The Merit Badge Process
The merit badge process is not as complex as this page makes it appear-there are just a number of variables that need to be addressed.
Look up the merit badge you want to complete at http://usscouts.org/mb/worksheets/list.asp
There are approximately 140 merit badges to choose from.
Fourteen of them are known as "Eagle required"
These are typically more complicated (but not necessarily harder) to complete
These must be completed before the Scout can apply for Eagle rank
Scouts need a minimum of 21 merit badges to apply for Eagle rank (14 of which are the Eagle required).
Locate a merit badge counselor (unless for a merit badge day or summer camp).
Troop 731 has a number of counselors available (see separate page on this website)
To find a counselor for a badge not covered or to find another counselor, please visit: http://www.sdicbsa.org/Advancement/CounselorLookup.php
A parent or guardian must be within eyesight when meeting in person with any counselor.
Discuss the merit badge with Scoutmaster or Advancement Chair and either:
Get a signed "blue card" for the counselor to fill out OR
Ask the Scoutmaster or Adv. Chair to connect you to the merit badge counselor on Scoutbook.
The Scoutmaster or Advancement Chair may not sign the cards or make the connection if they think the Scout is not ready to start on a given badge--also, some merit badges have minimum age requirements. (This is very rare.)
Other "blue card" items
If going to a "merit badge day" multiple cards can be obtained.
If you don't get a chance to get the signed cards in advance, take the classes anyway. You can usually get blue cards there. (There may be a small fee for the cards.) However, you should always try to follow the proper procedure.
In case cannot get the signed cards due to scheduling, the Scout (or parents) should email Scoutmaster or Advancement Chair to discuss the merit badges.
If necessary, merit badge cards can be downloaded and printed by Scout at http://usscouts.org/advance/docs/34124.pdf
Summer camps normally don't use blue cards; the Scoutmaster will receive a printout of all finished requirements.
Scouts should make sure all their finished requirements are noted by the instructor before end of class.
Scout should fill out all information possible on the blue card. Always use pen--do not use pencil. As far as Scouts is concerned, these are "legal" documents and your proof you finished a merit badge.
Print out the merit badge worksheets.
Worksheet link is available at the http://usscouts.org/mb/worksheets/list.asp site on the individual merit badge page.
Worksheets are available as PDF or Microsoft Word documents.
Always bring your own copies to classes, camps, or meetings with a counselor.
For summer camp and merit badge days, put your name and Troop number on each page.
Start work on the merit badge.
Badges can be worked on individually, with your patrol or a group, or in a class.
Some classes or camps give prerequisites that should be done in advance in order to earn the badge by the end of the class/camp.
If you don't finish a merit badge in a class or at camp, it can be finished later with another counselor.
Be SURE to get a counselor-signed blue card that lists any steps you have finished. Otherwise, you may have to start the badge over again. It is possible that the new counselor may ask you to repeat certain requirements, but this is not common.
Communication with the merit badge counselor must be done by the Scout. If the Scout does not have their own email, the Scout can use their parent's email but the communication must be written by the Scout. Scouts need to CC either the Scoutmaster or the Advancement Chair (and their parent if using a personal email address).
Merit Badge books are also available to help your study.
The Troop has merit badge study guides available for Scouts to use. The Scout should ask the Troop librarian to check out a book.
If the Troop does not have a particular book in the library, the Troop will purchase it for the library. Books should be returned on a timely basis.
If the Scout wishes to keep the book after the badge is completed, books can be purchased at a Scout store (Temecula or San Diego) or online.
Scout needs to make sure the counselor fills out the blue card in pen. (Have a pen handy if counselor does not have one.)
Counselor should fill out "partials"--that is, merit badge requirements that have been completed. All requirements will be filled out if merit badge is completed.
Requirements for merit badges do not expire as long as Scout is active in a troop, however, Scouts should try to finish a merit badge in a reasonable time frame after starting it.
If the merit badge is complete--meaning a counselor has signed off on all the requirements--the last counselor signing off a completed merit badge should keep the section of the blue card marked "Counselor's Record".
The Scout should keep the part of the blue card marked "Applicant's Record"--keep this as long as you are a Scout.
The last section should be turned into the Scoutmaster or Advancement Chair.
Merit badges are awarded at our Courts of Honors.