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Merit Badges – Frequently Asked Questions

How many merit badges do I need to earn?

21 merit badges are required for Eagle, 12 are specific "Eagle-required" badges.  Of these, 6 (4 required) will be earned for Star and 5 more will be earned for Life (3 additional required).

How many merit badges are there?
136 merit badges covering a wide range of interests.  Take a look through the merit badge list and find something you will enjoy.  You will be surprised to see how many of the things you do in your daily life, sports, taking care of your dog, working on family projects or reading fulfill merit badge requirements.

Can I work on a merit badge on my own?
Yes! Summer Camp, troop-run programs and Merit Badge University help, but you should work on badges on your own. You should always have one or two badges that you are actively working on and when you finish one, find another on which to start.  You will be surprised how fast that sash fills up!

What is the process?

  •  Review the list of merit badges and badge requirements to select a badge.
  • See the Scoutmaster or Advancement Chairman to obtain a signed “Blue Card”
  • Use the Merit Badge Counselor List to select a counselor. (List in the Troop Library.)
  • Make sure the book is current (check requirements on line)
  • Get a copy of the Merit Badge Book, from the scout store or borrowed from our Library.
  • Contact the counselor and ask them if he or she is willing to work with you.
  • Meet with the counselor to discuss the requirements and completion steps.
  • Meet with your counselor as needed to review your completed requirements.
  • The counselor will sign the blue card indicating his or her approval. 
    Return the completed card to the Scoutmaster or Advancement Chairperson for signature.
  • Receive you merit badge at a future meeting or Court of Honor.

Where do I find the requirements?
For each merit badge there is a merit badge book to guide you through the requirements.  The books are for sale at the Scout Store or you can borrow from another scout or you may be able to borrow one from the Troop Library.  As a quick reference, the Scout Store also sells the Boy Scout Requirement book.  You can also find a wealth of information including the requirements and various help resources at http://meritbadge.org/./index.php?title=Merit_Badges or http://www.usscouts.org/meritbadges.asp .

How do I find a counselor?
Many leaders in Troop 60 are counselors and ready to help you.  The list is in the Troop Library.   Once you have a name, you should contact the counselor to make sure that they have time available to assist you.

When do I meet with the counselor?
Each counselor will handle things a little differently.  You may meet a couple times, once at the beginning and once at the end when you are done your work.  In other cases you may meet several times.  You should work this out with your counselor and find a convenient time to meet.

Who attends the meeting with the counselor?
Scouts should never attend a meeting with a counselor without a parent or another adult or a buddy.  Doing so is a violation of Scouting’s Youth Protection Guidelines.  For fun and to satisfy these guidelines, we strongly encourage you to find another scout interested in working on the same badge at the same time.

What is a “Blue Card”?
Before you meet your counselor you must obtain a Blue Card from the Scoutmaster.  It is a three-part card that your counselor will use to record your achievements.  I need to approve that you are ready to work on the badge.  Once you have completed the requirements, the counselor will return two sections of the card to you and you should submit those two sections to the adult advancement coordinator.

How do I wear the merit badges?
Badges will be awarded at scout meetings and Courts of Honor once our advancement chair has received the completed Blue Card.  Badges are displayed on the merit badge sash worn over the right shoulder.

What is an Eagle Palm?
Eagle Palms are awarded for each 5 merit badges you earn beyond the 21 required for Eagle.  You can earn as many as you want.  I have heard that there are scouts who have earned every badge.  Go for it!

What is a “partial”?
Often at summer camp or other group events, you will start a badge with a counselor but then not complete the badge.  They will return the Blue Card to you, signing off on those requirements that are complete.  It is up to you to complete the remaining requirements on your own and find a counselor to review your work.

FOR PARENTS:

How do I become a counselor?
Adults with an appropriate interest or skill are encouraged to complete an application (Click here for the application; turn it in to the advancement chair) and become registered as a counselor.  It is a wonderful way to share your expertise, have fun with a topic you enjoy and help the scouts and the Troop.  Periodically we will run counselor training and other counselors are always available to give you advice. 

Is there a guide for new counselors?
Yes.  Go to BSA National Council Introductory Guide for Merit Badge Counselors 

Can a parent sign off on requirements?
Like other requirements in Scouting, parents are not allowed to sign off on requirements.  Encouragement, supervision and even light coaching is appropriate, depending on the requirements. There will be requirements intended for completion in the home or with family and a parent may be asked to certify that it was indeed completed.  The only exception to this rule is when a parent teaches a class that includes his or her son and only when the son fulfills the requirements in the same manner as others in the class.

Donate Your Old Books!
If you have completed a badge and no longer have use for your book, please consider donating it to Troop 60 so we can build up a sharing library for other scouts to use.