Merit badge pamphlets introduce Scouts to new subjects in a fun, accessible way. They’re a critical part of a young man’s journey toward earning one of the BSA’s 137 different merit badges.
But you don’t have to be a Boy Scout working on a merit badge to buy one.
And they shouldn’t collect dust once a Scout has moved on to the next merit badge.
Anyone who cracks open a merit badge pamphlet will find an easy-to-ready book that offers an excellent overview on everything from American Business to Woodwork.
With that in mind, here are 12 other ways to use merit badge pamphlets. And because this is Tuesday Talkback, I’m asking you to share your own ideas in the comments.
1. As a wilderness survival guide
I sent Wilderness Survival with a non-Scout to Haiti after an earthquake. He was going in to look for his family.
I taught him how to distill water with a YouTube video before he went.
– Frank D.
2. As a way for adults to learn a new skill or hobby
My husband wanted to learn how to canoe, so he went for a merit badge book and was happy to find it was so informative and way cheaper than most of the books he found on the subject. Now when we wonder about how to do something, we look up merit badge books first.
– MeLissa T.
My wife used it to learn how to do leather-working. She got really into it and eventually made a new purse.
– John T.
3. As a reference for housework
I used the Home Repairs and Electricity merit badge books for my own use to do work at my house.
– Jeff K.
I just picked up the Gardening MB book to teach myself how to grow veggies for our family this spring. I figure once I start the three boys will “dig in,” too, and actually earn their merit badge in the process. Scouting is a family activity at any age.
– Kim A.
4. As a mini-encyclopedia for kids
My kids (ages 9, 10 and 11) use them as a mini-encyclopedia set and as an intro to subjects they are interested in.
– Scott K.
I did the same thing — my mom kept a large set for use as a pack leader and unit commissioner after I was done with them. They came in handy!
– Joshua D.
5. As textbooks for homeschooling
After raising two home-schooled sons who both made it to Eagle and are now in college, we have found that our 14-year-old daughter can also take advantage of the books as curriculum supplement as we continue to homeschool her. We should get her a merit badge sash too.
– Bob D.
6. As supplemental material for other programs
I used them with my Cadette Girl Scout troop when no Girl Scout materials filled the needs of a large, active outdoor troop.
– Dean W.
7. As a teacher’s aide
I’m a social studies teacher. I’ve used the Genealogy merit badge materials to teach about family units. I’ve also borrowed exercises from all three Citizenship MBs (Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World).
– Glenn R.
8. As a source for research papers
My son had a literature class in sixth grade thru UW-Madison and cited the Space Exploration MB pamphlet in his research paper.
– Dorothy S.
I’m actually writing my senior research paper on Scouting and how mainstream media is making Scouting appear evil and bad despite the good we all do. I’ve used Scouting Heritage as a source many times. (Ed. note: I’d love to read that paper!)
– Jaxon A.
9. As a quick reference that could save a life
I keep the First Aid book in my car! Also suggest to my Scouts to keep one with them on campouts/hikes!
– Shiela L.
The First Aid merit badge pamphlet went right into our family first-aid kit.
– John H.
10. As fun reading material
My fifth-grader who just crossed over to Boy Scouts finds the books interesting and he reads them from cover to cover. He normally doesn’t like to read, so we finally found something he likes to read.
– Michelle S.
Our middle school has a reading incentive program that rewards students who read a million words during the school year with a special “Millionaire’s Field Trip.” It can be difficult to find reading material that will interest a middle-school boy, but my son enjoyed reading merit badge books because they’re well-written and informative. He read several of them toward his million word goal.
– Laurie C.
11. As a way to help others thousands of miles away
I was contacted several years ago by a missionary in South America looking for a resource on beekeeping. I mailed them an old Beekeeping merit badge book. From the info in the book, the mission created a profitable business for the community and family they were helping.
– Glenn T.
12. As, um, something else?
– Michael B.
Splint for a wrist.
– Steve H.
– Elrico H.
What are your ideas?
Share them below.
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