Updated | Dec. 3, 2015
Avid readers of this blog have been hearing about changes to Cooking merit badge since October 2012.
But new Scouters or new blog readers might not know about the exciting, important changes to this now-Eagle-required merit badge.
The basic facts are these:
- Cooking merit badge became required to earn the Eagle Scout Award on Jan. 1, 2014.
- A revised Cooking merit badge pamphlet and new requirements were released in 2013. A Scout could use either the old or the new requirements in 2014. Whichever one he chose counts toward Eagle.
- Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, Scouts who had not started working on the Cooking merit badge were required to use the new requirements and supporting pamphlet.
Here are more details and reminders, courtesy of the Merit Badge Maintenance Team.
Now Required for Eagle Scout Rank
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and qualified Venturers and Sea Scouts must now earn the Cooking merit badge in order to obtain the Eagle Scout rank. This was communicated in Scouting.org and reinforced in both the 2013 and 2014 Boy Scout Requirements book. The only exception were those Scouts who had completed all of their Eagle Scout rank requirements, including their Eagle Scout Service Project and unit leader’s conference, by Dec. 31, 2013. They needed to only lack their Eagle Board of Review going into 2014 to be exempt from earning Cooking.
Revised Requirements and Pamphlet
During 2013 the Cooking merit badge underwent a major revision which has greatly enhanced both the requirements and supporting pamphlet. Improvements to the badge include:
- Usage of USDA’s MyPlate food guide to aid Scouts in learning better nutrition and eating habits, reading food labels, and becoming aware of ideal caloric food intake related to daily activity
- Increased awareness of cross contamination of food and related allergies
- Preparation of required meals no longer limited to consecutive days, giving Scouts and units greater flexibility
- Variety of cooking methods and flexible locations
- Outdoor Code awareness
Green vs. Silver Border
Scouts who earned and received a green-bordered Cooking patch may purchase or be presented with the new silver bordered patch, signifying it’s Eagle-required. A Cooking merit badge certificate or blue card must be presented to obtain the new patch, but there’s no need for the Scout to re-earn the merit badge now that it’s Eagle-required.
The green-bordered patch may then be retained as a keepsake. Scouts are not permitted to wear both merit badge patches on their sash or uniform at the same time.
No “trade-in” program for exchanging one for the other is available at Scout shops.