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

    • Probably not. They say Digital Technology mb replaces Computer mb. This means it will probably have the same internal number (036). Council Registrars know that even if two merit badges have different names, if they have the same number, then only one can be earned. Here are some examples:

      Fishing (no. 52) & Fly Fishing (no. 126), both can be earned.
      Canoeing (no. 33) & Kayaking (no. 149), both can be earned.

      Auto Maintenance (no. 127) & Automechanics (no. 127), only one can be earned.
      Nuclear Science (no. 24) & Atomic Energy (no. 24), only one can be earned.

        • Not odd – It would not make sense for you to earn the same merit badge twice. Digital Technology is just a new name for the Computers merit badge.
          In the same way, it would not make sense to earn Automotive Maintenance if you already have Automechanics, and it would not make sense to earn Nuclear Science if you already have Atomic Energy.
          Fly Fishing is not a new name for the fishing merit badge, and Kayaking is not a new name for the Canoeing merit badge.
          The odd one is Snow Sports. There used to be a Skiing merit badge, which had options to do either Alpine or Cross-Country skiing. When they added an option for Snow Boarding, they changed the name to Snow Sports. If you had already earned Skiing, you were allowed to earn Snow Sports using the Snow Boarding option. When they changed Water Skiing to Water Sports (adding the wakeboard option), they did not offer the same option.

          If you prefer the artwork for the new badge when it comes out, you could buy one at your scout shop, and wear it instead of your current Computers merit badge.

  1. In the past two years, several Troops in the Northern Star Council have participated in an Invasive Species merit badge pilot program. The program was run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife St Croix Wetland District. Hopefully, this will become a merit badge nationally in a few years.

  2. As a scoutmasterthat has been involved with scouts for 12 years I believe that besides exposing young and older scouts to opportunities in all different fields of interest I believe that scouts is also designed to get scouts out and experiencing the outdoors and nature but how can the scouts do this if they keep adding merit badges where they just sit on thier butts in front of a computer.

    • I see things from a different perspective than Gary. As an Eagle Scout, father and uncle of Eagle Scouts, and former Scoutmaster I see that Scouts IS designed to get Scouts outdoors. BUT its much more. Plenty of merit badges are “indoors.” I earned “Coin Collecting” and “Reading” and so on. Its to help develop the whole Scout – physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. Learning to design games, or program is much more than just sitting on their butts as a passive observer.

    • If the kid gets his Eagle then he will have plenty of outdoor activities under his belt. There’s many more kids doing game design/computer programming than they are boys who collect coins, or who are contemplating a career as a coal miner or a truck driver. And yet we have MBs for all of those fine activities.

  3. Pingback: Merit Badge Calendar Shows Launch Schedule | Scout Wire

  4. Pingback: New BSA Merit Badges Align with Tech Camps - Classroom Antics Tech Camps

  5. My son is looking forward to the mining merit badge. He saw it list on his Jamboree activity list. Geology is his favorite subject and mining fits right in.

  6. Why is it “Mining in Society”? That sounds like a press release from the mining industry, not a merit badge. Now are we going to have “Plumbing in Society”, “Radio in Society”, “Textiles in Society”, and “Soil and Water Conservation in Society”.

    Everyone will call this “Mining” anyway, so why give it a name that sounds like it came from a PR firm?

    • I have to agree with Walter on this one.
      If it is about mining, then it should be called “Mining”.
      The added ‘in Society’ portion of the name takes away from the meaning, and creates confusion. What does mining have to do with ‘in society’? Do they mean something other than removing ores/minerals from the Earth? Is that like data-mining?

    • Im studying mining engineering at Virginia Tech and I like the name they gave it. Mining in Society sounds like it could be a good way to introduce someone to mining because it will give them an appreciation and understanding of the basics of the mining industry. If you say just mining it would be implying that you’re teaching the kids how to mine which would be incredibly hard for most people to teach or have any activities for due to the complexity of mines.

  7. Just saw this video today, and noticed that the new list of merit badges addresses this issue. Coincidence, I think not.

  8. Why isn’t William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt an option to do a bio on for Scouting heritage? IMHO he did a heck of a lot more than Waite Phillips. Yes Philmont is awesome, but not every Scout gets to go there. Starting in 1929 with his patrol Leader’s Handbook, Bill wrote every single Handbook, Patrol leader book, SM Handbook, articles for BOYS’ LIFE, was the only 5 Beader in the BSA, until his retirement in 1968 THEN he had to come out of retirement to save the BSA from the Improved Scouting Program of 1972 to write the ALL OUT FOR SCOUTING program in the late 1970s, the syllabus for BROWNSEA 22, the 1979 BSHB, contribute to the 3rd ed. of the PL’s Handbook, and write again for BOYS’ LIFE.

    If anyone deserves to have their bio learned and their impact on Scouting, It’s Green Bar Bill.

    • I met Green Bar Bill when I was a kid. We attended the NY/Canadian international camp out in 1984 and 1986. He signed my scout books and but two green marker bars on it. I got to talk to him a few minutes. He signed “Bill Hillcourt” and I didn’t know who he was. I only knew him as Green Bar Bill. He lived in the Syracuse, NY area.

  9. My son finished all of the merit badges offered when he was 14. He got his Eagle when he was 13. He is planning on doing the new ones as well. We want to do something big to acknowledge all his hard work. I have been searing for ideas. It seems like after the Eagle Court of Honor, nothing else is done. Do you have any ideas you could share with me?? I’m so proud of him and want the world to know it. He did this on his own.

    • Eagle Palms are the appropriate recognition for more merit badges and more time as an active Boy Scout.

      For new, appropriate challenges, he should do Venturing Ranger and Venturing Silver. He can continue knock off the new merit badges to get a complete set, but they are obviously pretty easy for him.

    • BSA has never tracked, and has no official recognition for earning all of the merit badges. Over the years there have been several boys who have done it. There is a website that seeks to recognize their accomplishment. Check out http://www.meritbadgeknot.com/. They have a recognition square-knot, and they are trying to get it approved officially with the BSA, but it currently is not. There is also an achievers registry on the site.
      I would plan a special court of honor to present the last merit badge, and special recognition for completing them all. Ask your council if they want to recognize that accomplishment, or if they have contacts where you can send a press-release.

    • If he wants to do more merit badges, Royal Rangers offers some MB that are different from BSA’s. Primitive Snares, Primitive Shelters, Bachelor, and others offer a different spin that scouts does. Of course he won’t be able to wear them officially with his scout uniform. I use their material in the troop since some of the badges are the same level as the old scout tin skill awards.

    • I’m with Walter, look into Venturing. Not only do they have the Ranger (requires achieving Outdoor Bronze) and Silver (requires achieving a Bronze and the Gold), they also have the Quest (sports oriented), and TRUST (religious oriented) awards. However, if he has earned every MB, these may be on the easier side to achieve (lots of overlap). You may also look into Sea Scouts, if there is a unit in your area. The Quartermaster Award is highly difficult to achieve, and may provide more of a challenge for him.

      Either way, Venturing or Sea Scouts would probably give him more of a challenge, since they are geared specifically for older youth (14-21). Best of all, he could be dual enrolled, so he could still do merit badges if he wanted and remain active with his troop.

      • Please don’t forget about the Nova and Supernova programs for Science Technology Engineering, and Matematics (STEM) with 3 levels of awards for Venturers

      • The great thing about Venturing is that it’s not just “learn a skill — typically with a bit (but not particualarly in-depth in most cases) of hands-on — and cover some history on the topic” and thus earn a merit badge. In Venturing the scout is required to delve much more deeply into the given skill area, as well as TEACH skills to others. (And is also usually required to do a significant project.)

        We all know that many scouts “do-and-forget” when it comes to merit badges. I am a MB counselor for Climbing, and passing off the various climbing related knots during the MB workshop doesn’t mean much of anything in the long run — or learning any of the other climbing skills, for that matter. If they don’t keep tying those knots, using those skills, they’ll forget them within a matter of weeks.

        Venturing means they actually need to internalize the knowledge in order to pass it on to others. (I also work with Ventures on the Mountaineering portion of the Ranger Award.)

        • Jumpmaster – I agree with your comment about “do and forget” with regards to rope work and knots. If knots were taught properly, they boys and adults do not forget them in 2 weeks or so later. I have the boys tie the knot, talk the knot, demonstrate the knot to someone else after the successfully tie the knot 10 times in a row. THEN after they learn the knots, I take them rappelling. The participants “Know that they Know” the knot.

          People learn differently. Some are tactile learners and have to feel what they are learning. These people are the first ones to pick up a knife during a knife sharpening demo. Just like a baby sticking everything in their mouths. So instead of yelling at a person for picking up a knife, you let them pick up a dull knife and let them handle it.

          A kinetic learner has to physically move to learn. You see them tapping pencils on a table. Instead of them being annoying tapping or drumming, they need to talk around in the back of the room. They will retain almost all of the information while walking.

          A visual learner has to see what they are learning. They do good in chemistry watching colors change in pH solutions. So if they see someone setting up a rappelling station, they will learn easier. They typically can read print and do well.
          An audible learner does good at listening over that of taking notes. They usually are the boys talking in class out of turn. If this happens in class, pull them to the side, train them up and have then teach a class.

          There are other ways that people learn, but I will not go into them at this time. That is what is so cool about scouting compared to how the standard schools run. You can take a kid that is failing everything in school, put them in scouts and they will be very successfull. You can place a kid that is sent to shop class because they are “not smart enough for other classes” and place them in a chemistry lab and they will do very well. Not that shop classes are simple either. VoTech has a bad reputation anyways for many years. Schools see some kids as “stupid”or “unteachable” and they are not, they just learn differently. Scouting trumps this thought or attitude since we teach differently.

          I seem to have gone off topic of this thread, but just keep up working with the boys and girls. You may not know the impact you are making until you are very old and they tell you later on in life.

    • Hi Tiffanie. Good for your son! Please give him my congratulations! Especially good considering it does not sound like he is getting the support of a Scoutmaster. Have you thought of changing troops? There should be a Court of Honor 3 – 4 times per year. Are you aware of the Eagle Palms? Contact your local newspapers and TV stations regarding press releases.

  10. Thank you for your reply. He will continue to do them and if our scouts ever have. a court of honor again ( its been over a year since they have had one) he will get his palms. Buy I want to know how to let the media know and celebrate what he has done at such a young age. I just don’t know how to go about it.

  11. Where is the game design requirements? My 18th birthdays tomorrow and I realy want to earn this badge!

  12. The robotics merit badge pamphlet is so well done that I use it to introduce new members of my FIRST team to robotics…I am looking forward to the programming and animation books so I can use them for those facets of FIRST competition

    • I beleive that if you are working on a merit badge and they change the requirements you can complete the merit badge based on the old requirements. Verify this with you MB Counselor..

    • Of course you can earn it before the change. The requirement being added is to earn the cooking merit badge, not ‘earn the cooking merit badge after January 2014′.

  13. Pingback: A new recipe: What to expect from the Cooking merit badge redesign « Bryan on Scouting

  14. There is maturity to be concidered in advancement not just checking off things done. I applaud the Eagle scout that can handle the weight of the feathers. Once earned they should be given the chances to act as a councilor for many other scouts. Serve in junior leader training staff etc…this really helps other scouts.

  15. Good to see that merit badges are coming in their new look, some of them have already been released. The merit badges are always use to each us some new thing like in Sustainability Eagle-required. Scouts must earn either this or Environmental Science, etc.From the released updates I like the Game Design. Eagerly waiting for launching of new badges. Thanks for sharing this fascinating post with us.

  16. I noticed that a scout said his 18th birthday was the day after his post and there was a merit badge he was wanting to earn. my son was told the day he turns 18 he is out and can no longer be a scout. When are the boys fininshed?

    • You can also go into venturing, an explorer post, or a sea scout unit. You can stay a youth in these until you are 21. If he is in the Order of the Arrow he is also a youth until 21.

  17. Pingback: New Requirement for Eagle Scouts: Merit Badge on Climate Change Junk Science | The Penn Ave Post

      • I would have let your “present them with facts and let them reach their own conclusions” comment pass until you decided to violate your own “this isn’t the place to debate climate change” statement by advocating FOR AGW in your last sentence. Allow me to present some facts. 8 in 10 so-called CLIMATE scientists, whose funding depends on climate change being caused by humans (conflict of interest anyone?) insist (in the face of a large amount of data to the contrary) that it is true. The vast majority of other scientists in related fields do NOT believe in man caused climate change. And most scientists in general do NOT believe it.

        My Phd geologist brother was asked by his university department to teach a course on Global Warming (it wasn’t “Climate Change” until the world stopped warming for more than a decade). He was actually agnostic on the topic at that point (as his area of specialization was marine vulcanology), but started doing siginificant research to put together his course, including trying to get the underlying data that various global warming advocate organizations were using to arrive at their conclusions. He was met with much resistance and stonewalling, which he’d never encountered before in his other areas of research.

        He kept digging and when I asked him about how things were going, he said “This is the biggest scam in the history of science.” Being a man of integrity (and an Eagle scout) he actually went to his department chair and said he could not in good conscience teach the course unless they allowed him to use the course to debunk the topic. He has since found he is not alone — literally thosands of fellow scientists have come to his same conclusion.

        Unlike “climate scientists” he had literally no agenda other than his love of science and his personal integrity.

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