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Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?



UPDATE: Bugling merit badge has been reinstated as a separate merit badge. More details here.

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This week we hear from Bill Nelson, a Scouter in the Grand Canyon Council. Bill writes:

The Bugling merit badge is no longer on the site, and it looks like the Music merit badge requirements have changed to absorb Bugling. What’s happening there?

That’s a great question, and it’s one that a lot of Scouters are asking. Diane Leicht of the BSA’s Youth Development team tells us that the Bugling merit badge will be discontinued in 2011 and its requirements will be merged into Music merit badge. Here’s her full response:

The revised merit badge pamphlet that merged Bugling into Music was released earlier this year. It won’t be official until the 2011 Boy Scout Requirements book is released in January 2011.

Scouts may continue to earn the Bugling merit badge using the old pamphlet until that time. If Scouts have a copy of the new merit badge pamphlet with Music only, they can choose to earn the Music merit badge and complete the new bugling option as part of the requirements for the Music merit badge.

The two merit badge pamphlets below illustrate this change. Previously, Music and Bugling were two separate merit badges that shared a pamphlet (below, left). With the new pamphlet (below, right), Bugling is no longer a separate badge, and bugling-related requirements become an option for Scouts seeking the Music merit badge.


8 Comments on Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?

  1. Scoutsigns // June 2, 2010 at 7:48 am // Reply

    Will this impact the Bugler position in a troop? Will that go away too?

  2. Very unfortunate.. I don’t understand why the BSA must retire some badges rather than just expanding those available so scouts can pursue their interests.

  3. I must say that when I heard about this I was most saddened. As a scout I earned both Music and Bugling, and had one very fun Summer Camp helping out as Bugler when other boys didn’t really want to do it except to get out of certain house cleaning things around our campsite. I guess this means if I repeated my Track through to Eagle today, I’d not have made it because I would have been one badge short, or at the very least would have needed to find another one.
    Was the reasoning behind this change ever given? Besides combining two badges into one?

  4. My vote, for what little it’s worth: Keep the Bugling merit badge! It’s a really fun badge.
    BSA has been doing an exponential amount of tweaking lately, claiming it’s to keep Scouting “relevant” for the twenty-first century. All they are doing is replacing the special with the common.
    They think they are becoming so “modern” yet I can’t show my Venturing crew how to make and use homemade alcohol stoves.

  5. Bill Shea // June 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm // Reply

    Bugling is such an important and historical merit badge. While merit badges need to be changed and altered once in a while, we really need to keep this one. I have been a Bugling Merit Badge Counselor for a long time. Not many Scouts earn it, but those that do really have to work hard. My vote says “Keep it!”

  6. Noooo! Why?! I have to earn this badge… it looks so cool! My question is: there are currently more than the usual 121 merit badges, and Bugling will bring it down 🙁 , but will more be discontinued to bring the number down further?

  7. I am extremely upset with this revision! I was going to take Music Merit Badge, but now I can’t because I don’t play the bugle, trumpet, or cornet; I play the saxophone. Thanks to you people I can no longer obtain this badge.

    • Hi, Sam. Bugling was reinstated as a separate badge after this post went up. Here’s more info:

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