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How to suggest a new merit badge

Don’t sob about Sewing or mope about Magic.

Send those ideas for new merit badges to someone who can actually act on them.

Over the years, several of you emailed me with suggestions for merit badges about Sewing, Magic, Guitar, Hunting, Surfing and lots more. And while I have absolutely no say in what becomes a new merit badge, I can tell you where to turn with your ideas.

If you have something to add to the BSA’s selection of current merit badges, start by downloading this Award Submission Summary Word document.

Then mail it in to the address at the bottom or email it to merit.badge@scouting.org.

They’re the brainiacs who create new merit badges, including the recently released Programming and Sustainability badges.

I should warn you that not everything makes the cut. The team first looks at current merit badges to see whether your idea already exists in the BSA’s wide-ranging collection of sports, crafts, science, trades, business and future careers.

Next, the team analyzes the interests of today’s teens. So while your troop in Minnesota may love the sport of curling, it might not be popular enough to make the cut.

Once a merit badge idea gets past the first stage, the process of actually seeing pamphlets and badges in stores takes about three to five years.

Send your thought to the email address above, and who knows? Your idea may become a new merit badge that Boy Scouts earn for centuries to come.

Related posts

Does the BSA offer too many merit badges? I think not.

See my calendar of new merit badges

Related site

Discussion about ideas for new merit badges is already underway here

Your merit badge ideas?

What do you think should be a merit badge? Comment below, but be sure to also send your idea to the BSA Innovation Team.

24 Comments on How to suggest a new merit badge

  1. Minnesota shall not soon forget this sleight on our hearty Nordic sport. :P

    • Ha! I say it with love as I’ve always wanted to try curling. Haven’t seen a rink anywhere in Texas, though…

      • In fairness to you, I’m from Virginia. ;)

    • Not from Minnesota (Idaho), but why not a Curling MB? By the way, I know of several cities in Texas who offer the sport.

      • It could always be considered as part of the Sports Merit Badge. We don’t have a separate one for Football, basketball or soccer. The counselor can always allow it for the Sports Merit Badge.

  2. This is the suggestion I just sent them:

    This is one of the few life-skills that I don’t see represented. (The only one I can think of, to be honest.)

    1. Sew on a button and at least one patch on your uniform.
    2. Hem a pair of pants.
    3. Repair a hole in something using a patch or other means.
    4. Sew something useful, such as a curtain, pillowcase or baby blanket, for yourself or someone else.
    5. Sew something you can wear, such as a robe or pair of shorts, for yourself or someone else using a pattern.

    I know boys aren’t generally big sewers, but my son was very proud when he made his own light-weight sleeping bag for camp. He has also helped make pajamas for himself. The items I listed don’t involve a great deal of knowledge or skill, but they give boys a good grounding in the sewing skills they might actually use.

    • Just read the list above and realized it has been suggested before, but that just means other people like the idea! (I always try to look on the sunny side.)

      • Michael Ohleger // August 12, 2013 at 3:11 pm // Reply

        I grew up without sisters so my mother taught all of us boys how to sew and especially those badges on our uniforms. It is a skill I have carried through to today. Without sounding to cynical I’m willing to lay odds that if this becomes an official merit badge it will have a requirement that goes something like ” do one of the following: sew this or that or write a paper about it or discuss it with your counselor”. We seem to be dumbing down our merit badge requirements to the point of less doing and more discussing or writing about the subject. Merit badges should have enough challenge to make it interesting, not just a checkoff.

      • Amy Huntington // September 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm // Reply

        Bethanne, basic laundry skills in addition to fabric care! When to use which water temperatures, soaks, spin cycles for each fabric. Fabric treatments for stain lifting and keeping clothing clean and organized as well as in good repair. Did I miss offering the badge where this important skill for daily living is included? Thanks and love your recommendations!

    • My son is 2nd year and I have said this every time he comes home with badges/ patches. I jokingly told him to try to earn 2 ranks in between courts of honor so I would only need to sew one of them on :)

    • VA Scoutmaster // August 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm // Reply

      I used to think that including some basic sewing skills somewhere in the advancement track for Cubs or Boy Scouts would be a good idea. Then it occurred to me that never in my long life, not even once, have I personally needed to sew on a button, much less hem a pair of pants. That said, God bless the folks at the dry cleaners who sew the patches on my uniform. And if it weren’t for them, my pant legs would be all safety pins and duct tape.

      • To be honest, it sounds like you DO need to sew patches and hem pants – you can just afford to pay someone else to do it. Nothing wrong with that, but doesn’t mean you have no need for that to be done and not everyone can or wants to pay someone else for such a simple task as sewing on a button.

        I haven’t hemmed any of my own pants, but that’s because I was never really taught how and it’s not worth the risk of screwing up a pair of pants, at this point. I can do plenty of other things sewing-wise – but not hem pants. :-( And it would have saved us some time (drop off / pick up at the cleaners, etc) and money if I could. To me, part of Scouting is giving kids the skills to be independent – including the ability to hem a pair of pants themselves, when / if needed.

    • Our OA Dance Team made all of their outfits. They had to use patterns cut,iron, sew,bead and anything else that needed to be done and they all did awesome. I also did a Eagle Board of review and we asked if you would like to see a new merit badge what would it be and he said “Sewing”.

  3. I’ve always thought the first thing a Scout should learn to do is sew, for sewing on badges, hemming (and re-hemming) uniform pants, and repairing gear (replacing buttons, patching, etc.).

  4. Bring back Beekeeping! I can and will submit a whole list of possible requirements. Surely with the problems facing bees and the whole nature aspect of raising them, it would be a good addition.

    Thanks Bryan! Now I know where to put the bee in someone’s ear

    • The Gardening MB just added this requirement:
      6.Explain to your counselor how and why honeybees are used in pollinating food crops and the problems that face the bee population today. Discuss what the impact to humanity would be if there were no pollinators.
      Although I do not feel it’s enough to stress how important bees are! The Gardening MB is not that popular in our area, unfortunately.

  5. Matt Culbertson // August 13, 2013 at 3:15 pm // Reply

    Each new MB idea goes through a Youth survey process to determine if there is high enough interest by the scouts to proceed with the development of requirements etc. Hence Sewing will never likely be a MB.

    There is Room Cleaning MB that was snuck in under the 90 chores list for Family Life MB!!!

  6. Can we get a list of merit badge ideas that have been turned DOWN? Two reasons… 1) we can avoid sending in the same ideas again, 2) let’s face it, it’s gonna be a GREAT list!

    • Carey Snyder // August 11, 2014 at 8:43 am // Reply

      It would also let you see if others had suggested the same one as you have, so you can see if you are simply a lone “voice in the wilderness” as it were. I suggested a merit badge based omn respect for the flag and the flag code. I thought it was great that there was a process. However, as we learn in Wood Badge, “Feedback is a gift” – yet there is not any response given – it could be “we have considered your suggestion, but not at this time” or “we need more information” or some sort of response. It feels like the suggestion seems to drop into a black hole, and that is not much of an incentive to continue making suggestions.

      • Carey Snyder // August 11, 2014 at 8:44 am // Reply

        meant to click the follow link – so had to do another post to do that

  7. followmeboys516@gmail.com // September 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm // Reply

    I think we need a Sewing Merit Badge.

  8. Chad Nabity // July 30, 2014 at 9:28 pm // Reply

    Rabbit Raising used to be a merit badge and while I can see getting rid of it I don’t understand why it was not rolled into the animal science MB. Rabbits are much better urban animal than most that are allowed in the badge.It would open the animal science badge up to a lot more boys.

  9. Jim Cormier // July 31, 2014 at 12:40 am // Reply

    Caving

  10. I think running and physics should be added. My troop really likes the science stuff. We’ve done chemistry and nuclear science and they have asked for more. Physics could be fun!

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