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Merit Badge Program

As chartered by the Congress of the United States, the Boy Scouts of America is a movement dedicated to supplementing and enlarging the education of youth. The merit badge program, which provides opportunities for youth to explore more than a hundred fields of skill and knowledge, plays a key role in the fulfillment of this educational commitment.

Merit Badge
Merit Badge
Merit Badge
Merit Badge
Merit Badge

A vital part of the BSA's advancement plan, the merit badge program is one of Scouting's basic character-building tools. Through participation in the program (which may begin immediately upon registration in a troop or team), a Scout acquires the kind of self-confidence that comes only from overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal. Instruction is offered in everything from animal science and public speaking to swimming and communications, providing a young man with invaluable career, physical, and interpersonal skills.

Merit Badge Pamphlets

Each merit badge subject is outlined and explained in a pamphlet that contains short, introductory information written for Boy Scouts/Varsity Scouts by recognized authorities. More than a million pamphlets are sold yearly, and many are used as approved reference texts in libraries and school curricula.

Counselors

People who are knowledgeable of the various merit badge subjects are selected, approved, and trained by council and district advancement committees to serve as merit badge counselors. For example, a dentist might be asked to serve as a counselor for the Dentistry merit badge. A counselor must not only possess the necessary technical knowledge but have a solid understanding of the needs, interests, and abilities of Scouts. A counselor must also be a registered adult with the BSA.

Procedure

When a Scout has an interest in earning a particular merit badge, he obtains his Scoutmaster's/Varsity Scout Coach's approval and identifies another Scout with similar interests to become his partner. They are then directed to the appropriate merit badge counselor. The counselor reviews the badge requirements with the young men and decides with them what projects should be undertaken and when they should be completed. After the counselor has certified that the Scouts have qualified for the merit badge, it is presented to them at a troop/team meeting and can be applied toward rank advancement.

Badges for Eagle

To qualify for the Eagle Scout Award, Scouting's highest advancement rank, a Scout must—along with meeting five other requirements—earn a total of 21 merit badges, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving, Environmental Science, Personal Management, Camping, Hiking OR Cycling OR Swimming and Family Life.

New Badges

To meet the changing interests of boys, new merit badges are added from time to time. In addition, all merit badges are reviewed and revised periodically.

MERIT BADGE20001911 - 2000
Agribusiness776,649
American Business81043,743
American Cultures1,72932,901
American Heritage3,82585,226
American Labor73111,732
Animal Science2,78812,609
Archaeology2,74264,648
Archery41,175962,056
Architecture2,106176,996
Art28,531875,840
Astronomy18,206441,947
Athletics4,0991,008,118
Atomic Energy5,230103,335
Auto Mechanics6,34842,749
Aviation17,257338,747
Backpacking7,038141,861
Basketry55,5961,988,404
Beekeeping2560,201
Bird Study2,481503,653
Botany3987,468
Bugling757160,364
Camping70,9163,784,868
Canoeing51,0832,435,642
Chemistry4,310248,049
Cinematography3,29527,291
Citizenship in the Community65,6302,657,034
Citizenship in the Nation67,3082,329,500
Citizenship in the World63,3931,365,446
Climbing23,02179,212
Coin Collecting5,025418,022
Collections8,04865,962
Communications59,3881,240,709
Computers17,461305,020
Consumer Buying11926,953
Cooking41,6143,866,047
Crime Prevention6,78135,401
Cycling9,641471,110
Dentistry3,37176,486
Disabilities Awareness2,61555,901
Dog Care3,817383,260
Drafting1,700203,793
Electricity10,305650,197
Electronics4,265126,685
Emergency Preparedness49,8471,143,453
Energy1,38439,160
Engineering2,12153,012
Entrepreneurship7311,817
Environmental Science73,3241,683,412
Family Life54,281392,919
Farm Mechanics1,653189,859
Fingerprinting43,0031,034,413
Firemanship12,5482,410,368
First Aid101,2005,721,009
Fish and Wildlife Management17,230439,676
Fishing32,8221,578,512
Forestry15,318931,329
Gardening2,056358,672
Genealogy5,610154,674
General Science3952,768
Geology16,919361,369
Golf7,32077,965
Graphic Arts1,52215,066
Hiking11,8331,213,046
Home Repairs6,8982,344,923
Horsemanship12,113468,505
Indian Lore28,394791,770
Insect Study1,771130,777
Journalism1,22489,931
Landscape Architecture2,83054,782
Law5,27496,724
Leatherwork62,8501,693,610
Lifesaving37,3262,627,521
Machinery541175,304
Mammal Study31,800786,220
Masonry13160,126
Medicine2,75620,358
Metals Engineering*24929,076
Metalwork29,399947,908
Model Design and Building2,270183,624
Motorboating14,675400,830
Music12,6851,109,647
Nature16,4381,437,438
Oceanography8,555148,675
Orienteering25,571528,965
Painting4,021497,289
Personal Fitness82,8651,717,876
Personal Management47,2321,082,974
Pets6,658567,100
Photography6,106319,086
Pioneering28,5312,088,136
Plant Science54224,251
Plumbing5,383309,873
Pottery14,299231,595
Public Health1,1711,495,115
Public Speaking2,639565,356
Pulp and Paper3,20752,077
Rabbit Raising*0137,265
Radio3,98290,929
Railroading5,004137,773
Reading7,8351,389,291
Reptile and Amphibian Study12,072502,300
Rifle & Shotgun Shooting*0314,538
Rifle Shooting49,468626,283
Rowing22,4011,489,506
Safety8,0992,875,060
Salesmanship5,664245,112
Scholarship6,5401,184,998
Sculpture7,257159,501
Shotgun Shooting20,106183,250
Skating7,060120,398
Skiing244260,717
Small-Boat Sailing19,664396,341
Snow Sports12,71617,848
Soil and Water Conservation15,835921,854
Space Exploration20,713250,117
Sports14,487993,466
Stamp Collecting1,251373,391
Surveying1,249133,449
Swimming102,3785,216,002
Textile2,51093,889
Theater1,69754,139
Traffic Safety2,84073,388
Truck Transportation3,62793,221
Unclassified5910,324,856
Veterinary Science1,87937,894
Water Skiing6,298190,729
Weather16,527341,967
Whitewater3,88234,580
Wilderness Survival44,1121,038,566
Wood Carving51,3611,635,255
Woodwork5,749901,267
TOTAL2,168,309101,388,856

* discontinued


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