Top 5 merit badges for Scouts getting the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch comes out today, and at $349 and up, it ain’t cheap.

But a Scout who plans to save up — perhaps by mowing lawns or working at Philmont this summer — can use his new gadget to earn these Top 5 merit badges for Scouts getting the Apple Watch.

Know some I should’ve included on my list? Sound off in the comments.

American-BusinessAmerican Business

Feeling bullish? Now a person can keep track of Apple stock (AAPL) using the Apple product on his wrist.

For requirement 3 of the American Business merit badge, Scouts must pretend they have bought $1,000 worth of the stock of their choice and keep a record for three months of its rise and fall. The idea is to introduce young men to practical business matters that will be useful throughout life.

Scouts can choose any company to track with their imaginary money, but Apple Watch-wearing Scouts might find it fun to track the highs and lows of the company that produced that miniature computer on their wrist. Then they can check out that stock’s performance using the built-in Stocks app.


Strap on the Apple Watch. It’s time to ride.

Using the Watch’s built-in Workout app or the third-party Strava app, Scouts can track real-time stats like elevation gain, speed, distance and heart rate during their ride.

That’s especially useful for the Eagle-required Cycling merit badge‘s toughest requirement: “Participate in an organized bike tour of at least 50 miles. Make this ride in eight hours. Afterward, use the tour’s cue sheet to make a map of the ride.”

With the Watch on their wrist, Scouts can spend less time thinking about stats and more time enjoying the ride. Once they’re done, they can see an exact map of their route, merging this century-old merit badge with 2015 technology.


One of the requirements for the Music merit badge is to listen to music for three hours. How awesome is that?

Any music from any two of these musical styles qualifies: blues, jazz, classical, country, rock, bluegrass, ethnic, gospel, musical theater or opera. Of course, Scouts do more than just listen to these songs. They think about what they’re hearing and describe the sound of the music and the instruments used. Then they discuss their thoughts with the merit badge counselor.

Scouts with the Apple Watch could earn this one on the go — perhaps as they backpack around the neighborhood while training for Philmont. Or maybe as they ride in the car on their way to summer camp.

They can even lighten their load by leaving the iPhone behind and loading music to the Watch’s built-in storage.


While I can’t imagine a Scout wanting to make “quinoa, beet, apple and sprout salad,” I can imagine the Apple Watch coming in handy while he works on the Eagle-required Cooking merit badge.

Third-party Watch apps will offer step-by-step recipes, complete with built-in timers.

Scouts who create their own recipes won’t need a recipe app, but they could use Siri and the timer to make sure their Dutch oven cobbler bakes for exactly 45 minutes and not a second longer.

This requirement seems perfect for a Scout wanting the Apple Watch to be his sous chef: “prepare and serve yourself and at least one adult (parent, family member, guardian, or other responsible adult) one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and one dessert from the meals you planned.”


Part of being a good citizen is keeping up with what’s happening in the city, the nation and the world.

The Apple Watch and its third-party newsreaders will help Scouts be better informed. They can glance at a headline on their wrist and, if it interests them, they can tap to read it later on their phone.

They can use this passion for the news while earning the Journalism merit badge, one of the few merit badges I feel qualified to counsel.

Scouts must analyze the news and discuss how different news outlets cover the same story. That story starts on their Watch.

Honorable Mentions

  • Golf — Track your shots and distance to the pin
  • Personal Management — Keep track of your budget at a glance
  • Photography — Take photos from afar using the Camera Remote and review/share them on Instagram
  • Signs, Signals and Codes — Share emojis, tap out messages in code
  • Weather — Track storms with ease

Others in the Top 5 merit badge series

For more Top 5 merit badge fun, click here.


      • Golly gee willikers, all the old technology sure was better. Right Beaver!

        Your map can get wet. Your compass can get broken by your camp stove shoved into the backpack. Sure am glad I had that GPS as a fall back.

        It works both ways.

        There is one danger in always insisting that the old ways are the best ways, you risk losing your Scouts. When we keep insisting that old technology is important, and we force them to learn it, but they just don’t believe in it, we become another one of those adults who try to make ourselves sound superior because we used the “good old” stuff.

  1. With the faint hope of heading off any more of these articles, I want you to know that these “Top 5 Merit Badges for …” articles are my least favorite on this site. An automatic skip.

    I’m here for BSA news and national opinion. Maybe these would be better in Boys Life?

  2. How about Salesmanship and Public Speaking merit badges?

    Donovan “The Popcorn Scout” used EARNING enough gift cards through selling Trail’s End popcorn to support Scouts (and our Troops) to get his own Apple Watch as further motivation to reach his personal goals. He has waited all this time for Apple to finally get released too!

  3. Hey Scouts,

    Make something really wonderful and unique! The field is totally open with this new compute platform. Just download XCode and use Apple’s developer tools and make us something new and fantastic. And if you can sell 1 million of your crazy apps for $1.00 each on the App Store, you will make $700,000 (roughly). That’s enough to take your whole troop to camp – forever!

    • Interesting (and likely true) thought.

      However, I choose to live my life in an “Opt In” manner rather than an “Opt Out” manner. I believe that if you “opt out” of every organization, business relationship, politic, religion, friendship, marriage, SELF because you disagree with some PART of what the other entity believes in then we would not have the BSA, we would not have any relationships, we would not be married, and FRANKLY we would end our time even living with OURSELF.

      If you boycot anything that you DISAGREE with SOMETHING about, you had better have your TV shut off (all of the channels are in a package, right?), your cell phone disconnected, your car sold, your marriage ended, and don’t even start on religion. This morning I was at an intersection and for a moment I disagreed with MYSELF about which way to turn. Uh oh!!!

      Scouting is about sharing great experiences and developing GREAT YOUNG LEADERS. I choose not to teach my Scouts to QUIT every time they experience something he/she disagrees with.

      I disagree A LOT with many things Apple agrees with. But I also use tools from diverse sources to OPT-IN to living my life with those that I cherish.

      Please stop making Bryan On Scouting forums about personal beliefs in what you feel everyone should OPT-OUT of. I will never opt-out of listening to you just because I disagree with you.

      Thank you.

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