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 avocation.
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 are designated merit badge counselors for each badge, and a Scout would meet with a counselor to demonstrate that he’s completed the requirements. The counselor would then ‘sign off’ on each one. Scouts can purchase merit badge pamphlets at the local scout shop (click here for location and hours).
There are several ways to start a Merit Badge. For example:
- The Scout speaks with his Scout Master and expresses an interest in a particular Merit Badge. The Scout Master will work with the Scout to identify a trained MB counselor and start the process;
- Summer Camp; Advance Camp
- BSA Events, for example the STEM Midway & Merit Badge Midway; and
- Troop 1351 will also hold classes for various Merit Badges throughout the year
USScouts has an excellent listing of Merit Badges and their relative difficulty that Scouts and parents can use as a guide in determining what to tackle when. T1351 has taken this MB list and turned it into a filtered spreadsheet that makes this process even easier. Click here for the google doc MB spreadsheet.