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Blue Cards still required if using Scoutbook?

Is a physical blue card still required if Scoutbook was used to track the requirements and approve the MB? The Covid-19 guidelines say not right now but what about in general? Is there a need for scouts to have physical proof?

Even when Merit Badges are recorded in Scoutbook, it is still a good idea for the Scouts to have a physical Blue Card as a backup.

I ordered Astrobrights Mega Collection, Colored Cardstock, Bright Blue, 320 Sheets, 65 lb/176 gsm, 8.5" x 11" from Amazon to print Blue Cards. $14.99. That’s just 4.6 cents per sheet.

Some consider it a good idea to have physical blue cards, but it is not required. Note that BSA keeps backups of the system far longer than anyone would need a blue card, so a record is always available.


The issue isn’t data loss due to a system failure in Scoutbook. There are backups of the database.

The reason I still give Scouts physical blue cards is so they have proof the MB was completed if someone clears the record in Scoutbook. I doubt BSA IT would go through the expense of restoring backups and searching for a record that was mistakenly changed by a leader.


Good practice. I also like to give out blue cards to remind the Scouts that it’s THEIR responsibility to document their Scouting career, not mine.

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When a scout brings a completed “blue card” to me as unit leader, I always give them their part and tell them to hold on to it until they receive the merit badge certificate card at the next CofH. Mistakes happen and sometimes a record doesn’t get recorded or presentation missed and this is the scouts only record.

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In our District when boys go to do their Eagle the counselor requires them to show the Blue Cards showing they completed all of their merit badges.

I could only see doing that if the council records for some reason don’t indicate that the scout has completed the minimum 21 MBs. I would probably advise a scout to try to locate them if he or she can, in the event that there’s a question later. That said, I would likely let them know that it’s not automatically the end of the world if they can’t locate every blue card.

As an ASM and MBC, I regularly remind the scouts to hang onto their blue cards and store them somewhere “safe and memorable” so that they can locate them if there’s ever a question later. They will probably never need them, but an ounce of prevention…


@AprilMcMillan1 then GTA About the Application for Merit Badge (“Blue Card”)

"It is important to note the “blue card” is the nationally recognized merit badge record. "

needs a rewrite if Advancement is saying they are not needed

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Thanks - the next update to the Guide to Advancement will have verbiage very similar to what’s in the COVID FAQs.

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