Last update: Feb. 23, 2017

Wondering which merit badges are the newest? Looking for release info on upcoming merit badges? I’ve got you covered.

This regularly updated page will keep you and your troop in the know!

You’ll find:

  • Coming soon (new or updated merit badges)
  • Updated merit badges
  • The newest merit badges that have already been released
  • Chronological list of updates to this page

There are 136 current merit badges. You can always find the latest requirements here.

Coming soon: New or updated merit badges

Note: The BSA’s Merit Badge Maintenance Task Force is continuing its efforts to improve the existing crop of merit badges, meaning you may see fewer new merit badges. Read more about this philosophy here.

Updated merit badges

(Most-recent update listed first)


Update released Jan. 1, 2016

Note: This merit badge became Eagle-required on Jan. 1, 2014.

New requirements: Click here.

Related blog post: 2016 update to the Eagle-required Cooking MB


Update released Jan. 1, 2016

Revised requirements do a much better job teaching Scouts how to take quality photographs with smartphones and digital cameras

New requirements: Click here.

Lifesaving merit badge patchLifesaving

Update released Jan. 1, 2016

  • Added principles of BSA Safe Swim Defense
  • Added requirement to watch video or live demonstration of rescue performed using a rowboat, canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard
  • Updated CPR mentions to reflect the fact that CPR techniques frequently change.

New requirements: Click here.

Snow Sports merit badge patchSnow Sports

Updated released Jan. 1, 2016

Snowshoeing joins downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding as an option for earning the badge

New requirements: Click here.


Update released May 2014

New requirements and blog post: Click here.

Moviemaking (was Cinematography)

MoviemakingUpdate released October 2013

Note: This merit badge received a name change and a few requirements tweaks. The merit badge formerly called Cinematography is now Moviemaking, which better reflects the requirements.

New requirements and blog post: Click here.


Update released at 2013 Jamboree.

New requirements: Click here.

Related blog post: The trail to Cycling merit badge just got a bit rougher

Newest Merit Badges (Available Now)

(Newest listed first)


Released: December 2016

Requirements: Click here.

Description: After learning about the history and importance of exploration, Scouts plan, prepare for and go on an actual expedition.

Related blog post: Requirements released.


Released: May 19, 2015

Requirements: Click here.

Description: Computer or traditional animation tasks that will test a Scout’s creativity, artistic skills, and storytelling abilities.

Related blog post: Requirements released.

sign_sig_code_lgSigns, Signals, and Codes

Released: Feb. 26, 2015

Requirements: Click here.

Description: American Sign Language (ASL) is the third most used language in the United States. The Signs, Signals, and Codes merit badge will cover Morse code, ASL, Braille, signaling, trail markings, and other nonverbal communications. Did you know that some of these have even saved people’s lives?

Related blog post: Requirements released.

Digital-TechnologyDigital Technology

Released: April 16, 2014

Requirements: Click here.

Note: This merit badge will replace Computers merit badge, but Scouts may earn and wear both merit badges. More details about the phase-out of Computers MB here.

Description: Technology has come a long way since Computers merit badge was first introduced in 1967. This badge will teach Scouts about technology in the digital age.

miningMining in Society

Released: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 

Requirements: Click here

Description: Mining has been an important part of the United States since the 19th century. Today, the U.S. mining industry employes 3 million people, directly and indirectly, and is a major contributor to the global mining landscape. I expect this merit badge will cover the history of mining, explore the status of mining in the 21st century, and introduce Scouts to modern mining careers.

Related blog posts:
Here’s the Mining in Society MB patch and first two requirements
Scouts preview Mining in Society at 2013 jamboree


sustainabilityReleased: July 15, 2013

Note: This merit badge will be Eagle-required. Scouts must earn either this or Environmental Science.

Requirements: Click here.

Description: A badge to teach Scouts about climate change, species extinction, resource extraction, green chemistry, recycling, and zero-waste manufacturing.

Related Post: Cooking, Sustainability merit badges to become Eagle-required


programmingReleased: July 15, 2013

Requirements: Click here.

Description: A tech-focused merit badge for the 21st Century.

Game Design

GameDesignReleased on March 6, 2013

Requirements: Click here.

Description: Slated to include both traditional games and video games, this sure-to-be-popular merit badge will test Scouts’ creativity, problem-solving skills, and planning abilities.

Related Post: First look at Game Design merit badge, including details on how to help launch the badge at the 2013 jamboree

Search and Rescue

search-and-rescueReleased on Aug. 20, 2012

Requirements: Click here.

Description: Scouts won’t fly helicopters, but they’ll get practice in finding and rescuing people in case a real emergency ever happens.

More information: In the BSA’s press release


Released on June 13, 2012

Pamphlet cover image: here

Requirements: Click here.

Description: A basic-level merit badge for flat-water kayaking — whitewater kayaking will still fall under Whitewater merit badge.


Released on Feb. 24, 2012


Bryan on Scouting post: “Requirements, launch info, video”


Released on April 11, 2011


Bryan on Scouting post: “Robotics merit badge launch includes all-new interactive resource center”


Released in September 2011


Bryan on Scouting post: “Human chess match will celebrate the new Chess merit badge”


Released in December 2010


Bryan on Scouting post: “Smartphones: The modern-day camper’s Swiss Army knife?”

Scouting magazine story: “The Real Game Boys”


Released in June 2010


Bryan on Scouting post: “Boy Scouts and Lemelson-MIT Program introduce Inventing merit badge”

Scouting Heritage

Released in May 2010


Bryan on Scouting post: “Boy Scouts of America releases Scouting Heritage merit badge”

Scuba Diving

Released on Dec. 1, 2009


Bryan on Scouting post: “Scuba diving merit badge released”

Chronological list of page updates

Page updates (newest first):

Feb. 2, 2016 — Added revisions to Cooking, Photography, Lifesaving and Snow Sports to the “Major Updates” section.

May 26, 2015 — Animation merit badge released. Removed Computer-Aided Design and Advanced Computing from coming-soon list. Added Photography to the list of merit badges with major updates coming soon.

Feb. 26, 2015 — Signs, Signals and Codes merit badge released.

Oct. 10, 2014 — Pushed back the dates for Signs, Signals and Codes; Animation; Computer-Aided Design; and Advanced Computing.

May 19, 2014 — Added Swimming merit badge revisions to “Major Updates” section.

April 16, 2014 — Added Digital Technology requirements link, moved Digital Technology to “Newly Released” section.

April 11, 2014 — Removed Multi-Media from coming soon list. Updated estimated dates on Advanced Computing and Computer-Aided Design

Feb. 24, 2014 — Added Mining in Society requirements link, moved Mining in Society to “Newly Released” section.

Feb. 3, 2014 — Added Mining in Society badge image and blog link.

Jan. 31, 2014 — Added more specific launch info for Mining in Society and Digital Technology merit badges. Added Moviemaking merit badge (formerly Cinematography).

Dec. 17, 2013 — Added new Cooking MB requirements and silver-border patch image. Added more specific release timetable for Digital Technology.

June 25, 2013 — Added patch image for Programming.

April 30, 2013 — Details on release for Sustainability, Cycling update, and Programming. Added patch image for Sustainability.

March 7, 2013 — Added Game Design MB requirements link.

Feb. 27, 2013 — Added Mining in Society MB to list of merit badges coming soon.

Feb. 14, 2013 — Added launch date for Game Design MB

Oct. 18, 2012 — Lots of updates. Added Sustainability, Digital Technology, Computer-Aided Design, Multi-Media, Advanced Computing, and more info on updates to Cycling and Cooking.

Aug. 27, 2012 — Added link to Search and Rescue MB requirements

June 21, 2012 — Added Signs, Signals, and Codes MB preview

June 13, 2012 — Added link to Kayaking MB requirements

June 6, 2012 — Added Search and Rescue merit badge image and link to BSA press release.

June 5, 2012 — Added Cycling merit badge to the “Major Updates” section.

May 25, 2012 — Added Kayaking release date, patch design, and pamphlet cover image.

May 10, 2012 — Added link to Game Design first look (see below).

April 16, 2012 — Added Programming, Animation (details below).

April 4, 2012 — Page created.

Looking for requirements for all the current merit badges? Click here.


  1. Why not a Mountain Bike Merit Badge?

    Mountain Biking has become a separate sport from road cycling. It has its own equipment and skills. However, the cycling merit badge is all about road cycling. There are some good organizations out there like the International Association of Mountain Biking that could help in developing the requirments.

    • Well that would give an advantage to the scouts who actually have access to mountains and a disadvantage to those who don’t. BSA really shouldn’t expect those Midwestern scouts to go out west to find a mountain to bike on. You tell those North Dakota scouts to go mountain biking on a mountain close to home. They’ll think you’re crazy

      • Maybe a better title would be “Off-road Cycling”. I live in Missouri and we have plenty of mountain biking trails even though we are a midwest state. In fact, I believe Scouting magazine (or maybe Boy’s Life) just featured a Scout troop that did a multiple overnight mountain biking trip on the Ozark trail in Missouri. An off road cycling MB would be geared toward riding on single-track trails with different surfaces (i.e. dirt, rock) which can be found in every state. Most mountain biking websites list trails by state, which can be used as a reference. Here’s one for example:
        It even lists 15 trails in North Dakota.

  2. Gregory has an excellent suggestion. In many areas of the US (such as ours in northern New Mexico), we’re mountainous and mountain biking is far more popular than highway biking. A mountain bike MB would be popular here.

    • But then what about those states out in the Midwest where Mountain Biking isn’t nearly as popular as rode biking (On account that there really aren’t any mountains)? I think keeping it all in one badge is fair for everyone

  3. Could simply be a Track B with separate riding requirements. Change the distances; keep the safety; adapt the mechanical requirements. Not a really difficult adaptation. We live in eastern TN and mountain ride a lot. The scouts are more interested in mountain than road riding.

    • Agree. A separate track would be more likely, just like Snow Sports has separate tracks for Alpine Skiing, Cross-county Skiing, and Snowboarding.

    • Sian: Your suggestion is excellent and makes so much sense. There are many areas in the US where a Mountain Biking MB would be just as impractical (if not unattainable) as road cycling is in mountainous regions. A separate track B with separate riding requirements would capture the elements of Mountain Biking as a sport and complement the whole of the Cycling MB very nicely. Additionally, it would provide greater opportunity for completing the requirements for an Eagle Required MB. Great idea!

  4. Great info.
    Why not have all the MB books available on-line?
    Requirements could be updated/changed as needed, no trees need to killed to print the books, plusevery unit could afford to have an “up to date”, current library of all the MB books just with internet access.
    With today’s technology, links could be inserted for video, photos and other sources to help scouts better learn and understand the MB.

    • Why do we live in age where everyone thinks everything should be free? MB Books are a revenue generator for the BSA. That qualifies as a GOOD thing. I’m not a fan of every Career Scouter behind every desk, but plenty of them earn their keep. You don’t somehow DESERVE — as a gift from the heavens — all the work that’s gone in to those books. The books are not required to earn the merit badge — but if you want the book, BUY it.

      • I believe that merit badge books should be digital. The era of e-books is here. Scouts should still need to purchase them (A Scout is Thrifty) but at a lower price. The merit badge e-books would cut down on the envoronment and not as many outdated books would not be sitting on the shelves at scout shops across the country.

        The new uniforms are equipped with a pocket for digital devices, The Boy Scouts need to embrace technology. The technolgy e-books of today can even have a digital life by limiting access for a certain period of time.

        • I have no problem with this. I have a lot of scouts who have iPads and other ebook compatible devices. As a conservation minded organization, the BSA should be all over this concept.

        • Scouts are not required to buy the books. The badges can be earned without them. I can see Scouts hitting control-F to find the answer to a badge worksheet without actually knowing the topic. As far as the limited digital life, what about boys who take years to complete badges? Do they have to purchase them over and over again? With the paper books, when a boy is finished, it can go into the troop library for other boys to use. I don’t think digital is necessarily less expensive unless it can be shared — which I doubt will be an option.

        • I spend my “paid job” life in the textbook world. I have yet to see an “ebook textbook” which is LESS expensive than it’s printed sibling. It may come sometime, but it has not arrived yet. Also, what device does a scout use to read an ebook while on a campout?

        • I hate the thought of so-called e-merit badge books. I would rather have a paper copy in hand versus a kindle, iPad, or whatever device you would want to use.

        • I don’t think having them on line will save that many trees from being cut down. Some Scouts & MB Counselors would print off hard copies of the Ebooks so they can have them when they meet. Some Scouts will lose their copy or get disinterested when they see the requirements & then print off a replacement or another one when they are older because they decide to complete it.

      • This mentality is why so many boys cannot afford scouting. At the point we are focusing on generating revenue for the organization we have lost focuson the boys. Let people volunteer to write the requirements and then give the boys free access. I live in a an area that is considered high risk due to the economic structure. It is sad to see the boys who do not get involved in scouting because of the cost. Baden Powell would be ashamed of us.

        • Baden Powell would be ashamed to see that some scout leaders teach boys that they don’t have to take personal responsibility for their lives and their scouting experience. Baden Powell would be ashamed that some scout leaders are trying to inculcate a sense of entitlement in these boys.

          Baden Powell didn’t give away scouting books in his day either. Boys (or their parents) paid for them. I grew up in poverty. I did yard work so I could afford my scout books and my scout camps. That’s how I paid my way to go to a Brownsea Leadership Training camp in the late 70’s.

          I currently live in a high risk, ethnically diverse area. We have a VERY active scouting program. And we have something called a local library where boys can check out merit badge books if they want. Also, NO merit badge requires the use of the books — they are a convenience, not a necessity.

          I’m all for volunteerism. I’ve spent almost two decades giving my time and talent (and money) to make our program as active and successful as it is. But the BSA does require operating expenses (and they’ve gotten their fair share out of my pocket through the years). How about we teach these boys hard work and self respect rather than “social justice”?

    • Why does everyone have such a sense of entitlement in this day and age? The BSA doesn’t somehow OWE you these merit badge books for free. They are a revenue generator for the BSA. That qulifies as a GOOD thing. I’m no fan of every Career Scouter behind every desk at the scout offices, but plenty of them earn their keep. People need to be paid, utilities need to be paid for, facilities need to be paid for. The MB books are not required to earn the merit badges — so if you want them, BUY them. Don’t ask for other people to just give you the fruits of their hard work. How exactly does that exemplify what scouts stand for?

      • Sorry, I don’t mean to be repetitious — I tried to post the first reply and it seemed to disappear. So I wrote another reply. Now they are both there. I’m not finding a way to delete one or the other. Again, I apoligize.

      • And here I can’t find the ‘reply’ button to your above comment, Jumpmaster13 so its going H E R E… *laughing

        Let’s look at this ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘sense of entitlement’ from another angle. I struggle within my Troop in getting them to do fundraisers and see them trying to get out of paying Council or National fees that help the BSA organization. As a single mom, my son and I worked hard to do fundraisers as it paid for Scouting experiences for BOTH of us. Then again ScOUTING was our only activity since my son was not a ‘jock’ minded person.

        The reason I’m finding is overbooked. Scouts are in 3 to 4 activities and all do fundraisers. That makes maybe 8 to 15 fundraisers a year per family as oppose to 3 scout only fundraisers a year per family. I think family need to think about this overbooked aspect and what it does for their child/children. I got a family that does 3 different places for one sport: recreation dept AND school AND league program. When I was growing up it was either recreation OR school OR league but NOT all of them. Consider too that schools are now asking for fundraisers within their sports programs as more things are cut out of their school budget.

        I agree that we need to teach personal responsibility but overbookedness can defeat even that purpose. I agree we should pay for things that Scouting offers but at the same time move into the technology age of e-books to practice our conservation-minded motto.

        Another too to consider, Scouts being able to do the sense of responsibility earning alone with outside jobs like paper routes, babysitting and lawn mowing. So jobs were ideal for this are cut out while others wouldn’t given to a scout for liability/safety issues. More and more hire a lawn cutting firm instead the neighborhood kid. Some home garages no longer have that lawn mower that the scout can put to use. Television and two family earners, family scheduling even adds impact to sense of responsiblity of the scout earning his money along with laws of child labor. To sum it up, things aren’t the way it used to be… E A S I E R and simplicity.

    • I like the idea of e-books. I understand that the MB pamphlets generate revenue for BSA. But they could also be digitized and sold through the scout stores.

    • The actual scout handbook has gone digital for the 100th anniversary and can be downloaded from the apple store. I think that after doing that, MB books are really not too far behind. They might not be out because BSA wants to release them all at the same time and ~140 books are a lot to create

  5. By any chance is B.S.A. going to bring back trapping. If done responsibly it is no different than fishing or hunting.

  6. Awesome resource. I had no idea about some of the upcoming merit badges and didn’t realize that some of the new ones were as new as they were. Thank you very much for compiling this.

  7. I am glad to have this information. I am the Troop Advancement Chair and I want to make sure that the scouts get all the information they need, to do what interests them. Thank you.

  8. It’s great to hear about new merit badges coming out. Are there plans to cancel any merit badges in the near future? I am working on earning all the merit badges and would like to not miss out on one due to cancellation.

    • Typically, Merit Badges are only discontinued when few of them are being earned. So you might want to look at the latest BSA annual report to see the numbers of each merit badge earned that year and then concentrate first on the LEAST popular ones.

      • I spoke to a member of the National BSA Innovation Team last April. (That’s the group that innitates new MBs.) She told me that they plan to discontinue/stop discontinuing less popular MBs unless the topic is no longer relevent and/or the requirements and/or book need significant updating. Otherwise, they plan to offer the MB Book on-line only …. and, NO, they’re not planning to put all MB books on line.

      • Is there a place to get the annual MB report? I have seen one on line, but it was several years old. I would enjoy looking at the reports over the year to see which ones are most popular.

    • Alex, keeps track of those Scouts who earn all the badges. Good luck to you on your journey! One thing (for your parents’ sake), try to get Scuba before you turn 15. The Jr. Certification is hundreds of dollars less expensive than the other.

  9. BSA policy on discontinued merit badges has been that if a Scout starts working on them before discontinuation then he has until he turns 18. Historical merit badges were somewhat of an exception as you only had calendar year 2010, but they were brought back solely for 2010. To “reserve” any merit badge that will be discountinued, a Scout should get a blue card signed and dated by his Scoutmaster and meet with a merit badge counselor – that should be sufficient to lock the merit badge in until he turns 18.

  10. Any way changes to the ‘Differently Abled’ Awareness due? The terminology currently used is outdated and politically incorrect. BSA has always been ahead of the game in practicing diversity and acceptance of others..

    • As a Disabled Veteran, I have no problem with the Merit Badge or it’s name. The lexicology just takes cycles away from education and furthers the divide between inclusion.

      • Agreed. After spending 20 years in a wheelchair as a paralyzed vet, I find such titles as “differently abled” patronizing rather than empowering, as I suppose some folks view such terms.

    • Guess no one has looked up what ‘impaired’ means in the dictionary then? Dictionary implies that when one is ‘impaired’ one needs to be fixed hence the reason that ‘impaired’ is supposed to be used in a medical content but not in everyday life content. I’m either deaf, Deaf or hard of hearing but NEVER hearing impaired. I do indeed have a hearing loss that doesn’t require the need to ‘fixed’.
      Blind but not sight impaired.

  11. Some merit badges I’d like to see: Mountain Hiking, which would involve nontechnical mountain climbing; Canoe Tripping, which would add mileage requirements like Hiking, Backpacking, and Cycling have; Dutch Oven Cooking; and Leave No Trace, which would introduce LNT principles to new Scouts and reinforce them to older Scouts. This would encourage people who aren’t trainers to embrace these values. Making LNT Eagle-required would be great, too. Also, how about Trail Maintenance and Training merit badges? Training would encourage Scouts to attend NYLT and put EDGE and other skills and knowledge to use in their units.

  12. I was in my local scout shop today and they had place holders on their merit badge shelf for the three MBs listed above as well as “Animation.” Does anyone know about that one?

  13. Glad to see major updates to cooking happening! Hope to see more information about from scratch food preparation (guess how many Scouts have trouble chopping vegetables – now THAT is scary knife work!!), options in cooking (meat substitutes, vegetarian dishes, even using a different spice set/international dishes), how to modify recipes (taking a recipe from ‘serves 4’ to ‘serves 12’ is a challenge for many of these boys!), and even how to substitute in your menu to save $$ at the store! I know we live in a world of pre-prepared and convenience foods – but we aren’t preparing them to really cook if the cooking MB doesn’t stretch them by challenging them to get hands on with planning, preparing, and serving REAL food (and see how much fun it can be!) All MBs should be fun to earn, and exciting! The shift away from real food is one that BSA can really use to its advantage in updating this to be really hands on, involve healthier foods, and really fun!

    • In the 1960’s when i earned it, Cooking MB was required for Eagle, and required you to cook a three course meal and bread for a patrol of 8 over an open fire using all raw ingredients. The did allow you to use Bisquick for the bread instead of raw flour and yeast . So what you’re proposing isn’t unprecedented.

  14. I would very much like to see the requirements in the Cooking MB changed to require that at least some meals be produced from raw foods – no canned or processed food permitted, and no special mixes for baked goods.

    • The term “Martial” will probably disqualify it. Asa student of Boy Scout history, one of the earliest myths that BSA had to suppress was that we a militaristic organization preparing kids for war. That’s why even things like boxing, using Paint Guns, or human silhouettes for target shooting are proscribed.

  15. My son has the Kayaking patch which he earned a couple of years ago; would he need to take a new class to earn it as a badge?

  16. Bryan,
    One of the original merit badges that should make a return is the Mining merit badge. Mining is a fundamental part of our life. Everything we have generally starts out from the ground: either from a farm or mine. How many things can you think of that aren’t mined. The electricity for the internet comes in part from coal, nuclear, oil, or gas. (wind and solar make up less than 2%) There is a small portion from hydro. Scouts should learn how socially responsible the mining industry is today.

    • According to Wikipedia, Mining was replaced in 1937 with “Rocks and Minerals” which was then replaced y Geology in 1953. Does Geology not cover, in part, what Mining might have covered?

  17. Awsome! Knowing the proposed merit badges in advance is a huge help. I am an Eagle scout in far West Texas and finding MB couselors can be a real trick. Now I have a leg up on locating someone who would take on the task and get approval from my council. Several years ago, I set a goal of earning all the merit badges. I just finished the Welding MB and have earned 132. I will age out of being able to earn MB’s in March of 2014. The BSA keeps adding them and I just can’t refrain from trying the earn the latest one. Your information is VERY helpful to me! Waiting to hit the river for Kayaking (of course the closest one to me is in Northern NM).

  18. What about bringing Beekeeping merit badge back for a new generation of beekeeps? There are many people keeping healthy bees in many urban settings with great success. There is new found intrest in our honey friends.

  19. I think bring back the Pathfinder Merit Badge back would be good. With technology we need to remember and practice primitive living skills. Utilizing Dave Canterbury’s Pathfinder system would be a great update. I’m an Assistant Scoutmaster & Merit Badge Counselor For 6 including Wilderness Survival & Camping. I also volunteered for an episode of Dave’s Survival Adventure Network Youtube channel.

  20. Why can’t boy’s earn a SEWING merit badge? The good scouts all learn it in order to maintain their uniform and merit badge sash, so why not make it an official badge?

  21. I would love to see the Beekeeping merit badge brought back. Several of the boys in our troop were disappointed to learn that it had been discontinued. In this day of colony collapse we should be doing everything we can to increase the number of beekeepers in the US and encourage the next generation to keep bees.

    • I saw a Beekeeping website had a forum devoted to this – there are a lot of beekeepers who would be VERY motivated to be MB Counselors for this. I suspect liability issues would keep it from happening, though. Pity, we need more bees.

  22. Other suggestions:
    Languages (studying the many different ones out there) & Interpreting (being able to understand what’s involved in interpreting languages correctly. Many think ASL is English in sign language which is so far from the truth as ASL is a whole ‘nother language)
    Cultural Studies / Diversity of Cultures (study how so many different cultures have their own ‘cultural’ rules. for example in the Hearing world it is impolite to walk between to people talking yet in the Deaf community it is acceptable. Understanding eye contact in certain cultures is considered challenging another person while some it means nothing. Bowing lower than another is an politeness yet in another insulting. It today’s global economic world it’s nice to know these little cultural tidbits and useful for World of Scouting. Also a way to show how many different cultures are really out there. Could be titled Global Cultures Studies & Diversity)
    STEM (an educational terminology that needs help as the US lags behind other countries in this arena)
    Videomaking: add in how to add captions to videos as well since its now a law that internet needs one. Helps teach scouts diversity and accessible needs to consider when making videos.
    Ice Fishing: We got two fishing MB: fishing and fly fishing yet Ice Fishing is not touched.
    Skateboarding (add in the safety components and stress this aspect in proper skateboarding.)
    Love the other suggestions listed above:
    Dutch Oven Cooking (love it separate from Cooking and maybe add in a section on baking. Found a couple of Ovens for coals cooking that never seen until now in my current troop trailer which has been around since 1934 and would love to learn how to use them correctly.)
    Sewing (needs to be a MB so as to stop it being the responsibility of the parents. Add in having to make their own neckerchief. Attach elements of silk screen printing and freezer paper stenciling painting and you are really teaching scouts skills to use for their patrol flags and neckerchiefs.)
    Beekeeping is a rage now and a perfect time to bring back a MB that died at one time.

    • Blechhh on the politically correct badges — there are already too many with obvious biases. Why do we need so many badges when options or added requirements can be added to existing ones?

      • Agreed. Most of what she is suggesting could be simple additions to/ adaptions of current merit badges.

        In order of her suggestions (I’ll skip a few and get back to them), we already have #1 Gardening & Plant Science, #2 Space Exploration & Astronomy, #4 American Cultures & Handicap Awareness, #6 Cinematography, #7 Fishing, #9 Cooking.

        As for #3, Interpreter Strips already cover this.

        #5 (STEM) is covered by the new NOVA awards program.

        #8 (Skateboarding) is NEVER going to happen, just like there will never be a martial arts merit badge. I’ve been wishing for a Fencing Merit Badge for decades now (which is one of the few sports that has been in EVERY modern Olympics, and is safe and fun), but the closest we get is a “mention” in the Venturing Program.

        #10 (Sewing) is a somewhat interesting idea.

        #11 (Beekeeping) went away for a reason. There’s simply not enough interest or access.

        • Based on what I’ve been told by the National BSA Innovation Team, in general and on the average, they’ve moved to a customer orientation for the introduction of new MBs. Specifically, if less than (about) 80% of those Scouts they survey think that they or a friend might in interested in earning a proposed MB, its unlikely to get past the first cut. They get over 100 suggestions for new or revised MBs each year. IMHO, Sewwing would not make that cut.

        • Jay, someone up above mentioned making some sewing adaption to the Textile Merit Badge — that’s probably a better idea anyway.

        • Gotcha your comments on the additions to current merit badges or several of the ones I mentioned. I really liked the track A and B idea they came up with for Cycling after I posted my comment above.

          Interpreter Strips don’t really cover ANYTHING for the Scout except to prove a skill that they can do another language. I was never tested yet got the Interpreter Strip for ASL.

          Will have to look at the NOVA awards program as that is a first hearing about it.

          Beekeeping went away when? In the last couple years with the price of honey skyrocketing, its making a HUGE comeback so wouldn’t hurt to bring back the old and see if there is a new interest in it.

  23. As a mother of a son who plans on being a computer programmer, I am thrilled that the boy scout organization is planning on offering these new merit badges. Thank you.

  24. i think they should make a merit badge to help u learn stuff 4 when u babysit or become a father u know probably a babysitting mb

    • Absolutely agree! Red cross do a Babysitting course, but if you add in some child development and building toys suitable for different ages you would have a great MB. Many scouts care for their younger siblings or neighbors.

  25. What is going on with Metal detecting merit badge? Saw it pop up a while ago then nothing. I have been detecting for over 20 years. I think done right it would be a great merit badge. There are a lot of people and clubs out there who would volunteer their expertise. I would love to help with the outline of the requirements. Who would you contact with this offer?

  26. Many Summer Camps started this week (with a Staff Week the prior week). If the Kayaking merit badge requirements had been released just two weeks ago, it probably would have allowed many Summer Camps time to integrate it into their program. Going forward it would be nice that all new merit badges with an obvious Summer Camp fit have a requirement-release date of June 1 or earlier.

      • Unfortunately there in some places there was a communication breakdown between the requirements being sent and them being received. Our SM was in repeated contact with the Camp Director for a number of reasons, one of which included the discussion of the possiblility of converting “Kayaking BSA” patch program that existed at the camp into the MB program. The camp director insisted that he did not have the requirements. I believe the SM gave him the link on to no avail. The SM brought the Kayaking MB booklet to camp last week, but by then it was too late.

    • Disability Awareness and/or First Aid. The rank advancements even cover First Aid. Use yourself as an example and a topic for a Troop meeting and talk about your epilepsy. Use it as a education and learning tool of what to do if you have a seizure plus bridge that gap of differences in you are a person too. While it happens its not ‘catchable’ disease but does require ‘Be Prepared’ tactics, something the BSA teaches in their motto… *winka

  27. With the new Kayaking Merit Badge. Do you know if Whitewater MB requirement 3 below will be changed to include kayaking BSA Award…or Kayaking Merit Badge? Will the Award be done away with in the future?

  28. “American Sign Language (ASL) is the third most used language in the United States”

    Really? That’s a change in the past decade. It use to be #4 with English, Spanish, and French ahead of it.

    • Yes on ASL is moving up. Its even becoming part of the college landscape for a foreign language elective that one needs for the Bachelor degree these days. Its also seen more and more in the educational system as interpreters are being hired for the inclusion policies.

  29. Does anyone know why the Bugling badge did not go away as planned? Also, somewhere I read that any badge can still be completed–even if it has been “retired.” Except, of course, the four historical ones. Find counselors, of course, might be difficult for some subjects.

  30. Signs, signals, and codes merit badge seems to me like signaling merit badge except more in depth and 21st century.

  31. I have contacted the Janice Downey of Innovations Team from the BSA Home Office regarding a Magic Merit Badge Proposal. Magic fits with Scouting, it’s practical, it’s fun and engaging and the resource requirements can easily be met. I have performed for her at her son’s pack meeting and thus she is aware of how fun and engaging magic can be. I have taken a shoe box with string, rubber bands, paper clips, a paper cup, foil balls, a balloon and shown how inexpensive a half hour of magic can be. I have performed at a Blue & Gold banquet where Magic fit in as the theme for the Banquet and my magic was focused on the Scouting Blue & Gold event. I know several Magicians that are Eagle Scouts and I can assure you, there are teachers and counselors across the country that can help scouts earn the magic merit badge. It is easier to find a magic counselor that a swim counselor unless you attend a summer camp, yet swimming is Eagle required. Not all scouts can attend summer camp. Magic is a great way to distract a child that is sick from there ailments and bring a smile to their face. I perform magic at Cook’s Children’s Hospital and for the Make A Wish Foundation, doing a good turn as often as I can.
    Please help promote the Magic Merit Badge. Thank you.

      • This is about ‘older’ scouts interfacing with ‘younger’ cubs. Another means to entice them to continue in scouting. Not ‘cubs earning the MB.

    • That may possibly be a great idea for a Cub Scout Activity pin/belt loop, but I’m not sure how popular it will be at the troop level; and while not every scout goes to summer camp, most scouts who stick with it have gone to summer/winter camp at least once.

      • We introduce Magic to Cubs via the Bear elective and include illusions in the Scientist for Webelos. Wouldn’t such a merit Badge just be an extension of those ideas for the Boy Scouts. I know several Boy Scouts who enjoy doing magic/illusions. Given a merit badge to earn I could see them jumping on it. Plus the science and preparation that goes into any trick fits right into the scouting ideals.

        • I agree with Mike. If I remember most of the merit badges are job oriented as well as hobby oriented. If this keeps a young man interested in Scouting, then the Merit Badge should exist.

    • As a member of the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc “MagicCastle” and an active Scouter, I am in favor of a Magic Merit Badge.

    • A good magician can also have a good paying vocation. Everybody has a birthday once a year, at least while they are young.

    • You may want to consider adding an Option for Magic as part of the Theater Merit Badge. I’d like your ideas posted on the complete set of requirements…

    • The magic merit badge would be a surpurb idea, I am a magician and would love to pass on the tradition of magic to younger boys that will get interested in magic. Please bote ‘thumbs up’ if you like this idea!

        • Although I’m a former officer, graduate of USAF Air Command & Staff College, and AIr War College, and personally love Military History, it’s not a good idea. Early in its history, BSA had a major image problem as being perceived as an organization training kids to go to war, and we don’t want to repeat that. Scouting skills are useful in war but they’re also useful for peace.

        • I respectfully disagree. Both as an active-duty Army officer and a mother, I think it’s an excellent idea to teach boys military history. Such a course does not have to focus on warrior skills . . . we’ll leave that to the military. Instead, it squarely goes hand in hand with Boy Scouting’s goals of teaching Character Development, Citizenship Development, and Fitness. What other Merit Badge fits so well?

        • I think it is just fine – for one, it’s optional, and secondly – why not take the opportunity for those interested to teach about those who have and do protect our great nation. I think the tough part would be making it ‘world wide’ – but just a thought.

        • As a retired military officer with a bachelor’s in European History & a Masters in Mililtary History, I do not think that a military history MB is a good idea. Some children (and their parents) would have too much anxiety if it appeared that BSA was getting too chummy with the military. There are other ways to get Scouts interested in history/military history w/o a MB. I created and taught (with the assistance of 4 other MB Counselors), the American Heritage MB at the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City MO for the Heart of America Council earlier this month. As part of the requirements, the Scouts were supposed to learn about two Americans–one a public figure and the other a common person. I selected two individuals with ties to WWI: President Woodrow Wilson & John Lewis Barkley, a Missourian who received the Medal of Honor. Other methods to get Scouts interested in military history might involve the Historic Trails program. A friend of mine took his Scout son down to Shiloh several years in a row to walk the trails down there to earn his patch. There are ways to do this, but I do not seeing adding a specific MB is the proper way.

        • No one said it was did they? I am a retired Marine and I know that my children probably know far more true information about the military than most “non-military” families do. I think it is a great idea to have a merit badge along these lines. So what if BSA is associated with the military. Is that a bad thing in your mind for some reason? I do not think that it is.

        • My husband is an active duty Army pilot and a Scoutmaster. He regularly teaches boys the Aviation badge, and teaches them that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up. Does he promote the military? No, he would rather do it himself than see anyone else putting their lives on the line. Would this be a great merit badge? Yes! I know a ton of military and non-military parents and Scouts who would be interested in this. Our country would not be what it is without all of the soldiers who put their lives on the line for everyone else. Could that fit into our American Heritage Merit Badge? Somewhat, but it really wouldn’t cover much of it. Why not have a military badge? There are scouts who participate in JROTC, who could easily earn a merit badge to go along with what they are learning, just as a scout who does baseball could earn the Sports merit badge. Why not have it as an available merit badge for boys to learn more about what interests them and that they could potentially grow up to do? After all, there are merit badges that teach about other jobs in work field, like Nuclear Science, Electricity, Painting, etc. If you don’t want your boy to participate in learning that badge, then he doesn’t have to. Some parents have a problem with boys participating in the Theater badge, and they don’t have to do that one, or any other ones that they do not wish to.

        • Hi Paul,
          You wrote: “It was founded as an Officer training Corp in England, keep alive history!”

          I agree we need to keep Scouting history alive. In fact I wrote a book on the history of Scouting:

          But the Scouting we know was never an “Officer training Corp in England.”

          First, Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (BP), wrote the original book “Aids to Scouting” as a military manual for soldiers to use to train as military Scouts.

          Second, during the siege of Mafeking during the Boer War, in southern Africa, BP used youth, mostly African boys, to play tricks on the Boer military scouts by moving sticks, made to look like guns, along the defensive perimeter of Mafeking, to make it look like there were lots of solders defending Mafeking when in reality there was only a handful of soldiers and a bunch of kids making the illusion of lots of soldiers.

          Then, when stories of BP’s heroic defense during the siege of Mafeking reached England, boys discovered BP’s military manual “Aids to Scouting” and started forming their own “units.” BP realized that he had to separate youth Scouting from military scouting and wrote a second manual, one intended for youth entitled “Scouting for Boys.”

          This is the manual that was used in England. It was also used around the world. In fact a Troop in Pottsville, Pennsylvania started in 1908 using this manual. BP was asked by the King to resign from the Army to lead the Scouting movement.

          BP’s manual was used to start the BSA. Soon, the BSA wrote their own manual. The BSA was criticized because the first uniforms were “too military” as they were basically the U.S. Army uniform. During World War I it was realized that Scouting stood for peace and Scouts shouldn’t look like soldiers. Scouts needed a uniform more like a forest ranger than like a soldier.

          Since then there has been an intentional effort to separate Scouting from any appearance of being military. That is why besides having a uniform, there is almost a complete absence of anything militaristic in Scouting. The challenge is that Scouting is very patriotic, so this is a fine line.

          The same problem occurred with religion. The YMCA had a key role in starting the BSA and organizing the first Scout units and camps. This turned off Catholics. In this case the BSA was quick to get key Catholic leaders involved in Scouting to avoid another problem. So the BSA embraces all religions.

          Scouting avoids anything openly military except patriotism. I understand and support continuing this tradition. Having said that, the military recognizes Scouting. It hosted Jamborees for many years. It had a huge presence at these Jamborees. When an Eagle Scout joins the military, he starts at a higher rank than other recruits. Eagle Scouts are more prevalent in officer training programs. Eagle Scouts are more actively recruited. The military likes Eagle Scouts just the way they are without any military merit badges.

    • I would prefer to see a History Merit Badge. Genealogy. Scouting Heritage, Indian Lore and Citizenship in the Community all contain elements of history. I could see History standing on it’s on. It could incorporate story telling, journaling, research, fact checking, biographies and more.

    • After I graduated high school I joined the military. I received my NESA magazine and I saw a list of brother Eagle Scouts that had died in “Training Exercises”. It grieved me so much. I was gun-ho as well as a service man at the time. I would do anything that I was asked to do.
      Now that I am older, I would not want to see one of my scouts (my boys) wasted in combat or screwed up mentally/physically.
      Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-military and would not dis a serviceman/woman. They put their lives on the line every minute for us so we can enjoy our freedoms. Freedom is not free and the cost is high.
      Also for the most part, the military is not at war and actually a deterant to war and the US is a peace keeping country..

  32. I really want to see an Ultimate Frisbee merit badge. I love playing it, and I know there is a sports merit badge, but it doesn’t include Ultimate to my knowledge. I wonder if Video Game design will be incorporated into the upcoming “Game Design” merit badge.

  33. I recently heard that a new Sustainability merit badge will come online in about three years and that it will be Eagle required.

    • Since I earned Cooking as an Eagle-required merit badge, I’d like to see it restored to that status. Perhaps some nutrition requirements could be worked into it. Too many troops depend on hot dogs, hamburgers, and spaghetti. Another possibility is working in a requirement about trail/backpacking cooking. I’m not just talking about boiling water. I’m talking about using real ingredients, baking, and making your own dehydrated food like salads.

  34. How about a Metal Detecting Merit Badge or a Treasure Hunting Merit badge that includes Metal Detecting, Rockhounding, looking for native american artifacts and fossils.

  35. Cooking Merit Badge should have always been a required badge. It gives the scout a basic skill used everyday as we get older.

    Metal Detecting would be a good merit badge. I have had mine on camp outs and the interest is good. I would love to have input on the requirements and writing the merit badge pamphlet. Any one who can point me in the right direction?

  36. My thoughts are along with “Game Design” merit badge there should be a “Strategy Gaming” merit badge. Like the “Game Design” and “Chess” merit badges a “Strategy Gaming” merit badge will challenge the Scouts as well as introduce them to other forms of gaming other than the video game world and interaction with other people. I currently play a table top game made by Games-Workshop called Warhammer 40k. This game has allowed me to meet numerous people across the United States through tournaments were I have made some really good friends. I would love to put something together talking about the safety of building the miniatures, collecting and painting of the figures as well as talking about the many other strategy games available, this could also include some RPG games as well that are very popular with the youth today.

    • I do not think leadership needs it own separate merit badge. Teaching leadership is part of the Boy Scout program & should encompass everything we do.

      • I agree 100%. Leadership is part of every Scout experience. The Patrol Method teaches leadership. Troop Operations teach leadership. Camporees, Jamborees, and High Adventure Bases teach leadership. The BSA has numerous leadership courses on Troop, Council, and National levels. The Scoutmaster’s primary job is teaching leadership. It would be counterproductive to have a Merit Badge Counselor involved in addition to or in place of the Scoutmaster.

  37. I’ve explained to my wife a few times that Scouting is not “charm-school”. Still, she’d like to see some basic manners taught – Manners MB?

    • The cub Scouts have a good manners belt loop and the Brownie Girl Scouts (2-3 grade) have a manners badge. It makes sense for Boy Scouts, too. Maybe call it courtesy or chivalry, that sounds a bit more masculine. We discuss the importance of courtesy in my martial arts class frequently.

  38. My son & myself would for there to be a Martial Arts merit badge.
    Also have it recognized as a sport for Cub Scouts.

      • Andrew is correct. Almost all forms of martial arts are against the guide to safe scouting. But they shouldn’t be. Martial arts were part of the very first Guide to Scouting, and they can be restored to scouting safely, and they should be.

    • Robin, I agree! I don’t know who decides that martial arts aren’t ‘safe’. They haven’t seen a real school, maybe just the Karate Kid movies? My son does Taekwondo and it teaches self control, self defense, respect, perseverance and more!

      • I believe the decision that martial arts aren’t safe was made by insurance lawyers, and the decision has merit; however, football was added to the Cub Scout program by eliminating tackling. Martial arts can be added to the scout program easily by eliminating sparring. Plenty of students in my dojang compete in forms and breaking and on the demonstration team, but they choose not to enter sparring competitions. There is nothing wrong with that.

    • As a Scout/Scouter of 40+ years and a martial arts instructor (aikido) of almost 20, I would strongly disagree with a martial arts merit badge. The learning objectives of martial arts operate on a time frame that is VERY different from the time frame that merit badges use. Even if martial arts are practiced in a way consistent with the Guide to Safe Scouting, they don’t fit with the aims and structure of the merit badge program.

      • While the time frame for martial arts and merit badges are different, I think a badge could be very viable. I earned a chemistry merit badge without becoming a chemical engineer. My first aid merit badge didn’t qualify me to drive an ambulance, but I did get to see what the field was about. Learning what martial arts really is could be good for a lot of boys. Just a thought.

    • I can see it being allowed as a sport for the Sports MB. Since we don’t have a separate MB for basketball, football or soccer why make it a separate MB. Being a 3rd Black Belt I would love to see the change for the Sport MB to allow it for cover requirement #4. After all, done properly, even with sparring, it is a great form of discipline and a great physical work out.

    • Paintballing is not allowed by the BSA, these are in the Safe Guidelines to Scouting I believe. So I doubt they would change the rules to make a new merit badge.

    • While paintball is generally considered one of the safest sports according to insurance companies, it’s not allowed by the BSA (along with laser tag) because it involves pointing a weapon at another person. The Jamboree and NE Region’s Campaganza did feature paintball target practice ranges (sponsored by Empire Paintball and KEE Action Sports) but this was allowed only because it didn’t involve shooting at other players.

  39. We suggested Martial Arts in the past and were told it encourages fighting. We totally disagree since our son took it and received his black belt learning self respect, respect for others, self discipline and so much more. I really believe this should be a merit badge as well Robin.

    • I just replied to Robin with almost the same post as yours. I agree! REAL martial arts does not encourage fighting! The first thing they are taught is NOT to use what they know first and only as self defense.

  40. I still think we need a “Life Skills Merit Badge” which would incorporate social skills such as etiquette (ordering in a restaurant, dress, holding doors and chairs for dates, thank you notes, etc.), basic sewing and mending, laundry, and simple housekeeping skills. These are valuable when a kid goes off to college or starts living on his own. And etiquette is actually taught in ROTC as it’s a key component of being a gentleman.

    • I’ve wanted a sewing Merit Badge for years. No scout should ever say “I have the wrong rank on my shirt because my mom didn’t sew the new on on.” They should be able to take care of their own uniform. They need to be able to maintain their gear while camping and repair gear after camping. It does no good to have needles and thread in your Emer prep kit if you don’t know how to use them. Ironically, we still have a textiles merit badge. I’m not actually sure why.

      • Why, because people wear clothes made of textiles, buy cars containing textiles, buy furniture made with textiles, go camping in tents made from textiles, and furnish homes with many products made from textiles. Hence, people get jobs designing, making and selling textiles and things made from textiles.

        If it weren’t for textiles, you wouldn’t want a sewing merit badge.

    • The current merit badge count is 130. According to this blog, they are adding 9 and removing one, which will bring the total to 138 by 2015. They were going to discontinue the Bugling MB a couple of years ago, but there were enough complaints that they relented. After that, the idea of remaining at 121 was pretty much scrapped.

  41. With the popularity of shows like “CSI” and the increase in Forensic Science as a vocational focus, a “Forensic Science” merit badge would be a popular STEM-oriented badge. Maybe there could be a requirement to have the Fingerprint MB as part of it.

    • I have visited over 20 countries & have worked in several. My daughter has been learning German since she was 8 years old & we host a foreign college student over the Christmas holidays for the past 8 years. I am truly interested in my son learning about a foreign culture, but I would have to look at the proposed requirements before I could take a position on a MB for it. There is also an International Scouting award that Cub and Boy Scouts, & Scouters can earn. I haven’t looked at the Boy Scout or Adult requirements, but the Cub Scouts must learn about another country, its Scouting program, & then correspond with a Scout penpal i that country.

    • I have been involved in Scouting for 47 years and visited 96 countries including being on staff at World Jamborees. Foreign languages and culture are super important, but don’t fall in the Merit Badge category. Foreign culture should be subject of continuous awareness efforts involving actual foreign travel and visits with foreign nationals and not a merit badge counselor that perpetrates stereotypes of various religions and cultures. This is the focus of the International Spirit Award, International Scouter’s Award, International Camp Staff Program, European Camp Staff Program, and BSA Contingents to World Jamborees and other International Scouting events.
      Foreign language should be the subject of serious study and as such, competency is recognized by the BSA Interpreter Strips.

  42. A MB on foreign culture/language is a great idea because the world is going global. The MB could include world geography, culture, history, language, and travel. It could include a BSA sponsored student exchange program.

  43. There needs to be a Geography MB. Some kids and even adults don’t even have knowledge for their own state, or surrounding states.

    • Geography is super important. But, if we had a geography MB, we could also have history, mathematics, physics, biology, etc. You get my drift. These are subjects that are supposed to be taught in school. Is it the BSA’s job to make up for deficiencies in public education? We already have the American Heritage, 3 citizenships, & oceanography. These should cover the continents and oceans of the world, and the major countries and waterways of the world and they don’t. I also notice there is no world business or economics MB. Since most MBs are career or hobby oriented, a world business or economics MB would be important and emphasize the importance of geography.

    • We don’t need a merit badge for everyone sport. However, tennis, like many sports can be used for requirement #4 of the sporting merit badge.

  44. BIGFOOT RESEARCH MERIT BADGE. I turned in a proposal to Janice Downey of the Inovations team for considerations. There is alot of interest in this research and alot of new techniques being deployed example DNA testing by The Erikson project..The BFRO bigfoot research organization has a show on animal planet. Our Troop 454 Cedar Hill Tn. are going on a weekend expedition in January. We are going with the owner of web site Ky.bigfoot. This team documents and investigates sightings in Ky.and is documented on the web site. Our trip will include An overnight campout, day hike,setting out trail cameras,power point presentation around a campfire,Story time about 12 sighting near our camp, a night excursion to include night vision , infared cameras,sound recording, tree knocking and vocalizations.We are going to document our trip through pictures and videos and produce a dvd. Our Troop is excited about this trip, last week we took sculpting class to learn how to cast tracks with plaster. I have presented the reqirement sheet to Janice. This type trip can also be done very en-exspensive and can be done close to home.There have been reported sighting throughout history most cultures and countries have similar stories, the Indians called them Sasquatch. Teddy Rosevelt tells a story in his book.he called them Goblins, Daniel Boone said he killed one. Primatologist Jane Goodall believes bigfoot may exist. One of my best campfire stories is of a bear hunt, I went on in The Smokey Mountains with two cousins as a teenager. We never saw a bear but had a adventure of a life time. Lifes about making memories.

  45. I am trying to finalize my Troop’s planning for summer, 2013. I am a cycling MB instructor and our Troop plans weekly rides all Summer long with the goal of working boys up to the long 50 miler, which we do each August. I would be thrilled if the new requirements for cycling merit badge could get posted NOW so that we could detail plans and help boys get the gear they need rather than scramble in May …

    • Hi Aaron,
      It would be nice if they could give you a special preview of the requirements before they are official and still subject to change. If you have the boys start the merit badge before the May release as you indicate, a much easier way is to just use the old requirements. They are grandfathered in for boys that present a signed merit badge card to the merit badge counselor before the updates are released. That way you have the option of using either set of requirements. That way neither you nor the BSA Boy Scout advancement people have to scramble.

  46. Scouting was founded by Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (BP), the hero of the siege of Mafeking during the Boer War in southern Africa. Scouting started itself when young men started buying a military manual BP wrote, “Aids to Scouting,” and forming their own “units.” He realized that he had to separate youth Scouting from military scouting and wrote a second manual for youth entitled “Scouting for Boys.” This is the manual that was used to start the BSA. The BSA was criticized because the first uniforms were “too military” as they were basically the U.S. Army uniform. During World War I it was realized that Scouting stood for peace and Scouts shouldn’t look like soldiers. Scouts needed a uniform more like a forest ranger than like a soldier. Since then there has been an active effort to separate Scouting from any remote connection to anything military. That is why there is almost a complete absence of anything militaristic in Scouting. The challenge is that Scouting is very patriotic, so this is a fine line. The same problem occurred with religion. The YMCA had a key role in starting the BSA and organizing the first Scout units and camps. This turned off Catholics. In this case the BSA was quick get key Catholic leaders involved in Scouting to avoid another problem. So the BSA embraces all religions but avoids anything openly military except patriotism. I understand and support continuing this tradition.

    • Also as part of the original charter of the BSA, congress doesn’t allow military uniforms. Even though the original BSA uniforms mirrored the military uniforms of that era. I’ve had camp directors ask my to remove my old fatigue coat while at scout camp because of the charter wording.

  47. i fully agree and, I also point out that many American Legion Posts sponsor BSA units, as do VFW Posts – but not for military purposes, mainly patriotic goals.

  48. PS: The chartered organizations for the Direct Service, the Transatlantic Council and the Far East Council, all of which serve military children abroad, include:

    American schools and churches, international schools, U.S. embassies, multinational corporations, parents’ groups, veteran organizations and groups, fraternal organizations, and American military bases.

  49. As a long time Ecology Director at summer camp, it would be extremely useful for national to circulate proposed requirements in new merit badges and changes in current merit badges for comment. It might avoid well intentioned but difficult to counsel requirements and vague requirements. Several years ago a requirement was added to Astronomy to chart the position of one of three planets for four weeks. Most of the Scouts attempting could not understand the requirement even with explaination and we had to acquire planet movement charts so that we could check their work (but could not share the charts witht he Scouts lest they merely copy). Fortunately that requirement has been changed, but it could have been avoided.

  50. What about a Sewing Merit Badge? I know it’s not sexy like Game Design, but I can’t tell you the number of times, as a Scout and as a Scouter, that my sewing skills have saved my life! For instance, just the other day, I put on my pack to go hiking and the belt ripped! Not to be deterred, I got out a piece of webbing, some nylon thread and a book binding needle and sewed it back together. Does it look sexy? No, but I can wear and cinch the pack and carry the 50+ lbs. it was meant to carry and I was prepared because I knew what I was doing! A needle, thread and webbing are now part of my pack for Philmont and I won’t go without them!

    • Probably not. They say Digital Technology mb replaces Computer mb. This means it will probably have the same internal number (036). Council Registrars know that even if two merit badges have different names, if they have the same number, then only one can be earned. Here are some examples:

      Fishing (no. 52) & Fly Fishing (no. 126), both can be earned.
      Canoeing (no. 33) & Kayaking (no. 149), both can be earned.

      Auto Maintenance (no. 127) & Automechanics (no. 127), only one can be earned.
      Nuclear Science (no. 24) & Atomic Energy (no. 24), only one can be earned.

        • Not odd – It would not make sense for you to earn the same merit badge twice. Digital Technology is just a new name for the Computers merit badge.
          In the same way, it would not make sense to earn Automotive Maintenance if you already have Automechanics, and it would not make sense to earn Nuclear Science if you already have Atomic Energy.
          Fly Fishing is not a new name for the fishing merit badge, and Kayaking is not a new name for the Canoeing merit badge.
          The odd one is Snow Sports. There used to be a Skiing merit badge, which had options to do either Alpine or Cross-Country skiing. When they added an option for Snow Boarding, they changed the name to Snow Sports. If you had already earned Skiing, you were allowed to earn Snow Sports using the Snow Boarding option. When they changed Water Skiing to Water Sports (adding the wakeboard option), they did not offer the same option.

          If you prefer the artwork for the new badge when it comes out, you could buy one at your scout shop, and wear it instead of your current Computers merit badge.

  51. In the past two years, several Troops in the Northern Star Council have participated in an Invasive Species merit badge pilot program. The program was run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife St Croix Wetland District. Hopefully, this will become a merit badge nationally in a few years.

  52. As a scoutmasterthat has been involved with scouts for 12 years I believe that besides exposing young and older scouts to opportunities in all different fields of interest I believe that scouts is also designed to get scouts out and experiencing the outdoors and nature but how can the scouts do this if they keep adding merit badges where they just sit on thier butts in front of a computer.

    • I see things from a different perspective than Gary. As an Eagle Scout, father and uncle of Eagle Scouts, and former Scoutmaster I see that Scouts IS designed to get Scouts outdoors. BUT its much more. Plenty of merit badges are “indoors.” I earned “Coin Collecting” and “Reading” and so on. Its to help develop the whole Scout – physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. Learning to design games, or program is much more than just sitting on their butts as a passive observer.

    • If the kid gets his Eagle then he will have plenty of outdoor activities under his belt. There’s many more kids doing game design/computer programming than they are boys who collect coins, or who are contemplating a career as a coal miner or a truck driver. And yet we have MBs for all of those fine activities.

  53. My son is looking forward to the mining merit badge. He saw it list on his Jamboree activity list. Geology is his favorite subject and mining fits right in.

  54. Why is it “Mining in Society”? That sounds like a press release from the mining industry, not a merit badge. Now are we going to have “Plumbing in Society”, “Radio in Society”, “Textiles in Society”, and “Soil and Water Conservation in Society”.

    Everyone will call this “Mining” anyway, so why give it a name that sounds like it came from a PR firm?

    • I have to agree with Walter on this one.
      If it is about mining, then it should be called “Mining”.
      The added ‘in Society’ portion of the name takes away from the meaning, and creates confusion. What does mining have to do with ‘in society’? Do they mean something other than removing ores/minerals from the Earth? Is that like data-mining?

    • Im studying mining engineering at Virginia Tech and I like the name they gave it. Mining in Society sounds like it could be a good way to introduce someone to mining because it will give them an appreciation and understanding of the basics of the mining industry. If you say just mining it would be implying that you’re teaching the kids how to mine which would be incredibly hard for most people to teach or have any activities for due to the complexity of mines.

  55. Just saw this video today, and noticed that the new list of merit badges addresses this issue. Coincidence, I think not.

  56. Why isn’t William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt an option to do a bio on for Scouting heritage? IMHO he did a heck of a lot more than Waite Phillips. Yes Philmont is awesome, but not every Scout gets to go there. Starting in 1929 with his patrol Leader’s Handbook, Bill wrote every single Handbook, Patrol leader book, SM Handbook, articles for BOYS’ LIFE, was the only 5 Beader in the BSA, until his retirement in 1968 THEN he had to come out of retirement to save the BSA from the Improved Scouting Program of 1972 to write the ALL OUT FOR SCOUTING program in the late 1970s, the syllabus for BROWNSEA 22, the 1979 BSHB, contribute to the 3rd ed. of the PL’s Handbook, and write again for BOYS’ LIFE.

    If anyone deserves to have their bio learned and their impact on Scouting, It’s Green Bar Bill.

    • I met Green Bar Bill when I was a kid. We attended the NY/Canadian international camp out in 1984 and 1986. He signed my scout books and but two green marker bars on it. I got to talk to him a few minutes. He signed “Bill Hillcourt” and I didn’t know who he was. I only knew him as Green Bar Bill. He lived in the Syracuse, NY area.

  57. My son finished all of the merit badges offered when he was 14. He got his Eagle when he was 13. He is planning on doing the new ones as well. We want to do something big to acknowledge all his hard work. I have been searing for ideas. It seems like after the Eagle Court of Honor, nothing else is done. Do you have any ideas you could share with me?? I’m so proud of him and want the world to know it. He did this on his own.

    • Eagle Palms are the appropriate recognition for more merit badges and more time as an active Boy Scout.

      For new, appropriate challenges, he should do Venturing Ranger and Venturing Silver. He can continue knock off the new merit badges to get a complete set, but they are obviously pretty easy for him.

    • BSA has never tracked, and has no official recognition for earning all of the merit badges. Over the years there have been several boys who have done it. There is a website that seeks to recognize their accomplishment. Check out They have a recognition square-knot, and they are trying to get it approved officially with the BSA, but it currently is not. There is also an achievers registry on the site.
      I would plan a special court of honor to present the last merit badge, and special recognition for completing them all. Ask your council if they want to recognize that accomplishment, or if they have contacts where you can send a press-release.

    • If he wants to do more merit badges, Royal Rangers offers some MB that are different from BSA’s. Primitive Snares, Primitive Shelters, Bachelor, and others offer a different spin that scouts does. Of course he won’t be able to wear them officially with his scout uniform. I use their material in the troop since some of the badges are the same level as the old scout tin skill awards.

    • I’m with Walter, look into Venturing. Not only do they have the Ranger (requires achieving Outdoor Bronze) and Silver (requires achieving a Bronze and the Gold), they also have the Quest (sports oriented), and TRUST (religious oriented) awards. However, if he has earned every MB, these may be on the easier side to achieve (lots of overlap). You may also look into Sea Scouts, if there is a unit in your area. The Quartermaster Award is highly difficult to achieve, and may provide more of a challenge for him.

      Either way, Venturing or Sea Scouts would probably give him more of a challenge, since they are geared specifically for older youth (14-21). Best of all, he could be dual enrolled, so he could still do merit badges if he wanted and remain active with his troop.

      • Please don’t forget about the Nova and Supernova programs for Science Technology Engineering, and Matematics (STEM) with 3 levels of awards for Venturers

      • The great thing about Venturing is that it’s not just “learn a skill — typically with a bit (but not particualarly in-depth in most cases) of hands-on — and cover some history on the topic” and thus earn a merit badge. In Venturing the scout is required to delve much more deeply into the given skill area, as well as TEACH skills to others. (And is also usually required to do a significant project.)

        We all know that many scouts “do-and-forget” when it comes to merit badges. I am a MB counselor for Climbing, and passing off the various climbing related knots during the MB workshop doesn’t mean much of anything in the long run — or learning any of the other climbing skills, for that matter. If they don’t keep tying those knots, using those skills, they’ll forget them within a matter of weeks.

        Venturing means they actually need to internalize the knowledge in order to pass it on to others. (I also work with Ventures on the Mountaineering portion of the Ranger Award.)

        • Jumpmaster – I agree with your comment about “do and forget” with regards to rope work and knots. If knots were taught properly, they boys and adults do not forget them in 2 weeks or so later. I have the boys tie the knot, talk the knot, demonstrate the knot to someone else after the successfully tie the knot 10 times in a row. THEN after they learn the knots, I take them rappelling. The participants “Know that they Know” the knot.

          People learn differently. Some are tactile learners and have to feel what they are learning. These people are the first ones to pick up a knife during a knife sharpening demo. Just like a baby sticking everything in their mouths. So instead of yelling at a person for picking up a knife, you let them pick up a dull knife and let them handle it.

          A kinetic learner has to physically move to learn. You see them tapping pencils on a table. Instead of them being annoying tapping or drumming, they need to talk around in the back of the room. They will retain almost all of the information while walking.

          A visual learner has to see what they are learning. They do good in chemistry watching colors change in pH solutions. So if they see someone setting up a rappelling station, they will learn easier. They typically can read print and do well.
          An audible learner does good at listening over that of taking notes. They usually are the boys talking in class out of turn. If this happens in class, pull them to the side, train them up and have then teach a class.

          There are other ways that people learn, but I will not go into them at this time. That is what is so cool about scouting compared to how the standard schools run. You can take a kid that is failing everything in school, put them in scouts and they will be very successfull. You can place a kid that is sent to shop class because they are “not smart enough for other classes” and place them in a chemistry lab and they will do very well. Not that shop classes are simple either. VoTech has a bad reputation anyways for many years. Schools see some kids as “stupid”or “unteachable” and they are not, they just learn differently. Scouting trumps this thought or attitude since we teach differently.

          I seem to have gone off topic of this thread, but just keep up working with the boys and girls. You may not know the impact you are making until you are very old and they tell you later on in life.

    • Hi Tiffanie. Good for your son! Please give him my congratulations! Especially good considering it does not sound like he is getting the support of a Scoutmaster. Have you thought of changing troops? There should be a Court of Honor 3 – 4 times per year. Are you aware of the Eagle Palms? Contact your local newspapers and TV stations regarding press releases.

  58. Thank you for your reply. He will continue to do them and if our scouts ever have. a court of honor again ( its been over a year since they have had one) he will get his palms. Buy I want to know how to let the media know and celebrate what he has done at such a young age. I just don’t know how to go about it.

  59. The robotics merit badge pamphlet is so well done that I use it to introduce new members of my FIRST team to robotics…I am looking forward to the programming and animation books so I can use them for those facets of FIRST competition

    • I beleive that if you are working on a merit badge and they change the requirements you can complete the merit badge based on the old requirements. Verify this with you MB Counselor..

    • Of course you can earn it before the change. The requirement being added is to earn the cooking merit badge, not ‘earn the cooking merit badge after January 2014’.

  60. There is maturity to be concidered in advancement not just checking off things done. I applaud the Eagle scout that can handle the weight of the feathers. Once earned they should be given the chances to act as a councilor for many other scouts. Serve in junior leader training staff etc…this really helps other scouts.

  61. Good to see that merit badges are coming in their new look, some of them have already been released. The merit badges are always use to each us some new thing like in Sustainability Eagle-required. Scouts must earn either this or Environmental Science, etc.From the released updates I like the Game Design. Eagerly waiting for launching of new badges. Thanks for sharing this fascinating post with us.

  62. I noticed that a scout said his 18th birthday was the day after his post and there was a merit badge he was wanting to earn. my son was told the day he turns 18 he is out and can no longer be a scout. When are the boys fininshed?

    • You can also go into venturing, an explorer post, or a sea scout unit. You can stay a youth in these until you are 21. If he is in the Order of the Arrow he is also a youth until 21.

      • I would have let your “present them with facts and let them reach their own conclusions” comment pass until you decided to violate your own “this isn’t the place to debate climate change” statement by advocating FOR AGW in your last sentence. Allow me to present some facts. 8 in 10 so-called CLIMATE scientists, whose funding depends on climate change being caused by humans (conflict of interest anyone?) insist (in the face of a large amount of data to the contrary) that it is true. The vast majority of other scientists in related fields do NOT believe in man caused climate change. And most scientists in general do NOT believe it.

        My Phd geologist brother was asked by his university department to teach a course on Global Warming (it wasn’t “Climate Change” until the world stopped warming for more than a decade). He was actually agnostic on the topic at that point (as his area of specialization was marine vulcanology), but started doing siginificant research to put together his course, including trying to get the underlying data that various global warming advocate organizations were using to arrive at their conclusions. He was met with much resistance and stonewalling, which he’d never encountered before in his other areas of research.

        He kept digging and when I asked him about how things were going, he said “This is the biggest scam in the history of science.” Being a man of integrity (and an Eagle scout) he actually went to his department chair and said he could not in good conscience teach the course unless they allowed him to use the course to debunk the topic. He has since found he is not alone — literally thosands of fellow scientists have come to his same conclusion.

        Unlike “climate scientists” he had literally no agenda other than his love of science and his personal integrity.

  63. Is it ‘Communication’ as stated on and the merit badge book OR ‘Communications’ as stated in our District/Council Advancement Report?

    It is driving me crazy! I get corrected several times if I use one or the other when doing our merit badge events. Any way to sync all and tell us the ‘correct’ one to use from now on??

    Personally I think ‘Communications’ makes more sense as there are many different ways to communicate. (This is the same as our local council advancement report which I look at as stats go a long way in helping plan our merit badge events.)

    • Communication already represents all forms of communication. It is not necessary to pluralize communication. It’s like money, public speaking, architecture, crime prevention, sculpture, textile, theater, weather, etc. All “plural” in nature, in that they represent many forms of the subject, but the singular term encompasses all of that in one, non plural word. I graduated from the Communication school at Syracuse, and this was actually discussed on the first day of class — it’s communication, not communications. Great question though! Thanks for asking!

      • It is the Communication Merit Badge, but there is a word ‘communications’. A communication is something like a letter or message containing information or news. Two letters or two messages are communications.

        Despite what a professor at Syracuse said, there is also the unfortunate ambiguous use of communication and communications including …

        these Schools of Communications (with an ‘s’):

        American University School of Communications *
        Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts & Communications
        Elon University School of Communications
        Grand Valley State University School of Communications *
        University of Hawaii School of Communications *
        Howard University School of Media and Communications *
        Husson University New England School of Communications
        Ithaca College Roy H. Park School of Communications
        Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications *
        National University of Singapore Department of Communications and New Media (#3)
        Quinnipiac University School of Communications *
        Robert Morris University School of Communications & Information Systems *
        Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications & Fine Arts *
        Yale University School of Communications (#7)

        * Interestingly some of these universities list their field of study as communication. So even the Schools of Communications mostly use the term communication, not communications.

        and these Schools of Communication (without an ‘s’):

        University of California Berkeley, School of Journalism (#4)
        University of California, Los Angeles, Communication Studies (#8)
        University of Hartford School of Communication
        Hofstra University School of Communication
        London School of Economics and Political Science (#6)
        Marist School of Communication and the Arts
        Massachusetts Institute of Technology Comparative Media Studies (#5)
        University of Miami School of Communication
        Montclair State University School of Communication and Media
        University of Melbourne School of Media and Communication (#10)
        Northwestern University School of Communication
        Ohio University School of Communication Studies
        University of Oregon School of Journalism & Communication
        University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Communication
        Point Park University School of CommunicationTemple University School of Media and Communication
        Purdue University Brian Lamb School of Communication
        Queens University of Charlotte Knight School of Communication
        Regent University School of Communication & the Arts
        University of Rhode Island Harrington School of Communication and Media
        Rutgers University School of Communication and Information
        Stanford University Department of Communication (#1)
        University of Tennessee School of Communication Studies
        University of Tokyo School of Information Science & Technology (#9)
        Washington State University Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
        Wichita State University Elliot School of Communication

        and these schools avoid making the distinction:

        Columbia University Journalism School (#2)
        University of Tokyo School of Information Science & Technology (#9)

  64. I’m concerned about implementation of the Cooking Merit Badge as Eagle-required. Our troop initially announced that any scout who had reached Life Rank by end of 2013 would not have this requirement added; however, have seen updates that make any Life Scout who has not completed his Eagle project subject to this requirement. What is it definitively? The challenge is that the Cooking Merit Badge overlaps and repeats basics from the already-required Camping Merit Badge and, due to limited backpacking/camping opportunities organized within our troop and the number of scouts who will suddenly have this requirement, the length of time it will take already-advanced scouts to add this on and find an opportunity to complete. This wouldn’t be an issue if all Life Scouts by end of 2013 were exempt, but hard for the boys completing their Eagle requirements to find backpacking opportunities in the middle of the winter.

    • The rule is simple and has nothing to do with when a Scout earned Life or which Eagle requirements they’ve done (including the project).

      Starting Jan. 1, 2014, Cooking Merit Badge is required for Eagle. If you get Eagle before that, you don’t need Cooking. After that, you need Cooking.

      These Scouts should talk to their Patrol Leaders and SPL about the troop doing more camping and backpacking.

    • Look over the requirements… it doesn’t say you have to camp or backpack… it says you have to plan a menu for.. and prepare the meals using backpack stove…. if you can’t go backpacking, you can still cook in accordance with the requirements

  65. It is interesting the responses and now can understand better why the merit badge book states Communication without the ‘s’. Problem comes in is we get the advancement reports first from Districts, Council and sometimes National that uses it with an -s ending that confused MANY. Would be nice if the computer systems took out the little typo of the ‘s’ ending so all was synced and EVERYONE uses Communication.

  66. I cannot imagine any troop not teaching cooking merit badge. It is being added to the list because it is essential to every camping outing. I also consider it one of the basic life skills you learn from scouting, everyone should know how to cook. It is usual a very fun merit badge for everyone, scouts , instructors and leaders.

    • Cooking has been a merit badge since 1911. It is not being added. It is already there and has been for 103 years. However,it is in this blog becase it is being updated to reflect healthy choices.

      It is very important today, since many young women choose not to bother to learn how to coook. In many couples, it is the husband that does the cooking. I hear this from many of my Eagle Scouts that I run into.

  67. The new Magic Merit Badge Requirements (2014):

    1. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the history of stage Magic. Explain the difference between stage Magic and magic in folklore and legend.

    2. Identify and describe first aid for injuries commonly associated with the performance of magic:
    a. Flash-paper burns
    b. Dove and Rabbit bites
    c. Hand cramps from excessive practice of a false Faro Shuffle

    3. Perform at least 3 of the following for your merit badge counselor:
    a. Three effects using playing cards, involving at least 1 force and 1 false shuffle
    b. Two effects using rope
    c. A mentalism effect
    d. An illusion involving an assistant, whom you must teach to help perform the effect.
    e. An effect involving making something appear
    f. An effect involving making something disappear

    4. Discuss the meaning of the following terms with your merit badge counselor, and describe how each was demonstrated in the performance of your effects:
    a. Misdirection
    b. Patter
    c. Audience involvement
    d. Humor

    5. Discuss the following ethical considerations for a magician
    a. Not revealing how an effect is done
    b. Not using magic to defraud or claim actual supernatural powers
    c. Ensuring the safety of yourself, your assistant, and the audience

    6. With the approval of your merit badge counselor, perform a magic show that is at least 15 minutes long for a troop meeting or campfire event, Cub Scout den, school, or charitable group for young children (such as a hospital) using the effects you demonstrated in Requirement #4.

    7. With your parents or guardian, attend a live magic performance. Afterwards, discuss what effects were performed with your merit badge counselor and discuss how the magician maintained audience interest, and how you could apply the same principles to your own performance.

    8. Research the life of at least 3 famous magicians, and provide an oral report on one to your merit badge counselor.

    • Actually, Brian, I wrote those requirements (semi)humorously to try to show what kind of requirements would be likely – there are a lot of people who want to see a magic merit badge, but it hasn’t happened yet.

      • It has been presented, I believe to National. Cannot believe it is not approved, yet all the merit badges that require computers and software are approved and abundant. How can those be earned by Scouts with limited resources? Magic can be done with a deck of cards, a few coins, and a neckerchief. Most, if not all of those, a Scout probably has at summer camp. BSA should Get’r done!
        Don’t let it disappear 😉

  68. Glad to see Cooking joining the ranks of required merit badges…. it should never have left the list of required……

  69. By the end of jambo m’y son will have all the badges would like suggestions on something special gift to give him at the roast wé are having for him.

    • Has your son earned all of the available merit badges? That is a phenomenal achievement!! Congratulations to your son!! Great job! A special gift? That is a tough one. What about having a special plaque made for him? Maybe with a few of his favorite merit badges on it and a brass plate with his name, how many merit badges he earned, and the date he earned the final one?

  70. Any word on a merit badge relating with Hotel Management or F&B Restaurant Management? There is not a single merit badge that covers this enourmous field of work and career opportunity.

  71. Am wanting to confirm that the Computers merit badge is still available, and whether the replacement Digital Technology merit badge will be a different design.

    • My understanding is that the new Digital Technology will be the replacement for the current Computer Merit Badge. So the Computer Merit Badge won’t be available any more. I believe that Digital Technology will also have the same number so if you already have the Computer Merit Badge you can’t earn the Digitlal Technology MB.

  72. Sometimes I wish as an post 18 Eagle Scout we could go earn (for knowledge and teaching purpose) some of these newer merit badges.

    • You absolutely can earn and present these newer merit badges to yourself after you turn 18… They just don’t go on your record and you can’t add them to your sash for show. You can put them in a special display or use them as temporary activity patches. What is even more fun for me is learning about the new merit badges and teaching it to the entire troop.

      • So how do you get the Scout Shop to sell the badges to you then since you’re not under 18 and you most likely don’t have a leader turning in fulfilled requirements to them for you?

      • You can earn them, and maybe even get the scout-shop to sell them to you, but there is no way to officially earn them. You can’t have them recorded on your scouting record, and you can’t wear them.
        A merit badge would never be an appropriate patch to wear as a temporary activity patch on your right pocket.

        In my many years as a scouter, I have ‘earned’ tons of merit badges. I even let the boys know I am earning them. I have purchased many of them, but I never wear them.

  73. How does one get on one of these comittees that develops a merit badge…I would really like to see what direction the advanced computing badge is going. I hope it has some real-time embedded micro processor requirements in it because thats the kid technology we need to nuture in our up and coming engineer..

    I am in the process re-selecting the badges I will be couseling this fall to reflect the STEM emphasis that BSA has adopted.

    Brian C
    Embedded Systems Engineer – Emeritus
    Three Harbours Coucil – WI


    FYI…there are several very powerful programming software packages that are free to be downloaded from…the JAVA programming environment is pretty straight forward to download and set-up, The C/C++ programming tool is a little tricky, but after you do it once it, its easy, and provides a fully funcitional c/c++ programming tool..(I would be willing to talk anyone through that set up)..I would recommend the JAVA program..

    Brian C

    • Arduino is a good start and easily available from your Local Radioshack..It would be a good choice if you were going for the new digital technology badge too…
      there are other resources that are cheaper, like TI’s MSP430 launch pad that is only $4.30 and the software is free. It forces you to learn real C, not the arduino derivative, so you learn a skill that you can market later

  75. I have a small joke to share. When I saw the new BSA Stand Up Paddleboard patch, I decided to tease my 14 year old Life Scout about it. I said “What’s next, a Catfish Wrestling Merit Badge?” Well, he thought that was a really cool idea. He loves fish, and has every merit badge associated with fish other than Oceanography and Soil and Water Conservation.

    I don’t think that idea would, ahem, float since catfish do have teeth, and because it could not be done nationally (at least until people start building wrestling pools), but it goes to show that you never know what would interest a boy or young man.

    • I suppose that depends on your definitions of Language and Code.

      On the one hand, ASL, SEE, and other forms of English-Based sign language are a non-verbal communication of the English language. In this sense I would consider it a form of code. That is why you hire an Interpreter (understand and interpret the encoding of the message), rather than a Translator (convert from one language to another). For those who learned English, and then learned sign-language as a new expression of English, it is more like a code than a new language.

      On the other hand, there are those who communicate using sign-language, who have never learned audible English. There are grammatical forms in ASL that are not exactly like English. It may be that some think in ASL, and learn to ‘translate’ into English when writing or interpreting. For them, it would be more like a language than a code.

  76. ASL has a different grammar than English. It is a separate language. Colleges accept ASL for their foreign language entrance requirement.

    SEE (Signing Exact English) uses ASL signs plus additional signs that are not needed in ASL, and arranges them with English grammar. It is an approach to teaching English as a second language to people whose first language is ASL.

    There is an interpreter’s strip for ASL.

    • I’m aware of what SEE is, and that ASL has differing grammar, and that it counts as a foreign language in some colleges. None of that negates what I said in my previous post.

      There is also an interpreter’s strip for Morse Code. The existence of an ASL interpreter’s strip does not prove that ASL is/isn’t a language.

      • Right. What you said is that people can use ASL signs for English. That means that they are using a pidgen ASL and do not have the very first level of fluency in the language. They would fail the first year course.

        Incompetent users of ASL does not make ASL a code.

        Linguistically, ASL is distinct from English. For example, ASL has a completely different idea of pronoun than English. ASL pronouns are spatial and not gendered.

        I know about the Morse Code interpreter’s strip and I think it is a terrible idea. The interpreters strip is how other Scouts know you can communicate with them in their language. No one uses Morse face to face. I’m an amateur radio operator and I’m all for more connections with Scouting and ham radio, but the Morse strip is a novelty strip that was OK’ed by the BSA.

        The Morse strip is an exception. Every other interpreter’s strip is for a natural language.

        • I didn’t argue that ASL is/isn’t a language/code. I simply said that there are valid arguments for both, depending on your definition of the terms.

          You obviously have a strong opinion leaning toward ASL as a language. I’m not saying you are wrong. I’m simply saying that those who consider it a code may also have a valid point.

          By some definitions, you could probably consider every language to be a form of code.

  77. Any word on the updated Cooking Merit Badge requirements, your blog states “Update expected after 2013 Jamboree”. I have Scouts that are wondering what the changes will be. (I am wondering also)

    • I just saw on scoutstuff(dot)org that the Cooking MB pamphlet is “on back order until 11/05/13” so I’m guessing that will be the release date. I think I read on this blog that it was supposed to be before Thanksgiving, for what it’s worth.

  78. The name change of Cinematography to Moviemaking is NOT noted on this page yet?? Not much was changed to the requirements but the name change seems a major one in my opinion.

    • I think it’s funny that they changed the name to “Moviemaking” and the one requirement that they eliminated from “Cinematography” was the requirement to make a movie! So “Cinematography” required making a movie but “Moviemaking” does not require making a movie. I also think that since they changed the name, they should have changed the picture on the merit badge.

      • Boy Scouts were some of the first environmentalist, and have always been concerned about reducing pollution and preserving the environment. I think the point “Scouter” rightfully makes is that the way that the book is written with a slant that makes it political. From my perspective it seems that modern Democrats think that they invented the concept of being an environmentalist and they seem to think that a Republican has no concern for the environment. While global warming and global cooling are naturally occurring cycles that have been occurring for most of Earth’s history, the theory that man-made global warming is destroying the Earth is just that, a theory that is unproven. Most modern Democrats accept this theory as scientific fact as does the merit badge pamphlet. Whereas most Republicans acknowledge global warming, but as a naturally occurring phenomena, not as human-kinds fault. And in this way, it does seem to me that the merit badge takes a political position when it could have been written in a more apolitical way. Just my opinion.

      • I found out that they added a “or” to Environmental Science. I noticed they added more since I was in. Our District Director mentioned that when Cooking gets added, they may drop one (or I guess add an “or”) to keep the required total down.

      • Our District Director mentioned it to us, but after seeing Sustainability get an “or” in the required part, I guess that’s how they keep the required in there. When he mentioned that Cooking was being added as a required, he also thought one might get removed to keep the number required smaller. I had noticed that there are a lot more requireds since I was in Scouts in the late 80s/early 90s.

  79. WAY too much emphasis on computers, media, and technology with these forthcoming badges. Kids can learn all of this in school (high school, technical school, college, etc.) Scouting should be about learning those ‘lost arts’ with the outdoors and things they cannot learn in school. I don’t mind a badge or two to give them a little insight as to what’s out there, but now we’ll be up to SIX! WAY too many.

    • Thanks goodness we have around 116 others that aren’t related.

      I see where you’re coming from but not every Scout has the resources in junior high/high school to learn this. And, having these available at least gives them a taste of what they can and maybe want to do as their career in the future. If it wasn’t for the Computers merit badge I earned in the early 90s, I wouldn’t have been a Systems Administrator today.

      These merit badges are optional. If you look at the requireds, they provide the ‘lost arts’ skills. Going by your logic, we should also remove merit badges like Public Health and American Business which could also be learned in school but have been a part of Scouting since 1911 and 1967, respectively.

      • I think that the more merit badges that are available the better. I really don’t understand why National removes merit badges even if some are not earned a lot. What does it hurt if, let’s say, “Beekeeping” was still available? The cost of printing a pamphlet and the physical badge which would be minimal, keep a few on hand for special order.

  80. A lot of the MB’s are earned at school through the teachers as MBC’s. Every year the teachers knew that they would be approached by a new group of boys wanting them to teach the MB’s. The MB listing in in flux anyways. Un-pursued MB’s removed and new one’s being developed as time goes forward.

    We had a polar bear campout a while back. We intentionally had GPS use as a station as well as map and compass. The troops that replied on batteries could not navigate since the electronics did not work. Those who relied on a map and compass, were able to complete the station.

    I am waiting for the “Dooms Day Bunker MB” to come out. Be Prepared! you prepers out there.

  81. I think the Signs, Signals, and Codes MB is a wonderful idea. It seems like it will give Scouts an appreciation for ergonomics (my field of study).

  82. Is there any additional information out on changes for Eagle MBs? My son was told at a Thanksgiving 2013 camp ran by the Council next to ours that the Cit in Comm will no longer be an Eagle MB since Cooking is ‘replacing’ it. I have not found anything to support what my son was told….but he (and some of his friends) no longer want to take the Cit in Comm badge that is being offered during the holidays because it no longer is one of the ‘Eagle MB’s for rank requirement. Before I call hogwash on what they were told by another Council I want to make sure I am correct. I have only found supporting information that Cooking (as of 1/1/2014) is an additional MB required for Eagle (and for the period of 1/1/2014 through 12/31/2014 either the new or old MB requirements can be used). I have NOT found documentation that any of the current Eagle MBs are being ‘downgraded’. Thank you!

  83. Any detail on when Computers will be replaced? Can it be earned all year (2014) or does Computers phase out 12/31/13 ?

    Thanks !

  84. First let me say that by no means am I anti-technology. My paid job requires the use of computers and such to a great extent; and a lot of my free time is also spent utilizing such.
    However, after looking at the list of upcoming MB’s we see that 5 out of 7 are totally computer based. Are we striving to take the Outing out of Scouting after all? Are we just running out of new ideas? How about bringing back some old ideas?
    Masonry? Ever have an Eagle Scout candidate want to put in a sidewalk or some other project involving concrete?
    Beekeeping? The honeybee population is suffering decimating uknown illnesses that is jeopardizing worldwide food production. What are future generations to do?
    Food preservation? My kids look at me funny when they see me pickling cucumbers and making blackberry jelly. After all, you can get this at any store, right.
    I’m quite the semi-professional handyman on the side and as such my son asked me one day, “How do you know how to do all that?”. It occurred to me that there were still large gaps in what the MB program had to offer and what life skills would actually be needed one day, especially in a head of the household type of situation.

  85. I know there are a lot of beekeepers out there who are very vocal in their willingness to be MBCs for that MB, and without a doubt, the loss of the bee population is an ecological disaster. Is the worry about litigation the only thing keeping this from coming back?

  86. Royal Rangers did the same thing by removing the camping requirements. Every merit badge had its own power point presentation and a work book to fill out. After 6 months of that I threw out the “writing” and inserted the “Doing”. I guess I had the “Scouter” in my more than the “ranger”.
    We used to frequent a pond nearby the church and do rafting, canoeing, fishing and such. Hikes, wilderness survival, kayaking and other physical activities makes the meetings better. Boys do enough sitting in school or in Sunday School….keep them outside running around. If you don’t, it kills the program.
    But Royal Rangers does beat the BSA in regards to campfires and Shooting sports.

      • Why??? We have rifle shooting, shoot gun shooting , archery , climbing , wilderness survival , and the list goes on

      • It already did happen. In the first official handbook, the 1910 BSA Handbook, Master-at-Arms was one of the original 14 merit badges which were called Badges of Merit. Master-at-Arms involved mastering 3 of the following combat skills: single stick, boxing, ju jitsu, wrestling, quarterstaff, and fencing. The 1911 Handbook dropped this merit badge.
        The Guide to Safe Scouting says:
        “2. Boxing, karate, and related martial arts—except judo, aikido, and Tai Chi—are not authorized activities.”
        “6. Varsity football teams and interscholastic or club football competition and activities are unauthorized activities.”
        The reason is Risk Management. These are risks a boy can do outside of Scouting.

  87. I’m wondering, how come there isn’t any martial arts merit badges, belt loops, or pins? The BSA has them for ranged weaponry but nothing for hand to hand even though martial arts are now a recognized sport too?

  88. I appreicate the hard, relentless work the merit badge team has been doing. I reviewed the list of badges that have been introduced in the last five years and those on the front burner, and I see a lot of sold improvements and introductions. After years of minimal change, I welcome the effort to make the program more attractive and relevent to Scouts’ interests. My one concern is that merit badges that require more sedentary work don’t overshadow active outdoor ones. That said, I think the introduction of Kayaking and the revision (and Eagle requirement ) of Cooking are major accomplishments. One major oversight I see is the lack of promotion of the National Outdoor Badges, which I hope get some ink in the next handbook. These awards are the greatest addition to the advancement program since Eagle.

    • I agree completely on the National Outdoor Awards. Another thing that I would like to see is the promotion of the SCOUTStrong Fitness Program (which leverages the President’s Challenge from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition) as an option to meet the physical fitness requirements for Tenderfoot rank advancement. These would be great ways to combat our tendency towards the sedentary lifestyle.

    • This badge is a replacement for the Computers merit badge, which will be discontinued. However, Since it is a NEW badge, with substantially different requirements, Scouts may earn Digital Technology, even if they have already earned Computers.

      • Seems like this is all now past tense; the new 2014 Requirements book is in the Scout Stores, and it has the Digital Technology Merit Badge Requirements in it. From the language in the front of the book, it’s official, too; same kind of admonishments as with Cooking, but Computers appears to be a fading posting to the sash! The DT Requirements are hardly a retread of the Computers subsumed one – also includes stuff from the Law, Sustainability, and Photography Merit Badge requirements, plus some Second Class and First Class Advancement requirements. Earning this one could really put a young Scout a mile ahead! Too bad the graphic in the Requirements book appears to have inadvertently retreaded the Computers MB graphic…

  89. While any new merit badge is a great idea — I find it ironic that there is no sewing merit badge. I mean, with all the patches (merit badges, rank advancement, council patches, OA lodge flaps, etc,) you’d think there would be a badge that was given for practice of the fine art of sewing.
    Think of how happy all the moms out there will be if there boys can sew on their own merit badges or rank advancement.

    It is a skill that can save a boy in the future – ripped pants, missing button, etc. I have a sewing kit in my desk drawer and have sewn on a button or two in a pinch.

      • I have always said there should be a “Bachelor 101” merit badge with requirements like “Do three loads of laundry — white’s, colored’s, and delicates — without ruining any items”; “Cook a meal, then live on the leftovers for two more days”; “Sew at least one merit badge and one rank badge on a uniform”.

        • Thanks to Aaron, Scoutaholic and Indy Jones for a nice conversation. I waffle on the development of an actual merit badge, but the skill set of basic sewing is critical for both boys and girls. All of the guys in my patrol had to sew on their own patches and badges…they didn’t always look good, but we did it. And after some good natured trash talk from the other guys, we paid a little more attention and did better with each try. Same with “left overs” and laundry, packing for campouts and camp, and doing the dishes. Our Scoutmaster had a chat with all parents about their role in making sure we did things on our own.

  90. Aaron…remember all new MBs have to pass a Youth Group evaluation on whether they think Scouts would want to earn it. Sorry Sewing MB.

    I suppose it might be included as a requirement in the Textiles MB.

    • My son was asked to take a youth interest survey about his interest in proposed upcoming merit badges. One of the questions was about adding a snow-shoeing option to the Snow Sports merit badge. I think that is more likely to happen than getting a whole new badge.

  91. What ever happened to outdoors and scouting. Why are we moving away from the classic outdoor type badges and moving towards the nerd image that is so difficult to get away from.

    Hammocking would be a great addition, Get the kids outside, not next to a stinking piece of electronics.

    • Scoutng still emphasizes the outdoors.Think Camping every month. However, I am delighted to see the “nerdy” merit badges to gain the interest of our Scouts who are not the “jock” type, and who tend to be creative. This is where our next engineers, architects, recreation creation men are going to come from, guys with creative brains as wel as outdoor brawn.

    • I take offense to this. If it wasn’t for the Computers merit badge, I wouldn’t be working in the IT field as a systems administrator. As DeLane said, we need people like this in the future. And I understand not everyone who does a merit badge will work in that field but merit badges are out there to showcase many different types of jobs and fields to Scouts.

      As a current Scoutmaster, I preach Outdoors and camping, hiking, orienteering, pioneering, cooking, etc. to my scouts but in no way do I want them to think that’s all they should do and experience.

      • I fully understand Bayview’s frustration. My only offense is that electronics “stink”. The BSA recently introduced the Amateur Radio Rating Strip to recognize scouts and scouters who hold a radio license. Ninety percent of the amateur radio requirements for the Radio merit badge can be leveraged into obtaining the FCC license, and amateur radio has a place in the Emergency Preparedness merit badge and arguably should have a place in the Search and Rescue merit badge. This type of electronics certainly has a place in the outdoors, unlike cell phones, e-games, or music players.

        • And I get that. I’d be more upset if 90 percent of the merit badges dealt with electronics but they don’t. Cub Scouts have a Video Games activity pin that teaches them time management; not playing video games. As a Computers Merit Badge counselor, I have been asked at times by scouts how often they have to play games on Computers to get it. When I tell them the basic requirements and how we talk about the components of computers and their use in society, they look a little shocked but they’re not so disappointed. These electronics merit badges are pretty much like other non-outdoorsman ones where they have the scout research the field. I had a couple of scouts work on the Robotics merit badge during a merit badge weekend last year and you should have seen the interest in what they did. So much so that both of them joined the robotics programs at their schools.

          I have a rule with my troop that they are allowed to bring electronics with them on the way to camp but when we get there, they are to turn them into me until we are driving back. I adopted this rule from my father who did the same thing for walkmans when I was a Scout in the late 80s/early 90s.

    • Bayview, he BSA introduced the National Outdoor Awards a few years ago. The merit badge requirements for these awards are entirely skewed towards the outdoors, unlike those for Eagle rank which strike a balance between outdoors, career, and civics. The top medal award is almost as difficult to achieve as Eagle, and of course all merit badge work toward it can also be applied to Eagle or palm advancement. If you want more outdoor motivation in Scouting a place to start would be to heavily promote these National Outdoor Awards. For more details see

      I can tell you that my council and the troops that I know have done nothing to promote these awards. When you consider the thought and effort that the BSA put into creating them it is a real shame.

    • Also, I’m not sure that hammocking could justify an entire MB, but hammock construction certainly should be added to the Pioneering MB requirements.

    • Apparently you don’t understand the Merit Badge program. It is designed to introduce young men to new activities and career choices. You don’t complain about the Dentistry MB but you do about the Computer MB. They are both careers and, frankly, most boys will be in a computer related career while very few will be practicing Dentistry.

      Originally, in 1910, there were 14 Badges of Merit. They included Clerk and Electrician, obviously not outdoor activities. The rank requirements are the ones that get boys outdoors, not the merit badge program. All boys go through the ranks. Boys do the merit badges that they find interesting or required. The required merit badges include the outdoor badges: Camping, Cycling, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Science, Hiking, Lifesaving, Personal Fitness & Swimming as well as leadership/community oriented merit badges: the 3 Citizenships, Communications, Family Life, First Aid, and Personal Management. By the way, why are you wasting your time on a computer reading this when you could be in a hammock sawing logs.

  92. I would agree on Snow Shoeing being added as and option for the Snow Sports Merit Badge. Skiing, Snow Boarding, X-Country Skiing, “SNOW SHOEING”. Would be the perfect mix. Snow Shoeing is the fasting growing Snow Sport right now. This past weekend took 40 Scouts and 15 Leaders Snow Tubing, SNOW SHOEING, along with advancement skills, Cooking, Rifle Shooting, Archery and Snow Tent Camping packed into a three day event for the Troop. The Scouts did not want to leave and the Leaders were not pushing to leave either… Going to do it every year now

    • IMO, FWIW, snow shoeing and cross country skiing should have a priority in the Winter Sports merit badge requirements over other snow activities because they can have a practical side, namely mobility. The other activities, like snowboarding, really can’t get you from an arbitrary point A to point A over a snowbound landscape because they are limited to downhill terrains. Just a thought.

  93. Being a new Bee Keeper and a Scouter for many years our local Bee Club heard that the Bee keeping MB was in process of being integrated with Forage crops for the Bee’s all of the Bee keepers I’ve talked with are ready and willing to have all of the background checks to become MBC. Many of them are already working with other youth groups (Boys and Girls clubs) to promote Bee Keeping. I’ve not been able to find any information about this, can anyone shed any light on this. The only mention of Bee Keeping I’ve found is in the Insect Study as an or requirement

  94. With Karate take the approach as Scouting does with SCUBA in which you must go to another approved agency for proper training and certification (PADI) Allow the Karate MB to be authorized by achieving a Belt Level in a particular recognized martial Arts discipline. Certainly recognize the many years of active work the Scouts do put in to achieve belt levels (blue, green, brown, Black) Taking this approach will recognize the Scouts work and make the Risk Management People happy at the same time.

    • I don’t have experience with Venturing, but my understanding is that a Venturing Crew can specialize in most any hobby, sport, etc. Are there restrictions on martial arts practice in Venturing, or could a crew decide to have a Judo or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (or even Mixed Martial Arts) focus, train together in a non-commercial environment with a qualified adult adviser, field a competitive team, and be covered by BSA insurance? (If so, I know some kids who would like to field such a crew.) Or are there policies against such activities?

      • The policies against contact sports and aviation activities apply to all BSA programs, including Venturing. Interesting, fencing is promoted as a possible Venturing activity in the Quest award handbook, so fencing is not considered by the BSA to be a contact sport. Martial arts are also promoted there, with a comment that karate is a contact sport and so is not an approved activity, but a report about it may still be given as credit to a requirement. The others are not prohibited by name. My understanding is that the Quest award will survive the current revision of Venturing awards.

        • Some Law Enforcement Explorer Posts have Judo as part of their police training and tactics. Of course the goal is to safely take down a person and place them in custody by police officers but BSA members are not to engage the public in this fashion.

  95. It’s interesting that judo and aikido are allowed but not karate. I trained in all three and the worst orthopedic injuries I ever got in any martial art were in “the gentle art” of judo (torn ACL and broken foot, numerous jammed fingers and sprained elbows and wrists) and a dislocated shoulder in aikido, whereas karate was relatively injury-free. I have a reprint of the old Master at Arms merit badge book and it would be popular nowadays, as Jiu-Jitsu (of the Brazilian variety), boxing, wrestling, and stick fighting (of the Dog Brothers style) are all popular with young people. Even fencing is getting a resurgence, there are at least 2 separate commercial fencing schools in Phoenix now!

    • It appears that online versions of the Master at Arms MB book can be found online. Apparently Scouting in Britain still has a version of Master at Arms, and a reprint of their 1925 book can be obtained from

  96. There really needs to be a Geography Merit Badge. Can you quickly point out St. Paul, MN? What’s the difference between Arizona’s weather and Florida’s weather? Does one state have the same type of weather? What continents does the Equator run though? ……
    I can’t count the times I’ve been with other adults that are unaware of Basic Geography.

    • This is already covered in other merit badges: Citizenship in the Nation (US geography), Citizenship in the World (world geography), Citizenship in the Community (local geography), Weather (climates), and Orienteering (map skills),

      • Sorry Marcus, but NO.
        There is no US geography covered in Citizenship in the Nation, nor local geography in Citizenship in the Community.
        Citizenship in the World does touch lightly on some geography. Just enough to point out on a map where certain types of government are found, and how geography and climate of one specific country may affect their international relations, trade, etc.
        The only mention of climate in the Weather merit badge is requirement 8, “Describe how the tilt of Earth’s axis helps determine the climate of a region near the equator, near the poles, and across the area in between.”
        Orienteering does cover SOME map skills, but reading a map of your local area and land navigation is NOT the same as knowing where places are in the country or world.

  97. WNW has proven his point. People don’t even know what geography is any more. Most schools have stopped teaching it. People think geography is knowing countries and capitals. It is much, much more:

    Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities – not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. Geography has been called “the world discipline” and “the bridge between the human and the physical science”. Geography is divided into two main branches: human geography and physical geography. Human geography includes the distribution of populations and resources, land use, and industries. Physical geography includes the nature and relative arrangement of places and physical features.

  98. Is there a sewing merit badge? If not, there should really be one. It’s a very necessary skill that could come in handy in many situations. Thanks.

  99. Does anyone know when the Mining in Society merit badge will be available. I have 3 boys that I worked with that have earned it, but the badge is not available for purchase yet?

    How about the Scoutmaster handbook replacement, the two volume Troop Leader guides?

  100. Looks like it’s been about a year since the Merit Badge Calendar was updated. Anything new on Merit Badge additions, subtractions, or updates?

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