Should I expect to earn the merit badge I sign up for?

So what percentage of Scouts earn the merit badge they have signed up for?
When and where is the Expo?
Where, when, and how do I register?
How much does it cost?
Where and when do I go for field trips?
What should I wear?
Is lunch provided?  Where do you recommend for lunch?
You have a behavior code?  What is that?
How can my son get on the waiting list for badge x?
Since I'm not guaranteed my selected classes, when will I find out which classes I am signed up for?
The Eagle required badges filled up so quickly!  Will you be offering more sessions?
What is a blue card?  Why do I need a blue card?  Who is responsible for the blue card?
What is a partial?
Will my son's counselor assist him with the badge after the Expo?
My son has special needs: Learning, Vision/Hearing, Motor and Coordination, Social, etc. Can you accommodate him?
We live a long way away from where you are in Nashua, NH!  Any Recommendations?
Looks like we missed the 2016 Expo. How can I find out more about next year's?  When is the 2017 Expo?



Q: Should I expect to earn the merit badge I sign up for?

A: The main objective of the Expo is to expose you to and get you excited about a math, science, or technology subject. It is not a merit badge factory. That being said, the vast majority of merit badge classes and field trips enable you to earn the merit badge IF you do your part. Almost all classes require homework to be done before the Expo so that you are prepared (your counselor will mail you a package with instructions in January). A few classes will require you to do more work on your own after the Expo if you want to earn the merit badge.
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Q: So what percentage of Scouts earn the merit badge they have signed up for?

A: Many badges would have no hope of being completed in the short 2 hour window we provide for classroom time.  Yet, in our post event surveys, more than 90% of Scouts report they expect to earn their badge within 90 days of the Expo. We believe this is a reflection of our expectation of pre-work and homework. We do not track, or try to drive, this number as we believe achieving the badge is a far secondary goal to exciting the Scouts about the CAREER.  
We love the badges too, we just don't put the 35 cent piece of cloth first.  About 4% of Scouts will reach Eagle.  100% of Scouts need a fulfilling career.
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Q: When and where is the Expo?

A: March 11th and 25th, 2017.
  • March 11th we gather in Nashua, NH for the classes and career fair.
  • March 25th the Scouts will go to scattered sites in Greater Boston, Greater Nashua and Great Lowell to explore the careers behind their selected badge at host companies. 
  • It is the Field Trips and the Career Emphasis that separate this event from others that focus on achieving the badge.
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Q: Where, when, and how do I register?

A: Registration begins November 26, 2016, at 9:00am. Please visit the registration page for details.
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Q: How much does it cost?

A: $45. Some classes have an additional cost. Payment instructions are given during the registration process. Scholarships are available. No Scout should be turned away for his inability to pay the registration cost. Questions regarding this program should be directed to the event chair's email, found on the Contact Us page.
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Q: Where and when do I go for field trips?

A: Important note: Do not rendezvous at the LDS church on field trip day unless directed.  Go directly to the field trip sites unless directed. 
  • Field trip locations and details will appear on the web page for each merit badge class, accessible via the Merit Badges tab as soon as they are available.
  • Field trip locations and details will also be reiterated by the counselors in the classes on March 5. Counselors are directed to be in communication with their Scouts over the course of the Expo and will use the email you have supplied.
  • Field trips will occur on March 25, 2017, unless otherwise directed.
  • If you had a merit badge class in the morning on March 11, then the field trip for that merit badge class will likewise be in the morning of March 25. If you had a merit badge class in the afternoon, the field trip will be in the afternoon.
  • Most scouts will have signed up for 2 classes, one for morning and one for afternoon, so they will also go to two separate field trips. Parents are responsible for transportation to all locations. 
  • For those signed up for a single merit badge class that takes up morning and afternoon, there will be only one field trip, and the time of day and duration will be made known once details are solidified.
  • Some merit badges, like Astronomy and Reptile and Amphibian Studies traditionally will have a nighttime outing that is dictated by weather and spawning cycles. Others, like Robotics, may have additional outings in order to address the complicated nature of the badge and provide a more reasonable opportunity to actually complete the badge.
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Q: What should I wear?

A: Scouts attending the Expo should proudly wear their formal class A uniform for both the classes on March 11 and the field trips on March 25. Scouts not in Class A uniform may not be able to participate in planned activities.
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Q:  Is lunch provided?  Where do you recommend for lunch?

A:  Lunch is not provided. Scouts should plan on bringing both their lunch and a small afternoon snack as needed. Scouts are NOT PERMITTED to leave the Expo during operation for any reason. This includes with their parents for lunch. Parents are expected to provide Scouts the opportunity to secure lunch so that the Scouts are available to participate in the Career Fair during the lunch hour.
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Q:  You have a behavior code?  What is that?

A:  All Scouts are expected to carry themselves in accordance with the Scout Oath and Law. Our community is opening it's doors to us to show these Scouts the career opportunities in fields they have selected. If Scouts cannot comport themselves with the appropriate behavior they will be dismissed without refund or recourse. In some cases, this may mean a parent must pick up a Scout from the Expo. Thankfully this has never been necessary. It's a performance record we expect to keep.
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Q: How can my son get on the waiting list for badge x?
 
A: Historically, once Scouts choose their merit badges, they are excited to participate in the Expo and we have very few cancellations. Coupling this with our expectation that the Scouts come prepared with pre-work completed and our prohibition against walk-ins, we have determined that waiting lists are not appropriate for this event. The Math Science Technology Expo does not endorse the false expectation/disappointment cycle that a waiting list would create.
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Q: Since I'm not guaranteed my selected classes, when will I find out which classes I am signed up for?

A: Final placement in classes will be determined some time in the month of January, and you will receive a package of materials in the mail at that time with detailed information about your merit badge classes, pre-event homework, and field trips.
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Q:  The Eagle required badges filled up so quickly!  Will you be offering more sessions?

A:  No. Eagle required badges are not the focus of this event.  We like the career perspective we can offer for some Eagle badges, but we will not be expanding the limited offering of Eagle required badges.
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Q:  What is a blue card?  Why do I need a blue card?  Who is responsible for the blue card?
 
A:  Blue cards are how Scouts track their progress through a merit badge. Scouts are expected to secure the consent of their Scoutmaster to pursue a merit badge per Boy Scout advancement policy and procedure. Scouts are provided blue cards in our mailing to secure the signature of their Scoutmaster (or designee) well in advance of the Expo. It is not the responsibility of the merit badge counselors, but Scouts themselves who are responsible for securing and maintaining the blue cards during their Scouting careers. 
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Q:  What is a partial?

A: A "partial" is the term employed when a Scout completes a portion of the merit badge. Not only will many Scouts receive partials at the Expo, it is expected. There is no negative connotation to a partial, and Scouts are permitted to complete their badge at any time until they are 18 years of age.
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Q:  Will my son's counselor assist him with the badge after the Expo?

A:  Many counselors and subject matter experts that assist with the Expo are available year round, but not all of them are. Additionally, the counselors are NOT EXPECTED to assist with Scouts advancement outside the Expo. Many will be. It is their choice. EVERY counselor is given the opportunity to participate at whatever level is appropriate for her or him, and for some of them, due to travel or other obligations, this means they will not be available. Counselors will inform their Scouts what their individual circumstances are. Scouts are not to hound their counselors for assistance after the Expo.
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Q:  My son has special needs: Learning, Vision/Hearing, Motor and Coordination, Social, etc. Can you accommodate him?

A:  We are pleased to say that we have had a very diverse set of Scouts come through this program in the last 9 years. Our team has supported Scouts with all of the above challenges, and if you can work with us, we can work with you! Please contact us and let us know what you need. We'll do our best.
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Q:  We live a long way away from where you are in Nashua, NH!  Any Recommendations?

A:  We have had Scouts participate from every New England State, plus New Jersey and New York. So far the record is just under a four hour drive. As our materials state, any Scout from any council may participate. For Scouts who are traveling a long way, we recommend "bring a friend!"  but for goodness sakes, put them into the same merit badge sessions! If you need hotel recommendations, please let us know.
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Q:  Looks like we missed the 2016 Expo.  How can I find out more about next year's?  When is the 2017 Expo?

A:  The 2017 Expo will be held on March 11th and March 25th. Registration for the Expo opens the Saturday after Thanksgiving at 9:00am sharp (seriously, not earlier) and typically fills in a matter of a few days. 
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