Merit badge (Boy Scouts of America)
Fish and Wildlife Management merit badge
|Owner||Boy Scouts of America|
Merit badges are awards earned by youth members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), based on activities within an area of study by completing a list of periodically updated requirements. The purpose of the merit badge program is to allow Scouts to examine subjects to determine if they would like to further pursue them as a career or vocation. Originally, the program also introduced Scouts to the life skills of contacting an adult they hadn't met before, arranging a meeting and then demonstrating their skills, similar to a job or college interview. Increasingly, though, merit badges are earned in a class setting at troop meetings and summer camps. Each merit badge has a pamphlet (booklet) published by the Boy Scouts of America associated with it; the pamphlet contains information on completing the requirements for the badge. Scouts must meet up with their Scoutmaster to receive a signed blue card in order to begin working on a merit badge. The Scout then contacts an adult who is registered as a counselor for that merit badge in order to learn which badge requirements they must complete before meeting up with the counselor. Once these requirements are completed, the Scout meets with the counselor to demonstrate that he's completed the requirements. The counselor then 'signs off' on each requirement. After completing the merit badge, the Scout can then buy his merit badge patch.
The award of a merit badge is represented by circular patch with an image representing the badge's topic. The patches for the Eagle-required merit badges are distinguishable by the silver ring on the outside edge. Merit badges are displayed on a sash which can be worn with the Boy Scout uniform on formal occasions. Every year the National Council reviews and updates a certain number of merit badges.
Scouting organizations in other countries issue or have issued merit badges, including Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. Austria has a program similar to merit badges for certain age groups.
Eagle Scout requirements
The current requirements for Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouting, includes earning 21 merit badges (10 more added to the 11 already earned through previous rank advancement requirements, bringing the total to a minimum 21 merit badges), including 13 from a required list:
- Cycling or Hiking or Swimming
- Citizenship in the Community
- Citizenship in the Nation
- Citizenship in the World
- Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving
- Environmental Science or Sustainability
- Family Life
- First Aid
- Personal Fitness
- Personal Management
List of current merit badges
- The last revision date indicates the date of the latest requirement changes; the copyright or printing dates of merit badge pamphlets may have a different date. The Eagle Scout required merit badges are shaded in gray (see above paragraph for details).
IDigital Technology I2014 I2014 I2014 ITechnologyI-
|American Business||1967||2002||2008||Business, Economy of the United States|
|American Cultures||1979||2005||2008||Ethnic groups in the United States|
|American Heritage||1975||2005||2008||History of the United States, Historic preservation|
|American Labor||1987||2006||2008||Trade unions|
|Animal Science||1975||2006||2008||Animal husbandry|
|Athletics||1911||2006||2008||Track and field athletics|
|Automotive Maintenance||2008||2008||2012||Auto mechanics|
|Citizenship in the Community||1952||2005||2008||Citizenship|
|Citizenship in the Nation||1951||2005||2008||Citizenship|
|Citizenship in the World||1972||2005||2008||Global citizenship|
|Coin Collecting||1938||2008||2008||Coin collecting|
|Composite Materials||2006||2006||2008||Composite materials|
|Crime Prevention||1996||2005||2008||Crime prevention|
|Emergency Preparedness||1972||2008||2008||Emergency management|
|Environmental Science||1972||2006||2008||Environmental science|
|Family Life||1991||2005||2008||Family values|
|Farm Mechanics||1928||2008||2008||Agricultural machinery|
|Fire Safety||1995||2004||2008||Fire safety|
|First Aid||1911||2007||2008||First aid|
|Fish and Wildlife Management||1972||2004||2008||Wildlife management|
|Fly Fishing||2002||2002||2008||Fly fishing|
|Game Design||2013||2013||2013||Game Design|
|Genealogy||1972||2005||2008||Genealogy, Family history|
|Graphic Arts||1987||2006||2008||Graphic design|
|Home Repairs||1943||2002||2008||Home repairs|
|Indian Lore||1931||2008||2008||Native American culture|
|Landscape Architecture||1967||2008||2008||Landscape architecture|
|Mining in Society||2014||2014||2014||Mining|
|Model Design and Building||1963||2003||2008||Scale models|
|Nuclear Science||2005||2011||2008||Nuclear physics|
|Personal Fitness||1952||2006||2008||Physical fitness|
|Personal Management||1972||2003||2008||Personal finances, time management|
|Public Health||1911||2005||2008||Public health|
|Public Speaking||1932||2002||2008||Public speaking|
|Pulp and Paper||1972||2006||2008||Pulp, Papermaking|
|Reptile and Amphibian Study||1993||2005||2008||Herpetology|
|Rifle Shooting||1988||2001||2008||Rifle, Shooting|
|Scouting Heritage||2010||2010||2010||History of the Boy Scouts of America|
|Scuba diving||2009||2009||2009||Scuba diving|
|Search and Rescue||2012||2012||2012||Search and rescue|
|Shotgun Shooting||1988||2005||2008||Shotgun, shooting|
|Skating||1973||2005||2008||Ice skating, Roller skating|
|Snow Sports||1999||2007||2008||Skiing, Snowboarding|
|Soil and Water Conservation||1952||2004||2008||Soil conservation, Water conservation|
|Space Exploration||1965||2004||2008||Space exploration|
|Stamp Collecting||1932||2007||2008||Stamp collecting|
|Traffic Safety||1975||2006||2008||Road traffic safety|
|Truck Transportation||1973||2005||2008||Truck driver|
|Veterinary Medicine||1995||2005||2008||Veterinary medicine|
|Wilderness Survival||1974||2007||2008||Wilderness, Survival skills|
|Wood Carving||1923||2006||2008||Wood carving|
- Computers merit badge will be discontinued as of Dec. 31, 2014 when it will be replaced by Digital Technology merit badge; both can be currently earned.
Upcoming merit badges
The BSA has announced these new merit badges:
- Animation (2014)
- Signs, Signals, and Codes (2014)
- Multi-Media (2014)
- Computer-Aided Design (2014–2015)
- Advanced Computing (2014–2015)
Merit badge colleges
Merit badge colleges (or merit badge universities), which are also called merit badge weekends or merit badge midways when held at a camporee or jamboree, are events held where several troops or merit badge counselors come together and focus on teaching merit badges. There is some controversy whether Eagle-required merit badges should be available. Some believe that Scouts wishing to earn the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout should be able to seek out counselors for those badges themselves and do the requirements solo. Others believe all merit badges should be available to all Scouts.
Merit badge workbooks
Into the 1990s, a number of merit badge counselors developed worksheets as a way for Scouts to document their work. Counselors could teach to a group but still verify each Scout's progress. Today, worksheets have given way to workbooks with added graph paper, blank maps and diagrams, logs, charts, checklists, links, and other resources as needed. Merit badge workbooks are used by counselors, summer camps, and merit badge colleges. Workbooks have also been developed for ranks, Cub Scout belt loops, and Webelos activity pins.
2010 Historical Badges
Offered only in 2010, The Historical Merit Badge program, part of the Boy Scouts of America centennial, allowed Scouts to earn the discontinued Carpentry, Pathfinding, Signalling, and Tracking (originally called Stalking) merit badges. The patches for these historical merit badges are distinguished by a gold ring on the outside edge. All were based on merit badges that were among the original 57 issued in 1911.
- Discontinued merit badges (Boy Scouts of America)
- History of merit badges (Boy Scouts of America)
- Original 57 merit badges (Boy Scouts of America)
- The Official BSA Merit Badge Web site
- meritbadge.org on BSA Merit Badge Days policy
- USScouts on Merit Badge
- "Merit Badge Requirements". US Scouts.org Advancement section. Retrieved February 9, 2006.
- Wendell, Bryan (January 31, 2014). Time running out to earn Computers MB as Digital Technology MB launch nears. Bryan on Scouting.
- "Boy Scouts and Lemelson-MIT Program introduce Inventing merit badge". Scouting. June 17, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
- Wendell, Bryan. "Calendar of New Merit Badges". Bryan on Scouting. Scouting.
- USSscouts workbooks page
- "Historical merit badges help Boy Scouts celebrate Scouting’s past". Scouting (Boy Scouts of America). January 12, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- USScouts Historical Badges page
- "Merit Badge Library". Boy Scout Requirements. Boy Scouts of America. June 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
- "Current Merit Badge Pamphlet and Merit Badge Requirement Revision Dates". U.S. Scouting Service Project. June 5, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
- Steve Henning (July 20, 1999). "Merit Badges, Past and Present". Henning's Scouters' Pages. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Merit badge (Boy Scouts of America).|
- "Introduction to Merit Badges". Boy Scouts of America.
- "Merit Badges". U.S. Scouting Service Project.
- "IEEE emeritbadges.org". IEEE.
- "Merit Badge reference". Trail To Eagle.
- Badge Program: Boy Scouts of America at DMOZ
- Scouting: Collectibles: Virtual Collections: Badges and Patches at DMOZ