Merit Badge Nuts and Bolts

Refer to the Scouts BSA Merit Badge Program for more information.  Information for adults who are interested in becoming a Troop 4 Merit Badge Counselor is here.

Goals of the Merit Badge Program

  • Expose Scouts to a variety of different subjects with the goal of spurring an interest in future hobbies or even occupations.
  • Encourage Scouts to interact with adults (Merit Badge Counselors). The Scoutmaster and several other leaders have a list of counselors from the Council.

When should Scouts start working on Merit Badges?

  • Scouts can start working on merit badges at any time. A list of current Troop 4 Merit Badge Counselors is available.
  • Until First Class Rank, he should concentrate advancement requirements.

How does a Scout work on a Merit Badge?

  • First get a “Blue Card” from his Scoutmaster. This time is an opportunity for the Scoutmaster to help the Scout find a counselor, counsel the Scout on the appropriateness of the merit badge, or just track the Scout’s goals and progress.
  • The Scoutmaster signs the Blue Card in the “Application for Merit Badge” section.
  • The Scout contacts the counselor and sets up meeting times.
  • When meeting with a counselor the Scout must be in uniform and must be accompanied by either another Scout, a friend or relative, or his parents.
  • The Scout continues to work with the counselor until all the requirements are met.
  • When the counselor is satisfied that all requirements are met, the counselor will sign the Blue Card, keep a portion, and return the rest to the Scout.

Tell me more about the Blue Card

  • The Blue Card serves as the record of the Scout’s progress on the particular merit badge.
  • The Blue Card has three parts: the “Application for Merit Badge”, the “Applicant’s Record” and the “Counselor’s Record.”
  • The Scoutmaster signs the Application for Merit Badge after approving the Scout to begin work on the Merit Badge.
  • Once the merit badge is completed, the counselor must sign the “Application for Merit Badge” and “Applicant’s Record” portions of the Blue Card. The counselor should tear off and keep the “Counselor’s Record”.
  • The remaining sections are turned over to the Scout.
  • The Scout must return both of the remaining sections of the Blue Card to the Scoutmaster.
  • The Scoutmaster will sign the Applicant’s Record, and give it to the Scout along with the Merit Badge at the next Court of Honor.
  • The Application for Merit Badge will be retained by the troop (in theory…see below).

Words to the wise…

  • Due to the number of Blue Cards that pass through the Troop, Scouts should make a photocopy or take a picture of both sides of the Blue Card before turning it in.
  • The Scout will be presented with his merit badge, and his copy of the “Applicant’s Record” at the next Court of Honor.
  • The “Applicant’s Record” should be kept in a safe place since it is the best record that the merit badge was earned. They need to be included in the Scout’s Eagle binder.
  • Do not count on the “Counselor’s Record” or the “Application for Merit Badge” ever being found again!
  • Should a merit badge or Blue Card ever be lost, it can only be replaced if there is firm evidence that the merit badge was completed. Examples of firm evidence include a picture of the Blue Card, one of the other sections of the Blue Card, or our Troop records.