Merit Badge Program
Background and Purposes
As chartered by the Congress of the United States, the Boy Scouts of America is a movement dedicated to supplementing and enlarging the education of youth. The merit badge program, which provides opportunities for youth to explore more than 120 fields of skill and knowledge, plays a key role in the fulfillment of this educational commitment.
A vital part of the BSA's advancement plan, the merit badge program is one of Scouting's basic character-building tools. Through participation in the program (which may begin immediately upon registration in a troop or team), a Scout acquires the kind of self-confidence that comes only from overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal. Instruction is offered in everything from animal science and public speaking to swimming and communications, providing a young man with invaluable career, physical, and interpersonal skills.
Merit Badge Pamphlets
Each merit badge subject is outlined and explained in a pamphlet that contains short introductory information written for Boy Scouts/Varsity Scouts by recognized authorities. More than a million pamphlets are sold yearly, and many are used as approved reference texts in libraries and school curricula.
People who are knowledgeable about the various merit badge subjects are selected, approved, and trained by council and district advancement committees to serve as merit badge counselors. For example, a dentist might be asked to serve as a counselor for the Dentistry merit badge. A counselor must not only possess the necessary technical knowledge but also have a solid understanding of the needs, interests, and abilities of Scouts. A counselor must also be a registered adult with the BSA.
When a Scout has an interest in earning a particular merit badge, he obtains his Scoutmaster's/Varsity Scout Coach's approval and identifies another Scout with similar interests to become his partner. They are then directed to the appropriate merit badge counselor. The counselor reviews the badge requirements with the young men and decides with them what projects should be undertaken and when they should be completed. After the counselor has certified that the Scouts have qualified for the merit badge, it is presented to them at a troop/team meeting and can be applied toward rank advancement.
Badges for Eagle
To qualify for the Eagle Scout Award, Scouting's highest advancement rank, a Scout mustalong with meeting five other requirementsearn a total of 21 merit badges, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving, Environmental Science, Personal Management, Camping, Hiking OR Cycling OR Swimming and Family Life.
To meet the changing interests of boys, new merit badges are added from time to time. In addition, all merit badges are reviewed and revised periodically. The most recent is Composite Materials in 2006. There are 121 merit badges in the merit badge program. Each one has a corresponding merit badge pamphlet, and the series is written with the 12-year-old Boy Scout in mind.
How to Become a Merit Badge Counselor
The merit badge counselor is a key player in the Boy Scout advancement program. Whatever your area of expertise or interestwhether it is a special craft or hobby (basketry, leatherwork, coin collecting), a profession (veterinary medicine, aviation, engineering), or perhaps a life skill (cooking, personal management, communications)as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a young man's curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.
If you are not yet a merit badge counselor, it is easy to become a volunteer! You To qualify as a Merit Badge Counselor, you must:
To volunteer to become a Merit Badge Counselor, or for more information, please submit your information via the following form and our Advancement Chairman will be in touch with you!
Please learn more about the BSA Merit Badge program by checking out the links below! (All links are to external websites.)
|Buffalo Trail Council, BSA
1101 W. Texas Avenue, Midland, Texas 79701
phone 432.570.7601 | fax 432.570.7611