badge within a year, a good time frame to stay within. You can find the official BSA requirements in the book Boy Scout Requirements (pictured at left) or in the Merit Badge pamphlet (pictured on the right for the Cycling Merit Badge). Each pamphlet is specific to the individual Merit Badge.
The Boy Scout Requirements book and the Merit Badge pamphlets may be purchased at the Scout Shop or online at www.scoutstuff.org.
Meet with the Scoutmaster
2. Meet with the Scoutmaster or the Troops Advancement Chair to discuss your interest in working on a merit badge. The Scoutmaster will provide the scout with a signed merit badge application (Blue Card) and the name and phone number of a qualified counselor for that merit badge.
3. Before beginning work on your Merit Badge, you must make sure that you are issued a Blue Card (pictured at right). Check to make sure that your name is on the Blue Card and write your address on the front where indicated.
Merit Badge Counselor
4. Your Counselor’s name will be on the Blue Card.
Merit Badge Pamphlet
5. Obtain a current Merit Badge pamphlet from the troop library or buy one from the Scout Shop. Read the pamphlet to become familiar with the Merit Badge requirements. It will have the information you need in order to earn the Badge.
Contact & Meet with Your Merit Badge Counselor
6. It is a always a good idea to contact your Merit Badge Counselor before you start work on your Merit Badge. At your first meeting, your counselor will review all the requirements and help the Scout plan ways to fulfill them so that he can get the most out of the experience. You may be able to come early or stay late at a Scout meeting, or you may arrange to meet elsewhere. Remember to follow the Scout Buddy System when meeting with your counselor. A Scout’s buddy can be another Scout, a parent or guardian, a brother or sister, or a relative or friend.
Complete the Requirements
7. Complete the requirements as laid out in the Merit Badge pamphlet. Write down any necessary information and take pictures or notes when necessary as you do your work. The number of sessions between the Scout and counselor during this period depends on the difficulty of the subject and the preparation and ability of the scout.
Follow-up with Your Merit Badge Counselor
8. When you have fulfilled the requirements for the Merit Badge, contact your Counselor to set up an appointment to show that you have completed the requirements. Remember to follow the Scout Buddy System
Obtain Counselor’s Signature
9. The Counselor will sign and date the Blue Card for each requirement as they are completed. When all of the requirements have been completed, he/she will sign and date the “Applicant’s Record” and the “Counselor’s Record” sections of the Blue Card. The counselors keeps the Counselor’s Record and gives the remaining two records (“Application for Merit Badge” and “Applicant’s Record”) to the scout.
Obtain Scoutmaster’s Signature
10. Your next step is to have the Scoutmaster sign your Blue Card.
Submit Blue Card at Least Three Weeks before Court of Honor
11. Return both remaining parts of the Blue Card. If you submit the Blue Card at least three week prior to the Court of Honor, you will receive your Merit Badge at the next Court of Honor.
Receive Your Merit Badge
12. When your Merit Badge is presented to you at the Court of Honor, it will be stapled to a green Merit Badge card and accompanied by one section of your Blue Card.
Safe Keeping of Merit Badge & Rank Advancement Cards
13. Keep your green and Blue Cards in a safe place! We recommend that you create an Advancement Binder. This is very helpful at your Eagle Scoutmaster’s Conference and Board of Review. Use plastic baseball card pages to keep your copy of the Merit Badge Blue Card along with the green Merit Badge card presented to you at the Court of Honor. This is also the place to keep the Rank Advancement Cards that you receive. Purchase a nice big binder so that you can also keep photos, reports, or written work that you complete.