Merit badges are a key requirement for advancing in rank, especially as you progress further towards Eagle Scout. Merit badges offer many options to learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers as you earn merit badges. There are more than 135 merit badges (current list here) a wide range of skill, including:
- Scout skills like hiking pioneering, cooking and camping
- Life skills like Personal Management, personal fitness, first aid, communications
- Career skill like Salesmanship, chemistry, engineering and dentistry
- Fun skills like golf, fishing, model building and water skiing
A scout must earn a total of 21 merit badges to achieve the rank of Eagle. Out of the 21 merit badges, there are 13 specifically required for the rank of Eagle and are trimmed in silver thread. Eagle-required merit badges include:
- First Aid
- Citizenship in the Community
- Citizenship in the Nation
- Citizenship in the World
- Personal Fitness
- Emergency Preparedness -OR- Lifesaving
- Environmental Science -OR- Sustainability
- Personal Management
- Swimming -OR- Hiking -OR- Cycling
- Family Life
How do I earn a merit badge?
Summer camp is always your best option for earning merit badges as many badges are offered during summer camp and it’s very easy to go through the process and earn your badges at camp.
In addition to summer camp, you can earn any merit badge at home by following these guidelines:
- Pick a subject. Talk to the Scoutmaster about your interests. Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you, and pick one to earn.
- Select a counselor. The Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors. These individuals have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping you.
- BLUE Card time. Now that your close to ready, talk to your scoutmaster who will provide you with an Application for Merit Badge, “Blue Card.” After entering your information, the Scoutmaster will sign your blue card.
- STUDY and LEARN on your own. Go to MeritBadge.org and read the requirements needed to earn the badge.
- Contact the Merit Badge Counselor. Once you think you are ready, contact the merit badge counselor and explain that you want to earn the badge. The counselor may ask to meet you to explain what is expected and to start helping you meet the requirements. You should also discuss work you have already started or possibly completed. At the first meeting, you and your merit badge counselor will review and may start working on the requirements. Remember you need a buddy! Find a friend to go with you to earn the badge as well.
- Show Your Stuff. When you are ready, call the counselor again to make an appointment. When you go, take along the things you have made to meet the requirements. The counselor will test you on each requirement to make sure you know your stuff and have done or can do the things required.
- Turn in Blue card. Upon completion with the counselor, you will get your blue card signed, now turn that into your Scoutmaster.
- Get your badge. At the next court of honor, you will receive your merit badge and another step closer to Eagle Scout!
Some Helpful Links:
- BSA Advancement, Merit Badges – Provides current MB requirements and highlights any recent updates
- USscouts.org – A great online site for merit badge requirements and worksheets
- Patrol Leader Merit Badge Planning Guide – Great guide for the PLC to help decide which MBs to run.
- Merit Badge Counselor Application – The application needed for adults to register as a merit badge counselor.
Info for Adult Merit Badge counselors
Troop adults help increase the ability of our scouts to earn merit badges outside of summer camp. We encourage all parents to assist as merit badge counselors for subjects they are passionate and/or knowledgable about. In order to be a merit badge counselor select decide on up to 10 merit badges you have the knowledge to offer and then complete and turn in the following items to the scoutmaster or designee: