Calendar of New Merit Badges

Last update: April 16, 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)

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)

Digital-TechnologyDigital Technology

Released: April 16, 2014

Requirements: Click here.

Note: This merit badge will replace Computers merit badge, but Scouts may earn and wear both merit badges. More details about the phase-out of Computers MB here.

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.

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 16, 2014 — Added Digital Technology requirements link, moved Digital Technology to “Newly Released” section.

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.

408 thoughts on “Calendar of New Merit Badges

  1. Why not a Mountain Bike Merit Badge?

    Mountain Biking has become a separate sport from road cycling. It has its own equipment and skills. However, the cycling merit badge is all about road cycling. There are some good organizations out there like the International Association of Mountain Biking that could help in developing the requirments.

    • Well that would give an advantage to the scouts who actually have access to mountains and a disadvantage to those who don’t. BSA really shouldn’t expect those Midwestern scouts to go out west to find a mountain to bike on. You tell those North Dakota scouts to go mountain biking on a mountain close to home. They’ll think you’re crazy

      • Maybe a better title would be “Off-road Cycling”. I live in Missouri and we have plenty of mountain biking trails even though we are a midwest state. In fact, I believe Scouting magazine (or maybe Boy’s Life) just featured a Scout troop that did a multiple overnight mountain biking trip on the Ozark trail in Missouri. An off road cycling MB would be geared toward riding on single-track trails with different surfaces (i.e. dirt, rock) which can be found in every state. Most mountain biking websites list trails by state, which can be used as a reference. Here’s one for example: http://trails.mtbr.com/
        It even lists 15 trails in North Dakota.

  2. Pingback: Your one-stop shop for updated merit badge info « Bryan on Scouting

  3. Gregory has an excellent suggestion. In many areas of the US (such as ours in northern New Mexico), we’re mountainous and mountain biking is far more popular than highway biking. A mountain bike MB would be popular here.

    • But then what about those states out in the Midwest where Mountain Biking isn’t nearly as popular as rode biking (On account that there really aren’t any mountains)? I think keeping it all in one badge is fair for everyone

  4. Could simply be a Track B with separate riding requirements. Change the distances; keep the safety; adapt the mechanical requirements. Not a really difficult adaptation. We live in eastern TN and mountain ride a lot. The scouts are more interested in mountain than road riding.

    • Agree. A separate track would be more likely, just like Snow Sports has separate tracks for Alpine Skiing, Cross-county Skiing, and Snowboarding.

    • Sian: Your suggestion is excellent and makes so much sense. There are many areas in the US where a Mountain Biking MB would be just as impractical (if not unattainable) as road cycling is in mountainous regions. A separate track B with separate riding requirements would capture the elements of Mountain Biking as a sport and complement the whole of the Cycling MB very nicely. Additionally, it would provide greater opportunity for completing the requirements for an Eagle Required MB. Great idea!

  5. Great info.
    Why not have all the MB books available on-line?
    Requirements could be updated/changed as needed, no trees need to killed to print the books, plusevery unit could afford to have an “up to date”, current library of all the MB books just with internet access.
    With today’s technology, links could be inserted for video, photos and other sources to help scouts better learn and understand the MB.

    • Why do we live in age where everyone thinks everything should be free? MB Books are a revenue generator for the BSA. That qualifies as a GOOD thing. I’m not a fan of every Career Scouter behind every desk, but plenty of them earn their keep. You don’t somehow DESERVE — as a gift from the heavens — all the work that’s gone in to those books. The books are not required to earn the merit badge — but if you want the book, BUY it.

      • I believe that merit badge books should be digital. The era of e-books is here. Scouts should still need to purchase them (A Scout is Thrifty) but at a lower price. The merit badge e-books would cut down on the envoronment and not as many outdated books would not be sitting on the shelves at scout shops across the country.

        The new uniforms are equipped with a pocket for digital devices, The Boy Scouts need to embrace technology. The technolgy e-books of today can even have a digital life by limiting access for a certain period of time.

        • I have no problem with this. I have a lot of scouts who have iPads and other ebook compatible devices. As a conservation minded organization, the BSA should be all over this concept.

        • Scouts are not required to buy the books. The badges can be earned without them. I can see Scouts hitting control-F to find the answer to a badge worksheet without actually knowing the topic. As far as the limited digital life, what about boys who take years to complete badges? Do they have to purchase them over and over again? With the paper books, when a boy is finished, it can go into the troop library for other boys to use. I don’t think digital is necessarily less expensive unless it can be shared — which I doubt will be an option.

        • I spend my “paid job” life in the textbook world. I have yet to see an “ebook textbook” which is LESS expensive than it’s printed sibling. It may come sometime, but it has not arrived yet. Also, what device does a scout use to read an ebook while on a campout?

        • I hate the thought of so-called e-merit badge books. I would rather have a paper copy in hand versus a kindle, iPad, or whatever device you would want to use.

        • I don’t think having them on line will save that many trees from being cut down. Some Scouts & MB Counselors would print off hard copies of the Ebooks so they can have them when they meet. Some Scouts will lose their copy or get disinterested when they see the requirements & then print off a replacement or another one when they are older because they decide to complete it.

      • This mentality is why so many boys cannot afford scouting. At the point we are focusing on generating revenue for the organization we have lost focuson the boys. Let people volunteer to write the requirements and then give the boys free access. I live in a an area that is considered high risk due to the economic structure. It is sad to see the boys who do not get involved in scouting because of the cost. Baden Powell would be ashamed of us.

        • Baden Powell would be ashamed to see that some scout leaders teach boys that they don’t have to take personal responsibility for their lives and their scouting experience. Baden Powell would be ashamed that some scout leaders are trying to inculcate a sense of entitlement in these boys.

          Baden Powell didn’t give away scouting books in his day either. Boys (or their parents) paid for them. I grew up in poverty. I did yard work so I could afford my scout books and my scout camps. That’s how I paid my way to go to a Brownsea Leadership Training camp in the late 70′s.

          I currently live in a high risk, ethnically diverse area. We have a VERY active scouting program. And we have something called a local library where boys can check out merit badge books if they want. Also, NO merit badge requires the use of the books — they are a convenience, not a necessity.

          I’m all for volunteerism. I’ve spent almost two decades giving my time and talent (and money) to make our program as active and successful as it is. But the BSA does require operating expenses (and they’ve gotten their fair share out of my pocket through the years). How about we teach these boys hard work and self respect rather than “social justice”?

    • Why does everyone have such a sense of entitlement in this day and age? The BSA doesn’t somehow OWE you these merit badge books for free. They are a revenue generator for the BSA. That qulifies as a GOOD thing. I’m no fan of every Career Scouter behind every desk at the scout offices, but plenty of them earn their keep. People need to be paid, utilities need to be paid for, facilities need to be paid for. The MB books are not required to earn the merit badges — so if you want them, BUY them. Don’t ask for other people to just give you the fruits of their hard work. How exactly does that exemplify what scouts stand for?

      • Sorry, I don’t mean to be repetitious — I tried to post the first reply and it seemed to disappear. So I wrote another reply. Now they are both there. I’m not finding a way to delete one or the other. Again, I apoligize.

      • And here I can’t find the ‘reply’ button to your above comment, Jumpmaster13 so its going H E R E… *laughing

        Let’s look at this ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘sense of entitlement’ from another angle. I struggle within my Troop in getting them to do fundraisers and see them trying to get out of paying Council or National fees that help the BSA organization. As a single mom, my son and I worked hard to do fundraisers as it paid for Scouting experiences for BOTH of us. Then again ScOUTING was our only activity since my son was not a ‘jock’ minded person.

        The reason I’m finding is overbooked. Scouts are in 3 to 4 activities and all do fundraisers. That makes maybe 8 to 15 fundraisers a year per family as oppose to 3 scout only fundraisers a year per family. I think family need to think about this overbooked aspect and what it does for their child/children. I got a family that does 3 different places for one sport: recreation dept AND school AND league program. When I was growing up it was either recreation OR school OR league but NOT all of them. Consider too that schools are now asking for fundraisers within their sports programs as more things are cut out of their school budget.

        I agree that we need to teach personal responsibility but overbookedness can defeat even that purpose. I agree we should pay for things that Scouting offers but at the same time move into the technology age of e-books to practice our conservation-minded motto.

        Another too to consider, Scouts being able to do the sense of responsibility earning alone with outside jobs like paper routes, babysitting and lawn mowing. So jobs were ideal for this are cut out while others wouldn’t given to a scout for liability/safety issues. More and more hire a lawn cutting firm instead the neighborhood kid. Some home garages no longer have that lawn mower that the scout can put to use. Television and two family earners, family scheduling even adds impact to sense of responsiblity of the scout earning his money along with laws of child labor. To sum it up, things aren’t the way it used to be… E A S I E R and simplicity.

    • I like the idea of e-books. I understand that the MB pamphlets generate revenue for BSA. But they could also be digitized and sold through the scout stores.

    • The actual scout handbook has gone digital for the 100th anniversary and can be downloaded from the apple store. I think that after doing that, MB books are really not too far behind. They might not be out because BSA wants to release them all at the same time and ~140 books are a lot to create

  6. By any chance is B.S.A. going to bring back trapping. If done responsibly it is no different than fishing or hunting.

  7. Awesome resource. I had no idea about some of the upcoming merit badges and didn’t realize that some of the new ones were as new as they were. Thank you very much for compiling this.

  8. I am glad to have this information. I am the Troop Advancement Chair and I want to make sure that the scouts get all the information they need, to do what interests them. Thank you.

  9. It’s great to hear about new merit badges coming out. Are there plans to cancel any merit badges in the near future? I am working on earning all the merit badges and would like to not miss out on one due to cancellation.

    • Typically, Merit Badges are only discontinued when few of them are being earned. So you might want to look at the latest BSA annual report to see the numbers of each merit badge earned that year and then concentrate first on the LEAST popular ones.

      • I spoke to a member of the National BSA Innovation Team last April. (That’s the group that innitates new MBs.) She told me that they plan to discontinue/stop discontinuing less popular MBs unless the topic is no longer relevent and/or the requirements and/or book need significant updating. Otherwise, they plan to offer the MB Book on-line only …. and, NO, they’re not planning to put all MB books on line.

      • Is there a place to get the annual MB report? I have seen one on line, but it was several years old. I would enjoy looking at the reports over the year to see which ones are most popular.

    • Alex, http://meritbadgeknot.com keeps track of those Scouts who earn all the badges. Good luck to you on your journey! One thing (for your parents’ sake), try to get Scuba before you turn 15. The Jr. Certification is hundreds of dollars less expensive than the other.

  10. BSA policy on discontinued merit badges has been that if a Scout starts working on them before discontinuation then he has until he turns 18. Historical merit badges were somewhat of an exception as you only had calendar year 2010, but they were brought back solely for 2010. To “reserve” any merit badge that will be discountinued, a Scout should get a blue card signed and dated by his Scoutmaster and meet with a merit badge counselor – that should be sufficient to lock the merit badge in until he turns 18.

  11. Any way changes to the ‘Differently Abled’ Awareness due? The terminology currently used is outdated and politically incorrect. BSA has always been ahead of the game in practicing diversity and acceptance of others..

    • As a Disabled Veteran, I have no problem with the Merit Badge or it’s name. The lexicology just takes cycles away from education and furthers the divide between inclusion.

      • Agreed. After spending 20 years in a wheelchair as a paralyzed vet, I find such titles as “differently abled” patronizing rather than empowering, as I suppose some folks view such terms.

    • Guess no one has looked up what ‘impaired’ means in the dictionary then? Dictionary implies that when one is ‘impaired’ one needs to be fixed hence the reason that ‘impaired’ is supposed to be used in a medical content but not in everyday life content. I’m either deaf, Deaf or hard of hearing but NEVER hearing impaired. I do indeed have a hearing loss that doesn’t require the need to ‘fixed’.
      Blind but not sight impaired.

  12. Some merit badges I’d like to see: Mountain Hiking, which would involve nontechnical mountain climbing; Canoe Tripping, which would add mileage requirements like Hiking, Backpacking, and Cycling have; Dutch Oven Cooking; and Leave No Trace, which would introduce LNT principles to new Scouts and reinforce them to older Scouts. This would encourage people who aren’t trainers to embrace these values. Making LNT Eagle-required would be great, too. Also, how about Trail Maintenance and Training merit badges? Training would encourage Scouts to attend NYLT and put EDGE and other skills and knowledge to use in their units.

  13. I was in my local scout shop today and they had place holders on their merit badge shelf for the three MBs listed above as well as “Animation.” Does anyone know about that one?

  14. Glad to see major updates to cooking happening! Hope to see more information about from scratch food preparation (guess how many Scouts have trouble chopping vegetables – now THAT is scary knife work!!), options in cooking (meat substitutes, vegetarian dishes, even using a different spice set/international dishes), how to modify recipes (taking a recipe from ‘serves 4′ to ‘serves 12′ is a challenge for many of these boys!), and even how to substitute in your menu to save $$ at the store! I know we live in a world of pre-prepared and convenience foods – but we aren’t preparing them to really cook if the cooking MB doesn’t stretch them by challenging them to get hands on with planning, preparing, and serving REAL food (and see how much fun it can be!) All MBs should be fun to earn, and exciting! The shift away from real food is one that BSA can really use to its advantage in updating this to be really hands on, involve healthier foods, and really fun!

    • In the 1960′s when i earned it, Cooking MB was required for Eagle, and required you to cook a three course meal and bread for a patrol of 8 over an open fire using all raw ingredients. The did allow you to use Bisquick for the bread instead of raw flour and yeast . So what you’re proposing isn’t unprecedented.

  15. I would very much like to see the requirements in the Cooking MB changed to require that at least some meals be produced from raw foods – no canned or processed food permitted, and no special mixes for baked goods.

    • The term “Martial” will probably disqualify it. Asa student of Boy Scout history, one of the earliest myths that BSA had to suppress was that we a militaristic organization preparing kids for war. That’s why even things like boxing, using Paint Guns, or human silhouettes for target shooting are proscribed.

  16. My son has the Kayaking patch which he earned a couple of years ago; would he need to take a new class to earn it as a badge?

  17. Bryan,
    One of the original merit badges that should make a return is the Mining merit badge. Mining is a fundamental part of our life. Everything we have generally starts out from the ground: either from a farm or mine. How many things can you think of that aren’t mined. The electricity for the internet comes in part from coal, nuclear, oil, or gas. (wind and solar make up less than 2%) There is a small portion from hydro. Scouts should learn how socially responsible the mining industry is today.

    • According to Wikipedia, Mining was replaced in 1937 with “Rocks and Minerals” which was then replaced y Geology in 1953. Does Geology not cover, in part, what Mining might have covered?

  18. Pingback: New Merit Badges

  19. Awsome! Knowing the proposed merit badges in advance is a huge help. I am an Eagle scout in far West Texas and finding MB couselors can be a real trick. Now I have a leg up on locating someone who would take on the task and get approval from my council. Several years ago, I set a goal of earning all the merit badges. I just finished the Welding MB and have earned 132. I will age out of being able to earn MB’s in March of 2014. The BSA keeps adding them and I just can’t refrain from trying the earn the latest one. Your information is VERY helpful to me! Waiting to hit the river for Kayaking (of course the closest one to me is in Northern NM).

  20. Pingback: First look: Game Design merit badge (and how you can help!) « Bryan on Scouting

  21. Pingback: First look: Game Design merit badge (and how you can help!) | Winnebago Council 173 Blog

  22. Pingback: Wanted: 36 volunteers to share their merit badge skills at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree « Bryan on Scouting

  23. What about bringing Beekeeping merit badge back for a new generation of beekeeps? There are many people keeping healthy bees in many urban settings with great success. There is new found intrest in our honey friends.

  24. I think bring back the Pathfinder Merit Badge back would be good. With technology we need to remember and practice primitive living skills. Utilizing Dave Canterbury’s Pathfinder system would be a great update. I’m an Assistant Scoutmaster & Merit Badge Counselor For 6 including Wilderness Survival & Camping. I also volunteered for an episode of Dave’s Survival Adventure Network Youtube channel.

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