Citizenship in Society - Merit Badge

Citizenship in Society

Unlike traditional merit badges, Citizenship in Society (CitSociety) requires Scouts to undertake independent research about diversity, equity and inclusion. There is NO published merit badge pamphlet. Instead, Scouts discuss what they have researched on the 11 requirements with the other members of their Cohort of 7 other Scouts. Merit Badge Counselors act as Facilitators to ensure discussions stay on-topic. They may give guidance through questioning but never give answers or offer their own personal opinions. Typically, there will be four separate sessions with each lasting up to two hours. Scouts should allow a minimum of four weeks to complete this merit badge. We use the Email function in Scoutbook to communicate with Scouts and Parents/Guardians. We hold virtual meetings.  

The Council Advancement Committee has set the following standards for Facilitators:

  • Register as a Position Code 42 Merit Badge Counselor—this is a district position.
  • Hold a Youth Protection Training Certificate current for the duration of the registration period.
  • Complete the National Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion training SCO-1800
  • Attend a GGAC Citizenship in Society Orientation
  • Participate in a Qualification review interview.


Cohort – A group of 6 – 8 Scouts within 2 years of age. May be co-ed.

Access Code – An authorization code sent to a Scout’s parent / guardian allowing the Scout to register for a Cohort.



Our research with counselors involved in National’s pilot program found it of value if a Scout has earned any of the following merit badges. They cover aspects of CitSociety and may give a Scout some ideas for research topics. Those counselors also reported that Scouts should be capable of independent research.

  • American Cultures
  • American Heritage
  • Disablities Awareness
  • Citizenship in Community/Nation/World
  • Family Life

Citizenship in Society
Step by Step

Step 1

A Scout who wishes to take the Citizenship in Society (CitSociety) merit talks with their unit leader. From this point on the process is unlike that for other merit badges.

Step 2

Unit leaders meet with a Scout and the Scout’s Parent/Guardian. The purpose — to review what will be covered in the merit badge and how it will be administered.

  • Unit leaders will confirm that the Parent/Guardian have given permission for their Scout to participate AND
  • Makes sure the Parent/Guardian are registered in Scoutbook. In turn, Parent/Guardian may grant access to Scoutbook to their Scout.

Step 3

Unit leaders submit the Unit Leader Signature of a CitSociety Merit Badge ‘Blue Card’ form. From this point all communications about the merit badge will take place between the Scout, the Scout’s Parent/Guardian, and the CitSociety team – administrators and counselors.

Step 4

On receipt of a Blue Card, the system emails a receipt to the sender – typically the unit leader, and the administrator enters the Scout in the priority list by birthdate.

Step 5

CitSociety Administrator emails Parent/Guardian with instructions for signing up to join a Cohort for the merit badge along with a Access Code to register to take the merit badge.

Note: The access code is a one-time use code and is not transferable.

Step 6

Scout registers for a cohort that is most convenient for their schedule.

Step 7

A Merit Badge Counselor sends a link for the scheduled sessions to the Scout and Parent/Guardian

Step 8

One of the assigned Merit Badge Counselors updates the completion of requirements through final sign off after each session. These updates are visible in Scoutbook and provide an opportunity to view progress.

Step 9

The Scout is responsible for notifying the Scoutmaster that the merit badge is ready to be marked as complete in Scoutbook.

Unit leaders must not act as a Gatekeeper. Provided there are no other limiting circumstances, a Scout’s request to pursue the merit badge must be approved.
Guardian of the Gate

Citizenship in Society

After submitting a Scout’s information using the Google Form how will I know that the Council Advancement Committee has received the information?
The form is set up to send an automatic confirmation response.
As a Unit Leader, will I be copied on the GGAC notification to Scouts & their parents? How will the Troop and I know that the CitSociety merit badge process is moving forward?
 Scoutmaster’s do not receive notifications. Parents and Scouts do.
The description of the “coupon” seems a little onerous, so I wonder if I am misinterpreting. I had several parents push back and become annoyed about the concept of committing $1,000 to register for a cohort on the CitSociety website.
 THERE IS NO COST TO TAKE THIS MERIT BADGE. The software we are using can use an access code feature. This feature was adopted to control registration starting with 17-year-old Life Scouts. The access code negates the fee.
How do I advise Scouts & parents on the process for CitSociety merit badge classes? Are the time slots being filled on a First-Come-First-Served basis? Or is this time based only? Will the Scouts know who else has chosen a particular time slot?
We use our events management program for Scouts to register for a Cohort (class). Scouts may choose from any available Cohort when they register. They will know the other 7 in their Cohort at the first meeting.

We are offering as many cohorts as our counselors volunteer to mentor. Based on needs we may increase or decrease the number of Cohort offerings.

See the next FAQ for: 'How does a unit leader verify the qualifications of a Merit Badge Counselor? '
How does a unit leader verify the qualifications of a Merit Badge Counselor registered in another Council?
First, try to connect the Scout and counselor in Scoutbook. If that is successful, the counselor is registered and qualified. If unsuccessful, go to the counselor’s home council and search for their Advancement Administrators. Most will have an email address for either the Council Advancement Committee or Professional Advisor. Send an email asking if the counselor has been registered and qualified for the merit badge(s) in question and the status of their Youth Protection Training. Ask California councils if the counselor has completed AB506 training and LiveScan. The unit leader’s “blue card” signature verifies their counselor credentials verification.
Will the CitSociety merit badge be open to Scouts who will be turning 17 in the last quarter of 2022 or should I be advising delay until 2023?
All 17-year-old Scouts are eligible to apply to take this merit badge now. Except for personal choices, there is no reason to delay.
I have a few Scouts who will age-out in Nov & Dec 2022 as well as Jan- Mar 2023, will they be given any priority to taking the CitSociety Merit Badge classes?
We prioritize by birthdate and are committed to doing everything we can to accommodate any Eagle Scout candidate before their 18th birthday.
How can the troop track their progress?
Use Scoutbook to track progress. Counselors have been trained to enter completions after each cohort session.
Can you provide me some guidance that I can pass on to Scouts & parents when Life and Star Scouts under 17 years old, will be eligible for taking the CitSociety merit badge?
This is a difficult question. The main factors are the number of counselors with the unique qualifications to mentor this badge. For instance, we have an average of 300+ counselors for each of the other citizenship merit badges. It will take time to reach that number for Citizenship in Society.
As a Unit Leader, how can I see who in my unit is on the list of candidates who have applied to take the class?
We are planning to publish a monthly report to Unit Leaders listing all the Scouts in their unit who have applied to take the class and are actively waiting an Access Code.
Parents have asked “Can I attend or listen to a session?”
Yes! During orientation, our CitSociety facilitators are asked to invite parents to attend the first session with their Scout. There are ground rules for parents -camera off, mute on, and do not share with or discuss anything disclosed by non-family Scouts. These are reviewed at that session.
If Scoutbook is the only communication vehicle for the CItSociety merit badge, how will parents & Scouts know that a message is waiting?
Scoutmasters are asked to ensure that each parent has a Scoutbook account. Parents can then authorize their Scout’s use. Messaging through Scoutbook ensures that youth protection safeguards are in place. No one can communicate with a Scout without having current Youth Protection Training.
How do I become a Citizenship in Society merit badge counselor?
Link coming soon!

Citizenship in Society
Merit Badge Counselor Application

In addition to the process for applying to be a Merit Badge Counselor, the following additional steps are required for those who wish to be Citizenship in Society counselors.

  • Take the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Volunteers class – SCO-1800. Login to the my.scouting and select the Training link
  • Familiarize yourself with the 11 merit badge requirements and concepts for discussion
  • Take part in a GGAC Advancement Committees orientation. Email Council Advancement Chair to get on the list for the next session.
  • Participate in a GGAC Advancement Committee interview to become an approved CitSociety counselor. You may schedule this at the time of the Orientation session or email the Council Advancement Chair to request an interview.
  • As a Counselor, your role is that of a facilitator. This not like typical merit badges where the counselor is also the teacher.
  • Make sure you do not advocate any particular or personal point of view.


  • Understand, small group study (6-8 Scouts) is best for this type of discussion.
  • This merit badge is not suitable for large groups such as those at Summer Camp.
  • Allow time to complete all the steps involved in becoming a Counselor for this merit badge.
  • GGAC’s Advancement Committee furnishes the list of approved CitSociety merit badge facilitators to the Council Registrar.


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