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Westchester – Putnam Council, BSA, Merit Badge Seminar Protocols:

The Merit Badge Program is an integral part of Boy Scout Advancement.  In the pursuit of earning a merit badge the Scout faces several challenges:

  • He must select a merit badge.
  • He is then counseled by his Scoutmaster on the selected merit badge, his Scoutmaster provides him with a signed Blue Card and a list of merit badge counselors. He must contact a merit badge counselor to request he counsel him on his selected merit badge.
  • He must obtain and read the merit badge pamphlet.
  • He must meet* with the merit badge counselor and follow the counselor’s instructions to show that he has met all merit badge requirements.  *Two deep leadership must be maintained, the Scout must be accompanied, no one on one meetings between the Scout and counselor.
  • Upon meeting all merit badge requirements, the merit badge counselor signs the Scout’s Blue Card, which the Scout gives to his Scoutmaster.
  • Finally he is recognized at his Troop’s Court of Honor where he is awarded the merit badge.

The process described above is not designed to be easy.  In fact, it may be intimidating for some Scouts.  Overcoming the above challenges will provide experiences that will benefit the Scout throughout his life.

Merit badges may be earned by a Scout working individually; or by two or more Scouts working as a group, or in classes offered at summer camp or at merit badge seminars.  The Council Advancement Committee defines a merit badge seminar as a group merit badge session involving Scouts from multiple units.  Approval from the Council Advancement Committee is required:

  • For all Merit Badge Counselor applicants.
  • To conduct merit badge classes at Council’s summer camps.
  • To conduct a Merit Badge Seminar.

The Council Advancement Committee requires Merit Badge Seminar sponsors to adhere to the following protocols:

  1. BSA policy prohibits Merit Badge Seminars being run as fundraisers.
  2. All Merit Badge Seminars require pre-approval by the Council Advancement Committee.
  3. Merit Badge Seminar sponsors must submit a request to conduct a seminar a minimum of three (3) months in advance.
  4. The sponsor’s request to conduct a Merit Badge Seminar shall include:
    1. Contact info for the Merit Badge Seminar sponsor.
    2. A complete list of all merit badges* to be offered.  *Eagle required merit badges may only be offered with the explicit permission of the Council Advancement Committee.
    3. Identify the location where the seminar will be conducted.
    4. Dates and times of the seminar.
    5. A complete list of merit badge counselors that are to participate.  Only currently registered and up to date YPT merit counselors may participate.
    6. A complete list of all pre-requisites for the offered merit badges.
    7. Description of fees to be charged (if any) and what they are to be used for.
  5. A Scout’s admission into the Merit Badge Seminar is a Blue Card signed by his Scoutmaster.  Scouts without signed Blue Cards may not participate.
  6. A Scout may sign up for no more than two (2) merit badges per one day seminar.
  7. A counselor may counsel no more than two (2) merit badges per one day seminar.
  8. Scouts who successfully complete all merit badge requirements shall leave the seminar with their Blue Card signed by the merit badge counselor.  The merit badge patch shall not be given to the Scout; this award should only be presented at a Court of Honor.
  9. Scouts who do not complete all requirements shall receive a “partial”.
  10. All Merit Badge Seminars are subject to quality inspections by Council and District Advancement Committee representatives and Unit Leaders.
  11. Within in one (1) week after the Merit Badge Seminar, the sponsor shall submit a report to the Council Advancement Committee summarizing the seminar results, including:
    1. Number of participating Scouts.
    2. Number of participating Merit Badge Counselors.
    3. Identify and list the total number of completed merit badges and “partials”.
    4. Total money receipts (if any).
    5. Total and description of seminar expenses (if any).
    6. Additional comments as appropriate.
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