Earning a Merit Badge

You can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers as you earn these merit badges. There are more than 100 merit badges. Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time. You don't need to have rank advancement to be eligible.

Pick a subject. Talk to your Scoutmaster about your interests. Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you. Pick one to earn. Your scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors.These counselors have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping you.

Scout Buddy System: Pick a buddy to work with you on the badge! You must have another person with you at your meetings with the merit badge counselor. Best if this person is another Scout, however it can be your parents or guardian, a brother or sister, a relative, or a friend.

Call the counselor. Get a signed merit badge card (application) from your Scoutmaster. Get in touch with the merit badge counselor and tell him or her that you want to earn the merit badge. The counselor may ask you to come and see him so he can explain what he expects and start helping you meet the requirements.

When you know what is expected, start to learn and do the things you need to know or do. You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject. Many troops and school or public libraries have them.

Show Your Stuff: When you are ready, call the counselor again to make an appointment to meet the requirements. When you go take along the things you have made to meet the requirements. If they are too big to move, take pictures or have an adult tell in writing what you've done. The counselor will ask you to do each requirement to make sure that you know your stuff and have done or can do the things required.

Get the Badge: When the counselor is satisfied that you've met each requirement, he or she will sign your application. Give the signed application to your Scoutmaster so that your merit badge emblem can be secured for you.

Requirements: You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated- no more and no less. You are expected to do exactly what is stated in the requirements. If it says " show or demonstrate", that is what you must do. Just telling about it isn't enough. The same thing holds true for such words as "make," "list," "in the field," and "collect," " identify," and "label."

Save your cards!!!: The signed copy of the card is the offical record of completion!!! The Advancement chairman will retutn your card to you when your patch is awarded to you. Do not lose this card! If you plan to ever get your Eagle rank it will be necessary to reproduce every one of your cards.

Is there any time limit on completing a merit badge?No. But if more than 12 month pass without an official appointment, the councilor is not required to keep any records. As with rank advancement, you may take as long as you need to finish the requirements. However, there are at least three good reasons to finish them as soon as you can and not procrastinate:

1. You'll get it out of the way!

2. You may lose your meritbadge card or forget which requirements you've completed, and have to start all over again. Unfortunately, that's happened. There may be that one community meeting you have to attend and you put it off. In the meantime, a year has gone by, and you can't find your card. Agh!!!! Don't put the advancement committee in the awkward position of taking your word that you finished the requirements when you have no proof.

3. The requirements may change. If different requirements are published in the next year's Boy Scout Requirements book, you may be asked to complete these new requirements.