Boy Scout Merit Badges

Age Requirements for Merit Badges

Michael sent in this question:

What scout age is too young for Citizenship in the Community? I have a couple “younger scouts” who would like to begin the badge but they are only 7th graders and Second Class? Is it my call or do you have a certain criteria?

This is not an uncommon question. The Guide to Advancement should be the first source of information when you have a question about advancement procedures. From the 2013 Guide to Advancement about who can work on a merit badge

A few merit badges have certain restrictions, but otherwise any registered Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or qualified Venturer or Sea Scout may work on any of them at any time. 

and concerning the conversation you might have with the Scout when asked to provide a merit badge card

The discussion a Scout is to have with the unit leader is meant to be a growth-oriented and positive conversation. The unit leader should discuss any concerns related to working on the merit badge and provide appropriate counseling. It is then the Scout’s decision whether or not to proceed with the merit badge. The process is intended to inform the Scout about what he may encounter along the way, and perhaps to give him suggestions on how the work might be approached. It also has the purpose of keeping the unit leader up to date with what the members of the unit are doing.

I think this second quote from the guide to advancement really addresses this situation. If you think the Scout is too young, you can discuss your concerns with him. But it does clearly state that the decision to proceed belongs to the Scout.

Note that the Guide to Advancement is updated annually, so when looking something up, check that you are using the current version first.

Scouters, how do you approach this? Add your ideas to the comments below.

One Response to Age Requirements for Merit Badges

  1. Sue Z. February 26, 2014 at 2:47 PM #

    7th grade is not too young to begin working on Citizen in the Community. My son is in 7th grade and he is working on the merit badge right now. 7th grade is a great age for the community service component as the boy is mature enough to be a real help to the organization.

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