How Do I Begin a Merit Badge?
You may begin working on a merit badge at any time. Look through your scout handbook or check the website at US Scouting Service Project to choose a merit badge that interests you. Remember, there are 11 required merit badges and 10 other merit badges needed to earn Eagle. Individual merit badge books can be purchased at the Scout Shops.
Merit Badge Card, Section I - Application for Merit Badge:
Before you begin you must get an "Application for Merit Badge" card from a scoutmaster or the advancement counselor and ask the scoutmaster to sign it. Let him know the badge you are planning to work on and ask for help in finding a counselor. Fill out the information on the first section of the card, Application for Merit Badge.
Getting a Counselor:
Mr. Pronschinske is Troop 263's Merit Badge Coordinator. He can help you find a counselor. You can see him at a meeting or email him by clicking here. When you have the name of a counselor, call that person and ask for a time to meet with them to discuss the work that you need to do.
As in all scout activities, always meet with your counselor following the buddy system rules. If there is another scout who wants to work on the same badge you can arrange to meet together. You could also ask a parent or sibling to go with you as a buddy. If you meet with another scout, you must each do your own work to complete the merit badge.
Merit Badge Card, Section II - Applicant's Record:
The merit badge card has three sections. We talked about the first section earlier. The second section of the card is labeled "Applicant's Record" and has a section on the back where the counselor signs the card as you complete each requirement of the merit badge. It is important to have these requirements signed off as they are completed. If for any reason you are not able to finish the badge with that counselor you will be able to continue with another counselor without having to start over. No one wants to do the work twice! When you have completed all of the requirements, the counselor will sign this section of the card and date it. That is the official date that you have earned the badge.
Merit Badge Card, Section III - Counselor Record:
The third section of the card is called the "Counselor Record". The merit badge counselor will fill out this section, tear it off and keep it in his files. If he/she doesn't remember to do this, it is your job to ask.
The last step in recording your merit badge is to bring the first two sections (Application for Merit Badge and Applicant's Record) of the card back to your scoutmaster for his final signature. This tells him that you have earned the badge. The card should then be given to the Advancement Coordinator so that the information can be recorded with the council. It must be recorded with the council for your Eagle record. You will be given the Applicant's Record section to keep. Put it in a safe place in case other records are lost; that way you will be able to show that you earned the badge.
It is important to turn in your card as soon as possible after you complete the work. If you lose it you may have to contact your counselor for a duplicate or you may have to do the work again. REMEMBER: IT IS YOUR JOB TO KEEP YOUR CARD WHILE YOU ARE WORKING ON THE BADGE. IT IS YOUR JOB TO GET THE SIGNATURES AND TURN IN THE CARD. YOU ARE EARNING THE MERIT BADGE.
Good luck on the Road to Eagle!