Bryan on Scouting

Top 5 merit badges to make your Groundhog Day more ful-Phil-ling

It’s Groundhog Day, and there’s just one question on everyone’s mind:

Will Scouting magazine release a list of the top five merit badges to celebrate this essential holiday?

The answer: Yes.

Mammal Study

Ah, the groundhog. Marmota monax. America’s cuddliest rodent.

Scouts who really want to burrow in and study the groundhog should earn the Mammal Study merit badge.

For that one, they’ll zero in on a specific mammal to photograph, track and observe.

But wait. I just remembered humans are mammals, too. In a close reading of the Mammal Study merit badge requirements, I see nothing precluding a Scout from selecting humans as their mammal.

And if you’re going to study a human, it might as well be Bill Murray. Begin your study with a viewing of the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Snow Sports

Expecting six more weeks of winter? That’s actually good news for Scouts and Venturers.

After all, Scouting doesn’t pause in the winter. It just gets bundled up in non-cotton layers.

Six weeks is plenty of time to earn the Snow Sports merit badge, where Scouts get to try one of these four winter sports: snowshoeing, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding.

After that, they’ll be ready to thaw out by the fire with a good movie. Maybe something like the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Wilderness Survival

Groundhogs are known across the animal kingdom for their impressive underground shelters.

These burrows can be more than 60 feet long with multiple chambers, levels and points of entry.

But groundhogs aren’t the only mammals who build awesome shelters. Scouts improvise — and spend a night in — a natural shelter when working on my favorite merit badge: Wilderness Survival.

One thing to keep in mind about a shelter is that there’s no electricity inside. That means no way to watch your VHS copy of the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Gardening

Groundhogs, like Scouts, will eat most commonly grown vegetables. (Other than okra, of course. Even a hungry Scout has limits.)

For the Gardening merit badge, Scouts must grow six vegetables. While it’s not specifically stated that Scouts should feed those vegetables to groundhogs, I’m sure Punxsutawney Phil and his cousins wouldn’t mind.

Just don’t bring up requirement 7 around the old G-hogs. They won’t like knowing you’re going to “identify five garden pests” and recommend two solutions for getting rid of them.

Speaking of getting rid of things, have you heard of a movie about a man who can’t seem rid himself of an endless time loop? It’s the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Weather

According to one analysis, Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions have been positively paltry. He’s been right just 39 percent of the time.

But don’t kick that groundhog to the curb just yet. (Actually never kick groundhogs!)

It’s a little-known fact that groundhogs are remarkably accurate at predicting whether it’s raining. If the groundhog’s fur is wet, it is currently raining. If not, it’s not.

Scouts who want to learn some real meteorological techniques should earn the Weather merit badge.

Speaking of weather, did you know Bill Murray plays a weatherman named Phil in the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell?

What’d I miss?

What other merit badges belong on this list?

Remember the rule: This is a Top 5 list, not a Top 6 or Top 7. If you add one, you must say which one you’d remove.

More in this series

Click here for more “Top 5 merit badges” fun.