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General Merit Badge requirements question

Hi all. My son is a new Scout and is starting to work on some merit badges this summer.

He is working on one badge that has a “Do 2 of the following” type of requirement.

He did 2a and 2d of that requirement, but his MB counselor wants him to do 2c as well - can they do that? I thought the general rule was they can’t ask you to do any more or less than the requirement states. Am I mistaken there?


what is the exact Merit badge?

Citizenship in the Nation - he did 2a and 2d, but the MC counselor wants 2c as well.

MBC cannot do that in this situation


As a MBC for this subject I’m not sure why your son has to do a 3rd requirement since #2 only asks 2 requirements to be accomplished. 2c is Tour a Federal facility. Take him to the post office if you don’t wish to contest the MBC’s extra requirement. That’s the path of least resistance.


Personally I don’t recommend this. According to the the Guide to Advancement you cannot add or subtract from the requirements. If the scout has fulfilled the requirement it is done. period. In my opinion we should not be teaching the scout to take the path of least resistance but to do the work properly. The Merit Badge counselor is in the wrong on this and shouldn’t be making the scout do part c of the requirement if it says to do 2 of multiple of said requirement.

Again by the Guide to Advancement and the merit badge requirements he does not have to.


Thank you all for the clarification - I thought that was the case.

I don’t recommend taking that path either. I did qualify if the parent did not wish to contest the MBC decision.

He is certainly welcome to do extra but the counselor is not allowed to not sign off the badge because he chose different option.s The options chosen are up to the scout.

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My son emailed his counselor and asked for clarification and received a cryptic response that didn’t make much sense (essentially “I’d like to see 2c”).
At this point I stepped in and asked for further clarification as to why he is asking for this additional requirement. I want my son to try and handle this himself, but as he is only 11 he is still uncomfortable questioning adults about this sort of thing.


Depending where you are it might be a bit difficult to tour a federal facility with social distancing and the such that is going on throughout the country as well.

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As a scoutmaster (who probably referred the MBC to the Scout) I would also want to know to address it with them


I’ve seen this approached a couple of ways in the past. In one case, when I scout wasn’t able to obtain a resolution, he reached out to the scoutmaster. The scoutmaster then reached out to the MBC to find out what was going on. Ultimately, the issue was cleared up, and the scout didn’t complete the “extra” work that was being requested.

In another case, the parent reached out to the DE (whom he knew from church), who then “clarified” the issue with the MBC. Again, the scouts was not required to do “extra” work.

I generally think that avoiding confrontation is most likely to yield a better result. However, it is very clear that counselors can not specify which option a scout must complete, when the scout is permitted to complete “N out of M” equal subrequirements. If the MBC does not provide a satisfactory answer, I recommend reaching out to either the SM or another leader in your unit to assist your scout in resolving this. If they are unable to help, I would recommend reaching out to your district executive the chair of your district advancement committee, if you have their contact information. At the very least, the SM needs to know that this is an issue with this particular counselor so that they don’t refer scouts to the counselor in the future. The district advancement personnel need to know that the counselor is not complying with the requirements as written so that they can take corrective action with the counselor (generally just a reminder that the requirements as written, no more no less, is the standard). They might, however, have had previous complaints about this behavior from the MBC, and need to take different action.

My son is enrolled in a “Virtual Scout Camp” this week offered through our council - the MBC is part of that, not through our troop.
I’m sure there are also virtual tours of facilities that can be watched these days. It’s just more of the principle of the whole thing. Not trying to cause any problems, but the kid was pretty upset that he did 2a and 2d as part of the prerequisites for the live classes this week and now he is being asked for more than that.
Will let you all know how this turns out.

You should set up a call with the counselor and your scout and yourself. Go over your concerns and ask why he has to tour the facility.

Understood. I would still recommend talking to the SM, depending on how your other avenues bear friut. He or she should know in case this is the rule rather than the exception with this counselor.

So, my experience, as a parent, an ASM and a Crew advisor … we don’t want to over amplify how upset the scout is. Yes it is frustrating when someone asks more of us than contractually obliged. But, how many of us have done just that to keep our businesses rolling? On the other hand … multiply this by dozens of scouts and we can imagine that there’s a pattern that should be broken.

I’ve come to adopt a strategy that gives the scout options but also corrects the counselor without bogging the scout or parent in fruitless negotiation:

  1. The scout immediately requests that the counselor fill out a partial application. This is the same blue card that the scout may have already given to the counselor to start work on the badge, although I’m not exactly sure how this works virtually. Regardless, the counselor should be able to provide the list of requirements that the scout did complete.
  2. The scout informs his/her SM that he/she wants to complete the badge with a different counselor. For the Citizenship MBs, this should not be a problem.
  3. The scout then contacts and arranges to meet with the counselor, using current infection control precautions. The scout then shows to that counselor what was done for requrement 2, and the counselor completes the application as usual – keeping the counselor portion and sending the scout home with the unit and applicant portion.
  4. The SM then recieves the unit portion and signs the scout’s portion confirming that notification of MB completion was recieved.

At some point in this corrective process the SM can let the council know that the “Virtual Scout Camp” was a disappointment in this case. That the scout would have been better served by a neighborhood counselor. And, that the troop will be discouraging further use of the “Virtual Scout Camp” until the situation is rectified.

In terms of work, this may ad a little more to the scout’s plate. But the trade-off is that the parent and scout are introduced to someone in their community who is trusted by the SM. That’s usually a win for everyone.

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First of all I like the suggestion of the post office as a mbc I have never thought of that( although due to the virus it may not be possible) …others have posted great suggestions one thing I do as a mbc when hosting a class is suggest and except easer requirements ( if it is go tour something or look up something from a web sight, if a scout goes ahead and choose let’s say go to a federal building I would count that as well but not expect from them)

Is a post office still a federal facility, given that the USPS was privatized some time ago? Admittedly, I’m not a counselor for this MB, but I had understood it to refer to a facility operated by, or on behalf of, the federal government. I’m not sure if the USPS still falls under that heading.

ETA: Learned something new today. I can’t recall how long I “knew” that the USPS wasn’t a federal agency anymore, when in fact it very much still is. Mea culpa.

I visited the 5th circuit court of appeals in New Orleans as a scout. If I recall correctly, the group of us who went with our counselor were actually able to speak to one of the appellate judges.

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My understanding is that the USPS is an independent agency of the executive branch of the federal government. Personally, I would count it, but there are lots of other options.