MERIT BADGE PROGRAM
The merit badge program at camp is an integral part of the camp experience. Camp Freeland Leslie has seven separate program areas operated by enthusiastic and qualified staff. One of these program areas, Challenge Adventure, is designed for the personal development of older Scouts. The other six are geared towards essential Scouting skills and merit badges. Across camp, there are over 50 merit badges for Scouts to choose from.
Please closely review the merit badge schedule provided in the program guide. Some classes meet only twice a week. Other merit badges are one and a half or two sessions long, or require out-of-class work. A few merit badges also have a fee or require a kit that can be purchased at the trading post. Prerequisites and other details about each badge (including badges only taught during the afternoon open period) are located in the area sections later in this guide.
Details about each program area and the merit badges they offer can be found in the Program Guide. Please refer to the guide for a list of merit badges offered and any prerequisites or additional gear that may be required.
ONLINE MERIT BADGE SIGN UP
All troops sign up their Scouts for merit badges via the online registration system. Merit badge sign up is now part of the online payment system. This feature will be live until a few days before each camp session begins. The online system allows you to sign up Scouts by name for individual Merit Badges, Challenge Adventure programs, and other selected activities. Complete your unit's program sign ups well before camp begins to ensure that your Scouts are signed up for the badges and programs that they desire. Note that some programs become full or unavailable as the camp session approaches. It is recommended that one designated leader be responsible for the online sign up of all Scouts in your unit. Detailed instructions can be found in the Registration User Guide.
There are class size maximums for each merit badge class. These capacities are based on camp resources, and are used to ensure the safest and highest quality learning environment for each Scout. The online sign up guarantees Scouts their placement in each class. Scouts who do not sign up for badges online before camp may show up to their desired classes the first day, but are not guaranteed a roster spot. Scouts who wish to alter their merit badge selections while at camp may do so, subject to availability.
MERIT BADGE APPLICATIONS (BLUE CARDS)
At CFL Scouts no longer need to submit a merit badge application (blue card) for each merit badge class taken at Camp Freeland Leslie. Only Scouts who have already started the merit badge and have an existing blue card must bring the application to their counselor at camp.
At the end of camp, units will not receive merit badge applications (blue cards) for each Scout. Instead, units will receive a completion summarie for the entire unit and will have year-round access to online copies of the merit badge applications (blue cards) from summer camp. The cards (both completes and partials) can be printed out at any time for use within the unit. The digital copies are in pdf form, and can be printed double sided on standard computer paper to create valid official BSA merit badge applications. As usual, the printed merit badge applications can be used for advancement purposes, given to the Scout, used with local merit badge counselors, or used the following year at summer camp.
For Scouts who already have a partially complete merit badge, before turning in a blue card, the card must be filled out correctly. This may be done by the Scoutmaster or the Scout. Counselors will not accept incorrectly completed applications. Printed blue cards and partial blue cards from another counselor are acceptable given that they meet the standards listed below.
These standards are used to ensure that Scouts are given the proper credit for earned merit badges especially when applying for the rank of Eagle Scout. It is imperative to follow these policies. Per council standards:
- The card must be in one piece.
- There must not be any scratched out words.
- There must not be any incorrect information.
- The writing must be in pen.
- The writing must be legible.
- The writing must not span across the perforation.
- The merit badge name must be the full and actual name (Examples: Rifle Shooting, Environmental Science, Citizenship in the World)
TRACKING DAILY MERIT BADGE PROGRESS
The Camp Freeland Leslie camp staff records the attendance of Scouts and their completion of requirements each day. During camp, this information is submitted daily to the unit’s account on our council’s online registration system. Unit leaders and parents can access this information during camp to monitor Scout performance. These records also remain available online to units indefinitely for record keeping.
Unit leaders are encouraged to use this resource to ensure Scouts are achieving their maximum potential. Any questions or concerns regarding Scout performance during the week can be brought to individual counselors or the Program Director. Any questions about accessing the online records can be directed to the camp staff administration in the Wheeler Office.
WORKING ON MERIT BADGES BEFORE AND AFTER CAMP
Most merit badges can be fully completed at camp during the week. However, several merit badges offered at camp have requirements that are either difficult or impossible to accomplish at camp. This guide outlines which merit badges require work to be done at home before camp. These requirements are called prerequisites. Leaders are encouraged to make this information available to Scouts so that they can come to camp prepared. Keep in mind that Scouts who do not come to camp with the prerequisites will not be able to complete the badge at camp.
Scouts can complete any requirements for the merit badges we offer before arrival at camp. Any requirement a Scout completes before camp should be done with a merit badge counselor. A Scout wishing to take a merit badge at camp that has prerequisites should follow the same procedure as if he were working on a merit badge at home. He should first get permission from his Scoutmaster to take the merit badge and acquire a signed blue card. The Scout must then find a merit badge counselor locally and work on the prerequisites. Scouts must have any requirements completed prior to camp (including prerequisites), signed off on a blue card. All that is needed to document accomplishments is a properly filled out blue card with the previous merit badge counselor’s initials by the requirements that the Scout has completed. The Scout must have this blue card at camp in order to continue building off his previous work.
Merit badge worksheets completed before camp, and brought to CFL, do not count as completion of requirements. They may be used as a supplement, but the viewpoint at CFL is that Merit Badges cannot be learned only through the use of a merit badge worksheet. Students in merit badge classes will be reviewed extensively for mastery of the material in order to receive completion for the requirement.
Our counselors will not make a Scout repeat a requirement or complete a different option of a requirement that he already has signed off. However, Scouts will be encouraged to participate in the merit badge classes even if they have completed the requirements being covered.
INCOMPLETE MERIT BADGES
Scouts who finish some of the requirements for a merit badge, but not all of them, will be given credit for any requirements completed at camp. This credit will be recorded on the Scout’s merit badge application (blue card). This is called a “partial”. He can take this partial and complete the remaining requirements with a merit badge counselor at home. Being prepared before camp, and completing prerequisites with a merit badge counselor at home, will minimize the number of partials a Scout takes home.
BOY SCOUT SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM
Merit badges are not the entire program at CFL. Scouts are encouraged to take three to four merit badges at camp. This allows time for participation in other activities. Each area offers a variety of additional unique programs besides merit badges. For example, some program areas offer overnights, breakfast and lunch programs, and special programs during the evening. These programs are subject to change based on the availability of resources and staff. For the most up to date information on special programs being offered, refer to the daily schedule you will receive upon arrival to camp. Here is a brief list of the program areas and the activities that they offer.
- Small-Boat Sailing
- BSA Paddleboarding
- Mile Swim BSA
- Snorkeling BSA
- Swimming & Water Rescue
- Paddle Craft Safety
- Instructional Swim
- Emergency Preparedness
- First Aid
- Personal Fitness
- First Year Camperl
- Flag Retirement
- CPR Training
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION (NATURE)
- Bird Study
- Environmental Science
- Fish and Wildlife Management
- Forestry (alternating years)
- Insect Study (open session only)
- Mammal Study
- Reptile and Amphibian Study
- Soil and Water Conservation
- Weather (alternating years)
- Nature Center
- Nature Hikes
- Astronomy Hikes
- Sandy Links
- Indian Lore (alternating years)
- Sculpture (alternating years)
- Space Exploration
- Wood Carving
- Rocket Launching
- Tomahawk Throwing
OUTDOOR SKILLS (SCOUTCRAFT)
- Geocaching (alternating years)
- Orienteering (alternating years)
- Search and Rescue
- Wilderness Survival
- Totin' Chip
- Iron Chef
- Human Foosball
- Monkey Bridge
SHOOTING SPORTS (RANGE)
- Rifle Shooting
- Shotgun Shooting
- Open Shoot
- Trap and Skeet
- Game Design
- Public Speaking (open session only)