Calendar of New Merit Badges

Last update: April 11, 2014

Wondering which merit badges are the newest? Looking for release info on upcoming merit badges? I’ve got you covered.

This regularly updated page will keep you and your troop in the know!

You’ll find:

  • Merit badges coming soon
  • Merit badges with major updates in the works
  • The newest merit badges that have already been released
  • Chronological list of updates to this page

Newest Merit Badges — Coming Soon

(Next to be released listed first)

Digital Technology (will replace Computers)

Estimated release: Mid-April 2014

Requirements: TBD

Note: This merit badge will replace Computers merit badge.

Description: Technology has come a long way since Computers merit badge was first introduced in 1967. This badge will teach Scouts about technology in the digital age.

Animation

Estimated release: 2014

Requirements: TBD

Description: Computer or traditional animation tasks that will test a Scout’s creativity, artistic skills, and storytelling abilities.

Signs, Signals, and Codes

Estimated release: 2014

Requirements: TBD

Description: American Sign Language (ASL) is the third most used language in the United States. The Signs, Signals, and Codes merit badge will cover Morse code, ASL, Braille, signaling, trail markings, and other nonverbal communications. Did you know that some of these have even saved people’s lives?

Computer-Aided Design

Estimated release: 2015

Requirements: TBD

Description: Teaching boys to use computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design.

Advanced Computing

Estimated release: 2015

Requirements: TBD

Description: The next generation of computing.


Major Updates

(Most-recent update listed first)

Cooking-EagleCooking

Update released December 2013

Note: This merit badge will become Eagle-required on Jan. 1, 2014

New requirements: Click here.

Related blog post: More details on the soon-to-be Eagle-required Cooking merit badge

Moviemaking (was Cinematography)

MoviemakingUpdate released October 2013

Note: This merit badge received a name change and a few requirements tweaks. The merit badge formerly called Cinematography is now Moviemaking, which better reflects the requirements.

New requirements and blog post: Click here.

Cycling

Update released at 2013 Jamboree.

New requirements: Click here.

Related blog post: The trail to Cycling merit badge just got a bit rougher


Newest Merit Badges — Available Now

(Newest listed first)

miningMining in Society

Released: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 

Requirements: Click here

Description: Mining has been an important part of the United States since the 19th century. Today, the U.S. mining industry employes 3 million people, directly and indirectly, and is a major contributor to the global mining landscape. I expect 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.

Related blog posts:
Here’s the Mining in Society MB patch and first two requirements
Scouts preview Mining in Society at 2013 jamboree

Sustainability

sustainabilityReleased: July 15, 2013

Note: This merit badge will be Eagle-required. Scouts must earn either this or Environmental Science.

Requirements: Click here.

Description: A badge to teach Scouts about climate change, species extinction, resource extraction, green chemistry, recycling, and zero-waste manufacturing.

Related Post: Cooking, Sustainability merit badges to become Eagle-required

Programming

programmingReleased: July 15, 2013

Requirements: Click here.

Description: A tech-focused merit badge for the 21st Century.

Game Design

GameDesignReleased on March 6, 2013

Requirements: Click here.

Description: Slated to include both traditional games and video games, this sure-to-be-popular merit badge will test Scouts’ creativity, problem-solving skills, and planning abilities.

Related Post: First look at Game Design merit badge, including details on how to help launch the badge at the 2013 jamboree

Search and Rescue

search-and-rescueReleased on Aug. 20, 2012

Requirements: Click here.

Description: Scouts won’t fly helicopters, but they’ll get practice in finding and rescuing people in case a real emergency ever happens.

More information: In the BSA’s press release

Kayaking

Released on June 13, 2012

Pamphlet cover image: here

Requirements: Click here.

Description: A basic-level merit badge for flat-water kayaking — whitewater kayaking will still fall under Whitewater merit badge.

Welding

Released on Feb. 24, 2012

Requirements

Bryan on Scouting post: “Requirements, launch info, video”

Robotics

Released on April 11, 2011

Requirements

Bryan on Scouting post: “Robotics merit badge launch includes all-new interactive resource center”

Chess

Released in September 2011

Requirements

Bryan on Scouting post: “Human chess match will celebrate the new Chess merit badge”

Geocaching

Released in December 2010

Requirements

Bryan on Scouting post: “Smartphones: The modern-day camper’s Swiss Army knife?”

Scouting magazine story: “The Real Game Boys”

Inventing

Released in June 2010

Requirements

Bryan on Scouting post: “Boy Scouts and Lemelson-MIT Program introduce Inventing merit badge”

Scouting Heritage

Released in May 2010

Requirements

Bryan on Scouting post: “Boy Scouts of America releases Scouting Heritage merit badge”

Scuba Diving

Released on Dec. 1, 2009

Requirements

Bryan on Scouting post: “Scuba diving merit badge released”


Chronological list of page updates

Page updates (newest first):

April 11, 2014 — Removed Multi-Media from coming soon list. Updated estimated dates on Advanced Computing and Computer-Aided Design

Feb. 24, 2014 — Added Mining in Society requirements link, moved Mining in Society to “Newly Released” section.

Feb. 3, 2014 — Added Mining in Society badge image and blog link.

Jan. 31, 2014 — Added more specific launch info for Mining in Society and Digital Technology merit badges. Added Moviemaking merit badge (formerly Cinematography).

Dec. 17, 2013 — Added new Cooking MB requirements and silver-border patch image. Added more specific release timetable for Digital Technology.

June 25, 2013 — Added patch image for Programming.

April 30, 2013 — Details on release for Sustainability, Cycling update, and Programming. Added patch image for Sustainability.

March 7, 2013 — Added Game Design MB requirements link.

Feb. 27, 2013 — Added Mining in Society MB to list of merit badges coming soon.

Feb. 14, 2013 — Added launch date for Game Design MB

Oct. 18, 2012 — Lots of updates. Added Sustainability, Digital Technology, Computer-Aided Design, Multi-Media, Advanced Computing, and more info on updates to Cycling and Cooking.

Aug. 27, 2012 — Added link to Search and Rescue MB requirements

June 21, 2012 — Added Signs, Signals, and Codes MB preview

June 13, 2012 — Added link to Kayaking MB requirements

June 6, 2012 — Added Search and Rescue merit badge image and link to BSA press release.

June 5, 2012 — Added Cycling merit badge to the “Major Updates” section.

May 25, 2012 — Added Kayaking release date, patch design, and pamphlet cover image.

May 10, 2012 — Added link to Game Design first look (see below).

April 16, 2012 — Added Programming, Animation (details below).

April 4, 2012 — Page created.

Looking for requirements for all the current merit badges? Click here.

407 thoughts on “Calendar of New Merit Badges

  1. Pingback: Here’s the Mining in Society MB patch and first two requirements « Bryan on Scouting

    • This badge is a replacement for the Computers merit badge, which will be discontinued. However, Since it is a NEW badge, with substantially different requirements, Scouts may earn Digital Technology, even if they have already earned Computers.

      • Seems like this is all now past tense; the new 2014 Requirements book is in the Scout Stores, and it has the Digital Technology Merit Badge Requirements in it. From the language in the front of the book, it’s official, too; same kind of admonishments as with Cooking, but Computers appears to be a fading posting to the sash! The DT Requirements are hardly a retread of the Computers subsumed one – also includes stuff from the Law, Sustainability, and Photography Merit Badge requirements, plus some Second Class and First Class Advancement requirements. Earning this one could really put a young Scout a mile ahead! Too bad the graphic in the Requirements book appears to have inadvertently retreaded the Computers MB graphic…

  2. While any new merit badge is a great idea — I find it ironic that there is no sewing merit badge. I mean, with all the patches (merit badges, rank advancement, council patches, OA lodge flaps, etc,) you’d think there would be a badge that was given for practice of the fine art of sewing.
    Think of how happy all the moms out there will be if there boys can sew on their own merit badges or rank advancement.

    It is a skill that can save a boy in the future – ripped pants, missing button, etc. I have a sewing kit in my desk drawer and have sewn on a button or two in a pinch.

  3. Aaron…remember all new MBs have to pass a Youth Group evaluation on whether they think Scouts would want to earn it. Sorry Moms..no Sewing MB.

    I suppose it might be included as a requirement in the Textiles MB.

    • My son was asked to take a youth interest survey about his interest in proposed upcoming merit badges. One of the questions was about adding a snow-shoeing option to the Snow Sports merit badge. I think that is more likely to happen than getting a whole new badge.

  4. What ever happened to outdoors and scouting. Why are we moving away from the classic outdoor type badges and moving towards the nerd image that is so difficult to get away from.

    Hammocking would be a great addition, Get the kids outside, not next to a stinking piece of electronics.

    • Scoutng still emphasizes the outdoors.Think Camping every month. However, I am delighted to see the “nerdy” merit badges to gain the interest of our Scouts who are not the “jock” type, and who tend to be creative. This is where our next engineers, architects, recreation creation men are going to come from, guys with creative brains as wel as outdoor brawn.

    • I take offense to this. If it wasn’t for the Computers merit badge, I wouldn’t be working in the IT field as a systems administrator. As DeLane said, we need people like this in the future. And I understand not everyone who does a merit badge will work in that field but merit badges are out there to showcase many different types of jobs and fields to Scouts.

      As a current Scoutmaster, I preach Outdoors and camping, hiking, orienteering, pioneering, cooking, etc. to my scouts but in no way do I want them to think that’s all they should do and experience.

      • I fully understand Bayview’s frustration. My only offense is that electronics “stink”. The BSA recently introduced the Amateur Radio Rating Strip to recognize scouts and scouters who hold a radio license. Ninety percent of the amateur radio requirements for the Radio merit badge can be leveraged into obtaining the FCC license, and amateur radio has a place in the Emergency Preparedness merit badge and arguably should have a place in the Search and Rescue merit badge. This type of electronics certainly has a place in the outdoors, unlike cell phones, e-games, or music players.

        • And I get that. I’d be more upset if 90 percent of the merit badges dealt with electronics but they don’t. Cub Scouts have a Video Games activity pin that teaches them time management; not playing video games. As a Computers Merit Badge counselor, I have been asked at times by scouts how often they have to play games on Computers to get it. When I tell them the basic requirements and how we talk about the components of computers and their use in society, they look a little shocked but they’re not so disappointed. These electronics merit badges are pretty much like other non-outdoorsman ones where they have the scout research the field. I had a couple of scouts work on the Robotics merit badge during a merit badge weekend last year and you should have seen the interest in what they did. So much so that both of them joined the robotics programs at their schools.

          I have a rule with my troop that they are allowed to bring electronics with them on the way to camp but when we get there, they are to turn them into me until we are driving back. I adopted this rule from my father who did the same thing for walkmans when I was a Scout in the late 80s/early 90s.

    • Bayview, he BSA introduced the National Outdoor Awards a few years ago. The merit badge requirements for these awards are entirely skewed towards the outdoors, unlike those for Eagle rank which strike a balance between outdoors, career, and civics. The top medal award is almost as difficult to achieve as Eagle, and of course all merit badge work toward it can also be applied to Eagle or palm advancement. If you want more outdoor motivation in Scouting a place to start would be to heavily promote these National Outdoor Awards. For more details see http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/Youth/Awards/NOA.aspx

      I can tell you that my council and the troops that I know have done nothing to promote these awards. When you consider the thought and effort that the BSA put into creating them it is a real shame.

    • Also, I’m not sure that hammocking could justify an entire MB, but hammock construction certainly should be added to the Pioneering MB requirements.

    • Apparently you don’t understand the Merit Badge program. It is designed to introduce young men to new activities and career choices. You don’t complain about the Dentistry MB but you do about the Computer MB. They are both careers and, frankly, most boys will be in a computer related career while very few will be practicing Dentistry.

      Originally, in 1910, there were 14 Badges of Merit. They included Clerk and Electrician, obviously not outdoor activities. The rank requirements are the ones that get boys outdoors, not the merit badge program. All boys go through the ranks. Boys do the merit badges that they find interesting or required. The required merit badges include the outdoor badges: Camping, Cycling, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Science, Hiking, Lifesaving, Personal Fitness & Swimming as well as leadership/community oriented merit badges: the 3 Citizenships, Communications, Family Life, First Aid, and Personal Management. By the way, why are you wasting your time on a computer reading this when you could be in a hammock sawing logs.

  5. I would agree on Snow Shoeing being added as and option for the Snow Sports Merit Badge. Skiing, Snow Boarding, X-Country Skiing, “SNOW SHOEING”. Would be the perfect mix. Snow Shoeing is the fasting growing Snow Sport right now. This past weekend took 40 Scouts and 15 Leaders Snow Tubing, SNOW SHOEING, along with advancement skills, Cooking, Rifle Shooting, Archery and Snow Tent Camping packed into a three day event for the Troop. The Scouts did not want to leave and the Leaders were not pushing to leave either… Going to do it every year now

    • IMO, FWIW, snow shoeing and cross country skiing should have a priority in the Winter Sports merit badge requirements over other snow activities because they can have a practical side, namely mobility. The other activities, like snowboarding, really can’t get you from an arbitrary point A to point A over a snowbound landscape because they are limited to downhill terrains. Just a thought.

  6. Being a new Bee Keeper and a Scouter for many years our local Bee Club heard that the Bee keeping MB was in process of being integrated with Forage crops for the Bee’s all of the Bee keepers I’ve talked with are ready and willing to have all of the background checks to become MBC. Many of them are already working with other youth groups (Boys and Girls clubs) to promote Bee Keeping. I’ve not been able to find any information about this, can anyone shed any light on this. The only mention of Bee Keeping I’ve found is in the Insect Study as an or requirement

  7. Pingback: Here are the most- and least-popular merit badges of 2013 and of all time « Bryan on Scouting

  8. With Karate take the approach as Scouting does with SCUBA in which you must go to another approved agency for proper training and certification (PADI) Allow the Karate MB to be authorized by achieving a Belt Level in a particular recognized martial Arts discipline. Certainly recognize the many years of active work the Scouts do put in to achieve belt levels (blue, green, brown, Black) Taking this approach will recognize the Scouts work and make the Risk Management People happy at the same time.

    • I don’t have experience with Venturing, but my understanding is that a Venturing Crew can specialize in most any hobby, sport, etc. Are there restrictions on martial arts practice in Venturing, or could a crew decide to have a Judo or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (or even Mixed Martial Arts) focus, train together in a non-commercial environment with a qualified adult adviser, field a competitive team, and be covered by BSA insurance? (If so, I know some kids who would like to field such a crew.) Or are there policies against such activities?

      • The policies against contact sports and aviation activities apply to all BSA programs, including Venturing. Interesting, fencing is promoted as a possible Venturing activity in the Quest award handbook, so fencing is not considered by the BSA to be a contact sport. Martial arts are also promoted there, with a comment that karate is a contact sport and so is not an approved activity, but a report about it may still be given as credit to a requirement. The others are not prohibited by name. My understanding is that the Quest award will survive the current revision of Venturing awards.

        • Some Law Enforcement Explorer Posts have Judo as part of their police training and tactics. Of course the goal is to safely take down a person and place them in custody by police officers but BSA members are not to engage the public in this fashion.

  9. It’s interesting that judo and aikido are allowed but not karate. I trained in all three and the worst orthopedic injuries I ever got in any martial art were in “the gentle art” of judo (torn ACL and broken foot, numerous jammed fingers and sprained elbows and wrists) and a dislocated shoulder in aikido, whereas karate was relatively injury-free. I have a reprint of the old Master at Arms merit badge book and it would be popular nowadays, as Jiu-Jitsu (of the Brazilian variety), boxing, wrestling, and stick fighting (of the Dog Brothers style) are all popular with young people. Even fencing is getting a resurgence, there are at least 2 separate commercial fencing schools in Phoenix now!

    • It appears that online versions of the Master at Arms MB book can be found online. Apparently Scouting in Britain still has a version of Master at Arms, and a reprint of their 1925 book can be obtained from lulu.com

  10. Pingback: Blue Grass Council, Lexington KY | New Merit Badges

  11. Pingback: Calendar of New Merit Badges | Scouting Adventures

  12. There really needs to be a Geography Merit Badge. Can you quickly point out St. Paul, MN? What’s the difference between Arizona’s weather and Florida’s weather? Does one state have the same type of weather? What continents does the Equator run though? ……
    I can’t count the times I’ve been with other adults that are unaware of Basic Geography.

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