Cooking, Sustainability merit badges to become Eagle-required

Updated Nov. 1: Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about these changes.

Updated Dec. 18: Here are the new requirements for Cooking MB.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, this badge will get a silver border.

Moms and dads, prepare the needle and thread!

Sustainability and Cooking merit badges will join the list of Eagle-required merit badges over the next 14 months, the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board announced today.

Sustainability, a new merit badge, will join Environmental Science as an Eagle Scout option after its debut at the 2013 jamboree.

Cooking, meanwhile, will become Eagle-required as of Jan. 1, 2014.

The total number of merit badges required for the Eagle Scout Award will remain at 21. In other words, instead of 12 Eagle-required badges and 9 elective badges, a Scout must earn 13 Eagle-required and 8 elective badges.

Why the change? The goal is to “reflect a better balance of the needs of youth and our nation today and in the future,” according to the BSA’s resolution. Personally, I like it. Keeping up with the ever-changing world means questioning the way things have always been done.

Sustainability becomes more important as our population increases while resources decrease. And a boy who reaches Eagle without skills in cooking and healthy eating habits hasn’t become fully “Prepared. For Life.” in my opinion. I think the BSA’s board got it right on here.

What do you think?

For the list of Eagle-required merit badges as it looks now — and as it will look in 2014 — follow the jump. 

Current list of Eagle-required merit badges

Earn a total of 21 merit badges, including the following:

  • First Aid
  • Citizenship in the Community
  • Citizenship in the Nation
  • Citizenship in the World
  • Communication
  • Personal Fitness
  • Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
  • Environmental Science
  • Personal Management
  • Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling
  • Camping
  • Family Life

List of Eagle-required merit badges, effective Jan. 1, 2014

Earn a total of 21 merit badges, including the following:

  • First Aid
  • Citizenship in the Community
  • Citizenship in the Nation
  • Citizenship in the World
  • Communication
  • Personal Fitness
  • Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
  • Environmental Science OR Sustainability
  • Personal Management
  • Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling
  • Camping
  • Family Life
  • Cooking

Lake Tahoe photo: Some rights reserved by CaDeltaFoto


  1. Cooking was required for Eagle prior to the “Improved Scouting Program” of 1972. It was the last one I completed.

    • I was aware of that and truthfully speaking never knew why it became an elective MB because if there is one thing youth today need to learn is how to cook and eat healthy which ultimately is the overall goal of the MB. Yeah it focuses on meal planning/prep for campouts but the skills required to appropriately plan and prepare a meal are the same in both environments.

  2. Sounds good to me, most of our scouts take the Cooking MB anyways.
    It will be interesting to see how Sustainability MB is written up, but I like it!

  3. Makes sense to me, especially since there are already so many cooking/meal planning requirements to get to first class. This adds some much needed continuity and encourages the older boys to continue to build these important skills.

  4. I hope the Sustainability merit badge includes a healthy dose of economics in it. Nothing is better a allocating scarce resources that the Law of Supply and Demand. When a resource becomes more scare, it’s price goes up, which signals the marketplace to conserve the resource in order to save money. The Law of Supply and Demand is far more powerful than the sometimes-detached concept of Sustainability.

    • Supply and Demand is far more powerful than Sustainability in our economy, however it is simply untrue that it is the best way to allocate scarce resources equitably. In many places where resources are scarce, notably food, people can’t afford to them because of high costs of transportation, low wages, labor exploitation, or other prohibitive forces resulting from purely supply and demand economics, despite high supply and low cost in the products’ country of origin. Sustainability is important because it looks at consumption through not just a cold, macro-economic lens, but also through its impact on the environment and its impact on consumers and local economies.

  5. No problem with the Cooking MB but interested in the Sustainability one. I am curious as to why you left the total MB count at 21 instead of raising it by 1.
    I think the boys need to learn how to cook…and by cook, I don’t mean hot dogs and mac n cheese! But to actually follow a recipe and make a meal following the food groups.

    • I agree with raising the total count. Eagle merit badges show that the scout has the necessary skills to ” Be Prepared” but the other suplimental badges round out the scout. They are just as important.

  6. I like the cooking requirement; that’s something our boys really need to learn. I’m not so convinced about the sustainability merit badge, however. We’ll have to see what the requirements end up like, but it doesn’t seem necessary to me.

  7. They NEED to make manners an Eagle requirement!!!! I have gone to some dinner where there was a lot of Eagles and other scout who had the WORST table manner I have seen!!!

    • Isn’t that part of being courteous? Maybe their leaders should be installing those qualities if their parents are failing at doing so – just a thought.

    • Yes, have a “Hostess” MB like I did back in Girl Scouts. I am serious, as I go over table manners, how to set a table, and how to talk to a guest at your table, in preparation for summer camp each year.

  8. I like elevating Cooking. Every young man should have a good understanding of the tenants and principles that are learned by completing that merit badge. Personally I would have preferred to see Disability Awareness as a required over Sustainability. The BSA has always done a fantastic job encouraging conservation, but it seems that National is flirting with environmentalism and there is a big difference between the two. Environmental Science should remain a stand alone requirement and not watered down by adding a second option.

  9. Environmental Science Should not be an option. It is such an important area of study and global concern, both sustainability and Environmental Science should be required. Also, Environmental Science is one of the badges that get the scouts to go to the Nature center, where they discover a love for the other studies there; this could potentially hurt all the other study areas in Nature.

  10. What’s the roll out plan? Will scouts that are Star or Life before the change takes effect be subject to the new MB requirement?

    • according to the current GTA (Guide to Advancement) and the Boy Scout requirements book. Ranks and merits if started before the official start date can continue to use the old requirements or switch over to the new requirements. but you can not mix and match requirements from two different versions. If you have earned Eagle but are life or below you will probably have to go to the new requirements but if your currently working on your eagle rank or havent started will mean the new requirements for the MB. Anyway most Scouts for cooking MB even with it being an elective is one of the more popular ones.

      the sustainability MB should not become an option to choose between it and E-Science MB.

  11. It’s about time they added Cooking MB back! It is a shame that an Eagle Scout could potentially go into the rest of his life not knowing how to fend for himself in almost any kitchen. I parlayed what I learned in Cooking MB into a career for awhile ….

    • While I like the idea that Cooking MB is a required merit badge. I disagree that it needs to be a require merit badge in order for all Eagle Scouts to be able to fend for themselves in the kitchen. Both my sons are excellent cooks and both attribute it to what they learned in scouts. One son left as a Tenderfoot and the other is an Eagle. In my troop every scout who has been with us more than a year can cook.

      • The same argument can be made against any required or optional merit badge. “Why have a beekeeping MB? We live in the styx and our boys already know how to keep bees!” “Why Family Life? My scout has a family and he’s alive!” “Why swimming? We belong to the pool!”
        That some scouts already have a skill doesn’t have any impact on whether it is a skill that all scouts should have.

      • making cooking mandatory is at least in my opinion a very good idea but one thing that I do know is that the cooking requirements as per the advancement requirements for various reasons doesn’t allow the scout to truly learn cooking and because were all about just barely meeting a standard this hopefully will raise the standard and require the book to actually learn the skill!!!!!!!

        ohh going along that idea of “why this one is required?” and “why that one isnt?” is in someway applicable to every single MB there. I recently asked a Scout this question…………..”Is it important to know how to perform first aid? Why or why not?” and……….he told me that it isn’t necessary because we have 911!!!!!!!! then I asked him……….”What if we were in the middle of nowhere without cell reception or the ability to get help quickly just like Scouts do (well at least thats what they should but………reality is that its not true for many units! very sad BTW!!!!!) and then he replied…………”yep its definitely a skill every scout needs to have?

  12. It’s about time, I could never understand, camping is a required MB, & you have to cook on a camp out so why was cooking not a required MB too.

  13. I wish the BSA had a Dutch Oven Merit Badge like Royal Rangers. My son just cooked 4 meals on last week-end’s campout. The 11 year old surprised himself and the troop. The boys need to know how to cook, not just to feed themselves but also for their future family. I would rather eat at a church Men’s Breakfast than one where the women cook. But in my old troop, we always had a dutch oven going on every camp out, even on one hike!

      • Kenneth R Calfo Sr.





        If we forget that we are a nation under God. Then we will be a nation gone under!

        I love my country but I fear my Gov.

        • uhhh……… this some trying to spam because I really don’t see how this has anything to do with Scouting unless we are going to start including politics in our program! Did I miss something????????

        • Well, scouting is political. That’s reality. And we are historically a religious organization. Scouting Heritage badge, lol???? I don’t have a problem with his comments but it doesn’t fit with the original post.

  14. I learned to cook on BSA camping trips, and it’s a skill that I have been grateful for ever since. I’m told that others appreciate that I cook well, too!

  15. I am more interested in what will happen to scouts which are already life and working to eagle do they need as of jan 1 an extra eagle required merit badge.

  16. I doubt this will change as it has been the case for several years.

    From the 2011 Guide to Advancement – Section Changes to Requirements

    Advancement requirements change from time to time. For Boy Scouting and Varsity Scouting, check the latest annual edition of Boy Scout Requirements, No. 34765. Changes usually appear first in a revised handbook, and then become effective the next January1 and are published in the requirements book.
    Unless otherwise stated there, or in the member handbook, the following options are allowed.
    • If members have already started on a rank, Eagle Palm, or Venturing award when a revision is introduced, they may switch to the new requirements or continue with the old ones until it is completed.
    • If members have not already started on a rank, they may use the new requirements; or, if work begins before the end of the current year, they may use the old requirements to complete the badge.

    The Guide to Advancement may be found at:

    • sewing would be a good idea but i know for me since I always a a “significant tremor” in my hands would have prevented me from earning eagle no matter how hard I tried.

      last time I tried sewing……….more holes ended up in my fingers than in my uniform shirt!!!!!!!!!!!

      • This is where it would be one of the either/or badges….or need to be one that could be completed with ‘help’ – like a lot of the badges can be rearranged if their is a legitimate handicap preventing them from being completed.

  17. Addition of Cooking, fine. However, Environmental Science and Sustainability are not equals. Sustainability is a play to the current Green movement. If a Scout follows and understands the Outdoor Code, sustainability isn’t an issue. That topic is covered in other MBs, it doesn’t need to be a required one of its own. Might as well make a Global Warming MB while you’re at it.

  18. Cooking is great! Sustainability should be good if it is done well. My scouts could use a lesson in sustainability, they think it is reasonable for them to plan a driving trip to Alaska, from Ohio, for a camp-out. NOT SUSTAINABLE!!

    • This is where you have a chance to let them learn this for themselves. Don’t just tell them its not possible. Let them plan the trip and see if they can get the plans approved by the adults. In doing so you get to leverage two of Scouting’s unique strengths – 1) youth leadership AND 2) that this is a safe place to fail. If they have to plan it (this includes logistics, budget, etc. – ALL of the trip) them you are showing them that you trust them to come up with a plan, and will mentor them as needed (but don’t do it for them!). One of two things will happen – they will figure out a plan (even if its not how other activities have been planned and/or done) that DOES make it possible and you can approve – OR, they will see that the logistics are further stretch than they can reach. From there they will drop the idea, or keep looking for other ways to get to Alaska. And the adults didn’t just say no, or stand around saying ‘see – its not possible’, but instead supported their leadership the entire way. If they don’t get to Alaska – they learned a lot from trying, and adults supported them 100% along the journey. If they they succeed -they get a great leadership experience and the group goes to Alaska for a once in a lifetime experience. Pretty great odds in my book!!

  19. Ok, here’s what I’d like to know… they are planning to update the Cooking MB in the next couple of months. So, if a scout earns the Cooking MB pre-update and is less than Life rank (and therefore, not technically started on Eagle) before the change goes into effect, does the Cooking MB, earned before the merit badge requirements change, count?
    Since National is changing the requirements for Cooking, then adding it as a required badge, it would be reasonable to assume they are making it harder or at least adding something that they feel is an important skill. Will the old (current) version of Cooking MB count? Should it?

    • I would assume they are making Cooking MB much easier so that it can be completed easily in four or five hours at summer camp. Which would be a shame. I suspect the new requirements will be more like the old cooking skill award from the 1970’s.

      • if they making cooking easier that will be a sad day. cooking technically speaking skill wise isn’t super complicated its just that our youth think about cooking only to the point of stuff you can cook in the microwave.

    • once you’ve earned the badge, you’ve earned the badge. changes in requirements don’t matter. in fact, if you’ve started work on the badge prior to a change in requirements, you can continue to use the old requirements.

    • Cooking MB if started before the official start date can be done with the old or the new requirements but they cant be mixed together by picking and choosing requirements according to what the Scout or the MBC want. This is as per policy stated in the 2012 GTA. and unless they change the GTA before then that policy will hold true but then again they may make changes to the GTA and that might bug some leaders/Scouts.

      BTW……..GTA=Guide to Advancement and with the current version being the 2012 edition..

  20. I think cooking is a fantastic merit badge. However, I have served as the Outdoor Skills director for my camp for two years, and counselling for cooking is a nightmare. It’s a great merit badge and skill for individuals, but very hard to facilitate in a summer camp environment. I can’t even begin to anticipate how this change might affect the numbers we get. I’m glad it will become Eagle required, but it will be very hard to manage for camp counselors.

    • Then maybe you shouldn’t offer it. Too many camps make the same judgement you just made (too hard for camp staff, not enough time in one week) but offer the badges anyway and rubber-stamp boys who haven’t learned or done anything. There are plenty of badges you can do in a week.

    • When I took Cooking MB it was a two week badge, you couldn’t sign up to take it at camp unless you were there for a two week session because it was too difficult to complete in one week.

    • Who said you were required to finish every MB you work on in a week at camp? Thats not realistic theres too many different requirements in cooking to only do it in a week at camp!

      Plus last time I checked………Scout Camp was NOT just there for Scouts to earn MB’s but what that is what parents expect. Take back your organization and if a parent doesn’t like that they didnt finish a MB at camp thats not mine or a leaders problem it was because of the kid.

      MB’s at camp pose problems for two reasons:

      1) the MBC’s aka Staff don’t usually have a lot of expertise in the subject


      2) Camp isn’t long enough to appropriately finish the MB

      I always tell people that I can guess at the length of time a MB will take but there are many factors outside of my control that prevent the Scout from fnishing that MB. CAMP is NOT a MB mill

      personally in earning my Eagle there are several MB’s that I started that I never finished or took forever to do so……

      A) rile shooting: lecture and classroom work done but never could get the shooting portion right but thats because I wasn’t focused enough to do whatever it takes to earn it plus my hands shake really bad and if you ever shot with shaky hands you’ll know how hard it is to do so.

      B) Shotgun: same issue as rifle

      C) Archery: Same issue as rifle

      D) Rowing: This one took me three years to earn because I just couldn’t get the coordination down quick enough to actually do it in a normal length of time.

      E) Climbing: 2 years because first year got the classroom/book work done but got rained out and then the following year I got rained out again!!!!!!! stupid weather

      but the point im making is…………… advancement should only occur at the rate the Scout wants and is able to meet the requirements.. Ohh remember ADVANCEMENT is only 1 of 8 different METHODS of SCOUTING! so………personally while Im proud if a Scout advances or makes Eagle I don’t really care if he doesnt because thats his choice and his choice alone.

  21. Bravo on requiring the Cooking Merit Badge for Eagle, but the brief description of this “Sustainability” Merit Badge sounds to me suspiciously close to early 18th-century Malthusian nonsense. So-called “experts” have been claiming for centuries now that population growth would soon outstrip our natural resources, but it simply hasn’t happened. Be careful with this Merit Badge, Scouters, and ensure you have some economists on the panel that can help walk some of the zealots back, if necessary. “Falsehoods don’t become truths just because they become fashionable.”

  22. Hopefully BSA will revise the cooking MB requirements. The food guide odor amid is no longer used! Check out My Plate for tthe current guidelines.

  23. There are too many “required” merit badges. We have moved to making all of those Scout skills that we used to get belt loops for into basic requirements. Shouldn’t we continue that through Eagle? Scouts have to cook to get First Class, so adding Cooking merit badge is redundant. Sustainability, which smells of political correctness, is equally redundant with Environmental Science. Up the rank requirements and let the boys find themselves through their “elective” merit badges!

    • Wayne, I am an Eagle Scout from 1976. I respectfully disagree about your comment on having too many merit badges on the required list. The required list will only grow to one more required, making 13. The total number of badges will still equal 21. If anything, we should not be dumbing-down requirements for Eagle. The rank is supposed to be the “Sterling standard” of Scouting and good citizenry for male youths. And what is stopping a boy from earning more elective merit badges? Nothing. Only their drive to do so.

      I *do*, however, agree with you that basic Scout skills should continue through Eagle. I think some boys fail to learn them well the first time around, then forget them or don’t apply them as they advance.

      Also, you need to look at a recent blog post from Bryan, “Calendar of New Merit Badges”:

      It shows several current badges that will receive critical updates and Cooking is among them. According to the blog post, it is rumored to include requirements that fit the BSA’s healthy living initiatives, so I wouldn’t dismiss Cooking as glorified basic requirements. Reserve that judgement for when the updated requirement update comes out near the end of this year.

      Finally, as far as Sustainability merit badge goes, I am reserving judgment until I see the actual requirements. It will be the Scout’s choice to earn it OR Environmental Science. I highly doubt the National Council made these changes blindly without good reason.

  24. I dont care either way… but Sustainability going from a non badge to required in one step ? I dont like that. Sounds like another dose of Family Life, to make better PR and make the scouts more PC

    • Once they’ve earned the MB, they’ve earned it. They do not have to re-earn it. They list it on their Eagle application.

  25. As a scouter, farmer, and teacher I too have some concerns about the Sustainability Merit Badge. If it is done well it could be an excellent addition to the Natural Science family of badges, however on the other hand if it is being done for PC reasons it could be very detrimental. I certainly hope that whatever is presented is based on sound science and not the pseudoscience of political correctness.

    • Required merit badges reflect the direction people want Boy Scouting to go. I am fine with keeping the existing required badges and letting the youth discover merit badges in new fields they find interesting.

    • Orienteering is going the way of GPS. I don’t agree there. Scouting Heritage should be the FIRST MB they should get – for Tenderfoot rank. Geocaching is a minor hobby – elective is fine there. Can’t disagree on Pioneering, though Wilderness Survival would be preferable in my mind.

  26. Sustainability merit badge, what? Is this another PC merit badge like Family Life. Is homosexual awareness to be added as a requirement for Disability Awareness Merit Badge.

  27. Bryan!! What do you mean “Moms and dads, prepare the needle” Boy Scouts are big enough to sew their own patches. 😛

    On a more serious note, it’s a shame to see wholesale disdain for the Sustainability MB. BSA has always been at the forefront of conservation, or did you guys’ handbooks not come with those pages?

  28. I am fairly ambivalent about cooking it is ok. Sustainability I dont think should be an eagle required right off. I wish they would increase the number of eagle requireds or make all the merit badges harder. It seems like way to many scouts are reaching the top of scouting ranks.

  29. I think they should add sewing as a merit badge and make it required for Tenderfoot. Then they could sew on their own badges. 🙂 At least that is what I tell my Scout….LOL!!

  30. I think that sustainability is basically a natural off-shoot of environmental science and may be a way to get scouts to think outside themselves as to their impact in greater society. So many of them are too self-centered, it is their world and we, and the troop, just happen to live in it – maybe this will enable them to grow a bit.

  31. As a Eagle scout from 89, the cooking MB seems to me to be redundant. Cooking was something we had to learn and do early on. Mabye that was just the troop I was in, but that was one skill you started early and build on the whole time we were in scouts. As for the other one I do like some of the required badges having two options. I guess it comes down to what requirements make up that badge.

  32. I like cooking MB as a required MB. On my first camp out a a scout I learned about cooking from my patrol leader, he was a good teacher and I have never forgot the tips.

    I cannot say anything about sustainability. I know what it is but nothing about the MB.

    I see a lot of suggestions about adding many more MB,s to the required list. A lot of MB,s today are very specific and do not appeal to all scouts. Required MB,s should reflect scouting’s main ideas. While most MB,s do relate, not all qualify as key merit badges. Lifesaving used to be required, I know several fine scouts who did not get Eagle simply because the could not swim well enough to get it. One of the best improvements I have seen in required MB,s is the either or options on a few.

    We should remember that merit badges are meant to introduce scouts to new things as well as teaching skills along the way. The purpose of First Aid MB is not to train the scout to be a paramedic, but to give knowledge of basic first aid skills.

      • Sorry to be sending these back but I just wanted to show you how many I have got of the same one

        Kenneth R Calfo Sr.





        If we forget that we are a nation under God. Then we will be a nation gone under!

        I love my country but I fear my Gov.

    • Agree Cooking is an essential life skill and a good choice for a required merit badge; however, unless thoroughly revamped, the Cooking merit badge requirements are not geared at all toward learning to cook. Current Cooking requirements duplicate Camping and other requirements/merit badges and are heavily weighted to planning lengthy menus for the out-of-doors. How about learning to cook and serving a few good meals one at a time rather than jumping into the deep end with a need to cook for a group for an outdoor weekend? I’d much rather my son learned to cook in order to help out at home or feed himself well once he’s independent, and would leave the over-emphasis on outdoor cooking to other merit badges or at least eliminate duplication. Our scouts are encouraged to take lightweight, just-add-water food on backpacking trips to keep weight down and enjoy the experience, so the Cooking requirements tied solely to backpacking seem pointless. And, if you can earn the Cooking merit badge without being able to throw together a spaghetti dinner, how applicable is it to preparing for life?

      • I just signed up to be a Cooking MB counselor and TOTALLY agree with you. I’m not wanting them to be the next FoodNetwork Chefs – but something that introduces them into something more than planning meals for a hiking/camping trip would be good. All them, God willing, will be bachelors someday and I want them to know more than how to make a one pot meal in foil. 😉

  33. I am an Eagle Scout from 1976. I respectfully disagree with those who think there may now be too many merit badges on the required list. I earned my Eagle rank in 1976 and had to earn 24 merit badges, only 10 from a required list that has now undergone a few changes since then (Safety merit badge was dropped and other options added). The new required list will only grow to one more required, making 13. The total number of badges will still equal 21. If anything, we should not be dumbing-down requirements for Eagle. The rank is supposed to be the “Sterling standard” of Scouting and good citizenry for male youths. And what is stopping a boy from earning more elective merit badges? Nothing. Only their drive to do so.

    I *do*, however, agree that basic Scout skills like cooking should continue through Eagle. I think some boys fail to learn them well the first time around, then forget them or don’t apply them as they advance.

    Also, a recent blog post from Bryan, “Calendar of New Merit Badges” ( shows several current badges that will receive critical updates and Cooking is among them. According to the blog post, it is rumored to include requirements that fit the BSA’s healthy living initiatives, so I wouldn’t dismiss Cooking as glorified basic requirements. Reserve that judgement for when the updated requirement update comes out near the end of this year.

    Finally, as far as Sustainability merit badge goes, I am reserving judgment until I see the actual requirements. I’m sure it won’t be a duplicate of Environmental Science because sustainability would have to include economics in the equation, and that can be tough for younger boys to grasp. I highly doubt the National Council made these changes blindly without good reason and it’s important for the organization to have a good balance with traditional Scouting while trying to keep modern boys engaged in the program.

    • I agree. I am an Eagle Scout (1992) and my son crossed over to Boy Scouts in 2011. He currently has ten merit badges (4 Eagle, 6 elective) and about to pin on First Class. He hasn’t be pushing to get merit badges completed (going at his own pace and selection) and already he is almost half way there. 21 merit badges is not difficult to achieve.

    • I, too, am an Eagle Scout from the Class of 1975. I had to earn 24 merit badges (later changed back to 21). Having continued to work with the program since then I have always bemoaned the dropping of Cooking from the required Eagle list. It’s about time it came back in. I believe it was all related to the then move away from the outdoor program. Camping with out Cooking is like salt without pepper. So, good! I would’ve agreed,anyway, to 22 total if they had put Cooking back in. Let’s get back to what it should be and get away from merit badge mills. I hate the fact that the program tries to push the boys through before they turn 15 and discover the two fumes (gasoline and perfume): most really don’t “get it” until they are older anyway….punching a punch list for the sake of a punch list is not productive. Oh, by the way: my Eagle Board of Review was comprehensive – I was responsible for demonstrating skills and knowledge from Tenderfoot to my last merit badge as a Life Scout. National has put that off limits, which is a real shame. I expect an Eagle to be compentent in everything in the Handbook, cover to cover – period.

      • Scouting membership is down by 1/3 in the past decade. Unfortunetly, they had to make Scouting relavant to the times. I agree that and Eagle of today may not be the same as an Eagle of 10-30 years ago as far as requirements and testing of skills. It is what it is. Still I think we need to give a Scout credit for maintaining a balance in their life that inculdes Scouts and if they are able to Egale, give them a pat on the back for making this accomplishment. I think most people relaize that there is a difference in Scouts of today and the past.

  34. I too like adding Cooking back in as it was when I was a scout. Currently I have three scouts at Life rank and a couple that should be advancing soon. I believe, but would like to confirm, that the requirements that their MB requirements for Eagle, even if they don’t earn it until after Jan 2014, will remain what they were when the achieved Life rank…that is still the case isn’t it?

    • That is correct. If you have starting working on a rank or merit badge and the requirements are changed, you have the option to choose which requirements to follow. Only if you start a rank or merit badge after the requirements changed will you not have the option to follow the old requirements.

      • So, if my son starts working on Eagle rank before the Cooking MB becomes an Eagle required badge, he does not need to earn it, correct? Although he does like to cook and may want to earn the MB, I just want to know what his options are.

        • If he has earned the Life rank before the change officially happens (Jan 1 2014) then he can still earn Eagle with the old Eagle requirements.

        • I believe you need to check the plan with Chris Hunt as he is working the language that will be in the 2013 NBS requirements book.

          Here is the language under review right now:

          Cooking Merit Badge to be Required for Eagle Scout Rank
          Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Cooking merit badge will be required in order to obtain the Eagle Scout rank. Regardless of when a Scout earned the Life rank or began working on Eagle, unless he fulfills all the requirements—with the exception of his board of review—before Jan. 1, 2014, he must earn the Cooking merit badge to become an Eagle Scout.

          We’ll discuss this in the next issue of Advancement News, and there will be mention in the 2013 Boy Scout Requirements Book. GTA indicates that if requirements change, a Scout may work with the existing requirements until he finishes his rank–unless otherwise stated. In this case it will be “otherwise stated” in the BSRB.

  35. Do the requirements change at all? My son just earned the Cooking Merit Badge at his first summer camp this year, will he be able to replace the badge with the silver bordered one, or have to retake the class?

    • He can replace his badge if he likes (no need to, though) and does not have to retake the class. See my earlier post about rank changes from the “Guide to Advancement.”

  36. Here’s a crazy thought… add more MB required for Eagle. 21 IMHO is a joke. Anyone can earn 21 MB. How about 13 required, 13 non at the least. When you reduce the number of “non-required” MB, Scouts lose the incentive to discover their own interests and individualizie their scouting experience to what they enjoy.

    • I agree with increasing the number of non Eagle meritbadges required for Eagle and not decreasing it. It takes more than these ” few” required badges to make a well rounded scout, which a scout should strive to be in the world he will face as he grows.

  37. I like this move. A lot, in fact (besides, cooking has always ‘felt’ like an Eagle Req)

    I do wish that they’d require Pioneering, though. It seems like it covers, along with Camping and Hiking, the full scope of Outdoor Scouting

    • I’d have to disagree with you- not that I don’t love pioneering, its a spectacular merit badge to earn and to teach- I know- but it is very much a scout nostalgia badge. It’s something that absolutely smacks of scouting… if we were living in the 1960s. However, the skills it teaches are largely useless outside its own pursuit. There are bits and pieces that could be useful somewhere along the line (how to make a deadman, or tie a trucker’s hitch) but the most useful bits have already been copied by tenderfoot through first class. After leaving the scouts, the opportunities I see for the badge to be put to use are limited, unlike all other Eagle badges (swimming, citizenship, personal management, etc.). As for rounding out the outdoors in scouting, I think it does a rather poor job. I’ve had feelings of joy, anticipation, sorrow, and ambition associated with pioneering, but I’ve never felt that one-with-the-world/completely-alone feeling while tying knots- its too cerebral, while the outdoors is visceral. For my part, if I were to round out the outdoor scouting requirements, I’d require the climbing, whitewater, or wilderness survival badges. A scout is brave, and testing your mettle in the outdoors is an experience which will hold for life.

      • Great post regarding Pioneering. I loved earning it as a kid. I mean, what Scout back then, in the early 70s, *didn’t* want to build a giant signaling tower or raft across the lake in something they had to make with rustic materials? Catapults, campsite gadgets…you learn to lash, you wanna build “stuff”.

        I think Wilderness Survival would be the one to add, if there is one to be considered to add to the list of required badges. That’s a badge that relies on all of your outdoor skills and teaches self-reliance.

  38. There’s a lot of comments on this topic. I’ve been thinking about this – and given all the upcoming changes, I think that it would be a good time to increase the number of required merit badges for Eagle to 25. Too many merit badges are summer camp give aways. A new scout can come back from his first year at summer camp with five merit badges. And they might not even be Tenderfoot yet. I’d suggest that Star Rank have 3 required MB’s and 3 electives. Life have 4 required, and 4 electives. And finally that Eagle have the six additional required merit badges and five electives, for a total of 25. I can only think of one recent Eagle scout in our troop who had not earned at least 25 MB’s.

    • In our troop, new scouts are required to take
      The trailblazer class which is 3 hours, so the most they will earn is 2 merit badges

      Trailblazers is a good intro class into scouting and summer camp for the boys

    • Instead of increasing the number of MBs, why not address the issue of Scout Camp being a MB factory. We had a Scout that did not even come to camp get credit for earning a MB.

      Boys that take badges @ camp often do not get the full experience of earning the badges that they take, but just get rewarded for going to class.

      • When I was scoutmaster, not that long ago, our troop’s policy was that Tenderfoot Scouts could take one merit badge, Second Class two, First Class three or maybe four, depending on the merit badges and the camp. The emphasis for first-year Scouts was to work on First Class skills, either in the camp’s Trail to First Class program or back at the campsite with senior scouts and ASMs.

        Shameless Plug: Not every camp is a merit badge mill, but you do have to be selective. At the camp where I am currently program director (Camp Three Falls, Ventura County Council) we offer only four periods of merit badges, with longer periods so there is more teaching time. I know of a few other camps that have similar schedules. And we put a lot of resources into our Trail to First Program and encourage younger Scouts to participate in TTFC rather than taking several merit badges.

        Camps these days are competing for your business, and they will run merit badge mills if that’s what they think people want. If you want quality instruction, support the camps that offer it.

        • The Scouts in my Troop really like Camp Three Falls. I spent several days there with some Webelos a few years back and had a great time! (who knew it could go down to the high 30s in July in SoCal, though??)

        • When I went to my first summer camp, 1978, our troop had it’s own “Trail to First Class” program. Each new scout took canoeing, swimming, pioneering and basketry. Lots of “Scout-stuff” and fun, without being a “MB mill” and, earned 4 merit badges, covered the ground in many skill awards, and hooked the boy on the fun (with a purpose). And we still had plenty of time to ENJOY the camp.

  39. I think scouts have a much higher capacity for learning than even the current minimum requirements suggest. So if the number of required and total merit badges required for Eagle increased, I think they would still do it. How many scoutmasters and parents would tell their scouts that earning Eagle with 13 required/21 total merit badges is workable, but more than that is too tough so don’t try? Personally, I would push for even more by adding a few more electives so the scouts will branch out a bit more in other areas. They can already complete the simple electives in almost no time (art, basketry, etc) so requiring a few more electives will have them do something that takes a bit more time to explore.

  40. Agree there should be more electives to get Eagle. I often thought, though, that Wilderness Survival should be required. It combines ALL of the basic and advanced scouting skills – safety, clear-headedness in the face of danger, fire-building, building a usable shelter from scratch, etc.
    Adding Cooking to the required list is a great idea, long overdue.
    Sustainability sounds pretty pathetic, though. Try it out as an elective for a while first. Sounds more like a political agenda than a merit badge.

    • It all depends on the requirements for sustainability. If it is memorizing facts about how people are wreaking the world ecosystem, well, they should be learning that in school. On the other hand, if the merit badge were teaching useful skills that encourage sustainability, I’m all for it. Requirements for sewing and patching your fabrics, eating a human portion of meat instead of an American portion, riding a bike or carpooling instead of driving alone, or talking about how buying lots of useless junk, like new clothes or trinkets, hurts the environment and your pocketbook would be requirements I could get behind. The recession has reminded people that spending money frivolously is a condemnable trait, not an admirable one. Take the opportunity to let the country relearn the skills of developing nations for living with less.

    • Benihana,
      I agree with you on both counts. Wilderness Survival would be a great Eagle badge. Sustainability sounds like a PC cave-in.

      If they needed another, I would suggest Orienteering instead of Sustainability.

  41. Can we see the sustainability requirements? I’m concerned that it’s yet another PC badge — watching Scouts head toward more and more political correctness. If the requirements aren’t out yet, can you tell me which group is funding this?

    • You do realize that basic rescue techniques are still in the basic requirements do you not? One does not need to swim to rescue; “reach, throw, go”, and go means if at all possible in a conveyance or supporting, float capable device. Also, if you reread the preliminary stuff, it appears they are saying the proposed “Sustainability” badge will be an option to “Environmental Science”.

  42. I think it’s curious that we will now establish Sustainability and Cooking as required badges for the Eagle rank, and yet Swimming and Life Saving are “either/or” badges. God help me if I’m drowning and an Eagle Scout says “sorry sir, I can’t swim”

    • I have to admit to not having tracked this year by year, but I’m pretty sure that both swimming and lifesaving have been “either/or” required badges since at least the mid-1970’s.

    • Actually, it would be more like “sorry sir, I can’t swim. But in noticed your swim suit is made of polyester, which isn’t a very sustainable fabric. Have you considered a suit made of natural fibers, such as bamboo? And your heavy breathing is increasing your carbon footprint. Have a nice day!”

    • I love swimming – done so since birth – as have my kids and grandkids! BUT, BUT, BUT – not everyone can or wants to be a swimmer or be in the water. No, it should be an option. Not everyone is a hero – actually, you aren’t supposed to try to ‘save’ someone unless there is absolutely no other way. Hence, the ‘toss, reach, etc.’ – STAY ON SHORE! More peope have died trying to save someone than those drowning. Well, ok, that might be an exaggeration, but when learning lifesaving that’s one of the things they teach you…..drowners climb on top of you and quite often drown the rescuer. So, no, swimming should be an option. Actually, it’s a much easier badge to ge than hiking or biking if you actually LIKE to SWIM.

    • Swimming should remain an option. Not everyone wants to swim and some have a very REAL fear of the water, like heights. Someone mentioned climbing…I’m ok with it as an option, but not a requirement. Lots of boys afraid of heights including my grandson. I love heights – not sure where he got that, lol! And about saving someone – in lifesaving you are taught NOT to get in the water if at all possible. That’s why the toss, reach, etc… there – you are taught to stay on shore unless no other option. Not sure of stats, but lots of people have lost their lives trying to save someone. Not for the light of heart, not for those who want to be a hero. Last ditch effort.

      We aleady have a way to ‘award’ those boys who like to do all the options (see the medal for earning water, hiking, riding, camping, and high adventure awards), and the grouping awards, etc.

  43. Glad to see Cooking back in, it was required when I earned it in ’75. Wish they would bring the total minimum requirement back to 24.

  44. As a Eagle with a disability Swimming was not an option for me. I for one am glad that it is an either/or merit badge. I am glad to see that the merit badge requirements are growing and changing with the times, but agree with the other comments with concern about the Sustainability MB being something that is more PC than anything else!

  45. I am somewhat concerned about this new merit badge. Sustainability is a politically correct term that came out (I believe from the mining industry) in an effort to reach middle ground with environmental activists and local community resistance to mining/and or industry when new operations are proposed. It stems from a socialist desire to redistribute wealth and indicate that even though there is a limited resource, the community wants benefits long after the industry or mine closes. The term stakeholders is also used in these cases to reflect the list of folks not making the investment with their hand out because the activity will occur in their neighborhood. Sustainability is a buzz word created to enable an entitlement program. At the bottom of sustainable development you will discover a socialist agenda regarding a perceived class difference and wealth redistribution. I consider this a threat to the American way of life. This opens a very slippery slope.

      • Ron and Steve Richards are on a very slippery slope to insanity. Associating sustainability with some socialist agenda? Sustainability has many definitions depending on the context of its use, but in environmental sciences in its most basic form means that what we depend on to survive comes either directly or indirectly from nature, and systems work best when they can maintain themselves as opposed to being depleted. In the BSA, we’ve talked about being thrifty with our natural resources since our earliest days as an organization, and we’ve been teaching scouts the concept of the Outdoor Code and being “conservation minded” for half a century. I’m not aware of any scouts who have learned the “Outdoor Code” that have gone on to become socialists. Maybe if the MB had the name it had in the 1950’s “Conservation” or in the 1960’s “Conservation of Natural Resources” you guys would be happy little campers instead of paranoid.

        • Dave thank you for your response. I more or less expected someone to step up. I respect the proper use of the word sustainable when used with renewable resources as you have laid out, but I was just pointing out in the world today this terminology has been twisted and my comments were sharing that I have seen this term when applied to non-renewable resources represent some less that desirable implications. We are seeing some benign terms on the surface become code words for other purposes. I got just about all of the nature series of merit badges when I was younger and I respect the outdoors. I think we get in a hurry to try to find new names for “new” programs. We simply were told to leave the area better than we found it.

        • No, we aren’t paranoid. In my life time I’ve gained some wisdom. Maybe Conservation would be a better term. There is an Ecology merit badge that helps even though most Scouts don’t take the merit badge. Environmental Science covers a lot of good things that Scouts need to know and probably learn in school. But Sustainability? And it’s a required merit badge. Words mean things and maybe this was a bad word choice. But as Scout we are prepared for anything.

        • Everything Steve says is very true. It’s called UN Agenda 21. Go to the UN website and the info is all there. That is where this sustainability crap comes from. The UN needs to get out of the US. It is nothing more than a socialist organization that we fund with money so they can give it to other countries, while they tell us how to run our country.

        • Perhaps more Scouts should become a socialist. As a former Scout who is today a socialist, I would argue that socialism is certainly much more compatible with the ethics of Scouting than is the currently-dominant system of production and social relations in the United States. In fact, I would even go so far as to suggest that perhaps being consistent with the ethics of Scouting requires advocating socialism

        • Good for you if that’s what you want. America is not a socialist nation, and God forbid it ever does. Obama would like it that way. My money is not going to support pathetic lazy people who who won’t help themselves and I’m not talking abut a few people on hard times (I’ve been there), but about those who have for generations lived with their hand out and believing they are ‘entitled’ to my hard earned money. And you are NOT taking my guns. Don’t even try. ‘nuf said on that one.

        • Agreed. I’m leery of the merit badge, but us all declaring ourselves to be the Wolverines patrol and facing Red Dawn is probably a little premature. When do we get to see the requirements to know whether the Cold War has returned?

    • I believe the Sustainability merit badge will be making its debut at the 2013 National Jamboree.

      As I posted earlier, I think Sustainability will address resources, energy and economics, but then again, that’s just speculation. Bryan recently wrote a blog post that gave some information on new merit badges on the way and the only description for Sustainability was, “A badge to teach Scouts to use resources responsibly.”

      That’s open left for broad interpretation, but who can really even accurately comment about the good or evil of the merit badge until the actual requirements come out?

      As far as naming conventions go, choosing “Sustainability” may be a more current term used in its proper context. The term “conservation” is already used in Soil and Water Conservation merit badge. Did anyone stop to think about what happened to Animal Husbandry merit badge? It’s now called Animal Science. Computers merit badge will soon be replaced by Digital Technology merit badge. Signs, Signals and Codes will appear on the new list and that is basically a modern version of Signaling merit badge. I think the BSA is doing its best to try to remain relevant in a modern world as it loses boys to sports and other organizations competing for their attention.

      Remember, too, that Sustainability is one of the “or” merit badges. Scouts have the opportunity to earn it OR Environmental Science. And because it’s an Eagle-required merit badge, I expect it will have some fairly-well involved requirements that will necessitate some work on the Scout’s part, just like Personal Management, Personal Fitness, and Citizenship in the Community.

      No worries here. I’m just pleased that the BSA is expanding its offerings. Eagle Scout requirements need to be more challenging. When I became an Eagle Scout in 1976 we were told Eagles made up 2% of the boys who joined Scouting. Now it’s up to 5%, according to the BSA. I’m more concerned that becoming an Eagle will carry less significance if requirements become lax.

      • I agree there should be more badges that are Eagle required. I wish they would at least give us ‘proposed’ requirements now instea of making us wait 8 months! If it truly is a socialist aimed badge I am totally, 150% against it. We already have 4 more years of Obama heading us in that direction. Scouts is based, at least historically, on a belief in God. We don’t even swear on the Bible anymore (I had to do a deposition in court the other day – all I said was ‘I swear’).

        Now if you want to be politically correct I guess you could ask each person their religio and make them swear on their own ‘bible’. FACT: swearing on the bible put a ‘fear’ into us that the court system did not – as I’m sure a Muslim would if they had to swear on the koran… I think the courts missed the all on this one!…ie….looking for the truth. We can’t put a nativity scene up, yet other reigions can stop traffic in NYC to do morning prayers.

        And before anyone jumps on me….I’m not racist. I want equality. We have lost it. I dated a few guys from Iran/Iraq and I worked at a very diverse university – and religion was a popular topic, lol – so no way can you call me racist. But it also gives me personal insights that perhaps others may not have. PS: How many of you pronounce those names right? I didn’t. I was corrected by one of those I was dating. IT gets lost in the written word, but here is his quote to me. After saying I RAN numerous times….he said ‘well, I run, too, but that’s not how my country’s name is pronounced.’ Same for Iraq. Very few people pronounce it correctly.

  46. As an Eagle Scout who earned both Cooking MB and Cooking Skill Award, I welcome the return of Cooking to the required list. Environmental Science, the only problem I have is that they did not get rid of this altogether. Probably the most boring badge I earned. I don’t think I learned a thing.

  47. 2 quick Wikipedia look-ups will validate my apparently out of left field comments:
    The concept of sustainability was handed to us by the United Nations in 1987.
    “The Brundtland Commission Report recognised that human resource development in the form of poverty reduction, gender equity, and wealth redistribution was crucial to formulating strategies for environmental conservation, and it also recognised that environmental-limits to economic growth in industrialised and industrialising societies existed.”
    Please forgive me if I offended anyone. I only want the best for our youth and Scouting.

    • I think it will come down to who asked for the badge, why, and what are the goals. If it is socialist – then it should be nixed. There are other things that should be included if they are going to include socialist agenda badges. BSA is already being sued over this.

      HOT TOPIC. Gays. I have lots of gay friends so this is a very hard one for me. I understand the reasoning behind BSA’s ruling, but being gay does not predispose you to being a pervert. I don’t think that 99.9% of our leaders, whether gay or straight, would ever think about behaving inappropriately with the boys. It happens….unfortunately.

      Question is: 1. is our rule outdated; 2. are we missing out on some great leaders and great scouts by enforcing this rule; 3. we are probably just living the military rule of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ anyway; 4. our sister organization the girl scouts already did away with that rule. Has their been anymore issues with them since changing the rule than before? I don’t know, I’m asking?

  48. Regarding Sustainability, it kind of makes me sad to see the politically oriented comments about the badge without seeing the requirements first. I’d like to know from National Council who’s contributing to developing the requirements. I’m always curious about that when a new badge is released. I encourage anybody who is unclear on what sustainability is about to Google about sustainability in their community and see how it is defined locally and see what type of action is happening. In my city, you’ll find Boy Scouts in the mix of actions supporting local sustainability.

    Sustainability directly ties into the Scout Law: “A Scout is THRIFTY.” We always teach that thrift not only applies to your money, but it also has to do with other concepts such as conserving natural resources and that makes itself evident in Scouting’s activities with conservation. So before you jump to political conclusions, research, think about and counsel the badge when the requirements come out.

  49. I am an adult Scouter with two sons, both scouts. My oldest is a14 year old Star Scout & my youngest is a 12 year old 2nd Class Scout. They both have over 20 merit badges, with an assortment of required under their respective belts. My younger son is (quite obviously) more motivated to earn merit badges, as he has the same number of badges as his brother, who has had a two year jump on him, but as you can see they both have a decent number completed during their tenure in Scouting. Personally, I think that increasing the number of merit badges is a good thing, as earning 21 merit badges to make Eagle is certainly an obtainable goal. I always thought that Cooking (specifically Patrol Cooking), Backpacking, Orienteering & Pioneering (my older son struggled with this at summer camp and still hasn’t finished it yet) should be included as Eagle Required. Just my two cents.

  50. I am a life scout whose Eagle BOR is on Sunday. While I have no idea about this sustainability merit badge, and will reserve judgement until that comes out, I agree wholeheartedly with adding cooking as a requirement. The whole reason I earned cooking is I thought it ought to have been eagle required since it wasn’t. I’m totally behind this one. All eagle scouts should be comfortable cooking.

  51. I think we need a Diversity and Inclusion MB more than cooking. Seriously, we need to teach the power and impact of understanding, appreciating and leveraging diverse and differing points of view. This is a critical global skill for our future leaders. Scouts learn to cook earning rank advancement and other MB (like Camping which is Eagle Required). Let’s move forward on real leadership skills for the Future Society.

    • The youth learn about Diversity and Inclusion in there public elementary classes. In fact the US schools appear to favor Diversity and Inclusion over teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

    • Diversity, Inclusion, why don’t you just come out and say you want BSA to reverse their decision on gay leaders. These are not items that can be earned. This is the biggest bunch of crap I have read on this site

      • See my reply to another above. I’m not saying we should or shouldn’t repeal it. Just that I have lots of gay friends, and they would be great leaders, but they aren’t going to hide who they are just to be a leader.

        I also have lots of friends in scouting who say if it’s repealed they will quit. It’s a no win situation either way. My question is this: ok, so they will quit, and go where? Probably scouting is the LAST organization to have this kind of rule. Again, not saying we shouldn’t, but the boys are not going to be protected any better in any other organization. We already have the 2 deep rule, which on the surface, should take care of this situation. Nothing is 100%, but it helps. It’s actually a pain the ass for a small troop like ours which has great parents, but NONE want to take part or go on campouts! Causes real problems!

        • Anyone promoting gays in Scouting has not read the Scout oath, or does not understand it. Morally straight and duty to God spells it out. People are more than welcome to start their own immoral, anti-God group if they want. Stop trying to change this one.

        • Obviously, you didn’t read my post very well. I didn’t say I wanted it repealed, and I’ll have you know I was born and raised in the Baptist Church. I know the bible (or I used to – been a bit of a backslider in recent years, lol) front to back. I SAID in another post, I don’t understand it, couldn’t be one, but I also know God loves everyone – he may not be happy with it, but he still loves them.

          If you took everything in the Bible literally then assholes would be able to beat their wives – do you not remember the 1/2″ rule when beating wives with a stick? Sorry, this is a sore subject – I was an abused wife – for ten years – typical stupid woman thinking he will change. Gun to my head woke me up.

          Scouting is based on religion but it isn’t required. It is preferred. If it was required then all boys would have to get their religion medal….I got mine in GS,. but only 2 boys in our troop have that award. The others are not church goers.

          All I’m saying is that someone’s sexual preference does not determine their ability to be a good leader, and does not make them any more prone to be a deviant than a heterosexual. Perverts are not about the sexual act anyway, its about control….so whether gay or straight does not determine their sickness.

          Anyway, as long as they are not outwardly (while in Scouting situations anyway) promoting their sexuality, teaching that it is ok (that’s my job if I want them taught that) and I would not like to see a heterosexual promoting THIER preference either…..then I, personally, do not make judgments.

          Scouting is oft

        • The word moral is religious in nature. You cannot be morally straight unless you are doing it the Lord’s way.

        • Hi Jennifer- Not everyone in the BSA is a Southern Baptist. Some of us have religious beliefs that say it is immoral not to accept other human beings for what they are. The BSA would be best if it allowed all of us to practice our religious beliefs, not just some of us.

        • I cannot force other people to follow my religion. There are hundreds of religions out there. My belief is that any religion that believes in ONE God that created the world (yes, evolution does confuse things if you believe in science at all) then that is ok. Originally scouting was probably totally Christianity – mostly Catholic or Baptist or something similar, but that’s not the case now. If we start making kids designate their religion before allowing them to join, then scouting will die.

          If for no other reason than a parent saying to scouting….it’s none of your business how we worship. If scouting was free or cheap like it was in the old days, then it could be considered a charity – well, it is considered a non-profit, but it by no means a charity.

          When it costs $1000 to send a boy to any of the high adventure camps, that is beyond expensive! We will never be able to do that. I’m sorry, but choices have to be made, and $1000 would go a long way to paying for a FAMILY vacation. I cannot justify that much money for one member even as much as I would love to.

          MORAL to me means doing the right thing. You do not have to be religious to do the right thing. Following the ten commandments is not just religious but commonsense. Killing would never be right under any circumstances, riligious or otherwise. Stealing likewise. Now cheating on your spouse – well, some religions think that’s ok, and that’s wrong.

          Ok, nuf said. Scouting membership is hurting. I even talked to someone int eh pharmacy that used to be in scouting and saw me in my shirt. He said, ‘I thought scouting died a long time ago’. Huh? But gives you and idea of what even previous scouters who aren’t still involved are thinking.

  52. Cooking is a go. Sustainability is an agenda the United Nations has been trying to shove down Americas throat for quite some time now and the best vehicle is through our youth…something definitely to be very wary of. Educate yourselves. I agree with Steve Richards and when i first heard that Sustainability was a new requirement the hairs on the back of my neck went up.

    • I totally agree with Suzanne and Richard. Any time the United Nations backs a certain plan it usually means the Socialistic Countries and Dictatorships in the UN want to hurt the USA.. America’s Capitalism looks real good to the people of these countries and the leadership knows there failed policies can’t compare to what freedoms the Americans have under Capitalism.

  53. I’ll reserve judgement on Sustainability until I see more about it but I’m very much afraid it’s another politically correct fad from National with loaded socio-political leanings. The topic SHOULD be in keeping with traditional Scouting emphasis on Conservation but is usually used by people more interested in an anti-Western environmental activism than conservation as we’ve known it for decades.

    I’m a big supporter of the Cooking merit badge as boys today seem to think using the microwave is cooking but I’m skeptical about making it Eagle-required.

    • I still think a bunch of you are insane. Sustainability Merit Badge being politically correct? Sustainability being a means for the UN to assume control over the USA? That’s insane. Since when is the BSA political correct? We’re the exact opposite of politically correct. Haven’t you noticed our membership policies and DRP?

      • again, it all comes down to who is asking for it, why, and what are the requirements. If it is UN backed or requested, it should be nixed. PERIOD. If that makes me paranoid or crazy, so be it. Hitler’s people were not paranoid enough, look what happened.

        Sad that an organization that was born out of a really good purpose has turned into a socialist organization pushing its beliefs on America, backed by a president with questionable background. I said QUESTIONABLE….meaning I don’t know. When he releases records that all other politicians have been FORCED to release then I won’t be so paranoid. I guess it comes from CJ background. If you aren’t guilty of something, why hide it?

        RE: 2nd amendment. Hillary went the day after the election to the UN and asked for the arms treaty (which will take away our guns – read the entire thing – it’s THERE) to restart negotiations. GREAT president!

        • Sustainability is a nebulous word that many of us tend to define for ourselves. It sounds benign and rolls off the tongue easily. The problem for me is the fact that we are teaching children the terminology of the socialists. I would just like the BSA to choose another name like “life skills”, “social responsibility”, or other equivalent term.

          Regarding the issue of excluding gays. I don’t know but I would assume when a man and wife invest 18 years into a child loving and protecting them from as much of the world as possible, minimizing contact with the gay lifestyle would probably be high on their list of priorities. After all if their child becomes gay they lose the joy of natural grandchildren. This is a fact. Not bashing anyone. The bottom line is Scouting is just not about sex, gay or straight. Sex has no place in Scouting period. It is about providing children the highest moral example we can provide.

        • So just to be clear. You want to keep gays out of scouting because you think boys will be attracted to “the lifestyle” ? And if you keep gays out of scouting, the boys won’t know about “the lifestyle”, so they’ll be straight and they’ll produce grandchildren? This is your idea of “highest moral example” ?

        • No you keep them out because you took an oath to be morally straight and do your duty to God. Liberalism is a disease and has no place in the BSA.

        • I think BSA needs to get those ‘projected’ requirements out to us quickly. Or this is going to snowball and become ridiculous by the time of jamboree.

          About gays. I don’t understand the lifestyle of gay, I wouldn’t want to be a gay, and I’m glad my children are not. Everyone has to choose their own lifepath and I cannot judge them for that as long as they are not harming me or my family. My friends that are gay are incredible people.

          Gays don’t choose to be gay. They’d have to be an idiot. Look how they are treated, shunned, feared….no one in their right mind would CHOOSE it, nor would any boy be attracted to that lifestyle, unless the propensity was already there – aka – for instance many gays marry trying to NOT BE GAY….it never works.

          NOW, having said that, here goes. Would I not love my child if they were? Of course I would still love them. Would I approve? Not for me to do . Only God can decide on that. God loves everyone. Would he want anyone to be gay….probably not. Would he condemn them? I think he would tell them they were on the wrong path, but he would not condemn or send them to hell.

          Now, if they were pedophiles (which is really what scouting is afraid of) that’s a whole that’s a whole different ballgame.

          But how is that any worse than a teacher, preacher, mentor, o rEVEN A PARENT or anyone else whether gay or heterosexual who abuses a child either the same or opposite sex? As far as I’m concerned anyone – gay or otherwise – who hurts a child in any way – doesn’t deserve to live. Yes, that’s strong language but they have forever changed the life of that person (if they live) so they should lose theirs or be hung up by you know what….or hire Lorena Bobbitt.

          Like I asked earlier….does anyone have stats on this issue regarding Girl Scouts? They changed their rules to not exclude gays. Did it make a different – either way? Anyone know?

        • God spoke on the subject many times in the Bible. Those who choose this immoral behavior will never be given everlasting life. Those who support and accept it will suffer the same. I totally despise when people attempt to change God’s Word or pretend like they know not what his intentions were. The Bible spells it out.

        • Not changing intentions. Grew up in church. Twice a week. Bible school in summer. Actually, if you want to talk Bible, be careful whether talking old or new testaments. That, unfortunately, is where atheists get a leg in. They contradict each other.

          I choose to believe in an all forgiving God in the new testament, not the ‘vengeance is mine’ one in the old testament.

          Just because I believe everyone chooses their own path, whether criminal or whatever, does not make me a non-Christian. In the Bible it says ‘all God’s children’. Some people are just not born with the same chromozones, etc. as the ‘norm’. My grandson is a Downs baby. If you believed totally in the strict interpretation of the Bible, these children would have be put to death the minute they were born. Abnormal children were not allowed to live. IS that ok? I don’t believe God ordered that….man ordered that.

  54. So, Cooking will be required on 1/1/2014. Can a First Class scout who’s expectation of earning Eagle after 1/1/2014 (only a short 14 months away) take credit for Cooking MB as an Eagle Req prior to 1/1/2014 towards the four Eagle Required badges for Star or the required badges for Life?

    Same would work with Sustainability, once the requirements are released. Can this too be counted toward Star or Life Req badges prior to 1/1/2014?

    • Can’t speak for how the wording will appear in the 2013 BSR book but I would think no on Cooking since it’s not an official ERMB until 1/1/14. On Sustainability I would think it will become an official ERMB option upon release.

    • Thinking outside the box, wouldn’t it be up to a Scoutmaster and the Board of Review to exercise their judgment on if the previously-earned Cooking MB satisfied the requirements? Just a thought – I’ve seen rules bent towards and away from a Scout’s advantage, all without oversight from above. It’s within the Unit’s power to do that until the Eagle candidate shows up for their BOR.

      • I believe I am correct that once the merit badge has been earned under the old requirements and before new ones take effect, it’s done and no further “remedial” work needs to take place to re-earn the badge. So if the Scout earns Cooking now, he’s good to go and free to apply it as an Eagle-required merit badge when the time comes.

        With certainty I can also say that if a boy starts the badge, let’s say on November 30 and new requirements are announced on December 1, he finishes under the old requirements. This should be indicated by the date on Scoutmaster’s approval on the blue card. If the Scoutmaster signs the approval for the Scout on 11/30, then whatever requirements are in effect then should be the way he earns the badge.

        No adult leader or review board can adjust the rules or interpret them his or her own way. What’s been earned is done and past history. Of course, the merit badge earned as a non-Eagle required merit badge would not have the white border on it, so it would then be up to the boy or his mom to replace the green bordered Cooking merit badge with the white bordered one.

        I am 99.9% certain of my answer.

  55. Scouting heritage needs to be eagle required. Most scouts know little to nothing about where scouting came from. You have more pride in your organization if you know more about it’s history. Just ask the Marines.

  56. The issue is not the requirements it is the people charged with enforcing them. A scout at his first year of summer camp should be in a rough rider, dan beard or whatever a first year program the camp runs. These scouts usually can earn one or two badges. I think now a days everyone is so focused on making scouts Eagle Scouts. I see nothing wrong with 2%, now we are at 4%. It is up to the adults to keep the standards high. Why is there scouting college. Please tell me how 50 kids in one class earn a badge. This problem is compounded when you make that a required badge. My troop does not participate in Scouting College. They are also not allowed to take badges atcamp like Emergency Prepardness, Cits, Communications, PErsoanl Fitness. Run the program correctly. Even with saying this, when my boys reach Eagle, which is usually at 16 or 17 they have earned over 30 badges. I think scouts has become sissified. I like the additiona of Cooking and this new Sustainability badge. Scouting has also become too expensive. The uniform should not cost more that $20 for everything. $45 for pants is a disgrace.

    • Hi Rob- We’re no where near 4%. The number of scouts who make Eagle is around 20%. The 4 or 5% the BSA uses is goofy math. It’s based on the total membership in one year. It is not based upon the fact that scouts are in the program for 6. So take the 4% number and multiply by 6 years and you get a much more accurate number of the scouts who join the BSA and who make Eagle. We’ve made it exceedingly easy to accomplish.

      • Well, I’m not good at stats.. But I can speak for our troop. We vary in size from our lowest right now (7) to about 15. Over the past 5 years that I have been scoutmaster – we have had only 2 make Eagle. One is my grandson who got it right after he turned 14. Yes, it was fast, but he worked his butt off. He could have gotten it at 13, but he sat on LIFE for 10 months.

        So, our stats might fit the 2%! Why,you ask? Well, you can only do so much as a leader. The rest is upt to the boy and the parents. One just 18’d out in March. All he had left to do was his project and it had already been approved and this boy wanted to enter the marines. So sad. I fussed as much as possible, but in the end it was his decision. We have another that will be 18 in 6 months, same situation. I’m 99% sure he won’t do it. These boys are going to regret this forever!

  57. I have been a scoutmaster for 18 years and my son is an eagle scout. Environmental Science MB is a wonderful and relatively broad badge that successfully includes a range of critical environmental issues; it includes sustainability concerns. I strongly recommend that BSA revise Env. Science MB a little as needed to better address sustainability and emerging issues, and add Sustainability Merit Badge as a more specialized and advanced non-eagle required MB for scouts interested in learning more about environmental and social issues. . Jery, Scoutmaster, Troop 2, Ithaca, New York Prof. Environmental Engineering, Cornell Univ.

  58. I think Environmental Science is to important to be able to switch to another MB. If you want to add Sustainability MB, then add it as #14. All scouts need Environmental Science MB.

  59. Environmental Science is a good MB to keep for Eagle. I made Eagle back in 2000, and I remember taking environmental science. The requirements teach you a lot of imporatant things about how the outdoors works. I think all scouts need to understand that. Cooking is also a good one. For starters, it is an essential life skill, unless you plan to live in a 24 hour restruant. I think all adults need some cooking skills. Two very god choices! As to the new merit badge, sustainability, I don’t understand what this is supposed to be. Is it an environmental type marit badge? Personally, I feel it is too early to give it a thumbs up or down. Let’s see what this badge is about first.

  60. This is Bogus! There is enough required badges already.. Declining enrollment is already a challenge.. this will just make it worse.. Keep it as an elective!!

  61. About camps. Ours offers a program for the younger boys, but it is all week long. They have virtually no opportunity to earn any badges. And our camp offers badges that they would not be able to get any other time (for many boys anyway – especially inner city ones) – like motorboating, waterskiing, jet ski, canoeing, kayaking, mile swim, etc. We also have a climbing tower so that badge is offered.

    And, by the time our crossovers go to camp – they have already earned at least Tenderfoot if not 2nd or 1st class. To make them go through the beginner stuff at camp would cause them not to return the following year.

    In Missouri we have many camps. Camp Hohn is the one above. We have ‘retention’ program called Sons of Daniel Boone for those boys who might quit coming because they already have all the badges they want or need. It’s fantastic – you can actually earn 6 different ranks while there – but you have a lt of requirements and you can only earn one rank a year and you can’t join until you 3rd year at camp – so conceivably you are coming to camp well after you turn 18, lol! And they have adult ranks as well.

    The max badges you can get is 4 (M-T mornings; W-T mornings; M-T afternoons; and W-Th afternoons; Fridays are free days to make up missed requirements or ones unable to complete – happens a lot with the shooting badge).

    Another camp you can earn a lot more but that’s because meals are provided – when you have to cook (as at Hohn) you are given 2 hours for lunch. I hate to cook, I want to go to the other one next year, and be SERVED lunch, lol!

    In all fairness, each camp has their own pros and cons. It’s all in what you want to do. If your troop is old hat at cooking then going to the one that doesn’t cook would be fun. If you have boys that need a lot of help and practice in cooking – then Hohn is a better choice. It’s all about choices.

    BTW: Summer 2013 will be my SIXTH year at camp as a leader….3 of those as scoutmaster.

  62. I, too, am an Eagle Scout from the Class of 1975. I had to earn 24 merit badges (later changed back to 21). Having continued to work with the program since then I have always bemoaned the dropping of Cooking from the required Eagle list. It’s about time it came back in. I believe it was all related to the then move away from the outdoor program. Camping with out Cooking is like salt without pepper. So, good! I would’ve agreed,anyway, to 22 total if they had put Cooking back in. Let’s get back to what it should be and get away from merit badge mills. I hate the fact that the program tries to push the boys through before they turn 15 and discover the two fumes (gasoline and perfume): most really don’t “get it” until they are older anyway….punching a punch list for the sake of a punch list is not productive. Oh, by the way: my Eagle Board of Review was comprehensive – I was responsible for demonstrating skills and knowledge from Tenderfoot to my last merit badge as a Life Scout. National has put that off limits, which is a real shame. I expect an Eagle to be compentent in everything in the Handbook, cover to cover – period.

  63. I’m an Eagle Scout from 2007; I didn’t earn the Cooking merit badge. I personally think the Cooking MB needed to be restructured or split; there should be an Indoor one and an Outdoor one.

    I think that if the BSA wanted to add requirements, they should add one or more of the following:
    1) A choice of a “brainy” merit badge, like Scholarship, Reading, or Public Speaking. Reading boils down to volunteering at a library for ; and Public Speaking is just give a speech, give a PowerPoint presentation, and give a short off-the-cuff talk; I have no idea why boys never earn those
    2) A choice of a vocational-type merit badge, like Law or Journalism or Auto Mechanics; something that makes you think about a career.

  64. I love the adding of Cooking as a requirement as it is a needed lifeskill. I don’t love the Sustainability merit badge idea. Whoever created it is obviously unaware of the U.N.’s Agenda 21. This badge goes right along with it.

  65. I’m an Eagle class of 1983, and a current Scoutmaster. I generally agree with both of these choices, but will reserve further opinion until I see the requirements. I like the recent changes BSA has been making, and our new national leadership.

  66. I think Cooking should be a required MB. It is an important part of Scouting and life.
    I do not think Environmental Science should be an either or MB. It too is an important part of Scouting and life. If Sustainability is to be a merit badge start it out as an elective and see how popular it becomes. I do not believe it is important enough to be an either or with Environmental Science. That will be a big mistake.

    • That is a good question. It reads like if they aren’t done by January 1, 2014 they have another merit badge to do.
      Seems like some “grandfather” rule would apply, same as when they changed the Scout handbook a few years ago.

    • It could probably be said that if a Eagle applicant has not had his Board of Review by Mid December, he should probably be trying to get the cooking merit badge, if he doesn’t already have it. As I understand it, the badge becomes required on Jan.1, 2014, but the new requirements for the cooking MB, become effective at Jamboree. So by August 2013, boys earning the cooking MB will be using the new requirements.

  67. If a scout earns cooking as an elective will he be able to count it as an Eagle required bade, or will it still count as an elective. Furthermore, will he be able to display the new badge with the silver ring?

  68. As a newly minted Eagle Scout myself, I don’t think this is a bad idea. We’re required to learn how to camp, swim, manage money, and become productive members of our communities, but there is no requirement to learn how to cook. One of the biggest reasons obesity has become such a problem in the United States is because everything either comes from a package or the Golden Arches. Very few people cook balanced meals containing fresh vegetables, meats, and non-processed starches. Hamburger Helper is nice if you’re tired and in a hurry, but nothing replaces a nice beef and veggie stew from a crockpot (or a Dutch oven if you’re camping).

  69. Having a large Troop I see this as a problem. As it is now it’s hard enough for the Scouts to get the requirements done for Second and First Class. I like the Idea of splitting cooking into 2 badges. One for outdoor and one for indoor cooking. As an Eagle Scout of 30 plus years I think it’s unfair to ask the newer generation to do more than we did Scouts to earn the Eagle Badge. Already in school kids are asked to do way more than most in my generation had to do. Let’s face it some people love to cook and some hate it.

  70. Just great. Now the BSA has bought into the junk science about global warming, despite the fact that there’s been no warming in 15 years. Climategate anyone? And the green energy scam. Whatever.

      • Webster’s defines “Sustainability” as “of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.” Which sounds a lot like “conservation” to me. Something I learned about as a Scout 40 years ago.

      • When it comes to scientific evidence either humans are causing climate change or they are not. Scientists’ beliefs are not evidence. Since some of the evidence being cited by the experts was manipulated to prove human induced climate change, the credibility of those scientists has been weakened. I agree that cooking is a good badge to make Eagle required, but I am afraid that scouting’s choice to add the Sustainability merit badge to the Eagle required list smacks of political correctness rather than contributing to a scout’s knowledge and skills.

        • I’m just saying it’s part of the discussion that should at least be passed along to Scouts. Let them make up their own minds. Either way, sustainable living means more than a debate over climate change.

      • I just found out about this “Sustainability” merit badge. I think it is outrageous!
        Once again the Communists/Socialists and those they’ve fooled, have changed the meaning of good things to suit their agenda. In FAQ about the new sustainability merit badge, Bryan talks about …environmental, social, health, and economics… If you want to see the true meaning of the “Sustainability” agenda, google Special Report, “Sustainability” by Fox News. It is shocking.

    • You’re right….The Larson Ice shelf broke away and melted because the climate is staying the same. Keep your head in the sand, its more comfortable that way…..

  71. TomM put it well. There has not been a fair discourse on the topic. There has been a lot of beliefs. Academicians like to tout it because they can get funding for it. The left wing agenda that coined the term in 1988 at the UN included the “redistribution of wealth” as part of it’s recommendation for us to become sustainable. It only takes a little research to discover where some of this influence is coming from.

    • If you tell us to read something, please include a link. Some of us feel strongly enough that we don’t want to waste the time searching through 10 million responses to a search unless it has a chance of changing our minds. BUT IF YOU INCLUDE A LINK, I for one, will at least read and consider it.

  72. I think it’s great, just wondering how it factors for those who have already earned it. I hear a lot of people stating that the requirements are already too much…. I’m sorry but I disagree. An Eagle Scout is an honor and should be regarded as someone with integrity, loyalty & diligence….. 21 badges is a breeze….. My son is 13 & already has close to 50. The badges are a wealth of information & when properly earned make for an incredibly well rounded educated individual. I think it’s currently too easy to earn an Eagle……. I think they should add a lot more…. Mainly mandatory community service hours. Sorry to be the flip side here…….

    • If your son is 13 and has 50 merit badges, then I question the program that your son is involved in. Sounds like a merit badge mill… I prefer a troop that focuses on high adventure and outdoors, one that is active with camping and service, rather than one that sits around doing merit badges week after week…BORING

      • I would love to be able to do high adventure, etc. But I’m sorry, but you sound a bit condescending. Not all of us can afford to attend Jamboree, Philmont, Sea Base, etc. We will NEVER be able to afford that. So badges it is. I’m not the one you responded to, but it hit a nerve. Scouting has become something for the wealthy or those huge troops who have the ability to do huge fundraisers. We are not.

        Please don’t diss those of us who cannot FOCUS on those high adventure things. Im’ jealous that you can….but you are no better than the rest of us who cannot.

  73. The Cooking merit badge has been in need of revision so I am glad it is being looked into. However, I would recommend that it should have been or maybe still could be divided into two different merit badges that concentrate on different aspects of cooking: OUTDOOR COOKING and include cooking over fires, campstoves, dutch ovens and the like; with another COOKING FOR LIFE geared more towards those skills needed for everyday life and/or special occasion (parties, holidays ect,) with an emphasis on using a stove, microwave and indoor cooking skills.

  74. Cooking should never have been dropped as a required MB. Many of you must think scouts of today are pathetic so we have to dumb it down. Outdoor? Indoor… cooking is a heat source, ingredients and a container. It does not matter if it is an electric stove, propane stove or a fire. Yes scouts will need to experiment and practice to master…what is wrong with that? My scouts camp 35-40 nights a year. They cook most of their meals. They use propane stoves, backpacking stoves Dutch ovens etc. Earning the Cooking MB is a by-product in a troop that is actively camping.

  75. I’m not sure where to begin. As an Eagle Scout w/Bronze Palm from 1963 that hasn’t really been following all of the hoopla, there are a few things that have jumped out at me:
    #1: When was the Camp Cooking MB dropped as a requirement for Eagle? Whoever did that was stupid. The Boy Scouts used to be about how to survive outdoors. If they now have to teach a kid how to cook in an apartment, it just shows how far the family has fallen down.
    Just for S & G (Old Navy term), I’ve included a camp recipe from around 1960:


    This basic recipe is one of the staple meals that I’ve searched for, & that we used to use on camp-outs when my brother & I were in the Boy Scouts. Think of it as a cheaper (at least it used to be) form of “Hamburger Helper” (w/o the additional preservatives, etc.), suitable for 10-12 year olds to prepare over a campfire in (1) or (2) pots. It’s simple but filling, & to me, nostalgic.

    As I recall, this was something done at the main camp, where we had coolers, so we could keep the meat cold.

    For hiking/camping, we used canned goods for overnight hikes, but they were heavy to pack into wherever we were going (sometimes, when we could get them, we would take surplus armed forces ration packs). For day hikes we made & took along Baloney /Ham/Spam sandwiches, along w/candy bars (no such thing as “Trail Mix” back then). No water bottles back then, everyone had his own canteen. When you ran low, you stopped, boiled some water from a stream or spring, or rain water, added an iodine tablet, filled up & kept on going.


    (1) Lb 85% Hamburger
    (1) Cup Large Elbow Macaroni
    (1) small (8) oz. Can Tomato Sauce
    (1) 14.5 oz. Can Stewed, Diced, or Whole Tomatoes (Dealers choice, but nothing fancy, or flavored)
    (1/2) Cup Chopped Onion
    (1/4) Tsp Salt & Pepper
    (1/4) Tsp Sage
    (1/4) Tsp Parsley
    (1/4) Tsp Rosemary

    (1) 4 oz. can Diced Green Ortega Chiles (Optional). This was considered getting exotic back then & not everyone would eat it that way).

    Ingredients to update or to enhance the recipe:

    Fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (we didn’t know from Adam about this stuff)
    Garlic or Cheese Bread, or Texas Toast (most of us didn’t like a lot of Garlic & Cheese was just something extra to carry along, & Texas Toast didn’t exist).
    Substitute Rotels Tomatoes, or a flavored version of canned Tomatoes for the original plain can.


    Brown the Hamburger in a large skillet, or heavy dutch oven, w/the Onions. Drain & return to the skillet or pot.

    Boil the macaroni per package instructions (nobody in our scout troop spoke Italian, so there was no concept of “al dente”). Drain. & set aside.

    Add the Tomato Sauce, Stewed Tomatoes, Salt, Pepper, & spices (& the peppers – Optional) to the Hamburger, cover & simmer on med-low (Ha-Ha, try doing THAT over a campfire!!!), stirring occasionally, for about 20-30 minutes for the flavors to incorporate.

    Add the Macaroni, stir well & serve immediately, into whatever plates/field kits/pie pans, etc., each person has.

    At this time, if you’re up to date, have transported it & planned for it, now’s the time for the Parmesan/Romano Cheese & the Garlic or Texas Bread.

    Rots of ruck, if you’re on a campout w/a bunch of 10-12 year olds.

    #2: Why is it so easy to accumulate ridiculous numbers of merit badges in so short of a span of time? We used to have to WORK for those badges, they weren’t handed out wholesale, just by attending some sort of “camp”.
    #3: The new Jamboree Camp touts a “3 Mile” hike. What kind of nonsense is that? That was standard for getting to a campsite. The folks that were unable to get to where we were going, either didn’t go, or we helped them get there. A “hike” was considered to be (5), (10), (20) or (50) miles.


  76. Regarding the Sustainability Mb, I do not see it as the same inportance as the others. It is a fallacy of the left that resources are limited. In human history they never have been limited, because it is not about the resources themselves, but also the technology used. We can all see technology increasing at an exponential rate so the human race will be fine. (wealth=technolgyXresources) So I think they need to reconsider the validity of the statement: “Sustainability becomes more important as our population increases while resources decrease”. The correct statement should be “Technology becomes more important as our population increases while current known resources decrease”. Who knows what will be considered a resource in the future?

  77. Cooking is a survival skill! Scouts cannot live on beef jerky and Pop Tarts alone!…or shouldn’t try to anyway. Our son, a rising Eagle, learned about cooking and kitchen chemistry years ago and he is looking forward to completing the cooking badgel Kudos to all the Scouts and parents and volunteers who put so much time, energy and resources into developing wonderful well-rounded young men!…(from a Scout Mom and former Girl Scout leader)

  78. Although as most of us realize, the truth of global warming has not yet been determined. Sustainability is a valuable skill for young men to learn. Not only does it save money (frugal, thrifty…), less waste means a cleaner planet. To me there is no down side to that.

  79. I am an ASM, and my oldest son is completing his last two merit badges for his Eagle rank. He will have requirements 1-4 signed off long before December 31, 2013. However, he will not have completed his Eagle project. Now he has to add a new merit badge to his plan after requirement 3 was already completed. I am excited about the cooking merit badge. When my son crossed over, I actually thought it was Eagle required, and I am glad that it will be part of my younger son’s Eagle plan. However, I think that the timing is off. Scouts who have finished the merit badge requirement for Eagle rank prior to January 1 should not be made to go back and complete a new merit badge.

  80. It is not about “getting to the finish line” as far as earning the Eagle Badge. It is about learning about those things which will enrich the lives of the scout and others he comes in contact with. The cooking merit badge will teach lessons that will last a lifetime for the scout, and I have always thought that this should be a required badge for the Eagle Scout badge.

    • If that is true that cooking merit badge will teach lessons that will last a lifetime, then so will all the 136 other merit badges. We cant make them all eagle required. I feel there are other merit badges more important than cooking. We are taking away more and more electives away from the scout so pretty soon the scout will have no choices left. We need to stop mandating to the scout and let the scout decide for himself. Who knows maybe we might even get more boys to be interested in scouting.

  81. Greetings,
    I have a scout that is Star rank. We are wondering if the cooking mb is going to be required in Jan 2014, can it be used as an Eagle required MB now (before Jan) for rank advancement?


  82. They would not have to change if they still had skill awards. You got your skill award at first class. It is in the old scout book Sixth printing. As a Eagle I got both. Now I’m a stay at home dad and have a tiger. I’m raising him in the scouting way. These are needed life skill. No matter what you do in life. Your training will serve you well.

  83. There are too many redundant cooking requirements in the scouting program. And to be honest, this seems terribly misguided if nutrition and life skills are the goal. If you are going to make this required, it should be more focused around the home economics aspect, planning/budgeting/shopping for groceries, baking, canning, etc. Camp cooking skills are well covered elsewhere on the road to Eagle.

    In my experience, it is hard for boys to get camp cooking opportunities. Many times, the particulars of the campout doesn’t allow for all meals to be cooked. There’s competition by other scouts who need cooking requirements for rank advancement and Camping MB. Unless scouting is the only activity in the boy’s life, they can’t make every campout. In reality, there few opportunities throughout the year to earn rank, Cooking and Camping MB requirements. Even worse for the trail cooking requirements.

    I’m not against additional work for Eagle. I am disappointed that the scouting program is making it more boring, redundant and impractical to get to Eagle.

    Here are the OTHER cooking requirements that the scout already has to pass in the program to get to Eagle:

    Tenderfoot Rank Requirements
    On the campout, assist in preparing and cooking one of your patrol’s meals.

    Second Class Rank Requirements
    On one campout, plan and cook one hot breakfast or lunch, selecting foods from the MyPlate food guide or the current USDA nutrition model. Explain the importance of good nutrition. Tell how to transport, store, and prepare the foods you selected.

    First Class Rank Requirements
    Help plan a patrol menu for one campout that includes at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner, and that requires cooking at least two of the meals. Tell how the menu includes the foods from the MyPlate food guide or the current USDA nutrition model and meets nutritional needs.
    On one campout, serve as your patrol’s cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in requirement 4a. Lead your patrol in saying grace at the meals and supervise cleanup.

    Camping MB
    4b. Help a Scout patrol or a Webelos Scout unit in your area prepare for an actual campout, including creating the duty roster, menu planning, equipment needs, general planning, and setting up camp.
    8c. Prepare a camp menu. Explain how the menu would differ from a menu for a backpacking or float trip. Give recipes and make a food list for your patrol. Plan two breakfasts, three lunches, and two suppers. Discuss how to protect your food against bad weather, animals, and contamination.
    8d. Cook at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner for your patrol from the meals you have planned for requirement 8c. At least one of those meals must be a trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove.

    Thanks for listening!


  84. I agree with Tim W…although this article doesn’t cover the “new” requirements that are going to accompany the cooking merit badge with the change in Jan. I don’t know what they are but we are being told in our troop that if the boys have received the cooking merit badge they will not be grandfathered in and will have to earn the new one because the requirements are different. Siting Tim’s thoughts I think that requiring them to earn a new badge is ridiculous. Any info on this from anyone?

    • Mike R.

      I work for a BSA Council in New Jersey. In one of our newsletters sent to us by the National office they mentioned the Cooking merit badge.

      First off, the Cooking badge will become a requirement for Eagles as of 1/1/2014. However, any Scout that gets the project in to their Council and approved prior to 1/1/2014 and only has the Eagle board of review left to do will not be required to earn his Cooking merit badge to make his Eagle rank.

      The requirements for the Cooking badge will be changing as of 1/1/2015. The Cooking merit badge book should be shipped to Scout shops in Decemeber. I don’t know anything about the new requirements. However, a Scout earning the Cooking merit badge before Jan. 1 2015 using the current requirements will keep the badge and will not need to fulfill the new requirements starting 1/1/2015.

      I have copied and pasted the information on earning the Cooking merit badge below. This came directly from our National office.

      Cooking Merit Badge Required for Eagle Beginning January 1, 2014

      There are two upcoming major revisions concerning Cooking Merit badge.

      1. Cooking will become Eagle-required beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Regardless of when a Scout earned the Life rank or began working on Eagle, unless he fulfills all the requirements-with the exception of his board of review—before Jan. 1, 2014, he must earn the Cooking merit badge to become an Eagle Scout. Just as an Eagle Scout board of review does not need to be held before the 18th birthday, it does not need to be held before Jan. 1 for a Scout to earn Eagle without the Cooking merit badge.

      2. A major overhaul to the Cooking merit badge requirements will take effect Jan. 1, 2015. Normally, when new requirements are released during the year, they go into effect the following Jan. 1. However, because the release of the revised requirements is anticipated in late 2013, the revisions will not be officially required until January 1, 2015. Until then, Scouts have a choice to begin work on the Cooking merit badge using the current requirements or the revised ones—and finish using the same requirements. See Guide to Advancement, topic, “What to Do When Requirements Change.”

      Note that these are two separate changes and should be thought of as such.

  85. Here’s the latest on the requirements changes to the Cooking Merit Badge effective January 1, 2014:

    In the Blog’s comments section, there was confusion as to whether the Cooking MB would still be required for Eagle effective January 1, 2014 in light of the merit badge pamphlet roll-out date.

    So, here is the information, in bullet points, as gleaned from Chris Hunt’s (national Advancement Team professional adviser and confirmed to me by him directly:

    * The merit badge will be a required for Eagle MB effective January 1, 2014.

    * Since the pamphlet for the merit badge may not be available until after January 1, 2014, a Scout may use the current requirements towards earning that merit badge and still have it count as an Eagle-required merit badge.

    * After the new merit badge pamphlet is released and available sometime in 2014, if the Scout has already started on the merit badge using the current requirements, the Scout will have the option of to complete the badge using the current requirements or switching to use the new requirements.

    * Now, here is a deviation from the 2013 GTA (which the national Advancement Team, and only the national Advancement Team can do), and only for the calendar year of 2014, if the Scout had not started the merit badge by the time the new merit badge pamphlet is released and available, the Scout STILL has the choice of using the current requirements or use the new requirements to complete the badge. Yes, two sets of requirements – current and new are acceptable during this transition period for *all* Scouts.

    * As of January 1, 2015, if the Scout has not already started the merit badge, he then *MUST* use the new merit badge requirements to earn it.

  86. What if you are already done with all badges and just need a project and have been in this for a long time? Who does this apply to?

  87. As a parent I am a little confused about the cooking merit badge. My son is a life scout and has presented his proposal to the eagle board. Does he still have to do the cooking merit badge?

    • Hi Liz –
      Your son will have to earn the Cooking Merit Badge unless he has completed all Eagle requirements (except for the Board of Review) before January 1st, 2014.


      • Kevin, I have all the requirements for eagle signed off (all before jan.1) in my book except the board of review. I have received all the eagle required merit badges and got that specific requirement (#3) signed off well before January 1st. Are you still saying that I do not need the cooking merit badge? Will council accept my application if the cooking merit badge isn’t on there under my list of merit badges earned? Thanks so much,

  88. Concerned about the “Sustainability” MB and would like to know the actual requirements. Without being too political here, I am concerned about global socialization (embodied in the UN’s Agenda 21push) that can only result in loss of freedom as we delegate sustainability to central governments (even world central governments). How do we teach scouts responsibility for their surroundings (a local responsibility) while at the same time keeping the governments from controlling us and thus removing freedoms. Is there a place to see the requirements for “Sustainability” to gain comfort that we are teaching our Eagle Scouts proper ideals?

  89. My son has finished and presented his Eagle Project, but he just needs to finish all the paper work – is Cooking MB still required for him?

    • Yes, if you have not finished your project as of Dec.31, 2013 you are required to now do the cooking merit badge. Your son did not have to do the cooking merit badge if: all requirements were fulfilled and your project was complete. The board of review did not yet have to take place but all requirements and project must have been completed.

  90. I was a scoutmaster in different areas for about 25 years (decades ago), although never a scout myself, I was invited to be in the Order of the Arrow, as were my sons. And I just happened on this site as I’m writing a story that includes scout-age boys, so I decided to find out more about the scouts of today. I came in at the top of this message board, and only read about a third of the way down, so maybe I’m wrong in my deductions.

    I am a little disappointed in the direction of incorporating several of the messages from the UN’s Agenda 21, which really uses the term ‘sustainability’ to help them gain power over other countries, particularly this one. The messages people were leaving seemed all in favor of ‘sustainability’ and didn’t seem to bother with any of the political implications at all.

    That is all I will say on the subject, except I agree with a couple of others in that the requirements are becoming more classwork and less actual activities. As far as the cooking merit badge goes, in my troops they started working on it with every camping trip. And most of the long-term adventure trips that we took once a year, required them to have 1st aid, swimming and lifesaving merit badges to go on them. We had other trips every month that had no such requirements, but when you are taking a 10 day river trip over a 100 miles in canoes and kayaks, or hiking 65 miles across the sierras for 10 days, everyone needed to be as safe and well-prepared as possible. During our trips, we came upon others in trouble, and the boys knew how to handle themselves well in each case; saving the lives of two girl scouts in the bottom of the Grand Canyon when they were freezing in an unexpected snow storm – wearing shorts, and three adults (2 on hikes and 1 on a wild river) and finding a scout that had been missing for two weeks near Yosemite; not to mention taking care of themselves, which on occasion required them to use their 1st aid knowledge.

15 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. 2012 District Award of Merit Nominations – Scouting the Fox!
  2. Cooking, Sustainability merit badges to become Eagle-required » Troop 836
  3. Major Changes for Eagle Rank, Use of Scout Oath and Law Announced | Backpacker's Blaze
  4. Cooking, Sustainability Merit Badges to Become Eagle-required | Boy Scouts on Staten Island, NY
  5. Add Cooking to the List! » Boy Scout Troop 94 – Amarillo Texas
  6. FAQs about Cooking and Sustainability merit badges « Bryan on Scouting
  7. Cooking, Sustainability Merit Badges To Become Eagle-Required » Washington District Scouting News
  8. Can they survive? « creativetidalwave
  9. Greatest hits: My 12 most-read blog posts of 2012 « Bryan on Scouting
  10. A new recipe: What to expect from the Cooking merit badge redesign « Bryan on Scouting
  11. A new recipe: What to expect from the Cooking merit badge redesign - Troop 738 Richmond, VA
  12. Calendar of New Merit Badges | Troop 139 Ortonville, MI.
  13. Cooking now a required Eagle Scout Merit Badge | Troop 9
  14. Greatest hits: Counting down my 13 most-read blog posts of 2013 « Bryan on Scouting
  15. Merit Badge team serves up some reminders about Cooking merit badge « Bryan on Scouting

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