The merit badge program is one of Boy Scouting's basic measurement tools. Earning merit badges gives a boy the .rind of self-confidence that comes from overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal. Through the merit badge program, a boy also learns career skills, develops socially, and may develop physical skills and hobbies that give a lifetime of healthful recreation.
The steps to follow in the merit badge program are outlined in the current Boy Scout Requirements Book. This book lists the requirements a Scout needs to earn each of the note than 100 merit badges that are available. Scouts must be tested individually, and they must meet all the requirements.
Scout Buddy System. A Scout must have a buddy with him at each meeting with a merit badge counselor. A Scout's buddy can be another Scout, a parent or guardian, a brother or sister, or a relative or friend. From his scoutmaster, the Scout obtains a signed merit badge application (blue card) and the name of the appropriate merit badge counselor. The Scout sets up his first appointment with the counselor. The counselor should explain the requirements to the Scout. The Scout and his buddy then meet as appropriate with the counselor until the Scout completes the badge requirements.
Group Instruction of Merit Badges. The question arises as to whether it is permissible to have boys earn merit badges in groups. Many subjects may be presented to groups of Scouts without defeating one of the purposes of the merit badge plan--working closely with a qualified adult.
The National Executive Board has approved this policy statement on merit badge counseling:
"To the fullest extent possible, the merit badge counseling relationship is a counselor-Scout arrangement m which the boy is not only judged on his performance of the requirements, but receives maximum benefit from the knowledge, skill, character, and personal interest of his counselor. Group instruction and orientation are encouraged where special facilities and expert personnel make this most practical, or when Scouts are dependent on lonely a few counselors for assistance. However, this group experience should be followed by attention to each individual candidate's projects and his ability to fulfill all requirements."
Merit Badge Partials from Summer Camp. The troop database will be used to track partial merit badges earned while attending summer camp with the troop. To complete the badges the Scout will need to make arrangements with either one of the adults who attended summer camp with him or a merit badge counselor for the badge. When he has completed his outstanding requirements the adult will notify database personnel to show as complete. Partials will be retained in the database for one year.