What makes the best first merit badge for a Boy Scout to earn?

There’s no official recommended order for earning merit badges.

Other than badges with prerequisites (example: Scouts must earn the First Aid MB before earning the Emergency Preparedness MB), Scouts can start anywhere they like.

So Boy Scouts are free to lead off with Leatherwork, begin with Bugling or start with Swimming.

But what if a Scout approaches you, as a parent or Scout leader, for advice on where to begin? That list of 136 different merit badges might be a welcome smorgasbord to some Scouts but an overwhelming hurdle to others.

For today’s Tuesday Talkback, please read and respond to this letter from Scouter David West: 

Few boys join Boy Scouts understanding what merit badges are or how to earn them, but hopefully that changes with the new Arrow of Light requirements. With more than 130 options, Scouts often don’t know where to start. I’d love to see comments from experienced merit badge counselors who can argue their subject should be the first merit badge a new Scout earns.

– David West

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.