Next up: Welding merit badge

UPDATE, Jan. 27, 2012: Click here for a Welding merit badge update and the final, official requirements.

Want to spark some passion in your Scouts?

Tell them about Welding, the next new merit badge from the Boy Scouts of America.

When it debuts in the next month or two, it will become the BSA’s 128th current merit badge, joining fellow newcomer Chess, which made its move onto the list during the summer. (See a complete list of merit badges here.)

Some merit badges are all about enjoying the outdoors — Whitewater, Camping, Backpacking. Those active subjects are an essential part of a boy’s involvement in Scouting.

But those merit badges that focus on career exploration are just as important. I’m talking about subjects like Architecture, Graphic Arts, Home Repairs, and — my personal favorite — Journalism.

Welding fits right in with those.

Where else but Scouting can a young man learn from industry practitioners in real-world fields? It’s the perfect, hands-on way to explore a subject that a Scout may one day make his career.

And in this time of job uncertainty, welding would be a smart career choice. It’s one field where demand for workers exceeds supply, says David Landon, vice president of the American Welding Society.

That’s because, as he told Scouting magazine in our latest issue, almost everything in our industrial society is connected to welding.

“People are building racecars and all kinds of construction equipment,” he told us. “Then there’s welding robotics, where you’re programming robots to do the welding for you.”

While you’re spreading the word about Welding to your Scouts, BSA representatives are in Chicago this week talking up Welding merit badge to professionals at the FABTECH Expo, North America’s largest welding event.

Uniformed Boy Scouts led the flag ceremony, and Jack Compton, who helped write the merit badge pamphlet, led hands-on demonstrations with his two grandons, who are Scouts.

Another big goal at the expo: Recruiting professional welders to serve as merit badge counselors in their communities.

You can help there, too. If you know someone in the welding field, ask them to teach the merit badge to your troop.

There’s no exact release date or finalized list of requirements just yet, but stay tuned right here as I get that information.

In the meantime, let’s all cheer everyone’s three favorite words: New merit badge!

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.