Merit Badges

A merit badge is an award that is presented to a Scout when he completes the requirements for one of the merit badge subjects. The badge is only a small piece of khaki cloth with a design embroidered in color, but its significance is as large as the interest of the merit badge counselor who helps a scout earn it.

Which badges first?
BSA does not require a scout to have earned any rank before working on a merit badge. Some merit badges are targeted for different age groups. Troop 24 encourages all scouts proceed at their own pace in the scouting program. Each scout should review the requirements for a merit badge BEFORE requesting a blue card.

A scout should be prepared to discuss his readiness to begin a merit badge with the merit badge coordinator and scoutmaster. Ultimately, the scoutmaster will approve that a scout may begin working on a merit badge by signing his blue card.

As of November of 2009 there were 119 different merit badges. Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time; however, some topics are more appropriate for older scouts. Visit the BSA Website and for more information on merit badge requirements, especially the helpful Merit Badge worksheets.

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. You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor. This person can be another Scout, your parents or guardian, a brother or sister, a relative, or a friend.

Call The Counselor. Get a signed merit badge 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 required. Ask your counselor to help you learn 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 have 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 have 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.” There is NO DEADLINE for earning Merit Badges, except the Scout’s 18th Birthday. There is no one-year limit on so-called “partials.”

If a Merit Badge is discontinued, Scouts working on the badge when it is removed from the Boy Scout Requirements booklet may continue to work toward completing the badge, and get credit for earning the badge, until they turn 18. However, it may not be possible to obtain an actual merit badge patch, once the local council’s supply is exhausted.

For more complete information about the logistics of earning a merit badge and the paperwork required, please download our description of Boy Scout Merit Badges.