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Merit Badges

Boy Scout Troop 15
(Shaker Heights, Ohio)
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Merit Badges

What Are Merit Badges

Merit Badges are emblems that show that a Scout has mastered a certain skilled. Some merit badges can take several months to earn but merit badges are necessary if a Scout wants to attain Star, Life, or Eagle in rank. (Eagle Scouts may earn Eagle Palms by completing additional merit badges.) There are two types of badges: Eagle-required badges (presented with a silver border) and elective badges (presented with a gold border).
The requirements, along with resources, for all the different merit badges can be found on this website:

Please review the requirements listed in the Merit Badge Guide prior to contacting a Merit Badge Counselor. Your Scoutmaster or any of your Assistant Scoutmasters can help you.

The Troop has a library that includes many merit badge pamphlets. Contact the Troop Librarian to borrow a pamphlet. There are some unofficial worksheets online (at, for example) that can be very helpful in preparing for meetings with a counselor, but requirements listed on those sites are frequently badly out of date and completion of the wrong requirements WILL NOT count toward the badge.

The Merit Badge Process in Troop 15

1. The Scout develops an interest in a merit badge and may begin working on the requirements. Be sure you are looking at the most recent requirements at!

2. The Scout discusses his interest in the merit badge with the Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster.

3. The Scoutmaster signs a blue card and provides the Scout with at least one counselor name. (Note for Scoutmasters: a list of Troop counselor resources is under "Parent Resources" in the private part of the site; contact information appears on the District roster of approved counselors.)

4. The Scout (not a parent or a Scoutmaster) contacts the counselor.

5. The counselor considers any work toward requirements completed prior to the initial discussion with the SM/ASM.

6. The Scout, his buddy (no Scout may meet with a counselor alone), and the counselor meet - often several times.

7. The Scout finishes the requirements.

8. The counselor approves completion. (Note: if a Scout has not completed a badge at a Midway or Summer Camp, the counselor may record a "partial" completion - noting the requirements completed at the point at which contact ceased.) For a completed badge, the counselor retains the Counselor Record portion of the card.

9. The Scout returns the other two portions of the signed blue card to the SM/ASM, who signs the Applicant Record section of the card.

10. The SM/ASM delivers the completed Unit Record portion to the Advancement Chair, who reports the merit badge to the council.

11. The Scout receives his merit badge patch, along with the Applicant Record portion of the blue card.

12. Important: The Scout keeps ALL Applicant Record portions of blue cards until he has completed Scouting. This is the only official record a Scout can show as proof of a completed merit badge - patches do NOT count as an official record.

Please keep in mind that counselors for merit badges at summer camps are approved by the Council on a short-term basis. They are usually NOT available as counselors for the rest of the year.

Please also note that merit badge counselors beginning work with a Scout who presents a "partial" completed with another counselor is not under an obligation to give credit for the partial. Merit badge counselors have different styles and expectations in this respect, and might want to see the work demonstrated - even if the partial progress has been recorded.