Every Scouting activity moves boys toward three basic aims: character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness.
Advancement is one of the eight methods used by Scout leaders to help boys fulfill the aims of the BSA.
A youth member must not meet one-on-one with an adult. Sessions with counselors must take place where others can view the interaction, or the Scout must have a buddy: a friend, parent, guardian, brother, sister, or other relative—or better yet, another Scout working on the same badge—along with him attending the session.
If merit badge counseling or instruction includes any Web-based interaction, it must be conducted in accordance with the BSA Social Media Guidelines (www.scouting.org/Marketing/Resources/SocialMedia). For example, always copy one or more authorized adults on email messages between counselors and Scouts.
Worksheets and other materials that may be of assistance in earning merit badges are available from a variety of places including unofficial sources on the Internet and even troop libraries.
Use of these aids is permissible as long as the materials can be correlated with the current requirements that Scouts must fulfill.
Completing “worksheets” may suffice where a requirement calls for something in writing, but this would not work for a requirement where the Scout must:
Candidates for Star or Life, in the selection of “any four” or “any three,” respectively, of the merit badges required for Eagle, may choose from all those listed, including where alternatives are available:
For example, if a Scout earns Cycling, Hiking, and Swimming, all three of them count as Eagle-required for Life rank. Only one, however, would serve toward the required merit badges for the Eagle Scout rank. The other two would count toward the optional merit badges required to make up the total of 21 merit badges.
Note that Star and Life requirements each allow two non-Eagle-required merit badges. It is the Scout’s decision, however, to earn more—or all—of his Star and Life badges from the Eagle-required list.