Preview Merit Badge?

Is there a way to preview a merit badge in Scoutbook without having to start the merit badge?

I know you can always go in and back out of the merit badge, but having the option to preview its requirements would be nice.


If you just want to view the requirements for a merit badge, Scoutbook has a “References” section. You can get to it by clicking on the home icon.

Are you online (i.e. looking in Scoutbook) or using the app? If you’re online already, I generally look at the requirements at the BSA’s website: Merit Badges | Boy Scouts of America

Those requirements now feed from Scoutbook - but other source works

So what’s on the BSA website in terms of requirements is fed from Scoutbook, or fed to Scoutbook? I ask because I’m trying to make sure I understand what I need to do in order to make sure that I have “archive” copies of what the requirements are (rather were) for the MBs I counsel.

It becomes relevant (in my mind) for scouts who started a MB, but there was later a change to the requirements. If there is a conflict between what’s in SB for the “previous” version and what an “archived copy” of what was on the website said, I’m trying to sort out which should be the canonical version to which I’m referring the scouts.

It now goes From SB to those pages that are the new webpages (not sure 100% are done) - Scoutbook has the MB Versions (not in references) where I am not sure on the other pages.


Thanks, @DonovanMcNeil. Good intel.

FYI, within the individual MB pages, the website has the “current” and “previous” as downloadable PDFs (at least for the ones I checked). For some badges that change “frequently”, N and N-1 is not always enough version history. I had scouts working on three different versions of Cooking at one time. I guess I’ll continue downloading PDFs so I have a reference that doesn’t rely on Scoutbook or the website being “up” (or on me having 'net connection at the time). Maybe change rates will slow down.

Thanks again!


We have suggested to the Scouts BSA team that Merit Badges be treated the same way as ranks. Each new version of a Merit Badge come with a cutoff date by which the previous version must be earned or the Scout must switch to the new version. For example, if new MB requirements are officially release on January 1, 2024, any Scouts that have started the MB must complete it by July 1, 2024 or move to the new requirements. We do not know if this suggestion will be accepted but it would make things easier on the programmers and MBCs.

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Thanks for the info, @edavignon. I’m not sure I would agree with that recommendation.

There are often MBs that can take long periods of time to complete (e.g. Camping MB with the “special events” required in 9b). I think a clearer definition of “started” would be more valuable as the transition point. I could see “started” being anything from “has unit leader signature” on blue card (started MB in Scoutbook with unit leader signature) to “has at least one requirement signed-off by the MBC”, when used in context of determining version transition.

Setting a hard cutoff date could easily undermine a scout who has been working diligently, but unsuccessfully, on a MB to complete one or two lingering requirements. That might be less of a burden for scouts who are working on “extra” elective badges, but I’d hate to see a scout with a trailing Eagle required (or “required” elective) MB get stopped in their tracks because they have restart that badge due to an “arbitrary” cutoff date. I have two specific Eagle Scouts in mind, for whom I counseled MBs. Both were running up against the age cutoff, and had gotten almost finished on different Eagle-required badges. One was on an “older” version of Cooking and one was on an older version of First Aid. If either of them had to “restart” the badge, they could potentially have been unable to finish.

I get the issues with coding the software to support multiple versions. I deal with needing to reference old building codes to understand how existing structures were designed all the time. So, I spend a lot of time having to code spreadsheets to do “obsolete” things to figure out if the buildings met the requirements at the time (which is in turn a trigger for certain other code provisions). However, I have to say that as a MBC, I’d rather need to do the extra legwork on my end to find/retain the old requirements for reference than undermine a scout’s success for either my or the programmers’ convenience. There’s probably a way to put a hard-cutoff on things for scouts who don’t have either a time extension or eligibility beyond the “usual” age of 18, like obsoleting versions which were replaced more than 8 years prior. I’m not sure how well that would work for scouts with special needs/IAPs who might end up with more than the “usual” 7 to 7.5 years to complete Eagle.

I never said anything about starting over. Completed requirements from an old version that still apply to a new version would still be complete. Again, think of this like rank requirements. When Eagle requirements were changed to include Citizenship in Society, scouts did not have to start over, they just had to earn the additional MB.

We also did not suggest a timeframe for the cutoff. Consider a Scout that “starts” a MB when they first join a troop at age 11 and does nothing with it until they are 17. Why should that Scout be able to use the requirements that are 6 years or more old? There could have been 2 updates in that timeframe.

This is getting into policy - take it up with your councils advancement committees

Fair enough. I’m okay with that.

The only issue I want to note (respectfully) is that, had it not been mentioned off-hand in these forums, the recommendation would potentially have been acted on long before the typical scouters (even ones as active as forum lurkers here) ever heard it was in consideration. That’s way too late to get any feedback on it in to the folks making the decisions.

I will respectfully disagree with you on the issue of “cut-off” dates.
As someone who has been on the Advancement & Recognition side for over 30 year, there is NO “Cut-off” date for requirements unless specified by the new/updated merit badge requirements. Once a Scout starts working on a merit badge and new requirements are announced, typically the Scout has two choices when new requirements are announced: 1) continue using the requirements the Scout started with; or 2) Start using the new requirements. A Scout can even continue to work on a MB that has been phased out (however the Scout may not be able to find the cloth badge once the Scout has completed the requirements).