Blue Cards

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Blue Cards

Postby Mad Dog » Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:57 pm

Who can sign a blue card, is it just the SM? I had a boy bring me a card signed by an ASM. I don't think I have ever seen this question answered. Thanks
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Postby FrankJ » Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:03 pm

Is this the initial signature are the completed signature? I see this is the type of thing that can be delegated with the scoutmaster's approval. In either case I would send him to the SM if available or to the acting SM if the scoutmaster wasn't present.
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Postby WVBeaver05 » Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:29 pm

I agree with FrankJ completely. When I was ASM I would sign if the SM was not available, otherwise I would refer the Scout to him. As SM now, I feel that it is most appropriate if I see and sign the cards (initial signature and final sign off), but would not expect that to hold up a Scout. However, I want to have my ASMs that are signing off anything completely trained first.

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Postby deweylure » Sun Jun 25, 2006 9:59 am

An ASM can sign a blue card. I have had no problem with council rejecting becasue the SM did not sign. Our Sm is not around actively.

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Postby Mad Dog » Sun Jun 25, 2006 10:46 am

My son just asked the SM for 8 blue cards so he could do work over the summer. His reply was that he can only give him 3 at a time. I never heard of that rule? As ASM I was going to sign them myself but that would just start a big fight. Was thinking of contacting council about it.
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Postby evmori » Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:44 pm

It is actually the responsibility of the SM to sign the blue card before the Scout starts the MB. The other signature required after the Scout has completed the MB is a unit leader. Now the SM can designate another leader to sign the card initially but doesn't have to.
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Postby Mad Dog » Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:46 pm

So the question then is, Is there a rule that a scout can only work on 3 merit badges at one time? I have never seen it written any place. I see thios as an attempt by the SM to slow the boys down. All of the boys seem to have trouble getting blue cards with the exception of the SM's son.
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Postby FrankJ » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:10 pm

Mad Dog: If you are looking for an official BSA rule limiting a scout to three merit badges--there is not one. It has been discussed before here: http://www.meritbadge.net/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=1245&highlight=

I think most active scouts have more than three blue open at once. There are several that take more than a more month complete, and at least one, camping, that can take more than a year to complete. Also if a scout starts a badge and loses interest there is no rule he has to complete or "close" the blue card.

In general an ASM shouldn't sign anything a SM wouldn't. This issue needs to be resolved in a different way.

This would be a good subject to discuss with the avancement commitee person or the committee chair.
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Postby evmori » Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:44 am

Mad Dog wrote:So the question then is, Is there a rule that a scout can only work on 3 merit badges at one time? I have never seen it written any place. I see this as an attempt by the SM to slow the boys down. All of the boys seem to have trouble getting blue cards with the exception of the SM's son.


And the answer is no. There is no official BSA rule. That would have to be a Troop rule & not necessarily a bad one. It's possible this rule came out of too many Scout never finishing partials.

If the boys are having trouble getting blue cards signed by the SM then maybe the SPL should address this with the SM.
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Postby WeeWillie » Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:03 pm

Mad Dog

From my experience as a SM I would be skeptical of a Scout asking me for 8 Blue Cards. I wouldn't dismiss his request, but I would ask to see his plan to complete all 8. Your son might try approaching his SM with his plan (not your plan.)

Another consideration is what merit badges your son is applying for. If your son's SM is up to snuff, he should know what your son is capable of accomplishing.

Starting and finishing 3 MBs is better than starting and not finishing 8.

I had a Dad call me about his son working on 7 badges in addition to 4 at Summer Camp. I talked him into 3 plus Summer Camp.

Keep in mind, I don't know you, your son, or his SM.
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Postby ICanCanoeCanU » Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:55 pm

So what's the problem if a scout does want to work on 8? Or if he wants 8 blue cards? Especially when it's summertime in most parts of the country and maybe this is what a boy wants to do over the summer.

I would want to know what 8 badges he's interested in and why he wants all the cards at the same time.
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Postby Lynda J » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:37 am

I think I would question a boy asking for that many blue cards. For one thing is he a first year scout and thinks that doing merit badges is like doing activity pens in Webs. Which badges, & I would want to know who is going to be the counselor and I wouldn't let a parent be the counselor for that many badges at one time.
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Postby Mad Dog » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:43 am

He is a third year scout. During the year his school work keeps him very busy, he has a 98 average. He wants to use the off season to work on his badges. He gave the SM a list of the badges that he wanted to work on. Also, the SM does not normally give out a blue card until all the work is done. My son wants it when he starts so he can meet with a MBC to go over the requirements. He will not be seeing the SM over the summer and the SM had a habit of "forgetting" to bring blue cards with him during the year to meetings. His son has no trouble getting blue cards but all the other boys do.
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Postby Lynda J » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:59 am

I would have no problem giving this Scout 8 blue cards at one time.
So your troop does not meet during the summer?. Our troop takes off two meeting days during the summer. The Monday after we get back from summer camp and one other Monday. Other wise we meet all summer.
Have you expressed your feelings to the SM about the appearance that things are easier for his son to get blue cards that for other boys in the troop?
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Postby Mrw » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:02 am

In the past our troop went through a period where there was a supply of signed blue cards in the troop file box for any boy who needed them.

Currently the SM gives them to any boy who asks in whatever quantity he wants. We ask what they are planning on, but would never tell them not to try.

I also keep a handful for when the SM is not around and someone needs cards.
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Postby deweylure » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:03 am

There is no rule about number of cards you can get at once. Its sounds like a troop rule .

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Postby maricopasem » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:46 am

Why would you limit any boy from doing as many MB as he wanted?

For one, there is no written limit on the number.

And two, and most importantly, why would you stifle any boy that is motivated to do something of value?

I would think that every Scout leader would be thrilled to encourage any and every boy that had the desire and the motivation to work on 2 or 5 or 20 MB at one time.

Maybe we ought to micromanage less and encourage more.
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Postby scoutaholic » Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:41 pm

Mad Dog wrote:... the SM does not normally give out a blue card until all the work is done. My son wants it when he starts so he can meet with a MBC to go over the requirements. He will not be seeing the SM over the summer and the SM had a habit of "forgetting" to bring blue cards with him during the year to meetings. His son has no trouble getting blue cards but all the other boys do.


There are a couple problems going on here.

The idea of getting the 1st signature from the SM is so that the boy knows who to contact for MBC and the SM has some idea of what the boys are working on. The scout is supposed to meet with the MBC prior to doing the work, so that he is clear on what needs to be done. At that time, the MBC should make sure the boy has a signed blue card.
If your SM doesn't give out a card until the work is done, then what is the point of the 1st signature? And how can the boy have met the the MBC as they should?

If the SM is going to be inaccessible for the summer, then there should be an arrangement made so that the boys can still get their needed blue cards, etc while he is away.

Would it be possible to get blue cards from the SM by going to his house? What about getting your own blue cards, and just going to him for the signature?

If the SM is causing a problem by refusing to give-out/sign blue cards, then it probably needs to be talked about at a troop committee meeting, or with the unit advancement chairman or the unit commissioner.


Lynda J wrote:I would want to know who is going to be the counselor and I wouldn't let a parent be the counselor for that many badges at one time


I don't know where the rule is written, but no single MBC should do that many badges at once. If I understand national policy correctly, each adult can only sign 5 MBs for each boy in a year. Our council has made it even more strict and they say only 3.
Also, I would discourage a parent being MBC for their sons where possible. There are some MBs where that makes sense (ie. home repairs, etc.), but usually it is better if the boy works with other adults on the MBs. Also make sure that the parent is registered and trained before they act as MBC. We don't want them signing things off for their boy if they haven't been done, or if it is not something that the parent knows about.
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Postby PaulSWolf » Thu Jun 29, 2006 2:39 pm

scoutaholic wrote:I don't know where the rule is written, but no single MBC should do that many badges at once. If I understand national policy correctly, each adult can only sign 5 MBs for each boy in a year. Our council has made it even more strict and they say only 3.
Also, I would discourage a parent being MBC for their sons where possible. There are some MBs where that makes sense (ie. home repairs, etc.), but usually it is better if the boy works with other adults on the MBs. Also make sure that the parent is registered and trained before they act as MBC. We don't want them signing things off for their boy if they haven't been done, or if it is not something that the parent knows about.


You are misinterpreting the national standards. Here's the official rule, from "Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures":

All merit badge counselors must be approved by the council advancement committee. ...

There is no restriction or limit on the number of merit badges an individual may be approved to counsel for, but they must be approved by the committee for each specific merit badge.

There is no limit on the number of merit badges a youth may earn from one counselor.

An approved merit badge counselor may counsel any youth member, including his or her own son, ward, or relative.


Nothing about limiting a counselor to 3 or 5 MBs for any boy in any year. On the contrary, it specifically says there is no limit.

The first line I quoted covers the last part of your comment. Each MB Counselor MUST be approved by the Council Advancement Committee for EACH MB he/she wishes to counsel, and must show competence in the subject. So, unless the person has been approved for that specific merit badge he/she may not counsel any Scouts for that badge.

Furthermore, Scouts don't get to "pick and choose" who they want to have as their counselors. The SM is supposed to assign the counselor (or, as an alternative, give the Scout a couple of choices), from the published list of registered counselors. Here's a quote from "Boy Scout Requirements" (emphasis added):

Pick A Subject. Talk to your Scoutmaster about your interests. Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you. Pick one to earn. Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors. These counselors have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping you.
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Postby evmori » Thu Jun 29, 2006 2:40 pm

scoutaholic wrote:
Lynda J wrote:I would want to know who is going to be the counselor and I wouldn't let a parent be the counselor for that many badges at one time


I don't know where the rule is written, but no single MBC should do that many badges at once. If I understand national policy correctly, each adult can only sign 5 MBs for each boy in a year. Our council has made it even more strict and they say only 3.
Also, I would discourage a parent being MBC for their sons where possible. There are some MBs where that makes sense (ie. home repairs, etc.), but usually it is better if the boy works with other adults on the MBs. Also make sure that the parent is registered and trained before they act as MBC. We don't want them signing things off for their boy if they haven't been done, or if it is not something that the parent knows about.


There is no written rule that a MB counselor can only counsel xx meritbadges for a Scout nor is there a written rule regarding parents being their sons MB counselor. I do agree that a Scout should be going to someone other than his parents for MB counseling & the SM does have a say in who the Scout should use as a MB counselor.
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