Earning a Boy Scout Merit Badge

Brian L. Kasal, a graduate of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business MBA program, currently serves as senior vice president at Morgan Stanley. Away from his professional responsibilities, Brian L. Kasal contributes to a number of charities, including the Boy Scouts of America. Brian Kasal has been involved with the organization for nearly four decades.

Earning different merit badges is one of the primary ways an individual advances through the ranks with the Boy Scouts of America. Badges are currently offered in more than 120 areas of concentration, including topics as diverse as dog care, robotics, wilderness survival, and public speaking. Each badge is overseen at the local level by a merit badge counselor, an older member of the organization who has particular expertise in one or more of the badges. These counselors provide insight and general encouragement to scouts who are preparing to earn a merit badge.

The process of earning a specific merit badge begins with gaining approval from the Scoutmaster. Approval is not overly difficult to come by, but badges such as metalwork or welding are generally reserved for scouts at a higher level. After approving a project, the Scoutmaster will select a badge counselor and the scout will pick out a friend, family member, or fellow scout to attend all future merit badge meetings. The scout and counselor will go over the various requirements necessary to earn the badge and devise a number of projects and events that will help meet these requirements. As the scout accomplishes each of the necessary steps, the counselor will review and approve the scout’s work until all requirements have been met. Finally, the merit badge patch is awarded at a special ceremony or troop meeting.