Merit badge (Boy Scouts of America)

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For history regarding merit badge types, see History of merit badges (Boy Scouts of America).
Merit badges
Fish and Wildlife Management merit badge, type J front.png
Fish and Wildlife Management merit badge
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Created 1911
 Scouting portal

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.

A sample merit badge sash: From left to right, starting at top; 1 Swimming, Mammal Study, Environmental Science; 2 Basketry, Wood Carving, Dog Care; 3 Wilderness Survival, Emergency Preparedness, Bird Study; 4 Public Speaking, Scholarship, Law; 5 Rifle Shooting, Archery, Metalwork; 6 Fish and Wildlife Management, Citizenship in the Nation, Orienteering; 7 Citizenship in the Community, Communications, Personal Management; 8 Soil and Water Conservation, Reptile Study, Lifesaving; 9 Forestry, Citizenship in the World, Safety

Eagle Scout requirements[edit]

The current requirements for Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouting, includes earning 21 merit badges including 13 from a required list:

  • Camping
  • Cooking
  • Cycling, Hiking or Swimming
  • Citizenship in the Community
  • Citizenship in the Nation
  • Citizenship in the World
  • Communications
  • Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving
  • Environmental Science or Sustainability
  • Family Life
  • First Aid
  • Personal Fitness
  • Personal Management

List of current merit badges[edit]

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).[4]
Name Created Requirements
revision
Pamphlet
revision
Related subjects
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
Archaeology 1997 2008 2008 Archaeology
Archery 1911 2012 2008 Archery
Architecture 1911 2008 2008 Architecture
Art 1911 2006 2008 Art
Astronomy 1911 2013 2013 Astronomy
Athletics 1911 2006 2008 Track and field athletics
Automotive Maintenance 2008 2008 2012 Auto mechanics
Aviation 1911 2006 2008 Aviation
Backpacking 1982 2007 2008 Backpacking
Basketry 1927 2003 2008 Basket weaving
Bird Study 1914 2005 2008 Ornithology
Bugling 1911 2003 2008 Bugle
Camping 1911 2005 2008 Camping
Canoeing 1927 2004 2008 Canoeing
Chemistry 1911 2004 2008 Chemistry
Chess 2011 2011 2011 Chess
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
Climbing 1997 2006 2008 Climbing
Coin Collecting 1938 2008 2008 Coin collecting
Collections 1991 2008 2008 Collecting
Communications 1968 2003 2008 Communications
Composite Materials 2006 2006 2008 Composite materials
Computers[a] 1967 2005 2008 Computers
Cooking 1911 2014 2014 Cooking
Crime Prevention 1996 2005 2008 Crime prevention
Cycling 1911 2003 2008 Cycling
Dentistry 1975 2006 2008 Dentistry
Digital Technology 2014 2014 2014 Technology
Disabilities Awareness 1993 2005 2008 Disability
Dog Care 1938 2003 2008 Dogs
Drafting 1965 2008 2008 Technical drawing
Electricity 1911 2004 2008 Electricity
Electronics 1963 2004 2008 Electronics
Emergency Preparedness 1972 2008 2008 Emergency management
Energy 1976 2005 2008 Energy
Engineering 1967 2008 2008 Engineering
Entrepreneurship 1997 2006 2008 Entrepreneurship
Environmental Science 1972 2006 2008 Environmental science
Family Life 1991 2005 2008 Family values
Farm Mechanics 1928 2008 2008 Agricultural machinery
Fingerprinting 1938 2003 2008 Fingerprinting
Fire Safety 1995 2004 2008 Fire safety
First Aid 1911 2007 2008 First aid
Fish and Wildlife Management 1972 2004 2008 Wildlife management
Fishing 1952 2002 2008 Fishing
Fly Fishing 2002 2002 2008 Fly fishing
Forestry 1911 2005 2008 Forestry
Gardening 1911 2002 2008 Gardening
Game Design 2013 2013 2013 Game Design
Genealogy 1972 2005 2008 Genealogy, Family history
Geocaching 2010 2010 2010 Geocaching
Geology 1953 2005 2008 Geology
Golf 1976 2002 2008 Golf
Graphic Arts 1987 2006 2008 Graphic design
Hiking 1921 2007 2008 Hiking
Home Repairs 1943 2002 2008 Home repairs
Horsemanship 1911 2011 2008 Equestrianism
Indian Lore 1931 2008 2008 Native American culture
Insect Study 1985 2008 2008 Entomology
Inventing[6] 2010 2010 2010 Invention
Journalism 1927 2006 2008 Journalism
Kayaking 2012 2012 2012 Kayaking
Landscape Architecture 1967 2008 2008 Landscape architecture
Law 1974 2003 2008 Law
Leatherwork 1951 2002 2008 Leather crafting
Lifesaving 1911 2008 2008 Lifeguarding
Mammal Study 1985 2003 2008 Zoology
Medicine 1991 2002 2008 Medicine
Metalwork 1927 2007 2008 Metalworking
Mining in Society 2014 2014 2014 Mining
Model Design and Building 1963 2003 2008 Scale models
Motorboating 1961 2008 2008 Motorboat
Moviemaking 2013 2013 2013 Filmmaking
Music 1911 2003 2008 Music
Nature 1952 2003 2008 Nature
Nuclear Science 2005 2011 2008 Nuclear physics
Oceanography 1964 2003 2008 Oceanography
Orienteering 1973 2003 2008 Orienteering
Painting 1911 2008 2008 Paint
Personal Fitness 1952 2006 2008 Physical fitness
Personal Management 1972 2003 2008 Personal finances, time management
Pets 1958 2003 2008 Pets
Photography 1911 2005 2008 Photography
Pioneering 1911 2006 2008 Pioneering
Plant Science 1974 2005 2008 Botany
Plumbing 1911 2004 2008 Plumbing
Pottery 1927 2008 2008 Pottery
Programming 2013 2013 2013 Computer programming
Public Health 1911 2005 2008 Public health
Public Speaking 1932 2002 2008 Public speaking
Pulp and Paper 1972 2006 2008 Pulp, Papermaking
Radio 1923 2008 2008 Radio
Railroading 1952 2003 2008 Rail transport
Reading 1929 2003 2008 Reading
Reptile and Amphibian Study 1993 2005 2008 Herpetology
Rifle Shooting 1988 2001 2008 Rifle, Shooting
Rowing 1933 2006 2008 Rowing
Robotics 2011 2011 2011 Robotics
Safety 1927 2006 2008 Safety
Salesmanship 1927 2003 2008 Sales
Scholarship 1911 2004 2008 Scholarship
Scouting Heritage 2010 2010 2010 History of the Boy Scouts of America
Scuba diving 2009 2009 2009 Scuba diving
Sculpture 1911 2007 2008 Sculpture
Search and Rescue 2012 2012 2012 Search and rescue
Shotgun Shooting 1988 2005 2008 Shotgun, shooting
Skating 1973 2005 2008 Ice skating, Roller skating
Small-Boat Sailing 1964 2004 2008 Sailing
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
Sports 1972 2011 2008 Sports
Stamp Collecting 1932 2007 2008 Stamp collecting
Surveying 1911 2004 2008 Surveying
Sustainability 2013 2013 2013 Sustainability
Swimming 1911 2014 2008 Swimming
Textile 1973 2003 2008 Textiles
Theater 1967 2005 2008 Theatre
Traffic Safety 1975 2006 2008 Road traffic safety
Truck Transportation 1973 2005 2008 Truck driver
Veterinary Medicine 1995 2005 2008 Veterinary medicine
Water Sports 1969 2007 2008 Waterskiing
Weather 1927 2006 2008 Weather
Welding 2012 2012 2012 Welding
Whitewater 1987 2005 2008 Whitewater rafting
Wilderness Survival 1974 2007 2008 Wilderness, Survival skills
Wood Carving 1923 2006 2008 Wood carving
Woodwork 1923 2003 2008 Woodworking
  1. ^ Computers merit badge will be discontinued as of December 31, 2014 when it will be replaced by Digital Technology merit badge; both can be currently earned.[5]

Upcoming merit badges[edit]

The BSA has announced these new merit badges:[7]

  • Animation (2014)
  • Signs, Signals, and Codes (2014)
  • Multi-Media (2014)
  • Computer-Aided Design (2014–2015)
  • Advanced Computing (2014–2015)

Merit badge colleges[edit]

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[edit]

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.[8] 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[edit]

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.[9][10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Official BSA Merit Badge Web site
  2. ^ meritbadge.org on BSA Merit Badge Days policy
  3. ^ USScouts on Merit Badge
  4. ^ "Merit Badge Requirements". US Scouts.org Advancement section. Retrieved February 9, 2006. 
  5. ^ Wendell, Bryan (January 31, 2014). "Time running out to earn Computers MB as Digital Technology MB launch nears". Bryan on Scouting. 
  6. ^ "Boy Scouts and Lemelson-MIT Program introduce Inventing merit badge". Scouting. June 17, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 
  7. ^ Wendell, Bryan. "Calendar of New Merit Badges". Bryan on Scouting. Scouting. 
  8. ^ USSscouts workbooks page
  9. ^ "Historical merit badges help Boy Scouts celebrate Scouting’s past". Scouting (Boy Scouts of America). January 12, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ USScouts Historical Badges page

External links[edit]