Troop, I have recieved a few questions about Merit Badges and the process to obtain them. Here is a quick rundown on how it works:
This stuff can also be found here: https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/the-merit-badge-program/
I totally encourage all Scouts to get involved in the Merit Badge program and it does a lot for a Scout, including reaching out and “cold calling” or making “cold contact” with people they are not familiar with to set up meetings and discuss things they are interested in learning about (for us adults, it kind of sounds like a cold call in business).
Step 1: Find a topic you want to explore. There are likely a few out there that one of the currently available 138 merit badges will cover.
Step 2: Talk to the Scoutmaster and get a Signed Blue Card for that merit badge (basically, the signed blue card is the authorization to start the MB) – I will update SB with the started MB. Most Pikes Peak BSA (PPBSA) programs (not camps) will require you to turn in a SIGNED blue card at the start of class.
This step is to be completed PRIOR to starting the Merit Badge. Officially, any work completed prior to doing this does not count toward the completion of the Merit Badge. However, we can work stuff out on a case by case basis depending on the situation (and the Merit Badge counselor).
Step 3: Search out and make contact with a QUALIFIED MB counselor (YPT and Registered with BSA); let me know who it is and I will link them to you in Scoutbook. There have been some folks who get MB stuff completed by those “counselors” who are not validated, registered, or YPT certified to do this type of stuff under the BSA umbrella.
Finding a QUALIFIED MB counselor is a safety thing for the Scout and the Counselor. Plus, should anything happen (someone gets shot with an arrow, etc.), BSA insurance will cover it. If the counselor is not qualified, insurance will not cover it.
Step 4: Either demonstrate skills/knowledge to the MB Counselor or obtain guidance from the counselor – continue this process until the counselor is satisfied with your skills, knowledge, etc. (completing the requiremens of the badge) and signs off for all requirements. This process may take more than one meeting with the counselor, or may take several months to complete. Since the counselor should be linked in SB, they should sign off in the system. If they don’t, let me know and I will take care of that aspect of it when I get the [completed] blue card. The PPBSA is pushing this process and we will likely see this mandated in the future, but who knows. Any knowledge or skills demonstrated prior to getting a signed blue card will not count toward completion of the badge. You’ll have to re-deomonstrate stuff to your counselor if this is the case.
Step 5: Turn in the Completed Blue Card to the Scoutmaster and get recognized at the next COH. The Counselor may or may not keep a portion of the card for his/her records. That is just fine. The other two portions of the card should be turned in and the Troop will keep a portion of the card for our records. The last portion of the card will be returned to the Scout upon recognition at the CoH with the badge earned.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.
There is some flexibility due to COVID this year, that will be discussed individually on a case by case basis.