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Blue Card signature

Can a Unit Leader delegate the troop’s Advancement Chair as a blue card signer? Guide to Advancement says he can delegate but it should be to an assistant unit leader. Would the Advancement Chair be acceptable and if so does this need to be on record somewhere?

Guide to Advancement 2019, 33088, ISBN 978-0-8395-3088-6, ©2019 Boy Scouts of America, 2019 Printing, extract: The Scout, the Blue Card, and the Unit Leader

A few merit badges have certain restrictions, but otherwise any registered Scout, or qualified Venturer or Sea Scout, may work on any of them at any time. Before beginning to work with a merit badge counselor, however, the Scout is to have a discussion with the unit leader. That a discussion has been held is indicated by the unit leader’s signature on the Application for Merit Badge, commonly called the “blue card.” …

A unit leader should consider making more of the process than just providing a signature. The opportunity exists to provide inspiration and direction in a Scout’s life. Preliminary merit badge discussions can lead to conversations about talents and interests, goal setting, and the concept of “challenge by choice.” The benefits can be much like those of a well-done Scoutmaster conference.

The discussion a Scout is to have with the unit leader is meant to be a growth-oriented and positive conversation. 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. The process is intended to inform the Scout about what may be encountered along the way and perhaps give suggestions on how the work might be approached. It also has the purpose of keeping the unit leader up to date with what the members of the unit are doing.

Because of the counseling opportunity involved, it is the unit leader’s responsibility to sign blue cards. In the role of giving leadership to the delivery of the troop program, a Scoutmaster, for example, has a better opportunity than other leaders to get to know the youth. This background with the Scouts allows a unit leader to add greater value in the discussion and counseling intended to take place with the signing of the card. However, in circumstances when this may be impractical—for example, in large units or when the unit leader may be absent—the unit leader may delegate authority to sign cards and conduct the discussions. This authority should be entrusted to a knowledgeable assistant unit leader.

@StacyPrice - a unit leader or assistant would be the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster(s). The Advancement Chair is on the committee side of the house.

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Our Advancement Chair is also an Asst Scoutmaster.

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Remember “shoulds” are recommendations, not requirements. There’s no reason here that says Scoutmasters cannot delegate this responsibility to anyone they care to.

An Assistant Scoutmaster (SA) is part of the Scoutmaster Corps and Troop Committee -Advancement Coordinator (CM) have different functions and training requirements. The registration system appears to allow multiple registration. However there may be other rules about how adult volunteers may be assigned in a unit.

REGISTRATION GUIDEBOOK OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, 100-092, ©2019 Boy Scouts of America, July 2019, p.10, extract

Unit Requirements

  • Minimum leadership positions—CR, CC, 2 MCs*, SM
  • Can have—SA, NM, REU, 10 (LDS troops only), 91U, 92U

Adult Leadership Requirements

  • Minimum age—21, except SA, 92U, who may be 18
  • Gender limitations—Male or female
  • Transfers allowed?—Yes
  • Multiple registrations allowed?—Yes

How persons are registered affects training reports.

My impression is that if the Advancement Coordinator is signing the blue card for the SM, it may be a “signature-only” process and the opportunity for a conference with the Scoutmaster Corps (SM or SA) is lost.

That’s what I was thinking and wanted confirmation. I know everything everyone above stated already but the “should” leads me to believe that the advancement chair can be delegated without becoming an assistant scoutmaster. I did find a thread from 2014 where it was discussed and responded that they would make the adjustment to set up alternate positions to sign blue cards. So, I’ve got my answer! Thank you, everyone

The advancement chair is an administrative position. However the conference that occurs is not an administrative function but a Scoutmaster function. If necessary the delegation goes to an asst. Scoutmaster. This is more than just someone signing a blue card so the Scout can go to a MBC.

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From the 2014 thread:


Hi Rebecca. Yes any adult leader who has been given approval from the unit leader to help sign a blue card can do so within Scoutbook. We also keep an audit log showing who signed each merit badge so you can keep everything in check. Let us know if you have any issues."

I definitely appreciate that which is why the Advancement Chair would not be the regular signer, back up only, and why the initial signature would still come from the Scoutmaster.

But that’s not what the Guide to Advancement says… The GTA recommends that it should be more, but “should” isn’t “must”… It’s perfectly clear in the section of the GTA that @Bill_W posted that the Scoutmaster can delegate the authority to sign blue cards however he/she/it feels is appropriate.

Please keep in mind that Assistant Scoutmasters (and Scoutmasters) cannot sit on boards of review (Guide to Advancement Composition of the Board of Review).


I am the Advancement Coordinator in our unit and do not sign the blue cards. However, I have been (for a number of years) given responsibility for ensuring the Scout completes the blue card correctly. I also give him the name & contact info for a merit badge counselor. Then he has a discussion with the SM, and obtains his signature. In this way, I am able to track that Scout/MB from the beginning. I agree that only a SM or knowledgeable ASM should be conducting the discussion.

Too many pretend lawyers. Lets start with the unasked question of what the position code for Advancement Chair is? (Trick question there isn’t one.) The position is described in the context of the troop committee. But then find me the hard line drawing so many refer to between the committee and SM Corps. The reality is that the program is YOURS.

If you have an ASM serving as an Advancement Chair you need not worry about the organizational police. Just as the uniform police are stuff of myth, so is the org police.

I don’t know your situation, but if the SM feels comfortable with the Advancement Chair signing the reality is that nothing bad will happen. The only time it would come up is if someone reports an issue that causes an audit.

I would HOPE that before the card is signed a discussion is held with the scout. Further, I will say my opinion (no claim of being humble) is that scouts can benefit from having discussions about advancement from another adult in addition to the SM. It certainly helped both my brother and I get to Eagle Scout. I would go so far as to say that I would not have made Eagle without the discussions from my unit’s Advancement Chair. And as I write this, I think that I may go purchase a Eagle Mentor pin (which didn’t exist when I made Eagle), and send it to her under the better late than never.


Your are correct that one of the position code used is the one for unit Committee Member (MC). There is also the NM and REU who are troop committee members…

However there is a secondary unit adult functional role code listed in the Registration Guidebook of the Boy Scouts of America, July 2019, p. 13.

I am not sure where this functional role code is set or used yet. I think it is an old role code that may be used in my.Scouting Tools in the future.

It is set in the organization security manager.

I appreciate knowing this. My point is that there are mostly guidelines on unit operations. Units NEED to operate in a manner that works for them.

In many units the line between committee and SM corps is blurred. I keep hearing that the SM doesn’t vote in the committee. But almost nobody seems to talk about adults collaborating and demonstrating leadership to the youth.

How a troop operates will depend on size and who makes up the troop.

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