What are Merit Badges
Merit badges are little previews at various career paths, hobbies, or other vocational skills that might interest a scout. Like advancement in rank, this is another method of scouting available to scouts to pursue.
There are over 130 badges scouts can choose from; they need to choose 21 of these for the rank of Eagle (some badges are required to earn Eagle).
How to Earn a Merit Badge
Merit badges require that a scout complete a list of requirements, and have an authorized counselor for that badge approve of its completion.
There is a 12 step process to earning a merit badge:
- The Scout develops an interest in a merit badge and may begin working on the requirements (EXCEPT when a badge states they must meet with a counselor first).
- The Scout discusses his interest in the merit badge with his unit leader (Scoutmaster) and obtains a Merit Badge Application (blue card).
- The unit leader signs a blue card and provides the Scout with at least one counselor contact.
- The Scout contacts the counselor.
- The counselor considers any work toward requirements completed prior to the initial discussion with the unit leader (except when stated a counselor needs to be spoken to first).
- The Scout, his buddy and the counselor meet (often several times).
- The Scout finishes the requirements.
- The counselor approves completion.
- The Scout returns the signed blue card to his unit leader, who signs the applicant record section of the blue card.
- The unit leader gives the Scout the applicant record.
- The unit reports the merit badge to the council through Scoutbook.
- The Scout receives his merit badge.
Merit Badges & Requirements
Just like in rank advancement, merit badges have requirements to complete. They must be completed AS it is written. If it says: show, you show; demonstrate, you demonstrate; make, you make; visit, you visit. It cannot be completed just by listening or watching.
Merit Badge Counselors
Merit Badge Counselors are the only people that can approve the completion of merit badge requirements, and only for the merit badges they counsel for.
Merit Badge Counselors must register with their local council by filling out a new Application with position code "42", and a special merit badge application stating which badges they wish to counsel for. Leaders interested in becoming a counselor can find out more details on the HOAC MB Counselor page.