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  • Keeping Track of Merit Badges

    Hi, my son asked me to help him find ideas on how to best keep track of his open merit badges. Does anyone have any tips they have used successfully? He has a bunch open and is having a difficult time with the details. thanks.

  • #2
    Make a word file (or similar)
    Make a list of partials.
    Note remaining requirements
    Note Counselors if any.
    Go online and goto Meritbadge.org.
    Copy and paste requirements needed.
    Prioritize which ones to work on. (Eagle related, for example). I usually make my boys finish up the ones with just one requirement.
    Print Out several copies. One for you, two for him.
    Have him make a notebook with dividers for each MB
    Have some plastic sleeves for the blue cards,
    Have him meet with SM or ASM for advice.
    Have him make an ongoing appointment to discuss progress or problems.
    (If your Troop has Troopmaster you can print out some stuff)

    You get the picture. Sometimes it helps if he has a buddy working on the same MB's.

    Comment


    • #3
      Offer hints but have your son work the problem and come up with a solution. This is part of the experience in earning merit badges, i.e., the record keeping.

      For example, ask him how he keeps track of his completed rank (Second Class, First Class, etc) requirements? Hopefully he will get the hint to record progress in his merit badge pamphlet, etc.

      My $0.02,

      Comment


      • #4
        My two favorites:
        1. Two altoids tins: one for partial blue cards, one for completed blue cards. Store in the box where he keeps his MB sash.
        2. 3-ring binder + baseball card sleeves. A divider for completed cards, partials of required badges, partials of elective badges.

        Either way, make sure he records the names of completed MB's in his handbook. From the incomplete ones -- especially electives, I would have him pick one that he will work on immediately, and only focus on the requirements for that. If there's a roadblock, he can switch to another badge. But, when I ask my scouts after first class "What's the plan?", I expect them to be able to tell me the rank requirements they need, which badge are they working on right now, and which ones are "on deck."

        Comment


        • #5
          The easiest way to keep track of them is to complete them. Once complete your council will have a record, but you should keep all random scout "paperwork" in a shoebox because councils have a tendency to loose things.

          Comment


          • #6
            A few of my more organized guys have Scout notebooks they use to track such stuff. They have a tab for each open MB and keep paperwork related to the MB there. Some will print requirements and/or worksheet off meritbadge.com just as a reference. A zippered pencil pouch is a good place to keep important stuff like the incomplete blue cards. The same notebook gets used for patrol info, calendar, phone lists etc. Once the guys make first class, this tends to replace the handbook.

            I do NOT suggest keeping finished blue cards or rank cards in this notebook. This is a working notebook carried to meetings and campouts and is subject to getting lost and/or rained on. Put the completed cards in baseball card sleeves and leave them at home.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks everyone. He does fine with his finished cards etc. as he learned from his procrastinator brother what not to do haha. Brother only earned the mandatory MBs plus a few from summer camp, never once completed a summer camp partial, and passed his Eagle board after his 18th bday. This second son is determined to not let any of that happen. Appreciate all your comments!

              Comment


              • #8
                Alternative solution:

                When a requirement is performed, cross it out in pencil in the MB book. Keep books on desk or dresser. When MB is complete, put book on bookshelf or donate to troop.
                Open Merit Badges = number of books on desk or dresser.

                Works as a visual reminder every time he is in his room.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Baseballfan View Post
                  Hi, my son asked me to help him find ideas on how to best keep track of his open merit badges. Does anyone have any tips they have used successfully? He has a bunch open and is having a difficult time with the details. thanks.
                  First, the Blue Cards are key. That is what they are for, to keep track of progress on a merit badge. My oldest son has a zippered binder. In it, he has a few pages of baseball card sized dividers, each of which holds 9 cards. He keeps his merit badge completions/blue cards and uncompleted blue cards in those. He has merit badge.org worksheets for the badges he's working on. He carries it to all meetings. He does not carry it to campouts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Boy those kids grow up fast. It's time to buy him his first little file folder box and teach him how to file things. Someday he can graduate to a full filing cabinet. Personally, I favor the "categorize and index" method.

                    Comment


                    • qwazse
                      qwazse commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Bears and rattlesnakes, I can make my peace with.
                      Filing just gives me the shivers ....

                  • #11
                    My son is in his first year of scouts, got his first merit badges this summer at camp. Soon as we got home, we scanned his merit badge cards and put them on jump drive(and backed up elsewhere). I plan on him making a digital copy of all his advancement records. I also scanned all the boys who were at camp with him and emailed them to their parents so they to can do the same.

                    Comment


                    • Basementdweller
                      Basementdweller commented
                      Editing a comment
                      YOu are missing the entire point of scouting. Your post has too many I's in it.

                      The boys are supposed to do it for themselves...The simplest solution for a lad of 11 to master is a zip loc bag or a shoe box. He puts all of his advancement cards in the box for the future.

                      This isn't cub scouts, so step back take a nice deep breath.

                  • #12
                    Keep his blue cards tucked in his BSA handbook. And/Or get a handbook cover and put the blue cards in a zippered pocket in the cover. The completed requirements should be initialized on the card.

                    Comment


                    • Basementdweller
                      Basementdweller commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Cruel????

                      No it isn't.....It is a lesson in responsibility.

                      KDD I understand your scout doesn't have his crap together, he's only 11 doesn't work, and your going to make sure he doesn't lose his partials, so he will never learn this lesson with something unimportant as a Blue card, so he will learn the lesson in 5 years his smart phone or car keys or wallet.

                      So the discussion with your son should go, he son, keep your unfinished merit badges in the merit badge book on your shelf or in the front cover of your scout book.

                      Not, son give me your blue card because you will just lose it and I have worked too hard for you to lose it and have to do it over.

                    • King Ding Dong
                      King Ding Dong commented
                      Editing a comment
                      My point is it is cruel to tell a youth a poor way do to something. Tell him a correct way. It is up to him to follow your advise or not and learn his lesson.

                      Do you want your son to trust the advise you give him or not ?
                      Last edited by King Ding Dong; 11-03-2013, 11:24 PM.

                    • fred johnson
                      fred johnson commented
                      Editing a comment
                      KDD - You're assuming it's a bad solution. Keeping the blue cards tucked in the scout handbook is a good solution. I know many leaders who would do the exact same thing for similar items. Heck, when I get an oil change or car repair, I tuck the receipt into my car's owner manual. Plus, the scout handbook is the one item scouts are supposed to bring to every meeting. Plus if the parents buy a cover with a zippered pocket, then the scout has a zippered pocket to use.

                      The absolute worst solution would be to have a parent or a troop advancement coordinator organize and keep the merit badge cards safe. A close runner up is a over emphasized, over engineered solution.

                      The blue card is a simple tool and needs a simple solution for keeping organized. If the scouts lose them, we shouldn't put them on a guilt trip as much as ask what happened and work with them to recover the situation.

                  • #13
                    The lesson is responsibility. Honestly I could careless where my scout stores his partials. He is the one going to have to pay the price if he loses them. I will not micromanage my sons scout career lime the OP. Seriously scanning your sons advancement for him.....what lesson is in that....mom. and dad will make sure I am covered. So when I screw up even a little bit there in no consequences

                    Comment


                    • Baseballfan
                      Baseballfan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      if you meant "like the OP", I would like your opinion on how I am micromanaging his Scout career.

                    • Basementdweller
                      Basementdweller commented
                      Editing a comment
                      my bad, it wasn't you. is was yooperscout who was scanning blue cards. Completely over the top.

                    • Baseballfan
                      Baseballfan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      oh okay thanks fro clarifying. I also replied to you a while ago when you took exception to me camping with Webelos in my backyard, but you never replied (to my knowledge). I don't think I formatted or replied in the right spot because the site was acting up, but if you could take a look and answer I would appreciate it.

                  • #14
                    If your troop uses TroopMaster, then he can ask the Advancement Chair to input the information there.

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
                      If your troop uses TroopMaster, then he can ask the Advancement Chair to input the information there.
                      Asking someone to do your work isn't a plan, it's a dodge. Work three or four badges at a time, and get them done. That's the best way.

                      Comment


                      • fred johnson
                        fred johnson commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Fully agree. Our troop records "completed" achievements. In progress achievements should be managed by the scout.
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