Patches and Book

Merit Badges

Learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business and future careers while earning merit badges. There are more than 100 merit badges that a Boy Scout may earn any at any time. Rank advancement is not required to be eligible.

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. Obtain a signed merit badge application from your Scoutmaster and inform them of the merit badge you would like to work Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors. 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 or other relative or a friend.

Call the Counselor. The counselor may ask to meet you to explain what is expected and to start helping you meet the requirements. It is suggested to discuss work that you have already started or possibly completed.

Unless otherwise specified, work for a requirement can be started at any time. Ask your counselor to help you learn the things you need to know or do to meet merit badge requirements. Read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject. Many troops, schools and/or public libraries have copies.

Show Your Stuff. When you have completed the requirements, call the counselor to make an appointment to meet. When you go take along the any materials for the requirements. If items are too big to move, take pictures or have an adult verify in writing what you have done. The counselor will ask you to do each requirement to test your knowledge and see that you have done or can do the requirements.

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 to secure your merit badge emblem.

Requirements. You are expected to meet the requirements exactly as they are stated—no more and no less. If it says "show or demonstrate," that is what you must do. Just telling about it is not enough. The same thing holds true for such words as "make," "list," "in the field," and "collect," "identify," and "label." The requirements listed in the current version of the Boy Scout Requirements book are the official requirements of the Boy Scouts of America. The current Boy Scout Requirements book is available for free online at www.scouting.org or for purchase from your local Scout Shop or at www.scoutstuff.org .

If a Scout has already started working on a merit badge when a new edition of the pamphlet is introduced, he should continue to use the same merit badge pamphlet and fulfill the requirements therein to earn the badge. He need not start all over again with the new pamphlet and possibly revised requirements.

Text adapted from information found at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges.aspx ."

Becoming a Merit Badge Counselor
The merit badge counselor is a key component in the Boy Scout advancement program. Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special craft or hobby (basketry, leatherwork, coin collecting), a profession (veterinary medicine, aviation, engineering) or perhaps a life skill (cooking, personal management, communications)—as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a young man's curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.

If you are not yet a merit badge counselor, it is easy to become a volunteer. You will need to register with the Boy Scouts of America, through the Crossroads of America Council. Once you have completed and submitted the necessary items, the council will process the application. (Every applicant is screened.)

Step 1. Complete a BSA Adult Application
Step 2. Complete a Merit Badge Counselor Information Sheet
Step 3. Gather proof of completion of Youth Protection Training, which may be completed HERE
Step 4. Deliver the three above documents to your unit leader or local Council Service Center.

Merit Badge Counselor Information
Guide for Merit Badge Counselors (aka Merit Badge Counselor Training)

Frequently Asked Questions

Merit Badge Library

Merit Badge Requirements

Merit Badge Resources

Merit Badge Review