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National Office Merit Badges Policies and Procedures

Article X. Program (Advancement) - Rules and Regulations

Clause 13. The responsibility for merit badges shall rest with the Merit Badge Counselor approved by the local council and district advancement committee. Merit Badge Counselors shall be registered adult members of the Boy Scouts of America. The Merit Badge Counselor shall prepare and qualify the youth members. There shall be no board of review. … No council, district, unit or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from advancement requirements.

 Westchester-Putnam Council Merit Badge Policies and Procedures

The Advancement Committee of the Westchester-Putnam Council explicitly adheres to all Policies and Procedures set by the National Office. To assist Scouts and unit leaders with interpreting these policies and procedures, the following guidelines are offered to address questions that have been asked in the past:

 A Merit Badge Counselor is an adult member who is registered for the current year through the National Office specifically as a Merit Badge Counselor, has been approved by the Council Advancement Committee through the District Advancement Committee for a particular merit badge or badges, and has agreed to adhere to all National and Westchester-Putnam Council policies and procedures.

All work on a merit badge must begin when the merit badge process, as described below, is started for each particular merit badge. This means that the Scout has a signed blue card and initiates contact with a Merit Badge Counselor.

Any registered Scout, regardless of rank, may work on any merit badge and receive the award when he earns it.

A Scout may work on multiple merit badges at the same time.

A Merit Badge Counselor may work with a Scout who is a relative.

Summer camp does not offer any exceptions to the Advancement policies or procedures.

Partial work, usually documented at summer camp, does not expire until the Scout's 18th birthday.

If the requirements change after a Scout has already started working on a merit badge, continue to use the requirements in effect when the Scout began, unless the SCOUT desires to use the new requirements. However, if he wishes to use the new requirements, he must use ALL of the new requirements. He may not pick and choose a selection from the old and new requirements.

The Merit Badge Counselor is responsible for making sure what the requirements are before certifying a Scout has earned a merit badge.

Merit Badge Counselors are encouraged to spot check work certified to them from partials, but Scouts should not be retested on these completed requirements.

The approval of a merit badge by a valid Merit Badge Counselor cannot be challenged. However, any failure to follow the National and Westchester-Putnam Council policies and procedures (as described here), especially with regard to requirements, will likely invalidate their position as a valid Merit Badge Counselors and possibly invalidate the approval for a badge in question. Any challenges to merit badge validity should be immediately presented in writing to the appropriate District Advancement Chairman, who will investigate the matter.

Every possible opportunity shall be given to the Scout to properly earn the merit badge if invalidation occurs, within National policy.

Registered unit leaders certify that the Merit Badge Counselor is currently approved when they fill out Advancement Reports.

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