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Request for Blue Cards

What do you all do when you have a scout who constantly will start a MB without asking for a Blue card or without letting the SM know? This is also the CC’s scout so not a new parent not a new scout and they have been told many many times the SM needs to be notified if it’s an online class and a Blue Card asked for when it’s a face to face meeting with a MB counselor.

The Guide to Advancement says (bold mine)

Typically after the unit leader signs the blue card, the Scout contacts the merit badge counselor and sets an appointment. Even though Scouts may benefit from reviewing requirements with a counselor before pursuing them, a Scout may begin working on a merit badge at any time after registering in Scouts BSA, or becoming a qualified Venturer or Sea Scout. It is the counselor’s decision whether to accept work or activities completed prior to the issuing of the signed blue card. Common sense should prevail, however. For example, nights already camped as a Scout in Scouts BSA or as a qualified Venturer or Sea Scout, or coins or stamps already collected, would count toward their respective badges.

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The blue card says unit leader not scoutmaster. So technically if their parent is the CC then they are a unit leader. Is it bad optics, probably. Is it wrong, technically no. If you have talked to them many times about it clearly they don’t think they are doing anything wrong, and I would suggest moving focus to another area.

In assigning a MBC it is the Scoutmaster who designates who CAN assign - that is Clear in the GTA. But as Ed states a Scout can start on a MB whenever they want, it just doesn’t mean the work has to be accepted by the MBC. But even if a SM does not like the MBC there is nothing they can do, as the GTA also says a Scout can work with any MBC they wish.

The Committee Chair is not the Unit Leader.

The Unit Leader in a Scouts BSA troop is the Scoutmaster.


And the Unit Leader cannot refuse to sign a Blue Card because the Scout has “too many” incomplete MBs. There is no limit in the Guide to Advancement for the number of incomplete Blue Cards a Scout may have.


Can you please list the section of the Guide to advancement that states the unit leader is the Scoutmaster?

@JohnGeiser one clear differentiation is on current version pg. 65 - top green box right side - “If either of the approvals from the unit leader or the committee chair is withheld, a board of review must still be granted if requested by the Scout.”


Or clearly “Unit Leader (Scoutmaster) Conference”


A better link to the Guide to Advancement:

The section that addresses the entire Merit Badge program:

Contrary to the opinions of some:

Unit Leader is a Scoutmaster of a Scouts BSA troop, Venturing Crew Advisor, or Skipper of a Sea Scout Ship.

Any Scouts BSA member, qualifed Venturer, or Sea Scout may start any merit badge at any time. In order to limit the number of badges a youth can be counseled by one specific counselor the unit must have in place a set policy.

The Unit Leader must give the youth the contact information for at least one counselor for the badge the youth seeks. The youth must be allowed to work with the counselor of their choice (subject to the previous paragraph)

A youth does not have to have a signed “Blue Card” from their Unit Leader before working on the badge. A counselor cannot require the youth to have one.

The youth has until their 18th birthday to finish work on a badge. Technically they can be working on every single badge at any given time.

Page 2 of the Guide to Advancement states:

What Does “Unit Leader” Mean?
Throughout this publication the term “unit leader” refers only to a Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Venturing crew Advisor, Sea Scout Skipper, or Lone Scout friend and counselor. “Unit leadership” and “leader” are used as generic references to any registered adult leader in a unit and as such would include the unit leader.


Just about to post this.


Just because somebody says it doesn’t make it true until you see it in writing. There has been far to much of that “passed” down through the years which has muddied a lot of waters.

So we went through all that to get to the same place. There is nothing that can be done. Focus on other areas you can affect change in.


I could not have said it better. Also, “Unit Leader” is one of a unit’s Key 3. That information is covered in Den Leader training, Pack Committee Member training, Scoutmaster, and Troop Committee Member training on my.scouting.

I’ll add that every Scout deserves a trained leader.


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