Animation merit badge requirements released

Pick up your pencils, Scouts, because the Animation merit badge is finally here.

Drawing from the wisdom of animators who have worked at Disney, Dreamworks and EA Sports, the BSA has created a merit badge sure to please any young man with an interest in making art come to life.

Requirements were released this week, officially making the Animation MB the BSA’s 136th current merit badge. (That count doesn’t include the Computers merit badge, which was retired at the end of 2014. See the full list here.)

Boy Scouts who earn this one will plan and create animation using two different techniques. They’ll tour an animation studio or business where animation is used. They’ll explore careers in animation.

Along the way, a spark will be ignited within Scouts that could lead some to pursue a career in animation. Will a recipient of the Animation MB some day work on the next Pixar hit or videogame phenomenon?

The odds are pretty good.

In writing the Animation MB pamphlet — available at Scout shops and — the BSA turned to experts including the dean of the School of Digital Media at the Savannah College of Art and Design, an award-winning director/writer best known for his comedic animated shorts, and an art director for EA Sports who worked on the Madden series of videogames. Meet these and other pamphlet writers below.

One other fun fact about the pamphlet: If you turn it on its side and flip the pages, you see a cool, flipbook-style animation. Check it out!

Animation-MB-badgeWhat’s the patch design?

The patch design shows an animator’s disk — a light table used to create hand-drawn two-dimensional animations. On it is a bouncing blue ball that conveys motion — a key part of animation. Drawing a bouncing ball is typically among the first projects a student must master when learning to become an animator.

Animation merit badge requirements

1. General knowledge. Do the following:

a. In your own words, describe to your counselor what animation is.

b. Discuss with your counselor a brief history of animation.

2. Principles of animation. Choose five of the following 12 principles of animation, and discuss how each one makes an animation appear more believable: squash and stretch, anticipation, staging, straightahead action and pose to pose, follow through and overlapping action, slow in and slow out, arcs, secondary action, timing, exaggeration, solid drawing, appeal.

3. Projects. With your counselor’s approval, choose two animation techniques and do the following for each:

a. Plan your animation using thumbnail sketches and/or layout drawings.

b. Create the animation.

c. Share your animations with your counselor. Explain how you created each one, and discuss any improvements that could be made.

4. Animation in our world. Do the following:

a. Tour an animation studio or a business where animation is used, either in person, via video, or via the Internet. Share what you have learned with your counselor.

b. Discuss with your counselor how animation might be used in the future to make your life more enjoyable and productive.

5. Careers. Learn about three career opportunities in animation. Pick one and find out about the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss your findings with your counselor. Explain why this profession might interest you.

Animation merit badge resources

Find cool videos and more at this Boys’ Life page devoted to Animation merit badge.

Animation merit badge team

These are the men and women who helped write the Animation MB pamphlet:

Rick Richards’ 2D/3D animator screen credits include the Jimmy Neutron television series (2003); The ChubbChubbs! (2002 Academy Award® winner for Best Animated Short); Shrek (2001 Academy Award® winner for Best Animated Feature); Antz (1998); The Prince of Egypt (1998); Balto (1995); We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993); An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991); and countless TV commercials and video-game cinematics.

Tina O’Hailey currently serves as the dean of the School of Digital Media at the Savannah College of Art and Design and its Atlanta, Savannah, Hong Kong, Lacoste, and eLearning locations. She has been an associate chair of the animation department and a professor of animation, motion media, interactive design and game development, and visual effects. Before becoming a professor, she worked as an artistic trainer for DreamWorks, Walt Disney Feature Animation, and Electronic Arts, Inc. She is the author of Rig it Right! (Focal Press, 2013) and Hybrid Animation: Integrating 2D and 3D Assets (Focal Press, 2010).

Ty Coyle is an award-winning director/writer best known for his comedic animated shorts. His film Baxter, seen in cities nationwide, was named Best Animated Film at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2013 and Best Student Film at the New Jersey Film Festival in 2014. Baxter was also nominated for a Student Oscar at the 41st Annual Student Academy Awards. In high school Ty began exploring art through foundation studies with painting and drawing, and was introduced to computer animation. At the Savannah College of Art and Design he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in animation. Upon graduation, Ty moved to New York City to begin working on commercials as an animator and layout artist.

Kyle Martin is a visual effects artist with, where he creates animations and videos to help customers understand technology and to promote new products. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2013.

Chris Folea, an Eagle Scout, is a visual effects artist with, where he has been creating animated promotional videos to help customers understand technology and has produced advertising spots for local movie theaters for more than seven years. Chris also created the computer-generated character “Ethan” for the 2015 Cub Scout handbooks. In his free time, he runs a YouTube channel where he creates Blender™ 3D software tutorials as well as comedy and parody videos with high visual-effects production values. His other projects include the animated series Ray and Clovis on YouTube. Chris received his bachelor of fine arts degree, summa cum laude, from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2013.

Tony Stanley is an art director for EA Sports in Orlando, Florida. He has worked on the video games Madden NFL, NFL Blitz, EA Sports MMA, NASCAR® Kart Racing, and many more. Before joining EA, Tony was an animator for Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida. During his 10 years with the studio, he worked on The Lion King (1994), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Mulan (1998), Lilo & Stitch (2002), and Brother Bear (2003). Tony is also a Scout leader for Troop 826 in Kissimmee, Florida.

Rick Folea, an Eagle Scout, is the Animation Merit Badge Team Lead, Programming Merit Badge Team Lead, and coauthor of the Robotics and Digital Technology merit badge pamphlets. He serves on the Northeast Georgia Council Executive Board. Rick works at, where he uses animation and video content to teach customers how to get the most out of the company’s products.

Animation merit badge cover

Feel free to use this high-res version to promote the Animation merit badge in your troop, district or council.



  1. The list of “upcoming merit badges” is shrinking… the only upcoming ones to look forward to are “Computer-Aided Design” and “Advanced Computing”… hopefully more new merit badges continue to be developed.

    • I’m not entirely sure that more is better.
      I really liked when BSA brought back a couple of oldies for the centennial.
      I would love to see more of that.

      • More is not inherently better, but there are so many untapped hobbies, skills, and careers that would make awesome merit badges!

  2. Is it possible to have National to arrange the merit badge list so the the Eagle required merit badges are listed first alphabetically and the elective merit badges are listed next alphabetically?

    • It is possible to have an online table with sortable columns. One column could be required or elective. (Even then, that gets confusing, because once certain required ones are earned, certain others count as elective.) Others could be:
      — popularity. (Some boys are looking to earn a rare badge.)
      — year released (Some boys are looking to earn the newest badges.)
      — year of last requirements change (some boys want to know if their brother’s/dad’s/uncle’s pamphlet will do).

      Any netizens up for the challenge? ❓

      • Check this web page:

        That page has got the year of last requirements change, and the year of last pamphlet revision, the current pamphlet publication number and Stock number (SKU), and some other info. The main table is Alphabetical, and tables below that list pamphlet and requirements revisions chronologically.

        Paul Wolf, Secretary, US Scouting Service Project, Inc

  3. Once again, the BSA has announced a new merit badge without having a corresponding merit badge pamphlet ready to distribute. Yesterday, my council made the announcement below via Facebook.

    Good news, bad news today.

    First, the good: BSA officially announced the new Animation Merit Badge! It was created with input from animation experts, including those at the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design. Also, it’s the first merit badge that will be delivered in the traditional paper merit badge pamphlet AND the new digital merit badge materials.

    Now, the bad: due to BSA supply issues, our Scout Shop won’t get the paper pamphlet for a few months. And, we haven’t received any information about how you, our customers, can actually order the digital materials. Even a quick trip to offers no help.

  4. No, my council’s shop is not a National Shop. I’m very thankful for this as our shop is able to carry a whole lot of useful “stuff” that you’ll never see in a National Shop.

  5. Get the online animated interactive version RIGHT NOW from scoutstuff. Just ordered it and opened it . WOW Really cool stuff. No Waiting at all… half way thru the pamphlet

  6. Such fantastic news! Animation is a huge life skill–I’m grateful that I went into it and I know so many kids who want to learn more about it.

    Lol, I love what the badge looks like. A bouncing ball on the computer…that actually sums it up pretty well!

  7. Attention all Florida BSA . We can help you earn your Animation Merit Badge ! We are in Orlando and Tampa. Check us out – Founded by former Walt Disney Animators.

    • Great! I have not seen very many opportunties to earn this badge. My son has been excited, but disappointed that more folks are not offering it yet. Looks like we might schedule another vacation soon…

  8. Having a hard time finding a merit badge counselor for the new STEM badges- My son has been doing primitive and living history camping ALL his life- He is FAR more interested in the Stem programs, struggling to keep him in scouts because they all just want him to do the camping-and he is not that interested in it. He has done some robotics with 4H club and with a Summer camp already and is regularly working with Lego Mindstorm kits. I got the digital Tech, Animation and Robotics pamphlets online version and he is doing them independently but I still need someone to sign off…

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