A merit badge represents a scout's accomplishments and interest above and beyond regular scouting activities. Merit badges allow scouts to learn skills and information not covered in the regular scouting program or to go more in depth in an area that is covered (e.g. Camping merit badge). A scout is required to earn a total of 21 merit badges before reaching the rank of Eagle. Merit badges are also required for advancement to the ranks of Star and Life.
Acquiring Badges[edit | edit source]
Scouts can work on badges on their own during the Troop Year or earn them at summer camp. At camp, a scout must attend the merit badge course and complete all the requirements to receive a 'blue card'. Within the Troop, the scout must contact the Troop's merit badge counselor and discuss the badge. The scout must then complete the requirements and get the counselor to sign off on the requirements and receive a blue card. After receiving the blue card from either source, the scout must go to and pass a Board of Review.
Merit Badge Books[edit | edit source]
There is a book for every merit badge and each book consists of a list of requirements and information on the subject that will help a scout complete the badge. The BSA just recently updates all the merit badge books and they are all now in color, have relevant pictures, and contain more in-depth information. A book must be brought to the Board of Review otherwise the Board Examiners cannot test the scout on the information. Scouts can either borrow the book from the Troop's library (if available) or purchase one from the Scout Shop.
Worksheets[edit | edit source]
Worksheets are packets that aid a scout in acquiring badges. They can be found here. There are worksheets for every merit badges and these worksheets provide a place for scouts to record all the answers and relevant information for the badge requirements. They are incredibly useful tools to help prepare scouts for the Board of Review. Scouts are allowed to bring the worksheets and other notes to the BOR, but are not allowed to use them as an answer key.
Required Badges[edit | edit source]
While a scout is free to earn badges that interest him, a scout must acquire thirteen specific badges in addition to at least eight other elective badges to reach Eagle.
The required badges are:
- Environmental Science or Sustainability
- Family Life
- Citizenship in the Community
- Citizenship in the Nation
- Citizenship in the World
- Personal Management
- Personal Fitness
- First Aid
- Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving
- Swimming, Hiking, or Cycling
Eagle Required Merit Badges in 2014[edit | edit source]
Cooking, a merit badge which was removed from the required list, will once again become an Eagle required merit badge and undergo revisions to its requirements which will take effect January 1, 2014.
In addition to those changes, Scouts will have the option to take another merit badge called Sustainability. This badge will be paired with Environmental Science. Scouts can choose between Environmental Science or Sustainability similar to the choice between Emergency Preparedness of Lifesaving. This too will go into effect January 1, 2014.