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Merit Badge “Blue Card” Revised

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  • Merit Badge “Blue Card” Revised

    A new version of the Application for Merit Badge,
    No. 34124, commonly referred to as the blue card,
    is being released later in January 2013. The
    availability of the new card will vary locally, and the
    old cards are still acceptable as councils exhaust their
    inventories. The new version will remain the old familiar
    blue and the change is a small one, but as it takes
    effect it will make a significant difference in the process.

    On the front side (first tri-fold portion) above the unit
    leaders signature line, the statement with the word
    qualified is being changed to: I have discussed this
    merit badge with this Scout and recommended at least
    one merit badge counselor. The wording change has
    been made due to confusion over the interpretations of
    qualified, approved, and approval, as applied to
    when a Scout could begin work on a merit badge. With
    the new statement, the unit leaders signature indicates
    that he or she and the Scout have talked about the
    Scouts desire to work on the merit badge and that a
    merit badge counselor has been recommended.

    The intent of the modification is to give the unit leader
    the chance to offer counseling as to whether or not the
    merit badge is a good choice for the Scout, based on
    his abilities and any prerequisites. The terms qualified
    or approved were never meant to indicate that the
    Scout needed to pass some sort of prequalifying test
    before pursuing a merit badge, or that the unit leader
    had pass/fail authority to allowor to not allowthe
    Scout to undertake work on a badge.

    Other than this single change, the good old blue card
    is the same as before. Unit leaders are requested to use
    this new approach now. With release of the revised
    Guide to Advancement 2013 during the first half of the
    New Year, the practice will become mandated.

  • #2
    From where is this quoted?


    • #3
      Good thing leaders are being "requested" to use this approach as it will be ignored in our unit.


      • #4
        In 2013, we're re-issuing a silly cardboard 3-part form?

        I reckon da old one was just fine. The time they spent on this should have been spent on fixing ScoutNet so that cardboard multi-part forms can be dispensed with. There would be much rejoicing.



        • #5
          Its from the "ADVANCEMENT NEWSLETTER December 2012JANUARY 2013"

          I have a copy, but I can't find it on line

          Why would this be an issue, I thought this was the direction most units wanted to go or were doing


          • #6
            We chewed this pretty well before.

            While the high-speed/low-drag folks are in charge of advancement at national not everyone agrees that is the best approach.


            • #7
              "While the high-speed/low-drag folks are in charge of advancement at national not everyone agrees that is the best approach."

              My understanding is no one in charge of advancement at National has ever signed off on a First Class POR, they have not conducted a Life Scout Board of Review and have never signed off any T-First Class requirements. They are not responsible for Programs that do not allow socuts to use Scout Skills once they are learned

              National does not have a list of Merit badge counsleors who are know "soft" and while some units do not allow their youth to use them, they do not do what it takes to have those counselors removed form the rolls.

              National has its share of pimples, that is clear but many of the issues in advancement are rooted in the Units, not in National


              • #8
                Real Question: how could we make virtual blue cards that wouldn't turn into a bloated and buggy database?


                • #9
                  That would require every MB to be approved in the vicinity of internet service. What a dull world it will be when that happens.


                  • #10
                    I don't see how changing the verbiage on this form impacts program standards.


                    • #11
                      Sorry as was pointed out it comes from the BSA Jan 2013 Advancement Newsletter which will go online at eventually. The current link to it is here:


                      There is nothing new to the process with this verbiage change. It is meant to clarify the existing (and has been existing for decades) process.

                      And I think we have discussed this before. The national Advancement Team (who make these sorts of changes) consist of a lot of very experienced volunteer Scouters who have definitely been merit badge counselors, and have also signed of on many, many rank advancement requirements.

                      (This message has been edited by bnelon44)


                      • #12
                        bnelon44, thank you for the link.

                        I know this "development" may deflate some SM egos in my area.

                        On the digital/paper debate. I think having a card to give to the scout gives him some control over his destiny when all other controls fail. Adults lose paperwork, adults forget to enter items into database. Accidents happen. A signed card/handbook is very good evidence that requirements were met.


                        • #13
                          Eagle92 has said that his troop never used blue cards......

                          If a SM has an ego issue over blue cards, well, wow.


                          • #14
                            BD: Yep. When a SM decides he doesn't want a boy to earn a MB, that's ego in my book.

                            SM would only hand out blank blue cards. After boys take class, signs all but "X". He didn't want that boy to have it.

                            (Now that troop doesn't have the boy)


                            • #15
                              koolaidman wrote: "I know this "development" may deflate some SM egos in my area."

                              Alot of scoutmasters need their egos deflated.