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Unit Leader Signature on MB completion

Once a scout completes a merit badge, the scout is required to get the signature of the MB counselor AND the signature of the unit leader. This second signature is distinct from the signature at the front end before starting work on the MB.

Scoutbook provides for the front end unit leader signature. But not the unit leader completion signature.

Am I missing something? Is there a way for a unit leader to sign off on the MB completion?

If not - why not? The lack of a way to sign off, means we have to have a manual step in what is otherwise a smooth electronic process.

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When you click on the “Leader approved” checkbox for the merit badge, I think that is the equivalent to the second signature.


The scout is not “required” to get the second signature so much as the SM is required to sign it so that the scout has proof that the unit has received their portion of the application.
So, the question is what is the equivalent in the SBverse? What does the scout have to rebuild their advancement record should the SM go AWOL and the troop collapse (as happened when my brother was a life scout in the 50s)?

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The physical blue card has an actual signature line on the back for the unit leader to sign under where the MB counselor has signed as complete. That is different from the leader signature on the front of the card to confirm that the unit leader discussed the MB and provided the name of at least one counselor.

Sure looks like the physical blue card is set up for a second unit leader signature at the end of the process. Which is how our troop has been interpreting this for quite a while.

This is consisent with Guide to Advancement which notes that two unit leader signatures are required and that:
Once a registered and
approved counselor signs that all requirements have been
met, the Scout and the unit leader should meet to discuss
the Scout’s experience. The unit leader then signs the
Applicant’s Record portion and returns it to the Scout,
who should retain it permanently.

All of which leads my Troop to the conclusion that a unit leader signature is part of the process on both ends - Before starting the MB, and again after completion.

Of course, my real question is why there is no way for the unit leader to sign off on the second signature in Scoutbook.

As @StephenNicoud and @Qwazse pointed out, the intent behind the second SM signature was to “close the loop” to make sure the Scout had evidence that the blue card was turned in to the unit to get his records updated. It’s not required in Scoutbook, because checking off “leader approved” on the merit badge accomplishes exactly the same thing.

Therefore, there’s no need for the second signature, since the database is already recording the leader approval.

There is. As mentioned before, the Leader Approved step marks the second “digital” signature.


Once a Merit Badge Counselor has approved the Merit Badge, the Scout has earned it, whether or not the Unit Leader signed the Blue Card. The 2nd Unit Leader signature is an acknowledgement that the Scout and Unit Leader had a discussion after the MB was earned, however, lack of signature cannot prevent the Scout from receiving the MB.

In Scoutbook, the act of the unit approving the MB is equivalent to the Unit Leader signing the Blue Card a second time. I printed all completed MBs for my unit and every one thas my signature on the back of the Applicant’s Record (center) portion.

There is a story in the backlog to enter the Checked & Recored date and initials and awarded date to the Unit’s card.

So the one leader approved check box is intended to cover two different conversations that Guide to Advancement clearly has happening at two different times?

I hear what you are saying, but I am having a hard time squaring that with the guide to advancement. If the unit leader checks the box on the front end, the unit leader cannot already have had the conversation referred to in Guide to Advancement “the Scout and the unit leader should meet to discuss the Scout’s experience.” If the Unit Leader only signs off at the end, that is not signing off to record the front end discussion.

I am also having trouble squaring this idea with Guide to Advancement page 48. Where there is a 12 point list of the Recommended Merit Badge Process. Step 2 & 3 are: 2. The Scout and unit leader discuss the Scout’s
interest in the merit badge.
3. The unit leader signs a blue card and provides
the Scout with at least one counselor contact.

But, then step 9 is:
9. The Scout returns the signed blue card to the
unit leader, who signs the applicant record
section of the blue card.

It would be simpler if scout only needed to get one unit leader signature. But that is not how the blue card is set up. And, I am having trouble reading the Guide to Advancement as making the second unit leader signature optional or non-essential.

But in any event, thanks for clarifying that there simply is no mechanism to collect a second unit leader approval or signature within Scoutbook.

The Initial Unit Leader Signature on the Merit Badge page is for the first signature which is on the front side of the Counselor’s record. Click this and enter a date. The status which is on the right of the line will change from No to Yes.

After a completion date is entered for the overall Merit Badge and the MB marked Leader Approved, the 2nd signature on the back of the Applicant’s Record is recorded.

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I think I’m missing something here.

At the top of the list of MB requirements is the line “Initial Unit Leader Signature” - which is No, until a unit leader goes in a marks it yes. I follow you completely this far.

The MB counselor can mark the MB as complete. Are you saying that as long as the Initial Unit Leader Signature is marked yes, then the MB counsellor marking the MB as all complete, then automatically records the second unit leader signature - even without the involvement of the unit leader?

I’ll have to go find some completed MBs to look at for our scouts to see if this is actually happening, I thought not. But, I could be totally wrong.

Also, thanks for responding to my questions.

No, Scoutbook requires a unit leader to mark Merit Badges Leader Approved, the same as any rank or award. This is done because we want the unit to acknowledge they are aware the Scout completed the MB. We did not want MBs appearing on a Needs Purchasing report without the unit’s knowledge.

When a unit leader checks the Leader Approved check box, the check mark on the MB changes from green to blue and if you print a blue card, the unit leader’s signature is entered on the Applicant’s record.

The MBC has a Counselor Approved check box, not a Leader Approved check box, unless the MBC also holds a leadership position in the unit.

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Here’s how it looks if you’re a leader in the unit.

Note that, just because you’re a unit leader, you don’t have to sign off as a unit leader – here’s a requirement where I marked in complete as the MBC, and our unit advancement chair signed off as the leader:

I’m looking at a scout’s MB - the Completed box is green with a checkmark because the MB counsellor has signed off on all requirements. How does the unit leader mark approval, which I am guessing would change the green box to a blue box?

OK - with some digging I think I found the answer.

Looking at the Completed line in my example - the box is green with a checkmark and a date. I clicked on the “>” at the right and it shows a date box at the bottom of my screen and nothing else. That puzzled me. Until I accidentally clicked on date - and this time it popped up a box that has a place for a unit leader to check off as approved.

So it looks to me like there really are TWO unit leader approvals.
One at the front end: Initial Unit Leader Signature.
One after MB requirements completed, click on the Completed Box (but NOT on the “>”) and a unit leader checks the box “leader approved.”

Thanks - I was missing the nuance of how to get to that second Leader Approved checkbox.

You can also approve the MB via the Needs Approval report.

Had not thought about that report.


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