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Blue Card to be Updated in 2012

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Yes, my understanding from the Advancement Team is that ultimately it is the Scout's decision to start a merit badge.


Also it is becoming clear that starting a merit badge doesn't necessarily mean that Scout is ready and mature enough to finish the badge.

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In the "good old days" the Scout always had the choice of which merit badge to take. The Scoutmaster couldn't restrict him.


So, if anything, we are going back to the foundations of Scouting.

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What's a blue card? ;)


Seriously though, growing up I never saw a blue card. In fact the first time I saw a pack of them was when I helped the national scout shop move from the old location to the new one. They were not a hot item either.


As an MBC, I've seen them 2 maybe 3 times max. Most of the time it's either the MBP, the worksheets from online sources, or a notebook with the work in it.


Don't think it's a big deal.

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From the Guide to Advancement:


Though it has not been clearly stated in the past, units, districts, and local councils do not have the authority to implement a different system for merit badge approval and documentation. In any case, through the years, many councils have created new forms and approaches to the process, some including IT components. In an effort to gather and consider these potential best practices, councils are now asked to submit descriptions and copies of their blue card alternatives to the national Advancement Team.

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Usin' da blue card doesn't facilitate anything. It's a completely antiquated and annoyin' system, which is why fewer troops and camps use it every year. Da only folks who seem to love da thing are us old codgers who have designated ourselves as da keepers of Scouting bureaucracy. :p


It's just a record-keepin' option, and a poor one. Da fact that apparently there is broad ranging discussion about addin' one line to da silly thing shows how much volunteer time we waste on trivial nonsense instead of spendin' it on program and kids.



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It is a poor one. Some MBC's hold 'em back because boys keep losing them and then hand them a completed one at the end to turn in.


I don't consider the change that much of a biggie other than a prompt to the SM to recommend someone--it doesn't say it was mandated to use that MBC.

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Usin' da blue card doesn't facilitate anything. It's a completely antiquated and annoyin' system, which is why fewer troops and camps use it every year.


Oh lordy yes.


I had forgotten about these from my own experience...or perhaps we never used them. Got reacquainted thanks to my son joining a troop.


"Wow, dad, I can take the geocaching merit badge!"


"Gee, that's great son! Now you just need to get your scoutmaster's approval to start it, fill out this form, find another boy who wants to take it with you so that YPT guidelines are maintained, buy the book if its not in the library, contact the AC to see if the troop has a MBC, then find a MBC if the troop doesn't have one."


"But when do I get to go geocaching, dad?"




People complain here often about MBs being offered at camp, or disparage "merit badge meetings" troops hold.


Is it any wonder we do? This whole process is a giant PITA.

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Yep I know what the G2A says now, but what I've described is how things have been done, and probably still being done in some areas. I'll ask about blue cards and summer camp when I get the chance as I've never been to a camp, either as a camper, volunteer, or staffer, that issued blue cards.


Plus those units that do use the blue card usually buy the 100 count pack, and probably still have a large inventory. In my expereince, most scouts do their MBs at summmer camp.




With the exception of summer camp which sent out reports on who completed what to the SMs at the end of camp, growing up the MBCs signed the BSHB to show you passed XYZ MB. Either the scout or the MBC would write in the MB on the advancement line and then sign or initial in the appropriate spot. Then up the chain to get it at the COH.


Only time I've seen otherwise was "stealth advancement," i.e. the MBC working on a fun topic, and while working on the fun topic, we meet requirements without knowing about it. Motorboating MB comes immediately to my mind.

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Eagle92 - the 35+ Scouts from our troop who went to camp this year filled out over 150 Merit Badge Applications (blue cards), and the Scoutmaster signed every one. :-) The Scouts are responsible for returning the completed cards and if necessary asking for a counselor to finish any partials. Both of our very large camps in our very large council use the blue card system with few problems. Blue cards are another way to help a Scout be responsible for his own advancement.

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We certainly had paper merit badge applications in the late 50's and early 60's in So Cal; SGVC and the old Arrowhead Area, now Inland Empire. And I have examples of various types of these forms dating clear back to the 30's. So, maybe much was local at one time.


More recently, some of our large council camps have gone to computerized master sheets with individual print outs for each one from camp, including sheets for partials. These took the place of the blue cards in those camps. Our camp is still using them, but we only got electronic sign-up this year; so we may see a different record keeping method for camp soon too.


Meanwhile, we no longer are required to turn in a card with the advancement report. So we have basically now a troop record card I guess.

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