Scouting Forums

Blue Card Limitations

A discussion came up in a meeting, between myself the SM and an ASM about the limiting the amount that a scout takes out at one time and or has open. I was looking through the Guide to Advancement and I really do not see that it states that scouts can take out or have open an amount or that if they wanted to that they can open all of them and have them all open.

The ASM says that the guide does state that you can not stop a scout from opening as many as they want.

My opinion and intention as the Advancement chair is to try and help the scout complete what they have open and and not overload themselves with a ton of open merit badges

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Looking through GTA for likely terms and looking at Section 7 nothing jumps out - the simple fact is scouts start MBs they don’t want to finish or honestly don’t have the opportunity to finish - my son started Oceanography at a Camp - but finding an MBC for that here took 18 months.

As a Scoutmaster it is the Scouts job to handle their work load - not my or my committees job to manage it for them.


@DonovanMcNeil, I agree that nothing jumps out in the GTA.

I totally understand that about it being the scouts responsibility to manage their workload with the open blue cards, but it is not against the policy of the GTA to limit the number of open MBs a scout might have.

Don’t want to buck the system and go against policy.

There are plenty of reasons for incomplete MBs, and while I encourage our Scouts to complete the ones they start, that’s not always feasible. I would not prevent anyone from starting a new MB, but I would remind them that they have 5 others that they need to work on as well…


@SteveCagigas, that is a good tact, I will have a discussion with my SM about this and that might be a way to go then.

My son ran into the same thing – we don’t have local counselors for some of the MBs that are available at summer camp or at MB colleges, so he has partials that sit there for a long time.

This is really the only thing in it that addresses it - BUT I have never seen this happen in a large way - maybe on one or 2 requirements - There is no time limit between starting and completing a badge, although a counselor may determine so much time has passed since any effort took place that the new requirements must be used.


That might be a good time for the SM to talk about why the scout has partials, and see if there’s something that can be done to help out.

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@DonovanMcNeil - I saw that as well. So, I may have a discussion with my SM and then with the committee and ASMs at our next committee meeting and bring this up, and possible uses @SteveCagigas way of reminding the boy how many they have open already, so they don’t spread themselves that thin.

I know that there is no time limit from the time they open to they complete, but some thing like a scout coming and asking for 7 blue cards at one time is a bit much. Wouldn’t you agree?

@JeremyBurg That depends. I could easily see some of our scouts earning 12-15 merit badges this summer, or more. We’ve got summer camp for the whole troop next week, then a couple of the older scouts are going to TTE after that, and the high adventure crew is going to Philmont next month. Plus, one of the local community colleges is hosting three or four merit badge workshops.

If one of our scouts did all of those, he’d end up with 5 MBs from summer camp, 6 more from TTE, and 6 or 8 from the coco workshops.

Organized MBs are one thing - but a scout walking up and wanting 5 or more on there own is a very different situation - I agree. I usually discourage that.


@SteveCagigas I might limiting the amount of MBs at summer camp or MB Fairs, I am saying that during the course of the scouting year on a normal meeting or something like that. There would always be exceptions.


“The unit leader should discuss any concerns related to working on the merit badge and provide appropriate counseling. It is then the Scout’s decision whether or not to proceed with the merit badge.”

That says it all. The unit leader can suggest they not work on one but cannot restrict them.


@jacobfetzer - again that sounds great, but taking out more than 1 or 2 at a time, that is not for Summer Camp or a MB Fair, just seems like overload.

But it is the Scout’s decision not the leaders. Scouts have to learn self management. Not have management decided for them is what @jacobfetzer is saying and I do agree. If they take out 10 and finish none - they will learn for the next time


I do see everyone’s point, and that is why I love coming to the forums to get others opinions and see if I am somewhere in line, or if I am way off the wall. And as my intentions might have been well, and the SM does agree with me, it is more to the scout to manage themselves and fail to learn.

Well this is a new twist. We go from uniform police to Merit Badge police. :slight_smile:


On young scouts 10-11 or never been to Summer camp - ESPECIALLY if a cub scout first - I am more hesitant to just give them all they ask for cause we all know it is the parents doing it. It is a type rope to walk.

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Why would you want to limit the number of merit badges that a scout pursues at any given time?