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Merit Badge Activity Planning Tips

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These planning tips are prepared for use in group activities planned with the Patrol Leader Merit Badge Planning Guide

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

Working on Merit Badge Activities 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.

2020 Virtual Meetings

The Great Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 presents unique challenges and opportunities for scouting - shutting down schools, sports and other groups events. Interestingly, one of the first solutions that everyone speaks of is organizing virtual meetings for Merit Badge discussions.

Here are some guidelines:

Virtual Conferencing Services

There are several free sources for hosting a virtual teleconferencing. Check out these free resources - many adult members already have an account and experience already from their employment. Ask us about limits on time or # of users -- And many Scout leaders and parents are subscribing for $19.95/month to get the professional version of one or more the falling - it has better quality and less restrictions.

Most work on both your phone-app or on your laptop computer that has both camera and microphone.

Warning: Videoconferencing is great for just a few participants, but the more you have online degrades both the quality of the interface - and also gives reduces the opportunity for other scouts to "discuss" their thoughts on the subject. (Merit Badge Activities emphasize "Discussion", not "Lecture"!)

The ideal size for a Virtual Merit Badge Class is 3-6 Participants. GotoMeeting is an example of quality visual interface where if any participant has something to say, they can raise their hand and can be quickly called upon. Or the scouts can speak directly to each other.

Youth Protection Guidelines

YPG Rules still apply for all virtual activities. Scouts should always have at least one buddy or another adult participating in any virtual discussions / text communications. If a scout contacts you without a buddy, please tell them to hangup and callback with a buddy.

And every MB Session is an official scouting activity. Every scout should be in a scout uniform where possible!

Also for YPG, it is strongly advised the scouts only work with MBC that are approved by their Scout troop or scout district leaders.

Leadership Training

Philmont Sequential Programming

Creating Scouting Programs That Rock!

One of the hallmarks of the Philmont Scouting Adventure is the use of "Sequential Programming".

"A sequential approach to program planning is one where gaining specific skills, and then putting them into action, pave the way towards a larger experience that is memorable and rewarding. This larger experience is ordinarily featured during a “main event” like an outing or special trip. "

This technique can easily become part of most patrol merit badge activities. Teach the skills and then follow with an active campout, field trip or service project.

Have a Mentor

  • Share Your Ideas - Ask your Scoutmaster, ASM, Parent or Troop Guide for their feedback and direction. They want you to succeed!
  • Coordinate your Plans - You have some great ideas here - the tricky part may be how to work it into your troop calendar.

Consult the M.B.C.

  • Call the Merit Badge Counselor (MBC) - before your start. He/she usually has some great activity ideas already to share.
  • Your MBC also knows some of the best places in your community to help your group have fun.
  • Some activities require advance approval by the MBC.
  • The Scoutmaster should be able to recommend a MBC to you. Bring a buddy.

Read the M.B. Requirements First

  • Read carefully each of the requirements of the merit badge.
  • Note which are "homework" requirements that are to be done alone or with the scout's family.
  • Note which are "activity" requirements. (Do you need to bring in materials like paper, rocks, scissors, etc?)
  • Are there any "field trip" type requirements.
  • Note which are "study hall" requirements. These are when you form your patrol as a study group and read together from a manual or video that explains the basic science of how this merit badge works.

Online M.B. Resources

  • Merit Badge Requirements: BoyScoutTrial.com lists all requirements, additional resources, activity worksheet, etc.
  • Merit Badge File Store: Online resources
  • Merit Badge Worksheets: Worksheets are optional - but highly preferred by many MBC. When you find that many requirements say "discuss" - the worksheet can help you gather your thoughts beforehand.
  • The Scout Merit Badge Booklet: Everything thing you need to know about Genealogy is right here. Get this study guide from either Amazon or your Troop Library, Merit Badge Counselor or Scoutmaster to Learn More About this Subject.
  • Genealogy @ Simple-Wikipedia: Get the basics quickly.

Write up Your Activity Plan

  • Be Prepared - means planning ahead. It dramatically increases your opportunities for success.
  • It is a Draft - Plans are subject to many changes. Some dates, events and activities may change after reviewing it with your leaders. Ponder each of the sections - what can you study together on patrol night, where will you go, what will you do, when will you start and finish?
  • Resources - A big part of the plan is knowing what items to bring and delegating them to others.

Communicate Your Plan

  • Activity Flyer - A summary of dates, places and things to bring.
  • Reminder to bring uniform, worksheet, etc.
  • The flyer will summarize all of your ideas on to one page in a colorful format.


Homework / Pre-requisites

It is important for each scout to take responsibility in preparing for the success of this activity. Also - this free's up valuable time at the patrol meeting so there is more group time on fun interactive activities.

  • Delegate items/supplies/worksheets to bring
  • Assign topics for them to research and discuss with their parents
  • Select which requirement they should do at home.

Study Hall

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

  1. Prepare an agenda and make Assignments as needed.
  2. What learning materials are needed for this meeting? Who will bring them?
  3. Watch video, powerpoint or other online tutorial.
  4. Update one or more sections of the merit badge worksheet. (Ask the Merit Badge Counselor which requirements are relevant here.)
  5. Invite the Merit Badge Counselor to join your Study Hall.
  6. Plan and Prepare for the Patrol Field Trip Activities (see below).

Field Trips

This is one of the best parts of the merit badge activity. Look for ways to accomplish multiple requirements during the trip.

Consider including one or more of the following:

  1. Merit Badge Campout: Field Trip overnight experience can get you a lot closer to the action and to see things in a different way.
  2. Facility Tour: A day trip to a musuem, gallery, or factory of a related nature.
  3. Get Dirty Day: Setup a work station in your garage, backyard, park or other location for a truely "hands-on" experience.
  4. Service Project: There many organizations connected with this merit badge that could use your assistance. This is your opportunity to Do A Good Turn Daily.
  • Contact the destination venue. Confirm that they can assist with the Field Trip Requirements. Reserve your Event Dates. Get Scoutmaster Assistance as necessary.
  • Patrol Historian should be ready to take pictures on this activity to report back on the next troop blog, newsletter or court of honor.
  • ASM Record Your Unit Service Hours - Remind the ASM to log in the troop service hours.

Final Meeting

Meeting with the Merit Badge Counselor.

You will probably need to schedule one patrol night for a follow up meeting with your Merit Badge Counselor. He/She will use this opportunity to meet with scouts either individually are as a group to review your activities, study worksheets, knowledge and accomplishments before signing off your Merit Badge Blue Card.

  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.

See Also

  • 9 Things to Know about Merit Badges - BoysLife.org - 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.

Invite A Friend

  • Putting together a super fun activity is what draws others to become a scout.

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