Merit Badges

Merit badges are an important part of a scout's advancement, giving him some flexibility in what he chooses to study and when he does it.  There are two types of merit badges, Eagle required and non-required.  A scout must earn a total of 21 merit badges to earn his Eagle rank, roughly half of which are on the Eagle-required list.  Eagle required merit badges help the scout further develop the his character in line with the ideals of scouting through topics such as first aid and emergency preparedness, citizenship, personal development, and family life.  Non-required merit badges introduce the scout to possible future carrers and hobbies and cover a range of topics including science, technology, business, crafts, and sports.

A scout needs to begin earning merit badges to receive the rank of Star, however, it is never too early to start.  Scouts have many opportunities to earn merit badges, including merit badge nights at the cabin (roughly once a year, when the troop picks a badge that everyone completes together), merit-badge universities offered by council (all-day events where several different merit badge classes are offered in one location), and summer camp (Tay House scouts that attend Massawepie for two weeks frequently return with five or six merit bages).  For the majority of merit badge earning, however, scouts must take their own initiative to find and meet with a merit badge counselor, using the process described below.

How to Earn a Merit Badge

  1. Find a merit badge that you are interested in earning.  For a complete list, including all of the requirments, you can check MeritBadge.com.
  2. Find a buddy interested in earning the same merit badge (he doesn't necessarilly have to be a Tay House scout).  Scouts follow the buddy system, and learning new skills is always more fun when you do it with a friend.
  3. Ask the scoutmaster or advancement scoutmaster for a "blue card" and a list of counselors for the merit badge you are interested in earning.  Merit badge counselors are council volunteers, who specialize in the topic area of the merit badge, that will assist you in your work.  The counselor will record your progress on the blue card.
  4. Begin calling counselors and politely ask if they will be willing to work with you on the merit badge.  Once you've found one, ask if there is anything you need to do to begin--some counselors may ask to meet with you before you start, some may simply ask that you call again when you've completed all of the requirments.
  5. Begin working on the merit badge requirments.  The BSA publishes a booklet for each merit badge that you may find helpful in completing some of the requirements, though using the booklet is not required.  The troop has a number of these booklets that you can borrow, or you may purchase them at the scout shop for a few dollars each.
  6. When you have completed all of the requirements, or on the schedule suggested by your counselor, make an appointment with your counselor to review your work.  Remember to bring your blue card with you so that you can have your progress recorded.
  7. When you have completed all of the requirements have the counselor sign and date your blue card.  Then return it to the advancement scoutmaster.  The merit badge will be awarded to you at the next court of honor.
  8. Here is another Merit Badge Website you can use. Click Here.

Please Note: The scoutmaster may serve as the merit badge counselor for Backpacking, Camping, Cooking, and Hiking Merit Badges.