Digital Technology merit badge requirements released

Digital-TechnologyThe latest and greatest in tech isn’t a new smartphone, tablet or game console.

It’s a new merit badge. Today the Boy Scouts of America welcomes Digital Technology merit badge to its ever-growing arsenal of merit badges focused on careers, hobbies and activities Scouts enjoy doing.

Digital Technology MB becomes the BSA’s 135th current merit badge. That list of merit badges will be reduced by one when Computers merit badge is discontinued on Dec. 31, 2014.

(Read more about the phasing-out of Computers here, and know that Scouts may earn and wear both Digital Technology MB and Computers MB, provided they begin work on Computers by the end of 2014.)

But today’s all about Digital Technology merit badge, which covers the Internet, smartphones, content creation on digital devices and much more.

See the full list of requirements and a merit badge workbook after the jump. Continue reading


Ask the Expert: How to complete Scouting Heritage MB Requirement 4B

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?If you have a Scout working on Scouting Heritage merit badge Requirement 4, Joe Connole’s your guy.

The programs coordinator and lead admissions clerk for the BSA’s National Scouting Museum in Irving, Tex., is in charge of answering letters and emails from Scouts working on that merit badge.

A Scout has three options for completing Requirement 4 of Scouting Heritage MB, each involving keeping a journal or writing a report:

A: Attend a BSA national jamboree, world Scout jamboree OR a national BSA high-adventure base.

B: Write or visit the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Tex.

C: Visit an exhibit of Scouting memorabilia or a local museum with a Scouting history gallery or visit with someone in your council who is recognized as a dedicated Scouting historian or memorabilia collector.

Scouts who choose to write the National Scouting Museum (4B), will need to contact Joe. If they do, they’ll get a response with a letter, a brochure, and — drumroll please — the awesome free patch seen below. To help Scouts taking this merit badge and counselors teaching it, Joe shared some details on how it works:

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Just for clicks: First look at the Digital Technology merit badge patch and cover

Digital-TechnologyTo borrow a phrase from a certain smartphone maker: The next big thing is almost here.

Digital Technology merit badge, set to debut in mid-April 2014, will guide Scouts through the exciting, complex, ever-changing world of smartphone apps, computer software and tech-focused careers.

It’s the Boy Scouts of America’s latest in a growing roster of STEM-focused merit badges that help upgrade a Scout’s skills for today’s digitally focused workplaces.

As I mentioned in January, Digital Technology merit badge is debuting as Computers merit badge nears retirement. Computers MB came online in 1967 — long before anyone could’ve dreamed of a palm-size computer that also makes phone calls.

Scouts have until Dec. 31, 2014, to earn Computers merit badge. And yes, a Scout can earn and wear both Computers and Digital Technology merit badges. See more details about the phase-in and phase-out process at this link.

As for Digital Technology MB,

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Everything you ever wanted to know about merit badge sashes

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?A merit badge sash is like a trophy case you can wear.

Each tiny circle represents one of the 136 interest areas a Boy Scout has conquered.

But what restrictions are placed on merit badge sashes? In what order should they be sewn on? Is there a minimum or maximum number of merit badges a Scout may wear on a sash? Can a Scout with a ton of merit badges wear two sashes? What about wearing a sash folded over a belt? And can anyone help mom or dad sew these things on?

I’ve got the answers — well, to all but that last question.

These answers come from the expert, Christopher Hunt, head of the BSA’s advancement team.

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Future Mining in Society MB counselors can get trained for free online

miningMining in Society merit badge counselors, here’s your chance to sharpen your skills before teaching the BSA’s newest merit badge to Scouts.

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration will offer two free online trainings for Mining in Society MB counselors. The class takes an hour, and you can complete it from the comfort of your home computer.

Anyone is welcome to attend, but seats are limited.

Register for the class at this link. Though they’re listed as “Training I” and “Training II,” the courses are identical. So pick whichever time is more convenient for you.

The first training time is this Thursday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern (6:30 p.m. Central, 5:30 p.m. Mountain, 4:30 p.m. Pacific).

The second is set for Wednesday, April 30, at 9 p.m. Eastern (8 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Mountain, 6 p.m. Pacific).

To help you get in the Mining in Society spirit, check out these resources.


Here are the most- and least-popular merit badges of 2013 and of all time

The reign of First Aid merit badge continues.

More Boy Scouts earned this Eagle-required merit badge in 2013 than any other. And it wasn’t event close.

Not only was it the most-earned merit badge in 2013, it also topped the list in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 … you get the idea.

In all, 6.9 million Scouts have earned First Aid merit badge since its debut in 1911. Yep, you guessed it; that’s more than any other in history.

Which other merit badges made the Top 10 last year? What was 2013′s most-earned merit badge that isn’t on the Eagle-required list? And which merit badges were in the Bottom 10 (or “the rarest,” as I like to call them)? Let’s find out …  Continue reading


Mining in Society merit badge requirements released

miningWithout mining, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post right now. That’s because the high-tech components found in smartphones, tablets and computers are made of mined minerals.

Reading this on a computer? Thank mining for the silicon, copper, gold, silver and aluminum that make it work. Using a smartphone or tablet? Beneath each tap are rare-earth elements like yttrium, lanthanum, praseodymium and a handful of others I can’t pronounce.

Scouts who earn the new Mining in Society merit badge will, as the badge’s name suggests, gain a better appreciation for the role mining plays in our country.

Today the Boy Scouts of America officially releases Mining in Society, making it the 134th current merit badge. The badge is an elective merit badge, meaning it isn’t required for boys pursuing the Eagle Scout rank but is perfect for young men interested in exploring this as a potential career or just an interesting subject they want to learn more about.

The official “earn date,” or the date Scouts may begin work on Mining in Society, is today, Feb. 24, 2014. Look for the pamphlet in your local Scout Shop and at soon.

The BSA is releasing Mining in Society at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, happening now.

“Mining has been an important part of the United States since the 19th century,” the BSA says. “Today, the U.S. mining industry employs 3 million people, directly and indirectly, and is a major contributor to the global mining landscape. This merit badge will cover the history of mining, explore the status of mining in the 21st century, and introduce Scouts to modern mining careers.”

But enough talk. I bet you came here for the official, full requirements. Check those out after the jump.

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Here’s the Mining in Society MB patch, cover and first two requirements

miningUpdated Feb. 21 to add image of cover.

Mining in Society merit badge won’t officially launch until Feb. 24 at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.

But I’ve been given the OK to release the merit badge patch and first two requirements today — just to give you and your Scouts a sneak peek at the all-new merit badge coming later this month.

First, though, pay careful attention to the merit badge’s name. It’s Mining in Society, not simply Mining. And after looking at the full list of requirements today I can confirm that Scouts won’t be doing any actual mining. So leave the hard hats at home.

That is, of course, unless Scouts opt to visit an active mine for Requirement 5. That’s one of five hands-on options from which Scouts can choose, and it’s only to be done with advance planning, parental permission and proper safety gear. Scouts who don’t live near an active mine or who prefer not to visit one can choose from four other activities, including Internet-based mine tours.

When I’ve blogged about Mining in Society merit badge in the past, many have asked how this merit badge and the new Sustainability merit badge can coexist. Well, you’ll be pleased to see that Requirement 6 asks Scouts to explore that very subject. For Requirement 6c, for instance, they’re told to “Discuss the transformation of the BSA Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve from a mine site to its current role.”

On the whole, the eight requirements for Mining in Society are less about learning how to work in a mine and more about understanding how the results of modern mining are all around us — in our smartphones, in our bicycles, pretty much in everything.

I see parallels with Pulp and Paper merit badge, which I earned at the 1997 National Scout Jamboree. Yes, Pulp and Paper MB asks Scouts to make a sheet of paper, but its main focus is the hundreds of pounds of paper every American uses each year and how that paper is made.

But back to Mining in Society, here are the first two requirements I promised you, as well as a higher-resolution version of the merit badge patch for you to share: Continue reading


Time running out to earn Computers MB as Digital Technology MB launch nears


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 mid-April 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: Continue reading


Feast your eyes on the new requirements for Cooking merit badge

Cooking-EagleThe sound of the kitchen timer can only mean one thing: The new Cooking merit badge requirements are done.

For the new Cooking merit badge, which became Eagle-required on Jan. 1, 2014, Scouts will prepare meals using the MyPlate food guide, understand and explain food allergies, and learn about cooking food indoors.

This is important: there are two big, separate changes to Cooking merit badge as you know it. The first is that Cooking merit badge became Eagle-required beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The second is the new requirements, found below, which become mandatory for Scouts who begin the merit badge on or after Jan. 1, 2015.

The new Cooking pamphlets will be in Scout Shops by the end of January 2014. From now until Dec. 31, 2014, a Scout may use the old or new requirements — his choice. All Scouts beginning Cooking merit badge on or after Jan. 1, 2015, must use the new requirements.

Let me break it down:  Continue reading