There are no dull merit badges, only dull instructors

Scouts aren’t exactly stumbling over themselves to take Personal Management, Emergency Preparedness, or Citizenship in the Community/Nation/World.

But with a little advance planning and creativity, you can bring seemingly dull merit badges to life.

Start by studying every requirement for ways to turn lectures or pen-and-paper exercises into something hands-on.

Then consider these tips from our friends on Facebook and Twitter

  1. Dalton L Smith
    Any first aid class is more exciting with fake vampire blood. Stock up now. It makes an important lesson more realistic.

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 11:39:24
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  2. David Mohn
    I have fun when I do merit badges as a veteran of nearly 1000, I watch the eyes of the. Boys and change it up when I see fatigue set in. Get them on their feet, and be excited about what you share, not teach but share your passion. I have had groups as large as 70 and team teach, get them working with each other. Of course it helps to have the local air museum available with a lot of excited volunteers. Cooking is another, when we are done the boys are very capable their reward is great food after all they deserve it!

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 16:10:31
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  3. Mike Lampkin
    Genealogy – I use Harry Potter as my example for the simple family tree and events timeline. The boys aren’t expecting to see that and love it.

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 10:08:34
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  4. Scoutmaster1320
    @scouting We always try to have a dull merit badge associated with something fun related. The best is to go somewhere or doing something.

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 11:58:44
  5. RussAnna Bolin Dudley
    Cit in the world- I like to set my teaching space with lots of items from different parts of the world, bring food from different parts of the world, play games, invite guests, and always strive to present the material in a manner that is appealing and memorable to the scouts.

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 10:43:55
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  6. Ashley Litton
    I taught Citizenship in the world and to teach my scouts the countries of the world we showed them the animaniacs video.

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 09:58:56
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  7. Janet Johnson
    Well, for starters, YOU have to be excited about the subject and by that I mean a little over the top excited. We shouldn’t be a merit badge counselor unless we’re truly interested in the subject, but sometimes (due to poor presentation or communication skills), we don’t show our enthusiasm well. Let yourself go, put yourself out there and and get downright giddy about your topic and that energy will infect the boys.

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 10:01:46
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  8. Mat Greenfield
    Bryan, you have to check out the Zombie Edition of the Emergency Preparedness merit badge! More than 75 Scouters have downloaded it so far! http://www.facebook.com/scoutrevolution

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 14:54:51
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  9. Mat Greenfield
    I’m also planning to teach the Personal Management merit badge using lessons learned from Video Games!

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 14:56:26
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  10. Isaac Berry
    @Mat: I teach Personal Management at summer camp, and I find that relating it to something the kids are interested in is a fantastic way of getting them interested and engaged in discussion. However, you have to be careful to keep the conversation tightly reigned, otherwise it’s very easy for them to get off-topic, and once they’ve started to wander, it’s easier to herd cats than to get them back on track.

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 19:16:44
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  11. Kyle Chelius
    Pulp and Paper (I teach it for Scout College) – I use an online Jeopardy game to cover alot of the material. (Actually, Jeopardy can be used for alot of “boring” subjects…)

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 12:11:53
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  12. T.J. Wallace
    Personal Management was a lot more fun with 2-liter rockets. Planning, budgeting, and project development all led to a zone-wide rocket launching competition. I was amazed (and entertained) at the creativity. For the record: balloons didn’t work, but using soda instead of water created more pressure.

    Mon, Oct 22 2012 18:23:01
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What do you think?

What are your tried-and-true tips for making any merit badge more fun? Share your comments below.

Photo from Flickr. Some rights reserved by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

About Bryan Wendell 2966 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.