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

    • I do not think leadership needs it own separate merit badge. Teaching leadership is part of the Boy Scout program & should encompass everything we do.

      • I agree 100%. Leadership is part of every Scout experience. The Patrol Method teaches leadership. Troop Operations teach leadership. Camporees, Jamborees, and High Adventure Bases teach leadership. The BSA has numerous leadership courses on Troop, Council, and National levels. The Scoutmaster’s primary job is teaching leadership. It would be counterproductive to have a Merit Badge Counselor involved in addition to or in place of the Scoutmaster.

  1. I’ve explained to my wife a few times that Scouting is not “charm-school”. Still, she’d like to see some basic manners taught – Manners MB?

    • The cub Scouts have a good manners belt loop and the Brownie Girl Scouts (2-3 grade) have a manners badge. It makes sense for Boy Scouts, too. Maybe call it courtesy or chivalry, that sounds a bit more masculine. We discuss the importance of courtesy in my martial arts class frequently.

  2. Pingback: Major Changes for Eagle Rank, Use of Scout Oath and Law Announced | Backpacker's Blaze

  3. My son & myself would for there to be a Martial Arts merit badge.
    Also have it recognized as a sport for Cub Scouts.

      • Andrew is correct. Almost all forms of martial arts are against the guide to safe scouting. But they shouldn’t be. Martial arts were part of the very first Guide to Scouting, and they can be restored to scouting safely, and they should be.

    • Robin, I agree! I don’t know who decides that martial arts aren’t ‘safe’. They haven’t seen a real school, maybe just the Karate Kid movies? My son does Taekwondo and it teaches self control, self defense, respect, perseverance and more!

      • I believe the decision that martial arts aren’t safe was made by insurance lawyers, and the decision has merit; however, football was added to the Cub Scout program by eliminating tackling. Martial arts can be added to the scout program easily by eliminating sparring. Plenty of students in my dojang compete in forms and breaking and on the demonstration team, but they choose not to enter sparring competitions. There is nothing wrong with that.

    • As a Scout/Scouter of 40+ years and a martial arts instructor (aikido) of almost 20, I would strongly disagree with a martial arts merit badge. The learning objectives of martial arts operate on a time frame that is VERY different from the time frame that merit badges use. Even if martial arts are practiced in a way consistent with the Guide to Safe Scouting, they don’t fit with the aims and structure of the merit badge program.

      • While the time frame for martial arts and merit badges are different, I think a badge could be very viable. I earned a chemistry merit badge without becoming a chemical engineer. My first aid merit badge didn’t qualify me to drive an ambulance, but I did get to see what the field was about. Learning what martial arts really is could be good for a lot of boys. Just a thought.

    • I can see it being allowed as a sport for the Sports MB. Since we don’t have a separate MB for basketball, football or soccer why make it a separate MB. Being a 3rd Black Belt I would love to see the change for the Sport MB to allow it for cover requirement #4. After all, done properly, even with sparring, it is a great form of discipline and a great physical work out.

    • Paintballing is not allowed by the BSA, these are in the Safe Guidelines to Scouting I believe. So I doubt they would change the rules to make a new merit badge.

    • While paintball is generally considered one of the safest sports according to insurance companies, it’s not allowed by the BSA (along with laser tag) because it involves pointing a weapon at another person. The Jamboree and NE Region’s Campaganza did feature paintball target practice ranges (sponsored by Empire Paintball and KEE Action Sports) but this was allowed only because it didn’t involve shooting at other players.

  4. We suggested Martial Arts in the past and were told it encourages fighting. We totally disagree since our son took it and received his black belt learning self respect, respect for others, self discipline and so much more. I really believe this should be a merit badge as well Robin.

    • I just replied to Robin with almost the same post as yours. I agree! REAL martial arts does not encourage fighting! The first thing they are taught is NOT to use what they know first and only as self defense.

  5. I still think we need a “Life Skills Merit Badge” which would incorporate social skills such as etiquette (ordering in a restaurant, dress, holding doors and chairs for dates, thank you notes, etc.), basic sewing and mending, laundry, and simple housekeeping skills. These are valuable when a kid goes off to college or starts living on his own. And etiquette is actually taught in ROTC as it’s a key component of being a gentleman.

    • I’ve wanted a sewing Merit Badge for years. No scout should ever say “I have the wrong rank on my shirt because my mom didn’t sew the new on on.” They should be able to take care of their own uniform. They need to be able to maintain their gear while camping and repair gear after camping. It does no good to have needles and thread in your Emer prep kit if you don’t know how to use them. Ironically, we still have a textiles merit badge. I’m not actually sure why.

      • Why, because people wear clothes made of textiles, buy cars containing textiles, buy furniture made with textiles, go camping in tents made from textiles, and furnish homes with many products made from textiles. Hence, people get jobs designing, making and selling textiles and things made from textiles.

        If it weren’t for textiles, you wouldn’t want a sewing merit badge.

    • The current merit badge count is 130. According to this blog, they are adding 9 and removing one, which will bring the total to 138 by 2015. They were going to discontinue the Bugling MB a couple of years ago, but there were enough complaints that they relented. After that, the idea of remaining at 121 was pretty much scrapped.

  6. With the popularity of shows like “CSI” and the increase in Forensic Science as a vocational focus, a “Forensic Science” merit badge would be a popular STEM-oriented badge. Maybe there could be a requirement to have the Fingerprint MB as part of it.

    • I have visited over 20 countries & have worked in several. My daughter has been learning German since she was 8 years old & we host a foreign college student over the Christmas holidays for the past 8 years. I am truly interested in my son learning about a foreign culture, but I would have to look at the proposed requirements before I could take a position on a MB for it. There is also an International Scouting award that Cub and Boy Scouts, & Scouters can earn. I haven’t looked at the Boy Scout or Adult requirements, but the Cub Scouts must learn about another country, its Scouting program, & then correspond with a Scout penpal i that country.

    • I have been involved in Scouting for 47 years and visited 96 countries including being on staff at World Jamborees. Foreign languages and culture are super important, but don’t fall in the Merit Badge category. Foreign culture should be subject of continuous awareness efforts involving actual foreign travel and visits with foreign nationals and not a merit badge counselor that perpetrates stereotypes of various religions and cultures. This is the focus of the International Spirit Award, International Scouter’s Award, International Camp Staff Program, European Camp Staff Program, and BSA Contingents to World Jamborees and other International Scouting events.
      Foreign language should be the subject of serious study and as such, competency is recognized by the BSA Interpreter Strips.

  7. A MB on foreign culture/language is a great idea because the world is going global. The MB could include world geography, culture, history, language, and travel. It could include a BSA sponsored student exchange program.

  8. Pingback: Merit system: What you can do at the 2013 jamboree « Bryan on Scouting

  9. There needs to be a Geography MB. Some kids and even adults don’t even have knowledge for their own state, or surrounding states.

    • Geography is super important. But, if we had a geography MB, we could also have history, mathematics, physics, biology, etc. You get my drift. These are subjects that are supposed to be taught in school. Is it the BSA’s job to make up for deficiencies in public education? We already have the American Heritage, 3 citizenships, & oceanography. These should cover the continents and oceans of the world, and the major countries and waterways of the world and they don’t. I also notice there is no world business or economics MB. Since most MBs are career or hobby oriented, a world business or economics MB would be important and emphasize the importance of geography.

    • We don’t need a merit badge for everyone sport. However, tennis, like many sports can be used for requirement #4 of the sporting merit badge.

  10. BIGFOOT RESEARCH MERIT BADGE. I turned in a proposal to Janice Downey of the Inovations team for considerations. There is alot of interest in this research and alot of new techniques being deployed example DNA testing by The Erikson project..The BFRO bigfoot research organization has a show on animal planet. Our Troop 454 Cedar Hill Tn. are going on a weekend expedition in January. We are going with the owner of web site Ky.bigfoot. This team documents and investigates sightings in Ky.and is documented on the web site. Our trip will include An overnight campout, day hike,setting out trail cameras,power point presentation around a campfire,Story time about 12 sighting near our camp, a night excursion to include night vision , infared cameras,sound recording, tree knocking and vocalizations.We are going to document our trip through pictures and videos and produce a dvd. Our Troop is excited about this trip, last week we took sculpting class to learn how to cast tracks with plaster. I have presented the reqirement sheet to Janice. This type trip can also be done very en-exspensive and can be done close to home.There have been reported sighting throughout history most cultures and countries have similar stories, the Indians called them Sasquatch. Teddy Rosevelt tells a story in his book.he called them Goblins, Daniel Boone said he killed one. Primatologist Jane Goodall believes bigfoot may exist. One of my best campfire stories is of a bear hunt, I went on in The Smokey Mountains with two cousins as a teenager. We never saw a bear but had a adventure of a life time. Lifes about making memories.

  11. I am trying to finalize my Troop’s planning for summer, 2013. I am a cycling MB instructor and our Troop plans weekly rides all Summer long with the goal of working boys up to the long 50 miler, which we do each August. I would be thrilled if the new requirements for cycling merit badge could get posted NOW so that we could detail plans and help boys get the gear they need rather than scramble in May …

    • Hi Aaron,
      It would be nice if they could give you a special preview of the requirements before they are official and still subject to change. If you have the boys start the merit badge before the May release as you indicate, a much easier way is to just use the old requirements. They are grandfathered in for boys that present a signed merit badge card to the merit badge counselor before the updates are released. That way you have the option of using either set of requirements. That way neither you nor the BSA Boy Scout advancement people have to scramble.

  12. Scouting was founded by Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (BP), the hero of the siege of Mafeking during the Boer War in southern Africa. Scouting started itself when young men started buying a military manual BP wrote, “Aids to Scouting,” and forming their own “units.” He realized that he had to separate youth Scouting from military scouting and wrote a second manual for youth entitled “Scouting for Boys.” This is the manual that was used to start the BSA. The BSA was criticized because the first uniforms were “too military” as they were basically the U.S. Army uniform. During World War I it was realized that Scouting stood for peace and Scouts shouldn’t look like soldiers. Scouts needed a uniform more like a forest ranger than like a soldier. Since then there has been an active effort to separate Scouting from any remote connection to anything military. That is why there is almost a complete absence of anything militaristic in Scouting. The challenge is that Scouting is very patriotic, so this is a fine line. The same problem occurred with religion. The YMCA had a key role in starting the BSA and organizing the first Scout units and camps. This turned off Catholics. In this case the BSA was quick get key Catholic leaders involved in Scouting to avoid another problem. So the BSA embraces all religions but avoids anything openly military except patriotism. I understand and support continuing this tradition.

    • Also as part of the original charter of the BSA, congress doesn’t allow military uniforms. Even though the original BSA uniforms mirrored the military uniforms of that era. I’ve had camp directors ask my to remove my old fatigue coat while at scout camp because of the charter wording.

  13. i fully agree and, I also point out that many American Legion Posts sponsor BSA units, as do VFW Posts – but not for military purposes, mainly patriotic goals.

  14. PS: The chartered organizations for the Direct Service, the Transatlantic Council and the Far East Council, all of which serve military children abroad, include:

    American schools and churches, international schools, U.S. embassies, multinational corporations, parents’ groups, veteran organizations and groups, fraternal organizations, and American military bases.

  15. As a long time Ecology Director at summer camp, it would be extremely useful for national to circulate proposed requirements in new merit badges and changes in current merit badges for comment. It might avoid well intentioned but difficult to counsel requirements and vague requirements. Several years ago a requirement was added to Astronomy to chart the position of one of three planets for four weeks. Most of the Scouts attempting could not understand the requirement even with explaination and we had to acquire planet movement charts so that we could check their work (but could not share the charts witht he Scouts lest they merely copy). Fortunately that requirement has been changed, but it could have been avoided.

  16. What about a Sewing Merit Badge? I know it’s not sexy like Game Design, but I can’t tell you the number of times, as a Scout and as a Scouter, that my sewing skills have saved my life! For instance, just the other day, I put on my pack to go hiking and the belt ripped! Not to be deterred, I got out a piece of webbing, some nylon thread and a book binding needle and sewed it back together. Does it look sexy? No, but I can wear and cinch the pack and carry the 50+ lbs. it was meant to carry and I was prepared because I knew what I was doing! A needle, thread and webbing are now part of my pack for Philmont and I won’t go without them!

  17. Pingback: Happy 103rd birthday, Boy Scouts of America! « Bryan on Scouting

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