American Heritage Merit Badge Activity Planner

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American Dreamers come from all walks of life, and they all have something special to share about why they hold this country and our American Heritage so dear.

'Patrol Leader Merit Badge Planning Guide for the American Heritage Merit Badge

*** Activities for the Youth Lead Patrol ***

Exploring American Heritage can be a fascinating youth adventure when done right. Here are a few tips to help the patrol leader get started.

  • Scouts may never add or subtract from the actual merit badge requirements
  • This Planner is only a suggestion of different ideas to make working this Merit Badge both fun and easy.
  • While doing the Worksheet is not a requirement for earning this badge, in many cases it can help you learn key concepts and track your progress.

A. Make Your Plan

Sample Patrol Activity Flyer
  1. Merit Badge Activity Planning Tips - 14 tips for a successful patrol activity. Read carefully before you start your plan!
  2. Share Your Plan - Meet ahead of time with your patrol, scout leaders, parents and especially with the Merit Badge Counselor. Make changes to the plan as needed.
  3. Prepare Activity Flyer - Keep your fellow scouts informed - events, activities, pre-requisites and more.
Patrol Activity FAIR Quite a bit of research work / pioneer museum field trip would be fun.
Virtual Field Trip GREAT Several Virtual field trip options.
Family Activity GREAT Family History Research - Local family outings.
Service Activity GREAT Do service projects for museums that you visit.
S.T.E.M. Activity FAIR Learn about our country's great scientists and inventions
Field Trip GREAT Two field trips required
Duty-to-God GREAT Explore famous historic local churches.
MB Day GREAT Big prequisites but a great sitdown discussion topic
Overnighter GREAT Campout at local historic site or hiking trail.
Summer Camp POOR Lots of history research best done from home.

Online Resources

B. Introduction Meeting

Most merit badge activities do best to have a "introduction" meeting where the patrol can discuss how to get started and to plan out their field trips. Send out the activity flyer in advance to use as an meeting agenda. Your scouts will then know what to expect.

C. Homework / Prerequisites

Assign one or more requirements that the scout can do at home, perhaps as a family activity.

  • Req #1: Rewrite the Declaration of Independance -
  • Req #2-1: First American Heritage Research Project
  • Req #2-2: Second American Heritage Research Project
  • Req #3c : Family Heritage Research Project - See Genealogy Merit Badge Activity Planner for some ideas on how to do this (and earn another merit badge too?)
  • Req #5: Two Movies, 1 Biography or 5 Historic Songs - Heritage Research Project

D. Study Hall Patrol Night


While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. Make an agenda. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles introduced here would be relevant. Schedule one or more patrol meetings to work this merit badge.

Discuss with your MBC the following :

Pre-Open Gathering Activity

  • Short Video of American Heritage Story
  • Display Artifacts from American Heritage

Sharing Night with MBC

This merit badge calls for a number of research projects. It may be best to select a patrol night where each scout has an opportunity to share their discoveries and heritage with the MBC and the rest of the patrol.

  • Req #1: Rewrite the Declaration of Independance -
  • Req #2-1: First American Heritage Research Project
  • Req #2-2: Second American Heritage Research Project
  • Req #3c : Family Heritage Research Project - See Genealogy Merit Badge Activity Planner for some ideas on how to do this (and earn another merit badge too?)
  • Req #5: Two Movies, 1 Biography or 5 Historic Songs - Heritage Research Project

E. Two Field Trips


A related field trip with the MBC will be a great time to do the second half of this merit badge activity. This merit badge actually calls for two such field trips activities. Your MBC may be able to suggest some fantastic local sites to visit.

Req #4. Do TWO of the following (Field Trips!):

4A: Local Historic Site Map (Virtual Tour)

4a. Explain what is meant by the National Register of Historic Places and how a property becomes eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Make a map of your local area, marking the points of historical interest. Tell about any National Register properties in your area. Share the map with your counselor, and describe the historical points you have indicated.

4B: Visit Local Historic Site (Virtual Tour?)

4b. Research an event of historical importance that took place in or near your area. If possible, visit the place. Tell your counselor about the event and how it affected local history. Describe how the area looked then and what it now looks like.

4C: Town History Museum (Virtual Tour?)

Almost every community has a local history museum. A visit there in person (or online) can help you answer this question:

4c. Find out when, why, and how your town or neighborhood started, and what ethnic, national, or racial groups played a part. Find out how the area has changed over the past 50 years and try to explain why.

4D: Historic Program

Many local museums coordinate one or more events per year with youth and family participation to reenact a major historical event. Ask the Museum or MBC about one in your area.

4d. Take an active part in a program about an event or person in American history. Report to your counselor about the program, the part you took, and the subject.

4E: Historic Trail Hike

That local museum above might be at the end point of just such a famous trail.

4e. Visit a historic trail or walk in your area. After your visit, share with your counselor what you have learned. Discuss the importance of this location and explain why you think it might qualify for National Register listing.

Historic Site Campout

There may be a national historic site (Req #2a) that feature overnight camping tours; This is by far one of the funnest adventures associated with this merit badge. Here are a few examples:

  • Ussmidway.jpg
    USS Midway Museum - historic floating museum and national landmark, this famous aircraft carrier is docked in San Diego Harbor and regularly hosts overnight scout and family campouts. Many exhibits help visitors explore the development of science and technology in the military during the 20th Century. Explore aviation, citizenship and engineering activities onboard. Sleep overnight in the crew bunks onboard the ship!
  • New Jersey State Historic Sites - The Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair offers several opportunities for Scouts BSA to meet requirements for Merit Badges.

Virtual Field Trip

Many MBC for this subject have an amateur radio station at home with which they can do a virtual tour with your patrol.

F. Extra Credit

While none of these are actual requirements for this merit badge - they are terrific opportunities to show Scout Spirit, Do A Good Turn Daily and to have FUN!

  1. Activity Reflection: Use this meeting for scouts to ask questions and to reflect on what they gained personally from this adventure. You can also have a discussion on what future opportunities are here.
  2. Court of Honor Exhibit: Pictures, handiwork and other memorabilia from this adventure will make for a great presentation at the next Scout Troop Court of Honor.

Field Trip Service Projects


Most of the historic sites of service project opportunities. Many eagle service projects opportunities may be found here also.

  • Scout Cemetery Service Projects - - Special Feature at BoysLife. Check out these Eagle Scouts engaged in several different types of amazing Genealogical Service projects. Historic cemetery repairs, battlefield restoration, flag display monuments, burial records, memorial gardens and much more.
  • National Constitution Center- Scout Days - At the National Constitution Center, scouts will enjoy action-packed day learning about American history and the importance of good citizenship—all while meeting badge, patch, or journey requirements!

Duty to God

Scouts working on this activity may get special credit for earning their Religious Emblems Award.

A number of famous historic sites have a religious theme background behind.

Related Merit Badges

Sometimes it is easier by doing two or more merit badges together as a joint activity:

Learn More: 9 Things to Know about Merit Badges - - There are more than 135 merit badges. By earning them, you can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers. Here’s how to get the most out of your merit badge experience.