Bryan on Scouting

Boy Scouts and Lemelson-MIT Program introduce Inventing merit badge

The inventive spirit of young people bursted onto the scene today in Cambridge, Mass., as hundreds gathered to see the first awarding of the Boy Scouts of America’s new Inventing merit badge.

The ceremony was a part of EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Part of the program’s mission is to inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers through innovation.

It makes sense for the Lemelson-MIT Program to partner with the BSA to announce the release of this newest merit badge. Scouting is full of inquisitive youth who will be among the top innovators of tomorrow.

“Scouts represent a new generation of inventors, and we’re honored that they are embracing the significance of inventing,” says Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer of the Lemelson-MIT Program.

“It’s crucial that we empower our nation’s youth to explore their ideas that can have an impact on their community. The technical skills and discovery process that come with earning this merit badge will teach them that they can invent solutions for today’s problems. Their solutions may help people live healthier, more productive, and more engaging lives.”

BSA Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca said he’s grateful for the partnership with such an excellent program.

“Throughout the Boy Scouts of America’s rich, 100-year history, merit badges have given Scouts an opportunity to experience and learn about a variety of hobbies and professions,” he said. “We are very excited about the Inventing merit badge and what the future holds as Scouts use the tools learned while working on the requirements to help make the world a better place.”

One of those merit badges from the BSA’s 100-year history was the similarly named Invention merit badge. The badge was discontinued in 1915 after only 10 boys had earned it. The reason for its low popularity? The main requirement told boys to “Invent and patent some useful article.” Receiving a product patent is not an easy feat in any generation.

Even though an official merit badge recognizing invention has been dormant for 95 years, the idea of innovation has been fully alive in the Scouting program over the past century. Whether it’s a Boy Scout creating a useful camp gadget out of wood and rope or a Cub Scout tuning the aerodynamics on his pinewood derby car, Scouts never stop innovating.

Ready to introduce Inventing merit badge to your troop? Start with the official requirements, available here.