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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 are awards earned by youth members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), a U.S.-based organization, 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. Originally, the program also introduced Scouts to the life skills of contacting an adult they hadn't met before, arranging a meeting and then demonstating 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 published by the Boy Scouts of America associated with it; the pamphlet contains information on completing the requirements for the badge. There 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.

Certain merit badges are required in order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America. There are 10 of these, and two sets of either-or choices. (Cycling, Hiking, OR Swimming and Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving). In addition, to fulfill the Eagle Scout merit badge requirement, the Scout must also earn nine or more merit badges from the list of badges that are not specifically required for Eagle.

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.

The current merit badge system began in 1979; three merit badges have not been updated since that time – Athletics, Mammal Study and Pulp and Paper. The most recent new merit badges are Nuclear Science, created in 2005 as a redesigned Atomic Energy badge; Snow Sports, created in 1999 as a redesigned Skiing merit badge; and Fly Fishing, split off from the Fishing merit badge in 2002. The most recent completely new merit badges are Composite Materials, created in 2006;

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Archaeology and Climbing, both created in 1997; and Entrepreneurship, created in 1998. The Boy Scouts of America are, as of 2005, field-testing a Hunting merit badge.

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Besides the BSA, these Scouting organizations are known to issue or have issued merit badges: Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. Austria has a program similar to merit badges for certain age groups.

File:MeritBadgeSash.JPG
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

List of current merit badges

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Name Created Last updated Notes Further reading
25pxAmerican Business 1967c 2003 Business, economy of the United States
25pxAmerican Cultures 1979 2005 Culture of the United States
25pxAmerican Heritage 1975 2005 History of the United States
25pxAmerican Labor 1987 2006 Trade union
25pxAnimal Science 1975 2007 Animal Science
25pxArchaeology 1997 2006 Archaeology
25pxArchery 1911 2005 Archery
25pxArchitecture 1911 1995 Architecture
25pxArt 1911 2002 Art
25pxAstronomy 1911 2005 Astronomy
25pxAthletics 1911 2007 Athletics
25pxAuto Mechanics 1992 2001 Auto mechanic
25px25pxAviation 1911 2001 Aviation
25pxBackpacking 1982 2003 Backpacking
25pxBasketry 1927 2004 Basket weaving
25pxBird Study 1914 2005 Ornithology
25pxBugling 1911 2004 Shares a pamphlet with Music Bugle (instrument)
25pxCamping 1911 2007 Eagle-required Camping
25pxCanoeing 1927 2005 Canoeing
25pxChemistry 1911 2005 Chemistry
25pxCinematography 1990 2002 Cinematography
25pxCitizenship in the Community 1952 2005 Eagle-required Citizenship
25pxCitizenship in the Nation 1951 2005 Eagle-required Citizenship
25pxCitizenship in the World 1972 2006 Eagle-required Global citizenship
25pxClimbing 1997 2007 Climbing
25pxCoin Collecting 1938 2003 Coin collecting
25pxCollections 1991 2004 Collecting
25pxCommunications 1965 2004 Eagle-required Communication
25pxComposite Materials 2006 2006 Composite material
25pxComputers 1967 2005 Computers
25pxCooking 1911 2005 Cooking
25pxCrime Prevention 1996 2006 Crime prevention
25px25pxCycling 1911 2005 Eagle-required (this or Hiking or Swimming) Cycling
25pxDentistry 1975 2003 Dentistry
25pxDisabilities Awareness 1993 2005 Disability
25pxDog Care 1938 2004 Dog
25pxDrafting 1965 1993 Technical drawing
25pxElectricity 1911 2005 Electricity
25pxElectronics 1963 2005 Electronics
25pxEmergency Preparedness 1972 2005 Eagle-required (this or Lifesaving) Emergency management
25pxEnergy 1976 2005 Energy
25pxEngineering 1967 2001 Engineering
25pxEntrepreneurship 1997 1998 Entrepreneurship
25pxEnvironmental Science 1972 2006 Eagle-required Environmental science
25px25pxFamily Life 1991 2005 Eagle-required, takes at least 90 days Family values
25pxFarm Mechanics 1928 1998 Agricultural machinery
25pxFingerprinting 1938 2004 Fingerprint
25pxFire Safety 1995 2005 Fire safety
25pxFirst Aid 1911 2005 Eagle-required First aid
25pxFish and Wildlife Management 1972 2005 Wildlife management
25pxFishing 1952 2003 Fishing
25pxFly Fishing 2002 2003 Fly Fishing
25pxForestry 1911 2006 Forestry
25pxGardening 1911 2003 Gardening
25pxGenealogy 1972 2006 Family history
25pxGeology 1953 2005 Geology
25pxGolf 1976 2003 Golf
25pxGraphic Arts 1987 2006 Graphic Arts
25px25pxHiking 1921 2000 Eagle-required (this or Cycling or Swimming) Hiking
25pxHome Repairs 1943 2003 Home repair
25pxHorsemanship 1911 2004 Equestrianism
25pxIndian Lore 1931 1995 Native American mythology
25pxInsect Study 1985 2003 Entomology
25px25pxJournalism 1927 2006 Journalism
25pxLandscape Architecture 1967 2003 Landscape Architecture
25pxLaw 1974 2003 Law
25pxLeatherwork 1951 2003 Leather
25pxLifesaving 1911 2001 Eagle-required (this or Emergency Preparedness) Lifesaving
25pxMammal Study 1985 prior to 1979 Mammal
25pxMedicine 1991 2005 Medicine
25pxMetalwork 1927 2005 Metalworking
25pxModel Design and Building 1963 2004 Scale model
25pxMotorboating 1961 1998 Motorboat
25pxMusic 1911 2004 Shares a pamphlet with Bugling Music
25pxNature 1952 2004 Nature
25px25pxNuclear Science 2005 2005 Atomic nucleus
25pxOceanography 1964 2004 Oceanography
25pxOrienteering 1973 2004 Orienteering
25pxPainting 1911 2003 Painting
25pxPersonal Fitness 1952 2006 Eagle-required, takes at least 90 days Physical fitness
25pxPersonal Management 1972 2004 Eagle-required, takes at least 90 days Personal finance, time management
25pxPets 1958 2005 Takes at least 4 months Pet
25pxPhotography 1911 2005 Photography
25pxPioneering 1911 2006 Knot, trestle
25pxPlant Science 1974 2005 Botany
25pxPlumbing 1911 2005 Plumbing
25pxPottery 1927 2003 Pottery
25pxPublic Health 1911 2005 Public health
25pxPublic Speaking 1932 2003 Public speaking
25pxPulp and Paper 1972 2006 Pulp and Paper Merit Badge
25pxRadio 1923 2002 Radio
25px25pxRailroading 1952 2005 Railroad
25pxReading 1929 2004 Reading
25pxReptile and Amphibian Study 1993 2005 Reptile, amphibian
25pxRifle Shooting 1988 2002 Was originally part of the combined Rifle and Shotgun Shooting merit badge. Rifle, shooting
25pxRowing 1933 2006 Sport rowing
25px25pxSafety 1927 2006 Safety
25pxSalesmanship 1927 2004 Sales
25pxScholarship 1911 2005 Scholarship
25pxSculpture 1911 2003 Sculpture
25pxShotgun Shooting 1988 2006 Requirements predate merit badge because it was formerly part of Rifle and Shotgun Shooting Shotgun, shooting
25pxSkating 1973 2006 Ice skating, roller skating
25pxSmall-Boat Sailing 1964 2005 Sailing
25pxSnow Sports 1999 1999 Winter sport
25pxSoil and Water Conservation 1952 2005 Soil conservation, water conservation
25pxSpace Exploration 1965 2005 Space Exploration
25px25pxSports 1972 1996 Sport
25pxStamp Collecting 1932 2001 Stamp collecting
25pxSurveying 1911 2005 Surveying
25pxSwimming 1911 2002 Eagle-required (this or Cycling or Hiking) Swimming
25pxTextile 1973 2004 Textile
25pxTheater 1967 2005 Theater
25pxTraffic Safety 1975 2002 Road-traffic safety
25pxTruck Transportation 1973 2005 Truck
25pxVeterinary Medicine 1995 2005 Veterinary medicine
25pxWater Skiing 1969 1999 Water skiing
25pxWeather 1927 2007 Weather
25pxWhitewater 1987 2005 Whitewater
25pxWilderness Survival 1974 2002 Wilderness, survival skills
25pxWood Carving 1923 2002 Wood carving
25pxWoodwork 1923 2004 Woodworking

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.

See also

Footnotes

  1. "Requirements for new Composite Materials merit badge". US Scouts.org. http://www.usscouts.org/advance/boyscout/advchanges06.html#Composite. Retrieved January 18. 
  2. "Helping Scouts Advance". Merit Badge Research Center. http://www.meritbadge.com/home.htm. Retrieved September 26. 
  3. "Merit Badge Requirements". US Scouts.org Advancement section. http://www.usscouts.org/advancementTOC.asp#merit. Retrieved February 09. 

References

External links