As you progress toward First Class and higher ranks, you will spend much of your time working on merit badges. The BSA offers more than 100 badges you can earn. Some of these badges are required for promotion to Eagle Scout rank. Earning a merit badge requires you to work directly with a registered adult who serves as the counselor for that badge. Please refer to the list of the merit badge counselors registered with our Troop and some tips on the best way to earn particular merit badges on the Troop 680 web site. For a list of merit badges see www.meritbadge.com.
You have four different opportunities to earn merit badges:
- You may work directly with a registered counselor on a merit badge of interest to you; unless at a Scout function with several other Scouts and adults around, you must work with a buddy Scout and there must be two adults present (the Counselor and one other) to meet Youth Protection Training requirements.
- You may be a member of a group within the Troop working on a specific merit badge.
- You can participate in the District Merit Badge Jamboree held in February each year.
- You may earn merit badges while attending summer camp with the Troop.
Note for new Scouts: Only BSA-registered adults registered with the Colonial District and the NCAC for a specific merit badge approve the award of that merit badge.
Steps to Earning a Merit Badge
- As a Scout, you can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business and future careers as you earn merit badges. Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time. Talk to your Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Patrol Leader, Advancements Coordinator, Merit Badge Coordinator or parents about your interests. Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you at www.meritbadge.com.
- When you are ready to work on a badge, get a blue card (a three-part Merit Badge Application card used to record your completed work) from the Troop cabinet or merit badge coordinator. Ask the Scoutmaster for approval (indicated by his signature on your blue card) to start working on the merit badge you choose. At the end of the process, you will keep one part of the card, the counselor will keep one part and the Troop will keep one part for our records.
- The Scoutmaster signs the "blue card" and optionally (for a very few long term merit badges, e.g., camping) records the start date of your merit badge effort in the Troop database.
- You get a copy of that merit badge pamphlet (either borrowed from the Troop library or bought from a store) and review the requirements.
- You contact a registered merit badge counselor for that badge (either a Troop 680 parent listed at the Troop web site or a Colonial District counselor) and schedule an appointment for instruction and testing. Many merit badges require several such sessions. Fill out the blue card with your personal information, counselor's personal information and name of merit badge to be earned. The counselor does not sign the blue card until all badge requirements are completed. You give the blue card to the merit badge counselor who maintains it until all requirements are completed.
- Discuss the requirements with the counselor. Regular Troop meetings provide a great opportunity for this. 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. Take along the things you have written/made or take pictures if it is too big to move.
- When the counselor is satisfied that you have finished all of the requirements, the counselor will sign your blue card, keep the Counselor Record portion of the card and give the other two parts of the card to the Troop advancements coordinator. The badge, merit badge card and your part of the blue card will be presented at the next Court of Honor. Keep the merit badge card and blue card safe in a binder. You will need these for Eagle rank.
Partial Merit Badges
If you aren't able to complete all of the requirements with a counselor, the Merit Badge Counselor can initial each completed item on the back of the blue card. This is called earning a "partial." In this case, you will keep the whole card and try to complete it with another counselor at some other time in the future.
There is NO DEADLINE for earning Merit Badges (other than your 18th birthday). Once you start working on a Merit Badge (i.e. obtain a signed "Blue Card" Application for the Merit Badge), have an initial discussion with a merit badge Counselor, and start working on the requirements), you may continue using those requirements until you complete the badge or turn 18 years of age. There Is No One Year Limit On So-Called "Partials".
Merit Badge Changes
If the requirements change while you are working on the badge, you may continue to use the OLD requirements until you complete the work, or you may use the new requirements. It is YOUR choice, and yours alone. A Scout may not choose a mix of old and new requirements.
Discontinued or Renamed Merit Badges
If a Merit Badge is discontinued while you are working on the badge, you may continue to work toward completing the badge, and get credit for earning the badge, until you turn 18. However, it may not be possible to obtain an actual merit badge patch once the local council's supply is exhausted.
If a discontinued Merit Badge is replaced with one or more other Merit Badges covering the same or similar topics (such as Rifle and Shotgun Shooting MB which was replaced by Rifle Shooting MB and Shotgun Shooting MB), a Scout that has earned the discontinued badge may also earn the new badge or badges. If the badge is simply renamed (such as Firemanship MB which was changed to Fire Safety MB), Scouts may NOT earn the badge again. If the badge number in BSA's numbering system is the same before and after the change, it is a renaming. If a new number is assigned, it is a replacement.
Troop 680's Eagle-Required Merit Badge Program/Schedule
Eagle-required merit badges are among the most challenging badges you will earn. In many cases, working on these projects with your fellow Scouts and helping each other along the way can make these challenges easier. Our Troop provides opportunities for you to earn many of the Eagle-required merit badges in a group setting. The Troop 680 current schedule of classes for Eagle-required merit badges is on the web site. The list of Eagle required merit badges includes: First Aid; Citizenship in the Community; Citizenship in the Nation; Citizenship in the World; Communications; Personal Fitness; Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving; Environmental Science; Personal Management; Swimming or Hiking or Cycling; Camping; and Family Life.