More details on the Eagle-required Cooking merit badge

Cooking-EagleUpdated 1:08 p.m. Oct. 24 | Added more info from Chris Hunt, BSA Advancement Team, to clarify that the merit badge still will become Eagle-required on Jan. 1, 2014 though the revisions won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2015. These are two separate changes and should be thought of as such, Chris says.

Updated 10:23 a.m. Dec. 18 | Here are the new requirements.

It’s a secret recipe no longer.

I’ve got new details to share on Cooking merit badge, set to  join the list of Eagle-required merit badges on New Year’s Day 2014.

While the requirements are still being finalized, the questions and answers provided here should tide you over until the full course arrives.

I’ll share whether Scouts must switch to the new requirements if they’re already working on Cooking merit badge, whether Scouts who already have the badge may swap theirs for the silver-bordered version, and what will and won’t change in the requirements.

Hungry for more? Follow the jump…

What’s changing?

There are two major revisions that should be considered separately. The first is that Cooking merit badge will become Eagle-required beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The second is a major overhaul to the requirements, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

When will Cooking merit badge become required to earn the Eagle Scout Award?

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.

What about the new requirements?

The process for implementing changes to merit badges is covered in the Guide to Advancement, topic, “What to Do When Requirements Change.” The changes to Cooking will first appear in a revised merit badge pamphlet that will be released during 2013. The new requirements then become effective Jan. 1, 2015, with the release of Boy Scout Requirements, No. 34765.

What if a Scout has already started earning Cooking with the old requirements?

The Guide then allows the following options for the period of time between the release of the revised pamphlet and the Jan. 1, 2015, effective date:

  • If Scouts have already started on the merit badge, they may switch to the new requirements or continue with the old ones until the badge is completed.
  • If Scouts have not already started on the merit badge, they may opt to use the new requirements and the new pamphlet.
  • If work on the merit badge begins before Jan. 1, 2015, they may use the old requirements and old pamphlet until the badge is completed.

Is there a time limit involved?

The Guide to Advancement, under the same topic, goes on to say, “There is no time limit between starting and completing a badge, although a counselor may determine so much time has passed since any effort took place that the new requirements must be used.” This will apply to Cooking merit badge as well.

My Scout earned Cooking merit badge before it became Eagle-required. Does he have to earn it again?

No. Scouts who already earned Cooking merit badge are not required to re-earn the badge under the new requirements in order to qualify for Eagle.

The Eagle-required Cooking merit badge will have a silver border. Can a Scout who already earned Cooking switch his badge from the green-bordered version to one with the silver border? 

Yes. Once the Supply Group has released a new Cooking merit badge patch with a silver border — signifying it is Eagle-required — then any Scout who earned and received a green-bordered Cooking patch (regardless which requirements were involved) may purchase or be presented with one that has a silver border.

A Cooking merit badge certificate or blue card must be presented to buy the new patch. The green-bordered patch may then be retained as a keepsake.

Can this Scout wear both versions on his sash? 

No. Scouts are not permitted to wear both merit badge patches at the same time.

Will there be a trade-in program for exchanging for the silver version?


What happened to the 2014 revisions we were told about?

They have been moved to 2015 because the new requirements and the new pamphlet are coming out so close to the end of the year. This is an extension to the transition time during which Scouts can use either set of requirements as indicated above. The process will be the same as described in the Guide to Advancement—just extended through 2014.

Once the new pamphlet and requirements are released in a few months, a Scout will have until Jan. 1, 2015, “to decide what to do. He may continue—or begin work—using the old [Cooking] merit badge requirements and the old pamphlet; or he may switch to—or begin work—using the new requirements and the new pamphlet. …if a Scout chooses to use the old merit badge requirements and pamphlet, he may continue using them until he has completed the badge.”*

On January 1, 2015, any Scout who begins working on Cooking must use the new requirements and the new pamphlet.

*Guide to Advancement 2013,

Can you tell me what’s changing in the requirements?

In compliance with national healthy eating standards, the requirements will move from My Pyramid to My Plate.

Also to be added are sections on:

  • Food allergies, cross-contamination awareness
  • Reading Food Labels
  • Daily level of activity and caloric need
  • Better nutrition–Improving eating habits
  • Variety of cooking methods
  • Outdoor Code
  • Home Cooking

To be deleted are the requirements of consecutive days for cooking, giving troops and Scouts more flexibility.

Can you tell me what isn’t changing?

The requirements for total number of meals will be similar. The breakdown of location will change, however, to include at home, at camp and on the trail.

The focus on menu planning over actual cooking will remain.

Still Plan more Menus than Cook

Requirements 1, 2 and 8 will be very similar.

Who was behind the change?

The BSA’s Innovation Team consulted representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Cleveland Clinic, Food Allergy Research & Education, and Scouters and Cooking merit badge counselors.


  1. Hi Bryan,

    Since the new Cooking MB pamphlet and requirements are coming out so close to the end of the year–or perhaps even after the first, we decided just days ago, to allow Scouts all of 2014 to make the transition. We will treat this as if the pamphlet and new requirements will have come out after this January, which would make the requirements effective Jan 1, 2015. Throughout 2014 Scouts will have those options of continuing or beginning with the old requirements or beginning with the new requirements. Then on Jan 1, 2015, any Scout beginning work on Cooking MB must use the new requirements and the new pamphlet.


    Christopher Hunt
    Team Leader
    National Advancement Team
    Program Impact Department
    National Council, BSA

    • Thanks Chris. I actually think it’s better that the boys don’t have to worry about the requirements for the badge for a few months. Adding the existing badge to the “to do” list is gonna be significant enough. I don’t even know if we have a current pamphlet in our library, but if we do, it’s nice to know it will be good for another year.

    • Thank you Chris (& Bryan!) for posting these comments on the Scouting Magazine BLOG. Very timely information indeed. I’ve been advertising this impending change in the Requirements for Eagle Scout to all the units in our District since the original announcement. However, lots of questions still abound. I appreciate your weighing in with clarifying comments in a public forum on the web.

      Yours in Scouting,

      Jeffrey W. Dronenburg Sr.
      Advancement and Recognition Committee Chairman
      Western Shore District, National Capital Area Council

  2. Okay, so help me understand. There is young man in my unit who turns 18 in April and has just started the process of his project application. He has some badges to finish before he can finalize his Eagle. If he finishes all of the badges before Jan 1, 2014, has an approved project, but has not started the actual physical work on the project, will he need the Cooking badge for his 2014 Eagle Board of Review?

    • In that case, yes. If he hasn’t completed all the requirements (except the Board of Review) by Jan. 1, he needs to earn it. But he could earn it now; he doesn’t have to wait until after Jan. 1.

      • Brian, Chris says, ( capitalization my own) “We will treat this as if the pamphlet and new requirements will have come out after this January, which would make the REQUIREMENTS EFFECTIVE  Jan 1, 2015. THROUGHOUT 2014,  Scouts will have those options of CONTINUING or BEGINNING WITH THE OLD REQUIREMENTS OR BEGINNING WITH THE NEW REQUIREMENTS.”  Does this mean: 1. Unless the Eagle Application is submitted before December 31, 2013, the Cooking Merit Badge is required.?and then2. Until December 31, 2014, the requirements of either Cooking Merit Badge Book may be used and3. After January 1, 2015, only the new  Cooking Merit Badge book  requirements may be used. I believe that was the question that required clarification. It is for me!
        Thanks all!

        • Sam…almost right…#1 the EA does NOT have to be submitted before 12/31/13, all Eagle Requirements just need to be completed before that date. Cooking MB would not be required for those scouts. Your #2 and #3 are correct.

        • If the requirements for Eagle–except for the board of review–are completed before 12/31/13, then Cooking merit badge is NOT required. If the requirements for Eagle–except for the board of reivew–are completed after 12/31/13, then Cooking IS required. It makes no difference, regardless when the requirements for Eagle are completed, whether the old Cooking requirements or the new Cooking requirements are used. The change in the Cooking requirements is a completely separate issue to the addition of Cooking to the Eagle-required list.

          Between now and Jan. 1, 2015, a Scout may choose to begin work on Cooking merit badge using the old requirements. He may continue working on the merit badge using the old requirements, and complete the badge using the old requirement, up until he turns 18–even it that is after Jan. 1, 2015. He may then use that Cooking merit badge that he completed using the old requirements toward his Eagle.

    • The 2014 Eagle application will have Cooking in the bottom section where the MBs and dates go. Councils will not be able to validate an application that does not have Cooking completed. Also for the almost 18 year olds, do not expect that any extension request to complete Cooking MB after you turn 18 will be considered or approved. This coming change has been out and advertised for almost a year now and the “I didn’t know” does not fall under the extension request criteria as an extenuating circumstance out of the scout’s control.

    • Please be sure to tell your Scouts is is NOT “now Eagle-required”. It will be Eagle-Required AFTER Jan 1, 2015 (see Chris Hunt’s comments above). A Scout can earn it anytime and use either the old or new requirements. Check the Guide to Advancement 2013 topic, “What to Do When Requirements Change.” on what Scouts do when requirements are changed.

      • Paul, you assessment is incorrect. The Cooking merit badge will be Eagle Required effective January 1, 2014. Whether Scouts are to use the new or old merit badge requirements for the badge is what has been delayed until 2015; the badge itself — regardless of whether the Scout uses the current or new requirements — is still required after January 1, 2014.

      • The Cooking Merit Badge IS required effective January 1, *2014*. It’s the effective date for the requirements for the merit badge that has changed.

        A Scout who has started the Cooking MB before January 1, 2014 may use the old requirements and still have the MB count toward Eagle. When the new MB pamphlet is out, and the Scout had not already started the MB, the Scout must THEN use the new requirements.

        Hope this helps.

        • Hi Lou,
          Not exactly. A Scout may begin work on Cooking using the old requirement up until 1/1/15. We extended the date because the new Cooking requirements and pamphlet are coming out so close to the end of the year.

        • Thanks for the clarification, Chris. I’ve posted words to that effect on LinkedIn as follows. Again, correct me if I’ve misspoken.

          * 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.

          * Again, this special case is only valid for the year 2014.

          * 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.

      • Make this even simpler. Tell all your boys to start earning cooking MB NOW. Then when the life scout who turns 18 in December comes to you in a panic, just tell him, “Don’t worry, I know a guy …”

      • No. Cooking is required for Eagle as of 1/1/14. The change in the Eagle requirement has nothing to do with the changes to the Cooking MB requirements. These are two separate issues.

  3. I really wish the requirements would not be watered down. While many of the proposed additions to the merit badge reflect current health trends and awareness, and are thus a positive addition to this badge, I see no need to revise the existing requirements about consecutive days of cooking. Requiring consecutive days of cooking is a valuable experience for Scouts, and I see no value in removing that requirement. The average Scout has approximately eight years to complete this merit badge, so there is no need to add “flexibility.”

    • Where is the requirement for consecutive days of cooking ? The at home meals are one day. The requirements clearly state they need not be prepared consecutively.

      ” * The meals for requirements 4a and 5a may be prepared for different trips. They need not be prepared consecutively. Scouts working on this badge at summer camp should plan around food they can get at the camp commissary.”

      • My point exactly. The consecutive cooking requirement has been eliminated from prior writings of the badge requirements. The new requirements should bring it back.

        • No, that’s not what you said. You were not referring to prior requirements you were referring to existing requirements. The existing requirement are the 2007 requirements, the new 2013/2014 requirements have not been released and as stated have not been finalized.

          “I see no need to revise the existing requirements about consecutive days of cooking. “.

  4. Just to clarify, the badge still becomes Eagle required on 1/1/14, but the scout can choose to use either of the requirements until 1/1/15 when they must use the new requirements (if starting the badge)???

  5. Bryan,

    At 11:15 Paul Yelk has already misguided scouts/scouters by saying it isn’t an Eagle requirement until Jan 1, 2015.

    Correct me if I am wrong….

    It is an Eagle requirement starting Jan 1, 2014.

    From Now until Jan 1, 2015 Scouts can utilize EITHER Merit Badge book for the requirements.

    Am I correct?

    YiS, Cathy Hansen

    There is already a b

  6. Brian, Chris says, ( capitalization my own) “We will treat this as if the pamphlet and new requirements will have come out after this January, which would make the REQUIREMENTS EFFECTIVE  Jan 1, 2015. THROUGHOUT 2014,  Scouts will have those options of CONTINUING or BEGINNING WITH THE OLD REQUIREMENTS OR BEGINNING WITH THE NEW REQUIREMENTS.”  Does this mean: 1. Unless the Eagle Application is submitted before December 31, 2013, the Cooking Merit Badge is required.?and then2. Until December 31, 2014, the requirements of either Cooking Merit Badge Book may be used and3. After January 1, 2015, only the new  Cooking Merit Badge book  requirements may be used. I believe that was the question that required clarification. It is for me!
    Thanks all!

  7. Can the cooking requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class, be counted towards the Cooking merit badge requirements?

    • That’s up to the counselor. Generally in our troop we encourage boys to not try to “railroad” things past the counselor.
      But, we do encourage boys who are currently earning a MB to see if they have picked up any T2FC skills and arrange to demonstrate their proficiency to their patrol leader.

      • Same logic would apply for Camping MB #8:

        8.Do the following:
        a.Explain the safety procedures for:
        1.Using a propane or butane/propane stove
        2.Using a liquid fuel stove
        3.Proper storage of extra fuel
        b.Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of lightweight cooking stoves.
        c.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.
        d.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.

        Since Cooking MB will be required, I wonder if this requirement will remain or be modified?

  8. what about those of us Scouters who earned the badge YEARS ago, and no longer have the blue card or MB certificate? are we still able to buy the silver-bordered badge to swap out with the green-bordered one? also, how does this affect our past ranks (ie-if I was one Eagle-required badge away from attaining Eagle as a Scout, does this change now affect the rank I was when I left Scouting)?

    • It’s not retroactive to 1910. Since the cooking merit badge is incremental to the other Eagle merit badges, you’re still one away from your Eagle.

    • That is irrelevant.

      When you earned the badge, it was not Eagle required. As an adult you don’t wear your old merit badges anyway, so what would be the point of changing it for a new silver-bordered one?

      You did not earn Eagle as a youth. Regardless of how the Eagle requirements may change, now and in the future, you still didn’t earn Eagle as a youth. You can’t go back and earn it as an adult, so the changes don’t effect your status as a not-quite Eagle.

      • Well, I’m female, so it doesn’t apply to me. But I can tell you I’m into memorabilia for things I have done or taken part in. So, if the poster was me (I was the equivalent of Eagle as a Girl Scout) and I could get the ‘new’ version of something I earned. YOU BET I would want to do it. I still have my sash with over 100 badges and use it to tease my grandson, lol. Told him he could quit earning when he caught up with me. I’m kidding of course, but it is in incentive. Can’t let grandma beat him. But I see nothing wrong with wanting to get the ‘new’ version.

        NOW, having said that – the Eagle situation is totally different. He didn’t just miss Eagle by one badge, he had to have missed it by his Eagle project and board of review. ANd like someone said – you can’t go back as an adult and get a do-over. I’ve talked to so many boys as a Scoutmaster that are adults now that are absolutely kicking themselves in the rearend because they got to Life and didn’t finish. At the time it didn’t seem important to them – girls, cars, sports did, it does now. I really push my boys (well, I’m just a leader now – I stepped down) because I know how they will feel 10-20 years from now when their own boys get into scouting.

        But I see no harm in letting someone adult or youth, get the new patch as a piece of memorabilia. Who is it hurting?

    • Silver borders for Eagle Required Badges are relatively modern invention and have no meaning except for being pretty. None of my Eagle required Badges have them and that included Cooking which WAS Eagle required at the time.

      And no you can’t apply it to anyone who is past 18 years of age. Eagle became a youth only ward in 1948.

  9. Bryan,

    Right now scouts are required to earn 4 eagle required merit badges for the star rank, 3 more for life and 5 more for eagle for a total of 12. With the addition of cooking as a required badge will the number of eagle required merit badges for either star or life be increasing? Or will they remain as is and the additional merit badges for eagle just increase from 5 to 6 for a total of 13?

      • could make a difference in the Star or Life ranks if the decision was to require a different number of ERMBs. Since there are now 13, the decision could have been 4 ER for Star, 4 for Life (now 3) and 5 for Eagle. So there would have been a change in the Life rank requirements as well as Eagle.

  10. This, in my opinion, is a great thing! It corrects a mistake that was made way back in 1972 when they changed the standards and took Cooking and Camping out of the required list for Eagle Scout. They put camping back in decades ago but somehow poor Cooking MB wasn’t deemed worthy of “required” status and thus remained relegated to the legion of green bordered MB’s…
    Don’t get me wrong, I think green bordered MB’s are great! There are some wonderful “traditional” green bordered MB’s that scream “Scouting” like Pioneering, Climbing, Wilderness Survival, Orienteering, etc… Cooking just seems to be more central to what Scouting’s goals are in regards to the well-rounded training and experiences that an Eagle Scout should have. Kudos to everyone involved in this decision!
    As to the changes in the requirements, I’m surprised it took this long! Dietary restrictions for certain people have become a way of life. We try to stay “cutting edge” with regard to our preparedness. Doing so with regards to cooking meals seems like a no brainer. Whether a scout uses the old requirements or goes ahead and works with the new, cooking should be a skill begun early and practiced often as it will be a skill one will utilize throughout their life.

  11. … “To be deleted are the requirements of consecutive days for cooking, giving troops and Scouts more flexibility.” …

    Really, someone isn’t familiar with the current requirements. You can’t delete a requirement that isn’t there. Consecutive days for cooking is not currently required. Menus are planned for consecutive days, but the requirements specifically say that the cooking does not have to be on consecutive days.

    “The meals for this requirement may be prepared for different trips. They need not be prepared consecutively.”

  12. Will there now be 13 Eagle required merit badges? I thought I read that it would be and either/or badge. Earn Environmental science or cooking merit badge?

    • There will be 13 Eagle-required, yes. The option you might have read about is Environmental Science or Sustainability. A Scout must earn one of those two.

  13. Can the menu for the CAMPING requirement be completed on a FAMILY camping trip? OR must it be at scout camp ? For larger troops – it could be difficult for
    more that a few scouts to complete the requirement otherwise.

    • Camp in patrols. Each boy should have bout two opportunities every year to provide a member of their choosing if you all are camping and hiking as frequently as you should.

    • The requirement says “Cook…For your patrol” not family

      Troops figure out 1st class cooking requirements…they’ll have to figure this one out too.

        • I think Scouter Don was referring to the Cooking Requirement in CAMPING MB:

          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.

        • My son is turning 18 in May and trying to complete the cooking merit badge now. His Eagle Project will be done by January. He has met all the requirements but his troop will not give him credit for requirements #4 and #6 because the cooking was not performed during a troop outing. According to my understanding the requirements say “do” and “discuss” the process with a merit badge counselor. Help! What should we do??

        • You don’t say where the cooking was done. I agree that the requirement does not specifically say cook on troop outings but where else would he have done the camping, trail or backpacking meals to feed himself and 2 others that he made the menus for in reqs 3 and 5. Maybe an OA event?

          The Troop doesn’t give credit for MB requirements, the MB Counselor does.

        • That’s another issue I have- location. The requirements say you must cook a camping meal and a trail meal. It does NOT say you must cook a meal while camping or a trail meal while on a backpacking trip. My interpretation is that the meal can be cooked anywhere, i.e., backyard, patrol meeting at the park, etc. Scoutmaster will not give my son a blue card. That’s what I meant when I made the Troop reference. Actually the merit badge counselor was okay with it until the Scoutmaster got wind of it.

        • Julie, you need to find a new troop and dump that tin god of a SM. The SM has no authority to deny a blue card. Read the 2013 GTA, show it to him as you request your son’s advancement records to give to his new troop. Report him to the district advancement chair.

        • There is obviously a “rest of the story” we are not getting. Why is the scout working with a Cooking MBC without a blue card anyway? Why was the SM cut out of the process of talking to the scout about the MB to discuss any concerns (like where the meals are going to be done since we haven’t seen you on a troop outing in awhile??) “Mr. S says I can cook them in my backyard.” Would the SM have given the scout this Mr. S as a recommended counselor or had a conversation with Mr. S beforehand?

          Reqs 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 go together.
          3 is menu for Camping and 4 says use the menu prepared in 3 to prepare and serve and “pack out” the trash.
          5 is menu for trail/backpacking and 6 says use the menu prepared in 5 to prepare and serve and “pack out” the trash

          Req 7 lumps the menu and cooking at home into one requirement

          The * at the bottom of the requirements talks about “Different Trips” as well.

          Camping MB was rewritten to take out the backyard sleepovers from counting as nights of camping…I suspect, although I KNOW it doesn’t explicitly say that these meals would be done on scouting events.

          I asked a couple of my scouts how they read this and they all agree the cooking needs to be on scouting events. When I said it doesn’t exactly read that way, they said, they should fix that…it’s fun to cook on campouts.

          Send an email to and get their take on this.

          Lastly I wouldn’t go in and wave the GTA in the SM’s face and quit the troop.

  14. The problem that I have is that you are using a food pyramid that was designed by the marketing group of the department of agriculture, and it has nothing to do with honest meal selection or being overweight.

    It is a flaw in thinking that the Department of Agriculture has anything to do with the Department of Health when it comes to the pyramid. My doctor stated to me to disregard the food pyramid, as it encourage you to eat foods that you may not need.

    Just my pennies worth of hunting down the facts on the pyramid.

  15. Chris,
    We met this past summer in Novato for pizza dinner with Tony.

    I rely on the Advancement Newsletters for information on changes to requirements to inform districts and Scouters.
    I was unfortunately blindsided at a meeting by a Scouter who read about the Cooking merit badge 2015 changes on a blog or Scouting Magazine.
    I would have preferred to be informed via the Advancement News publication.

    Council Advancement Chair

        • Thank you, Amelia.
          There are two separate changes, as Chris points out in the October blog.
          You are correct, the November 2012 (Vol 2, No 8) issue did introduce the changes to Cooking MB and stated at the top of page 4 that the changes would be “effective Jan. 1, 2014”.

          The second change in the October blog, pointing out that there are two changes and that the effective date of the change had been deferred to Jan. 1, 2015, was the change that I wished had been published first in the official Advancement Team newsletter and subsequently reported on in the magazine and blogs. I would prefer to be able to rely on one official source and was caught in a timing issue.

          p.s. I once was in the same Council with Chris. He’s a good man.

  16. Does anyone have the 2015 requirements? We are building course materials in Dec 2013 for 2014 and we’d like to build once. We realize that the 2015 requirements may change and and are not final, but we’d prefer to aim at the 2015 requirements.

  17. By December my son will have all of the requirements for Eagle (merit badges, project, leadership, etc.). What has to be done by 12/31/13 to avoid the additional cooking merit badge requirement of 2014. The guidelines are confusing. Does the application have to be submitted? Does the unit leader conference need to be done? Thanks for the clarification.

    • All current Eagle requirements must be completed by 12/31/13…The SMC is requirement #6. The Application does not have to be filled out prior to 12/31. These rules are essentially the same as a scout turning 18…all requirements completed prior to his 18th birthday, application can follow. What would be the reason he wouldn’t have his SMC if all else was done. He doesn’t even need all the other requirements to be done to have a SMC as it is not required that this is the last requirement.

  18. Is this an additional required hedge or replacing a required bade? Will the total number of merit badges for eagle change?

    • Cooking will be an additional Eagle-required badge. The total number of badges needed for Eagle Rank remains at 21. The ratio of Eagle-required badges to elective badges changes. Beginning 1/1/14, Eagle-required badges increases from 12 to 13 and the number of elective badges decreases from 9 to 8.

      • It sounds to me like the total number of badges required for Eagle will be the same, UNLESS you’re a Life Scout who didn’t manage to complete Eagle requirements before the end of 2013. In that case, the elective merit badge which you might have chosen to earn earlier (instead of Cooking) is no longer helpful toward Eagle. Is that true?

        This really doesn’t seem fair. A scout is asked to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. BSA should make a better attempt to be loyal to their Life Scouts, even those who are behind in their progress toward achieving Eagle. I think (like Micheal Micheals said below) that Life Scouts should be exempt from this change, or at least allowed a time extension. Is that still possible?

        Thanks for your consideration!

        P.S. I’ve tried to “feast my eyes on the new requirement”, but I’m quite full already. :O

        • Laura,
          We were warned of this coming change many months ago, possibly before this boy was a life scout. The time extension has already expired.

          Most Eagles have additional elective badges that do not count towards their Eagle. Call it a start on his bronze palm.

        • Sorry about that. I see that Amelia has already answered my question
          (above). I had no idea this change was announced way back in 2012!

  19. YES! Those are the new requirements. They weren”t supposed ti be posted until 1/1/14, but someone apparently jumped the gun. I will have them posted on later today, along with a workbook. Remember, until the end of 2014, Scouts can start the badge using EITHER set of requirements, I will have both sets available, and both workbooks available on

  20. This is unfair especially to scouts who already earned their Life badge. They should be exempt from this change. They were all presented with a list of requirements to complete for eagle from Council after achieving Life. The only deadline they were given is “prior to their 18th birthday”. This should be a binding contract between BSA and the scout. Now what do I tell my scouts from now on? Rush through the whole eagle thing ASAP before national starts adding hard merit badges to your required list with no regard to your age. My feeling on changes is that they should only affect “new” boy scouts. The book of requirements you were given when you joined should be the book you stay with. Just like most college degrees.

    • I agree with you %100! I have a son who is almost 18 and has been working on the eagle requirements which he was given when he reached Life Scout. I heard rumors about the new requirement, but was told that the cooking badge would be simplified. Also, I was optimistic that he would finish before Dec,. 31st.. As you can guess, that didn’t happen. And now it may not happen at all. So sad. While I agree that this change is well intentioned, I feel that it was poorly implemented. What’s a mother to do???

  21. Hello There.
    I am an Life Scout and my 18th Birthday is in mid February. I have completed my Project and have signed up to do the final part of my last merit badge and my scoutmaster conference on the 6th of January (the earliest possible date). Does this mean that I have to complete this Cooking Merit Badge? Thank You.

  22. Hello,

    I am a Life Scout who has completed his Eagle Scout project and am signed up to finish my final merit badge and Scoutmaster conference on January 6th(the earliest possible date). Since my EA is not completed by the first, does that mean that I have to do this merit badge. My 18th birthday is nearby, and I am unsure if I can complete it in that time. Thank you.

  23. When can we expect an updated Eagle Application? The current EA available on does not list Cooking as one of the Eagle-required MBs. Recommend that we instruct boys to write-in Cooking MB when completing the EA? Thanks.

  24. Excellent. Thank you. The previous EA is still available and is what’s first in line via Google search. Recommend to avoid confusion, BSA pulls the old EA down ASAP.

  25. It must stay available for a short time for those Scouts that finished everything but the paperwork and their Board of Review before January 1, 2014. I assume they will pull it in a couple of weeks, probably by the end of this month.

  26. Will there now be 22 required merit badges for Eagle, or will it stay at 21, thereby reducing the number of elective merit badges a boy can choose to earn?

      • Okay, but all the information I’m seeing says that they have to complete the eagle required badges plus 10 more. That would make it 23 badges required. Also, it’s ambigious as to whether you can do one from all of h, i and j or one from each of them.

        • If you saw something that says “plus 10 more”, it is incorrect. That hasn’t been the case for 20 years (since 1994) when Family Life became required. What you probably saw, however, is the statement “Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than you already have) ,..”, meaning 10 more total badges than the 11 badges total that were required for Life Scout.

          As for your question about “one from h, i, and j”, First, the items where Scouts have a choice between 2 or 3 merit badges, are items “h, i, and k”. The rules for STAR and/or LIFE say “Choose any of the 17 required merit badges in the 13 categories to fulfill requirement 3.”, so in those cases, you can use any or all f them to meet the requirement for “required badges” For EAGLE, the rule says” You must choose only one merit badge listed in items (h), (i), and (k). If you have earned more than one of the badges listed in items (h), (i), and/or (k), choose one and list the remaining badges to make your total of 21.” It is definitely ONE FROM EACH. If the Scout did use, for example, Lifesaving AND Emergency Preparedness as “required” for Star and/or Life, he just uses one for item h, and the other as one of the 8 elective badges.

        • Cooking? Eagle required? It should stay as an elective, we have enough problem with declining enrollment so lets take more choices away from the scout. Why dont we just make all 21 be eagle required that way the scout doesnt have to decide anything for himself. This will save some time and confusion.

  27. in the above Blog you wrote:
    What about the new requirements?

    The process for implementing changes to merit badges is covered in the Guide to Advancement, topic, “What to Do When Requirements Change.” The changes to Cooking will first appear in a revised merit badge pamphlet that will be released during 2013. The new requirements then become effective Jan. 1, 2015, with the release of Boy Scout Requirements, No. 34765.

    When parents and Scouts search for the Cooking Merit Badge requirements they are finding the 2015 requirements.
    If i am teaching a class, which set of requirements do I use (2013 or 2015)?



  28. If I completed my eagle project in October of 2013 but completed my scout master conference in February of 2014 do I still have to complete the cooking merit badge? It does not make any sense if I would have to because in order to start your eagle project you must have all of the required merit badges first. I turn 18 in a month so there’s not much wiggle room.

    • Dakota Grizzle, my son is in a similar situation. What did you find out? Did you end up having to do the Cooking MB?

      • Dakota: First of all, there is nothing that says you must have all of your required merit badgescomplete before you start the Project. Anyone that told you that was dead wrong. The only time restriction is that you must be a Life Scout before you start any work on the project.

        As for Cooking, the basic rule is that ALL requirements except the Board of Review had to be completed by December 31, 2013, if the Scout does not have the Cooking MB. That includes the Unit Leader’s Conference.

        If, by December 31, 2013, you did have all the 12 required merit badges done, and had at least 9 others (so that you had at least 21 total), and had your project done last October, and had the 6 months as a Life Scout and 6 months of service in a position of responsibility in your unit done before last December 31, why was your conference delayed until February? If the LEADERS delayed you, then you may be able to get a waiver by appealing to the National office. If not, then unfortunately, you may not be able to get a waiver.

        SD: Similar question: When did your son finish all requirements except the conference? If ANY of the requirements were not complete by 12/31/2013, then he MUST meet the current requirements, which include Cooking MB.

  29. Of course you must choose the color paint which you plan on using.
    It is really essential as paint may spill over these things and removing it may not be very easy.

    – Using only good quality paints that eliminate the need for multiple coats.

  30. BSA Should be ashamed. There is NO way that this should be implemented without a grandfather clause. How many young men have planned for years to be @ a point beyond this only to see the rules change and for what? So that they can be made aware of food allergies? These young men are not that naïve. A requirement of this nature will require an additional 2-5 camping nights four many scouts who PLANNED to no longer be committing time to these types of activities. Perhaps all of you should read through the scout oath one more time.

    • I disagree. I first announced that Cooking would become Eagle-required way back in 2012. That was almost two years ago, so Scouts have known for a while about the change.

      Also, there is a grandfather clause that allows Scouts to select between the old or new Cooking merit badge requirements until the new requirements become effective Jan. 1, 2015. So he may use either set of requirements until the end of the year. This has been known since November 2012.

      Hope this helps.

      • Bryan W,

        When you say WAY BACK in 2012 you mean October 17th 2012. This is still little more than 1 year prior to the effective date of the change. Even if EVERYONE learned about the change on that date it still doesn’t mean that on that date they hadn’t already completed the current set of Eagle required MBs and camping nights that were required at that time and planned for other activities (like high school). It also doesn’t account for the amount of time it takes scout troops and MB counselor’s to ramp up and provide scouts with opportunities to earn those badges. None of this discounts the fact that on October 17th 2012 NO SCOUT knew how the new requirement would be implemented. Would it be safe to start work on the old requirement? Would there be a grandfather for those who had already obtained a certain rank or a certain number of MBs. No one wants too waste their time.

        While I think few would argue the validity of meal preparation and cooking as valuable life skills there is is also no dispute that for about 38 years now scouting has not deemed it important enough to be Eagle required. In addition, rank requirement already provide scouts with plenty of opportunities to learn the finer points of these skills. If a college started changing program requirements for students enrolled in junior/senior level courses they would quickly see enrollment begin to drop. It disingenuous, unprofessional and completely self serving.

  31. How do you deal with the troop and council who decides that the new rules take effect on Jan 1, 2015 and if you are not completed with the old rules by then, you must start the badge over?

  32. I have a similar question to cathyb’s:

    Is there a “rule” that says scout must switch to the 2014 requirements by 1/1/15 (meaning a start over) if he has not completed the 2007 requirements that he’d already started with?

    Also, what definitive length of time is considered “so much time has passed” in regards to time limit between starting and completing a badge? Does this take into account lack of progress from date of last activity? How much time is acceptable to pass?
    Seems very open to many interpretations. Who gets to interpret: council, district, unit, counselor, scoutmaster, etc??


    • I would love to hear an answer to this question also. I have a boy in my unit that started the Cooking merit badge in 2012 and completed just under 50% of the requirements. Fast forward 5 years and now he’s wants to complete this merit badge based on the requirements as they were when he started.

  33. I have a question about the MB counselor participation in requirements #6 &7. An adult must sign off the at home requirement of #5, but does the MB Counselor oversee the food preparation/cooking aspects of requirements #6 and #7? The pamphlet does not state as such, but the MB counselor is responsible for signing the blue card stating that all requirements have been successfully met.

  34. Hi there! So when I read the merit badge requirements, it says I need to “Plan a menu for two straight days (six meals) of camping” (Req: 3). Does this mean I have to plan, AND cook it, or just plan it out?

    In other words, what do I have to do that requires me to go out, and physically cook meals? I really need to know so I can get those out of the way. Thank you!

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