This topic contains 11 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Steve Savoie 10 months, 3 weeks ago.
October 7, 2015 at 5:14 pm #46580
I have a question about merit badge ‘blue cards’. My son is new to the troop this year (he’s been in cub scouts, but first year in Boy Scouts). We are trying to figure everything out. Everything we/I read in his book and online says that the boy is to get a blue card when he starts to work on the badge. Our troop says that blue cards aren’t really used anymore, so they don’t give them out. I called our local council to ask, and was told it’s really just a unit preference thing. So now, I’m not sure which is correct – everything that I find in print or what the troop/council is telling me. There is a possibility that we will be moving in the next few months and I don’t want there to be any issues with his merit badges in progress, at the new troop, because the old one doesn’t issue blue cards.
Our scoutmaster says he is the counselor for any merit badge my son wishes to do, so my son isn’t being given counselor information either. The council says our scoutmaster is an approved merit badge counselor for exactly 2 merit badges, neither of which are ones my son currently is working on.
I just want to ensure we are following the process correctly, so my son doesn’t end up penalized in some way. (I read that a badge can be revoked if it is discovered the counselor wasn’t an approved one.) Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
October 7, 2015 at 8:52 pm #46585
The way your troop is doing it is completely wrong. 1) Your son should absolutely receive a blue card signed by his scoutmaster before he starts working on any merit badge, and 2) the merit badge counselor has to be approved by the local council for that particular merit badge in order for the blue card to be valid. Otherwise, this will come back to haunt your son if he tries to advance to Eagle in the future.
You can try to explain this to the scoutmaster, but if he won’t listen and if you’ll be moving soon, then your son might just want to wait until he joins his new troop to earn merit badges. If you’re not moving, then I’d recommend that your son start looking for a new troop–one that actually follows the merit badge requirements in the BSA 2015 Guide to Advancement. You can view the merit badge program requirements at http://www.scouting.org/Home/GuideToAdvancement/TheMeritBadgeProgram.aspx. Good luck.
October 12, 2015 at 11:10 am #46737
Please get the blue card!
The blue card is the official record of work completed. It is in three parts. One part is kept by the scout. The second by the counselor. The third by the scoutmaster.
If the scout losses their section, there is always someone to go to to recover the lost info. Also, always make a copy of the card before turning it in to a SM. If they lose the whole thing, you still have a record of it all. Always keep copies!
October 12, 2015 at 2:11 pm #46746
On a separate blue card question, one of our scouts lost a fully completed and approved blue card, but has a copy of front and back. However, the troop advancement coordinator isn’t sure she can award the merit badge from the completed copy and wants the scout to redo the blue card, which she doesn’t keep but merely checks and hands back to the scout. If there any reason she couldn’t work from the copy?
October 12, 2015 at 2:50 pm #46752
Kudos to the scout for making a copy. I’m not sure if you mean that the advancement chair wants the scout to simply fill out a new blue card or to redo all the requirements, but the copy should certainly suffice. If you’d like more proof, you could always contact the merit badge counselor to confirm that the scout completed the badge. The counselor should have one third of the original blue card.
October 17, 2015 at 12:04 am #46990
Okay, here is hat I think is a related question.
The scout obtains the blue card. The scout completes the badge. The scout turns in the remaining two section to hisn SM to record and take his copy.
Who gets the last piece and when? The remaining section belongs to the scout for his record. When does he get it back? Previously, our troop gave it back right away and the scout saved it in their records and during a court of honor, the badge and completion card was given.
Now, the SM is holding all of the scout achievements like hostage in his “files”. Which method is correct? Which is commonly employed?
Thanks for the info!
December 4, 2017 at 11:33 am #78783
So the three portions of the blue card, when the badge is completed, distribute as follows:
The counselor of the badge keeps one third, as their record of the work.
The applicant (Scout), keeps a section. This is their record that they’ve completed the work (much like the sign-off pages in their handbook).
The unit keeps the last section. It allows them to know that a Scout has completed a merit badge, and has a space for them to record that they processed the completion in advancement records and awarded the Scout the merit badge.
October 17, 2015 at 10:18 am #47000
There is no time in which the “applicant record” should be in the hands of anyone but the applicant. That’s what “applicant should retain” means.
Upon completion of the badge, the boy gets the requisite signatures on his application. Then the boy gives the counselor his/her section, and the unit their section.
The unit uses their section to log advancements with council. This used to be done by paper, now most councils have gone electronic. They don’t need the applicant’s record … ever.
This process has stood the test of time. Unfortunately, scout camps and some merit badge universities have bypassed it by sending the unit and applicant sections to the unit leader and not the scouts. This adds responsibility to the unit that should really be the boys.
So, encourage your unit to get those signed cards back to the boys ASAP. Let the boys do the transaction management (distributing and respective sections), and have fun scouting!
October 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm #47035
Uggh! I knew it. I really, really knew it. As always, I thank you for the guidance. It really is appreciated.
This is the reason we have left this troop. Of course these “files” will be obtained and life will go on. We have a new troop now and I expect only better things to come my sons way from this point on.
November 30, 2017 at 5:12 pm #78506
During the merit badge process, does the Scout keep the blue card the while working on it or does the counselor. I would think the Scout holds on the blue card for the merit badge he is working on but I can’t find in advancement that states this?
December 1, 2017 at 12:52 pm #78604
We have the scout hold onto the blue card. Upon completion, the counselor gets his/her portion of the application. The scout gets the counselors signature on his section, then he gets the unit leader’s signature and turns in the units portion.
AT NO TIME DOES THE SCOUT RELINQUISH THE APPLICANT PORTION OF THE CARD.
Now really, I guess it doesn’t matter if the counselor holds on to the card while the boy is working on the badge. That’s especially handy if the likely outcome is partial completion and the counselor wants to log that at the end of each day. But we would rather the process be all the boys.
December 5, 2017 at 2:48 pm #78835
It is important that the scout get and save his portion of the blue card. A scout transferred to our troop from a troop that disbanded. That troop never uploaded anything to internet advancement and no one knew where any of the records went. He had saved his portion of the blue cards so we could give him credit for what he had done. We recommend the scouts get some of the plastic pages for trading cards and a small binder. They can put their portion of the blue card along with the card they receive with the merit badge in a pocket. They can do the same with the cards received with their rank badges. This way all of their achievements have backup documentation in case of a dispute. BTW, we always upload to internet advancement but better safe than sorry.