Background and Purposes
As chartered by the Congress of the United States, the Boy Scouts of America is a movement dedicated to supplementing and enlarging the education of youth. The merit badge program, which provides opportunities for youth to explore more than 120 fields of skill and knowledge, plays a key role in the fulfillment of this educational commitment.
A vital part of the BSA's advancement plan, the merit badge program is one of Scouting's basic character-building tools. Through participation in the program (which may begin immediately upon registration in a troop or team), a Scout acquires the kind of self-confidence that comes only from overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal. Instruction is offered in everything from animal science and public speaking to swimming and communications, providing a young man with invaluable career, physical, and interpersonal skills.
Merit Badge Workbooks
Each merit badge subject is outlined and explained in a pamphlet that contains short introductory information written for Boy Scouts/Varsity Scouts by recognized authorities. These pamphlets can be purchased at the Scout Shop or borrowed from the Troop's library. More than a million pamphlets are sold yearly, and many are used as approved reference texts in libraries and school curricula.
People who are knowledgeable about the various merit badge subjects are selected, approved, and trained by council and district advancement committees to serve as merit badge counselors. For example, a dentist might be asked to serve as a counselor for the Dentistry merit badge. A counselor must not only possess the necessary technical knowledge but also have a solid understanding of the needs, interests, and abilities of Scouts. A counselor must also be a registered adult with the BSA.
Procedure to work on Merit Badge
1) When a Scout has an interest in earning a particular merit badge, he obtains his Scoutmaster's approval by obtaining his signature on a "Blue Card".
2) Scout finds and contacts Merit Badge Counselor to work on merit badge together (Merit Badge Counselors are listed under our "Private" section of the website)
3) When merit badge requirements are complete and counselor has signed off on "Blue Card" verifying completion, scout takes "Blue Card" to Scoutmaster for his signature
4) Once Scoutmaster signs completed "Blue Card", it is then the responsibility of the scout to give it to the Advancement Chairperson in the Troop
5) Scout will be awarded merit badge at next Court of Honor
Notes about Merit Badges:
- Merit badges are up to the scout to pursue
- All Scouts 11-18 years of age may work on any merit badges, however, some merit badges may be more beneficial if they are completed when the scout is older.
- Scouts are encouraged to work on a merit badge with one or more scouts when possible
- The scout is responsible for keeping track of his "Blue Card"
- Generally, merit badges should be completed within a year
Badges for Eagle
To qualify for the Eagle Scout Award, Scouting's highest advancement rank, a Scout must—along with meeting six other requirements—
earn a total of 21 merit badges, including:
- First Aid
- Citizenship in the Community
- Citizenship in the Nation
- Citizenship in the World
- Personal Fitness
- Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
- Environmental Science OR Sustanability
- Personal Management
- Hiking OR Cycling OR Swimming
- Family Life.