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)


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)


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.


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


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


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


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.


Released on Feb. 24, 2012


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


Released on April 11, 2011


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


Released in September 2011


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


Released in December 2010


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

Scouting magazine story: “The Real Game Boys”


Released in June 2010


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

Scouting Heritage

Released in May 2010


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

Scuba Diving

Released on Dec. 1, 2009


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. Is it ‘Communication’ as stated on and the merit badge book OR ‘Communications’ as stated in our District/Council Advancement Report?

    It is driving me crazy! I get corrected several times if I use one or the other when doing our merit badge events. Any way to sync all and tell us the ‘correct’ one to use from now on??

    Personally I think ‘Communications’ makes more sense as there are many different ways to communicate. (This is the same as our local council advancement report which I look at as stats go a long way in helping plan our merit badge events.)

    • Communication already represents all forms of communication. It is not necessary to pluralize communication. It’s like money, public speaking, architecture, crime prevention, sculpture, textile, theater, weather, etc. All “plural” in nature, in that they represent many forms of the subject, but the singular term encompasses all of that in one, non plural word. I graduated from the Communication school at Syracuse, and this was actually discussed on the first day of class — it’s communication, not communications. Great question though! Thanks for asking!

      • It is the Communication Merit Badge, but there is a word ‘communications’. A communication is something like a letter or message containing information or news. Two letters or two messages are communications.

        Despite what a professor at Syracuse said, there is also the unfortunate ambiguous use of communication and communications including …

        these Schools of Communications (with an ‘s’):

        American University School of Communications *
        Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts & Communications
        Elon University School of Communications
        Grand Valley State University School of Communications *
        University of Hawaii School of Communications *
        Howard University School of Media and Communications *
        Husson University New England School of Communications
        Ithaca College Roy H. Park School of Communications
        Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications *
        National University of Singapore Department of Communications and New Media (#3)
        Quinnipiac University School of Communications *
        Robert Morris University School of Communications & Information Systems *
        Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications & Fine Arts *
        Yale University School of Communications (#7)

        * Interestingly some of these universities list their field of study as communication. So even the Schools of Communications mostly use the term communication, not communications.

        and these Schools of Communication (without an ‘s’):

        University of California Berkeley, School of Journalism (#4)
        University of California, Los Angeles, Communication Studies (#8)
        University of Hartford School of Communication
        Hofstra University School of Communication
        London School of Economics and Political Science (#6)
        Marist School of Communication and the Arts
        Massachusetts Institute of Technology Comparative Media Studies (#5)
        University of Miami School of Communication
        Montclair State University School of Communication and Media
        University of Melbourne School of Media and Communication (#10)
        Northwestern University School of Communication
        Ohio University School of Communication Studies
        University of Oregon School of Journalism & Communication
        University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Communication
        Point Park University School of CommunicationTemple University School of Media and Communication
        Purdue University Brian Lamb School of Communication
        Queens University of Charlotte Knight School of Communication
        Regent University School of Communication & the Arts
        University of Rhode Island Harrington School of Communication and Media
        Rutgers University School of Communication and Information
        Stanford University Department of Communication (#1)
        University of Tennessee School of Communication Studies
        University of Tokyo School of Information Science & Technology (#9)
        Washington State University Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
        Wichita State University Elliot School of Communication

        and these schools avoid making the distinction:

        Columbia University Journalism School (#2)
        University of Tokyo School of Information Science & Technology (#9)

  2. Pingback: Ask the Expert: Rapid-fire FAQs, round 2 « Bryan on Scouting

  3. I’m concerned about implementation of the Cooking Merit Badge as Eagle-required. Our troop initially announced that any scout who had reached Life Rank by end of 2013 would not have this requirement added; however, have seen updates that make any Life Scout who has not completed his Eagle project subject to this requirement. What is it definitively? The challenge is that the Cooking Merit Badge overlaps and repeats basics from the already-required Camping Merit Badge and, due to limited backpacking/camping opportunities organized within our troop and the number of scouts who will suddenly have this requirement, the length of time it will take already-advanced scouts to add this on and find an opportunity to complete. This wouldn’t be an issue if all Life Scouts by end of 2013 were exempt, but hard for the boys completing their Eagle requirements to find backpacking opportunities in the middle of the winter.

    • The rule is simple and has nothing to do with when a Scout earned Life or which Eagle requirements they’ve done (including the project).

      Starting Jan. 1, 2014, Cooking Merit Badge is required for Eagle. If you get Eagle before that, you don’t need Cooking. After that, you need Cooking.

      These Scouts should talk to their Patrol Leaders and SPL about the troop doing more camping and backpacking.

    • Look over the requirements… it doesn’t say you have to camp or backpack… it says you have to plan a menu for.. and prepare the meals using backpack stove…. if you can’t go backpacking, you can still cook in accordance with the requirements

  4. It is interesting the responses and now can understand better why the merit badge book states Communication without the ‘s’. Problem comes in is we get the advancement reports first from Districts, Council and sometimes National that uses it with an -s ending that confused MANY. Would be nice if the computer systems took out the little typo of the ‘s’ ending so all was synced and EVERYONE uses Communication.

  5. I cannot imagine any troop not teaching cooking merit badge. It is being added to the list because it is essential to every camping outing. I also consider it one of the basic life skills you learn from scouting, everyone should know how to cook. It is usual a very fun merit badge for everyone, scouts , instructors and leaders.

    • Cooking has been a merit badge since 1911. It is not being added. It is already there and has been for 103 years. However,it is in this blog becase it is being updated to reflect healthy choices.

      It is very important today, since many young women choose not to bother to learn how to coook. In many couples, it is the husband that does the cooking. I hear this from many of my Eagle Scouts that I run into.

  6. I am aware of cooking being a merit badge. Taught it for 15 years. I was referring to it becoming a required merit badge the end of the year.

  7. The new Magic Merit Badge Requirements (2014):

    1. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the history of stage Magic. Explain the difference between stage Magic and magic in folklore and legend.

    2. Identify and describe first aid for injuries commonly associated with the performance of magic:
    a. Flash-paper burns
    b. Dove and Rabbit bites
    c. Hand cramps from excessive practice of a false Faro Shuffle

    3. Perform at least 3 of the following for your merit badge counselor:
    a. Three effects using playing cards, involving at least 1 force and 1 false shuffle
    b. Two effects using rope
    c. A mentalism effect
    d. An illusion involving an assistant, whom you must teach to help perform the effect.
    e. An effect involving making something appear
    f. An effect involving making something disappear

    4. Discuss the meaning of the following terms with your merit badge counselor, and describe how each was demonstrated in the performance of your effects:
    a. Misdirection
    b. Patter
    c. Audience involvement
    d. Humor

    5. Discuss the following ethical considerations for a magician
    a. Not revealing how an effect is done
    b. Not using magic to defraud or claim actual supernatural powers
    c. Ensuring the safety of yourself, your assistant, and the audience

    6. With the approval of your merit badge counselor, perform a magic show that is at least 15 minutes long for a troop meeting or campfire event, Cub Scout den, school, or charitable group for young children (such as a hospital) using the effects you demonstrated in Requirement #4.

    7. With your parents or guardian, attend a live magic performance. Afterwards, discuss what effects were performed with your merit badge counselor and discuss how the magician maintained audience interest, and how you could apply the same principles to your own performance.

    8. Research the life of at least 3 famous magicians, and provide an oral report on one to your merit badge counselor.

    • Actually, Brian, I wrote those requirements (semi)humorously to try to show what kind of requirements would be likely – there are a lot of people who want to see a magic merit badge, but it hasn’t happened yet.

      • It has been presented, I believe to National. Cannot believe it is not approved, yet all the merit badges that require computers and software are approved and abundant. How can those be earned by Scouts with limited resources? Magic can be done with a deck of cards, a few coins, and a neckerchief. Most, if not all of those, a Scout probably has at summer camp. BSA should Get’r done!
        Don’t let it disappear ;-)

  8. Glad to see Cooking joining the ranks of required merit badges…. it should never have left the list of required……

  9. By the end of jambo m’y son will have all the badges would like suggestions on something special gift to give him at the roast wé are having for him.

    • Has your son earned all of the available merit badges? That is a phenomenal achievement!! Congratulations to your son!! Great job! A special gift? That is a tough one. What about having a special plaque made for him? Maybe with a few of his favorite merit badges on it and a brass plate with his name, how many merit badges he earned, and the date he earned the final one?

  10. Any word on a merit badge relating with Hotel Management or F&B Restaurant Management? There is not a single merit badge that covers this enourmous field of work and career opportunity.

  11. Pingback: Calendar of New Merit Badges | Troop 139 Ortonville, MI.

  12. Am wanting to confirm that the Computers merit badge is still available, and whether the replacement Digital Technology merit badge will be a different design.

    • My understanding is that the new Digital Technology will be the replacement for the current Computer Merit Badge. So the Computer Merit Badge won’t be available any more. I believe that Digital Technology will also have the same number so if you already have the Computer Merit Badge you can’t earn the Digitlal Technology MB.

  13. Sometimes I wish as an post 18 Eagle Scout we could go earn (for knowledge and teaching purpose) some of these newer merit badges.

    • You absolutely can earn and present these newer merit badges to yourself after you turn 18… They just don’t go on your record and you can’t add them to your sash for show. You can put them in a special display or use them as temporary activity patches. What is even more fun for me is learning about the new merit badges and teaching it to the entire troop.

      • So how do you get the Scout Shop to sell the badges to you then since you’re not under 18 and you most likely don’t have a leader turning in fulfilled requirements to them for you?

      • You can earn them, and maybe even get the scout-shop to sell them to you, but there is no way to officially earn them. You can’t have them recorded on your scouting record, and you can’t wear them.
        A merit badge would never be an appropriate patch to wear as a temporary activity patch on your right pocket.

        In my many years as a scouter, I have ‘earned’ tons of merit badges. I even let the boys know I am earning them. I have purchased many of them, but I never wear them.

  14. Pingback: Introducing the Programming Merit Badge | The Computer Merit Badge

  15. How does one get on one of these comittees that develops a merit badge…I would really like to see what direction the advanced computing badge is going. I hope it has some real-time embedded micro processor requirements in it because thats the kid technology we need to nuture in our up and coming engineer..

    I am in the process re-selecting the badges I will be couseling this fall to reflect the STEM emphasis that BSA has adopted.

    Brian C
    Embedded Systems Engineer – Emeritus
    Three Harbours Coucil – WI


    FYI…there are several very powerful programming software packages that are free to be downloaded from…the JAVA programming environment is pretty straight forward to download and set-up, The C/C++ programming tool is a little tricky, but after you do it once it, its easy, and provides a fully funcitional c/c++ programming tool..(I would be willing to talk anyone through that set up)..I would recommend the JAVA program..

    Brian C

    • Arduino is a good start and easily available from your Local Radioshack..It would be a good choice if you were going for the new digital technology badge too…
      there are other resources that are cheaper, like TI’s MSP430 launch pad that is only $4.30 and the software is free. It forces you to learn real C, not the arduino derivative, so you learn a skill that you can market later

  17. I have a small joke to share. When I saw the new BSA Stand Up Paddleboard patch, I decided to tease my 14 year old Life Scout about it. I said “What’s next, a Catfish Wrestling Merit Badge?” Well, he thought that was a really cool idea. He loves fish, and has every merit badge associated with fish other than Oceanography and Soil and Water Conservation.

    I don’t think that idea would, ahem, float since catfish do have teeth, and because it could not be done nationally (at least until people start building wrestling pools), but it goes to show that you never know what would interest a boy or young man.

  18. Pingback: How to suggest a new merit badge « Bryan on Scouting

    • I suppose that depends on your definitions of Language and Code.

      On the one hand, ASL, SEE, and other forms of English-Based sign language are a non-verbal communication of the English language. In this sense I would consider it a form of code. That is why you hire an Interpreter (understand and interpret the encoding of the message), rather than a Translator (convert from one language to another). For those who learned English, and then learned sign-language as a new expression of English, it is more like a code than a new language.

      On the other hand, there are those who communicate using sign-language, who have never learned audible English. There are grammatical forms in ASL that are not exactly like English. It may be that some think in ASL, and learn to ‘translate’ into English when writing or interpreting. For them, it would be more like a language than a code.

  19. ASL has a different grammar than English. It is a separate language. Colleges accept ASL for their foreign language entrance requirement.

    SEE (Signing Exact English) uses ASL signs plus additional signs that are not needed in ASL, and arranges them with English grammar. It is an approach to teaching English as a second language to people whose first language is ASL.

    There is an interpreter’s strip for ASL.

    • I’m aware of what SEE is, and that ASL has differing grammar, and that it counts as a foreign language in some colleges. None of that negates what I said in my previous post.

      There is also an interpreter’s strip for Morse Code. The existence of an ASL interpreter’s strip does not prove that ASL is/isn’t a language.

      • Right. What you said is that people can use ASL signs for English. That means that they are using a pidgen ASL and do not have the very first level of fluency in the language. They would fail the first year course.

        Incompetent users of ASL does not make ASL a code.

        Linguistically, ASL is distinct from English. For example, ASL has a completely different idea of pronoun than English. ASL pronouns are spatial and not gendered.

        I know about the Morse Code interpreter’s strip and I think it is a terrible idea. The interpreters strip is how other Scouts know you can communicate with them in their language. No one uses Morse face to face. I’m an amateur radio operator and I’m all for more connections with Scouting and ham radio, but the Morse strip is a novelty strip that was OK’ed by the BSA.

        The Morse strip is an exception. Every other interpreter’s strip is for a natural language.

        • I didn’t argue that ASL is/isn’t a language/code. I simply said that there are valid arguments for both, depending on your definition of the terms.

          You obviously have a strong opinion leaning toward ASL as a language. I’m not saying you are wrong. I’m simply saying that those who consider it a code may also have a valid point.

          By some definitions, you could probably consider every language to be a form of code.

  20. Pingback: | Hilliard Area Scouting

  21. Pingback: Changes to Boy Scout Merit Badge Program | Hilliard Area Scouting

  22. Pingback: Changes to Merit Badge Program | Hilliard Area Scouting

  23. Pingback: NEW MERIT BADGES: Counselors needed to introduce subjects | Signs Up!

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