The goal of the merit badge program is to expand a Scout's areas of interest and encourage the Scout to meet and work with adults in a chosen subject. The first step is for the Scout to select a merit badge, and then talk to a Scoutmaster to choose a counselor and get a signed blue card. Once the Scout has met with the counselor he can begin the badge, based on the counselor's direction. The requirements for each merit badge are listed in the specific merit badge book and must be completed as written. They cannot be modified in any way by the counselor or the Scout. When the requirements are completed the counselor will fill out the appropriate info on the card and sign it. The Scout then turns in the appropriate portion of the card to the Advancement Chair. The badge will usually be awarded at the next Court of Honor.
Keep in mind that new scouts generally should spend their efforts on rank advancements listed in their Boy Scout Handbook, rather than working on merit badges. Most scouts should start working on merit badges when they are working on the rank of First Class. All merit badges are not appropriate for new or younger scouts. Most Eagle-required badges are not appropriate for new or young scouts, except for swimming. A Scout Master will help in this determination as well as suggest a counselor, sign and distribute the blue card.
The blue card has 3 parts. When the badge is completed the counselor will keep one part, the scout will keep one part and the third part goes to the Advancement Chair on the troop committee. The scout should keep these in a safe place - he may need them later to prove completion if Council records are inaccurate or missing.