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It’s official: The Boy Scouts of America Historic Merit Badge program begins today

This is no April Fools’ Day joke: the Boy Scouts of America Historic Merit Badge program is here.

Today marks the first day boys can begin earning Signaling, Tracking, Pathfinding, and Carpentry: four merit badges brought back for the Centennial year.

As we reported in January, the program honors Scouting’s rich 100-year history by introducing today’s Scouts to the merit badges earned by yesterday’s youth. To bring the badges into a 21st-century context, the BSA has created supplemental information guides that will accompany scans of the original merit badge pamphlets.

Ready to go? Here are some tips on how to get your guys started:

  • The badges can be earned beginning today, and requirements must be completed by Dec. 31, 2010.
  • Historic merit badges do count toward a Scout’s rank advancement.
  • Each merit badge emblem features a gold border, which will help identify it as special to the centennial year.
  • Pamphlets for these badges will not be reprinted. Instead, Scouts and Scouters can go online to find digital scans of the original pamphlets. Click each link below to be taken to the page to download these scans:
  • You’ll need to secure qualified merit badge counselors for each badge. Here’s a handy guide on where to look for an expert on each subject.
  • Want to plan a special event centered on these badges? Check out this primer on how to get started.

Take advantage of this exciting time to honor the BSA’s history with your troop. Just like the Centennial celebration, this opportunity won’t last long.

20 Comments on It’s official: The Boy Scouts of America Historic Merit Badge program begins today

  1. Mr. Sosebee // April 1, 2010 at 8:49 am // Reply

    It’s about time. Our boys have been chomping at the bit. Wish we could have done pathfinding and tracking while we had snow. Oh well, mud days are due next. i see that the badges still must be completed by Dec 31st, I was hoping that we would have 12 from today since it was delayed. How about that?

  2. David M. Harrington // April 1, 2010 at 9:49 am // Reply

    Can adult scouts work on these?

  3. Would have been nice if the deadline for earning these was March 31, 2011 (12 from today) since the program was delayed so long.

  4. Would have been nice if the deadline for earning these was March 31, 2011 (12 months from today) since the program was delayed so long.

  5. This is VERY cool!

  6. Great…what about the Scouting Heritage MB?
    It was supposed to be out 1st Qtr 2010. That ended yesterday…

  7. Hooray! Finally! And I’m glad they end Dec 31st, otherwise they wouldn’t truly be centennial badges.

  8. Will there really be very many folks out there who are qualified to counsel signalling? I know morse, but I doubt there are many around who will be able to do semaphore. Could BSA change it to either/or?

  9. BSA_Aquatics_Dude // April 1, 2010 at 6:21 pm // Reply

    I wish they had these merit badges while i was going through scouts

  10. Sebastian (a lady) // April 1, 2010 at 6:29 pm // Reply

    Semaphore and morse are both skills that were part the job of being a Navy signalman. Try asking around your local VFW, Fleet Reserve Association, reserve center or military base. Even if first person you talk to can’t help, they may have a buddy who can. We live in a Navy area and the sailors and command have been incredibly helpful with lots of scout projects and requirements.
    You may find a couple folks who would love to become new merit badge counselors (and who might be great resources in other badges as well).

  11. Since they knew that the centennial was coming these badges should have been ready to go from January 1st. Since the council was late they should extend the deadline for all of the badges. It is only right and fair since the council messed up again.

  12. I am very surprised that today is the first day the badges can be earned. We have two boys in our troop who have already earned the Pathfinding merit badge. One of them, an Eagle Scout, has now aged out and can no longer earn the badge.
    This is a great program, the execution leaves room for improvement!!

  13. Andy Brophy // April 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm // Reply

    Where can we get the actual MB patches once the Scouts have earned them?
    Andy Brophy T 121 Granite Bay Ca

  14. Andy:
    You can find them at your local Scout Shop.

  15. CARL MELVIN BENNETT // April 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm // Reply

    The Historic MB requirements for Signaling seem to be the same as in my ‘ole’ Boy Scout Handbook, i.e., Signaling, p570, BSHB 1943. Why did it take so long to make “No Changes”? CMB, Eagle Scout 1949.

  16. CARL MELVIN BENNETT // April 12, 2010 at 5:25 pm // Reply

    I have a JPEG scan of the ‘Ole’, black and white, two page, Boy’s Life Reprint, “Tracking”, BL-27.
    If anyone would like a copy, email me at

  17. Has anyone heard of an extension to the deadline?

  18. Debora Roberson // April 29, 2011 at 10:26 am // Reply

    Why JUST for 2010? These are great merit badges! Granted, these are limited-use skill sets, but that is all the more reason to reinstate them as a part of the BSA traditions.

  19. brian arnold // August 21, 2014 at 11:45 pm // Reply

    Going through my sons blue cards we realize that he got 2 of the centennial badges – Tracking and Signaling. Does anybody know where I can get the actual badges? Is it too late?

  20. It is 2015 and would like to have seen a continuation/addition to the “historic merit badge” program.

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