So many great replies. Thank you all for sharing your experience and knowledge on a great resource....this forum.
I totally agree that the scouts should lead the way. We're not nearly to the point where I can say that we're a scout led troop, but we'll get there.
We haven't yet offered JLT, but it's planned for this spring.
Our oldest scouts (the original 5) are now turning 12 and I've got a new batch of 8 Webelos who crossed over who are 11.
Two of my scouts earned 11 merit badges in the first year, most of them in group settings, about half of the offerings from programs offered by council (golf, merit badge college, camp). Council also offered a program where Geology and Astronomy were completed in one night - an all nighter. Some of the scouts were sleeping for the early morning portions of the Geology requirements. I wasn't in attendance, but that's the word that came back.
So yes, the process is confusing as the first merit badges my scouts earned were all council sponsored and in a group setting.
I appreciate the latitude that several of you allowed for.....that some merit badges are better suited to a group because the majority of the work is done individually.
So yes, we have a long way to go. But, I'll keep this forum plugged in with me wherever I go........even camping......wireless internet anyone???????