Can I use all the great graphics I've found here on MeritBadge.com?
Yes and No -- Ranks, merit badges, awards and other Scouting materials are trademarked and copyrighted by their respective organizations. In general, these organizations allow their members to use these images for program purposes only, not for personal gain or commercial purposes. As long as you use the images in the cause of Scouting, you should be okay. See MeritBadgeDotOrg:Copyright policy for further details. For your convenience, all of the rank and merit badge images are available at http://www.meritbadge.com/files/
Why don't you zip up all the worksheets, graphics files, etc, and make it easy for us to download all of them at one time?
Server Space and Bandwidth -- Most of the costs of running MeritBadge Network are paid for by the Optimist. In the past, some of those costs have been borne by our supporters. Because of this, we try to keep the server space and bandwidth use to a minimum. Collections (zip files) not only take up additional space, they tend to increase bandwidth use substantially. Unfortunately, many people tend to download entire collections instead of downloading just what they need causing bandwidth to increase substantially. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Can I share files I download here with my friends who don't have internet access?
Certainly -- if you're not sure how, check out the page on How To Squeeze BIG Files On To Itty-Bity Disks.
Can I copy the merit badge requirements, files, and other information, and put them on another web site?
No, please don't -- The reason is simple. There are numerous web sites out there run by webmasters with good intentions who have already done this. However, the requirements change often and these other web sites are not taking the time to update their sites like I do. By linking directly to this site, you will save yourself the headaches of having to keep up with this responsibility. If you don't know how to set up links directly to a specific merit badge page, click here. Don't forget, information provided on this site is copyrighted.
Where are the requirements?
I'm going to summer camp this year. Can you tell me what the prerequisites are for the merit badges I plan on taking or what I need to do to be prepared?
No -- Each summer camp runs their program a little differently. Only they can fully explain what you need to do before you go. Most summer camps have a list of prerequisites for each merit badge they teach. In most cases, if you do these requirements in advance, you can complete the merit badge in full before you leave camp. Please contact the council office of the summer camp you plan on attending for more information.
When can I start earning merit badges?
New requirements have been released. What is the effective date? Should I follow the new requirements or the old ones?
The effective date of all new requirements is immediately upon release but that doesn't automatically mean you should use them. Please read the following carefully:
No previous work started -- In all cases where you haven't already started working on a rank, merit badge, or award, you should definitely use the newest requirements.
Work on requirements already started -- If you've already begun work on a rank, merit badge, or award, then you should use the old requirements unless the BSA specifically states otherwise. For instance, when the Eagle rank requirements were changed at the beginning of 1999, the BSA issued a set of rules regarding who should use the old requirements and who should use the new ones. The following is from a letter written in 1997 by John P. Dalrymple, Advancement/NESA Director of the Boy Scouts of America. It only specifically addresses merit badge requirements, however, it is a common sense way of handling changes in requirements.
- "If a Scout started on a merit badge and then the requirements change he should continue working on those requirements that he originally started on." (click here for the full text)
Do you have the merit badge pamphlets available on-line?
No -- I don't provide these for some very important reasons... First, the amount of space needed and the bandwidth needed to handle this would be huge and would increase my costs considerably. Second, merit badge pamphlets are a fund raising aspect of the BSA's program. I would not want to take this away from them. Click here for more information on ways to obtain merit badge pamphlets.
What are the latest merit badge pamphlet revision dates?
The BSA publishes a list of the latest Merit Badge Pamphlet Revision Dates in the back of every new merit badge pamphlet or requirements book.
Is there anything I can do to help more Scouts earn merit badges?
Absolutely -- The simplest and easiest thing you can do is add a link to a web site which has information on a merit badge subject. If you have a special interest in a merit badge subject and you'd like to share it with others, you can set up a dedicated site. If you have a hobby or interest in a subject that isn't currently a merit badge, you can submit a new merit badge idea.
How do I find a merit badge counselor? Do you have a list of counselors for my area?
The MeritBadge Network does not keep lists of counselors on this site. There are literally hundreds of thousands of lists out there and it would be impossible for one person to track them all. Depending on the operation of Scouting in your area, there should be up to three merit badge counselor lists available to you, one from your troop committee advancement chairman, one from the district advancement chairman, and one from your council Advancement Committee. A few advancement chairmen and/or councils do provide their lists over the internet. You need to contact your district leaders or visit your district or council web site for more information.
Can someone on the internet serve as my merit badge counselor?
That Depends -- Currently, there is no BSA policy strictly forbidding this practice but you and your counselor would be treading new territory. You both would have to follow the rules very closely. See Counseling Merit Badges Over Long Distances for more information.
Is there any time limit for the completion of merit badges?
Yes, but it may not be what you think -- BSA policy states "There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18." They even use bold print in their Policies and Procedures pamphlet. See National BSA Policies Related To Merit Badges for more information.
Can I earn the Badges of Honour?
No (unless you have a time machine) -- This is an historical reference. The Badges of Honour were the original merit badges created by Baden Powell in the early 1900s.
Can you tell me how to put patches on the uniform and the merit badge sash?
Yes -- MeritBadge.com has uniform inspection sheets available in our Files and Forms section. However, if you have more specific questions, here's a good place to find more information. Michael "Blackeagle" Walton runs an excellent Scouting site called The Tree! On his site you will find The Unofficial BSA Uniform and Insignia Online Guide. It is the most comprehensive uniforming guide on the net.
Is it okay if I add a link to my web site?
One of our main focuses is providing links to resources on the web which will help Scouts earn merit badges. Check out the Criteria for acceptable external links policy to see if your web page fits the bill then add your link.
Please note: We are volunteers and all of the above answers are personal opinions. We try to make sure everything stated on this page complies with the policies of the Boy Scouts of America but this is not an official document.
If you have further questions, stop by our forums on MeritBadge.net