Jonathan Ive, who designed the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, was born the same year the BSA introduced Computers merit badge.
That should give you some idea just how old Computers merit badge is and just how much has changed in the world of technology since then. Thanks in part to Ive, computers have shrunk from the size of copy machines to the size of a deck of cards. Inputting commands has evolved from complex keystrokes to simple taps on a screen.
That evolution is why the BSA is replacing the outdated Computers merit badge with a newer model: Digital Technology merit badge, debuting in March 2014.
I’ll have requirements for Digital Technology MB soon, but first some details about the discontinuation of Computers, presented in bullet-point form and typed using a standard keyboard:
- Computers merit badge will be discontinued as of Dec. 31, 2014, and replaced by Digital Technology merit badge, which debuts in March 2014.
- The 2014 Boy Scout Requirements book, available soon, won’t have Computers merit badge requirements in it but will have the requirements for Digital Technology.
- Scouts have until Dec. 31, 2014, to begin work on Computers merit badge.
- If by Dec. 31, 2014, a Scout has begun actual and purposeful effort on Computers merit badge, and that effort is more than simply incidental to participation in Scouting activities, then there’s no time limit to completing the badge, except for his 18th birthday. See topic 18.104.22.168 in the Guide to Advancement for the full text of the policy on discontinued merit badges.
- A Scout may not begin work on Computers merit badge after Dec. 31, 2014.
- A Scout may earn and wear on his merit badge sash both Computers and Digital Technology merit badges.
- The Computers merit badge pamphlet and patch won’t be reprinted or remade — when the inventory is gone, they’re gone.
Same thing with the merit badge itself. When 2014 ends, a Scout’s chance to earn this merit badge will go the way of the dot-matrix printer. But the good news is Digital Technology MB will be an even better model, with features every Scout will love.