Merit Badge Program

Updated 5/5/14

The Merit Badge program of the Boy Scouts of America is one of the finest educational tools available. Many great careers and exciting hobbies have had their start as a part of the Merit Badge program. BTSR will make every effort to use the program model like you do with your troop at home. Most Merit Badges require more than one short week to complete. However, great progress can be made at camp if the Scout is fully prepared.

Pioneering tower smHere are some key points to consider in your troop’s winter planning.

  1. Share the list of merit badges that will be available at camp with your troop Leaders’ Council, Troop Committee and Scouts. Be sure that the Scout is qualified to take the badge.
  2. Scouts must carefully study and understand all the requirements. YES, he needs a correct copy of the merit badge pamphlet and should read it PRIOR to coming to camp.
  3. Where possible, the Scout should complete the time requirement portion of the requirements before coming to camp.

Merit Badges offered in camp are generally of an outdoor nature. The Council Advancement Committee has designated the various Directors as Merit Badge Counselors and our youth staff as Skills Instructors. The camp staff is not allowed to change, lower or modify any merit badge requirement.

2014 Merit Badge and Class Listing

Click here to download and print a master Merit Badge Schedule (PDF document).

Click here to download and print a master Merit Badge Schedule in Alphabetical Order (PDF document).

NOTE: Any leader attending camp that would like to teach a merit badge that is not listed, but is in their area of expertise, contact the camp director prior to arrival to arrange for you to teach it during the week you attend.


Rifle and shotgun classes are very popular at BTSR. Please ensure your boys are ready to take these classes. Our biggest concern is with Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge. Please make sure your boy is strong enough to pick up, hold, and shoot a shotgun. Some 10 1/2 or 11 year olds are not strong enough to safely hold the gun in a safe direction or to aim properly to qualify for the badge. Please help us ensure the safety and good morale of our campers by encouraging those boys to sign up for another badge. $5 fee for shells in Rifle MB, and $15 fee for shells and clays for Shotgun MB.

The climbing merit badge program at BTSR is second to none. The canyon walls and numerous rock formations create the perfect setting for a Scout to learn what it is like to climb “for real”. (No towers or climbing walls at our camp!) To ensure a quality experience for all participants, the total number of participants will be limited. To participate in this activity, all Scouts must be at least thirteen (13) years old, weigh at least 100 lbs, and have a Class 3 Physical.

Qualified staff will teach the basics of rock climbing and rappelling. Rope work, teamwork, safety and repelling will be the major program emphasis. Equipment such as ropes, gloves, carabineers, helmets, and safety harnesses will be provided. This is a full week course, held in two hour sessions and requires participation every day. Personal or Troop rappelling equipment or rock climbing gear is NOT TO BE BROUGHT OR USED at BTSR!

The Advanced Climbing course is available for those boys that already have the Climbing merit badge and are looking for more adventure. They will have to opportunity to try new climbing and rappelling sites, learn rescue techniques, different types of equipment, and test their abilities at a higher level! This class is offered 2:30 – 4:30 daily.

The Introduction to Climbing course is also new to BTSR. This gives your younger boys, or boys that are not quite ready or heavy enough for the traditional Climbing Merit Badge class. Here they will learn basic climbing and rappelling techniques, and even will do a climb and rappel at Baby Rock. This class is offered from 3:30 – 5:00 daily.

trail2eagleTRAIL TO EAGLE
This may be the best opportunity in Texas for new Scouts to work on the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements. Young Scouts are encouraged to attend one of these sessions to get some valuable instruction time for their requirements to advance in rank. This still allows time for merit badges & free time activities. Scouts will have the opportunity to work on over twenty-five items for these ranks, as well as complete the requirements for the Swimming Merit Badge. Scouts have the following options, depending on their current rank:

Current Rank Session to take Class Times Notes
Tenderfoot or Second Class Tenderfoot & 2nd Class TTE 8:30 – 12:20 Scouts attending this session will work on rank requirements through 1st Class & will complete Swimming and First Aid MB. This still leaves 3 sessions of MB time for the boys. DO NOT TAKE 3:30 TTE CLASS!
2nd Class 1st Class TTE 3:30 – 5:00 Scouts will only work on requirements for 1st class rank. 5 sessions of MB time left.

Trail-To-Eagle has always been a popular program with no shortage of participants every week. Troops sending boys these classes are asked to please send an adult leader to give assistance to the staff. We will have staff members leading the course, but due to sheer numbers it is difficult to maintain control and quality. This is an excellent opportunity for new adult leaders or young leaders to get involved! Also, it will fulfill a requirement for the SM Merit Badge!

New for 2015 will be our dedicated 5,000 square foot Trail To Eagle (First Year Camper) Pavilion with solar power and the best view in camp. This location is second to none for inspiring young Scouts to advance toward Scouting’s highest rank!

DSC_0998 edit smDSC_1047 edit smASTRONOMY
The Astronomy Merit Badge will be taught in different locations around camp during the week in order to get different perspectives of the night and morning sky. The first class will begin immediately following the camp show on Monday at the amphitheater.This is another immensely popular program with class sizes exceeding 100 boys during some weeks! We ask that any Troop with a participant in this class have at least ONE adult leader attend the class with the participants all week. This will expedite roll call and paperwork times and will allow for more quality instruction time. Times and locations of the remaining classes during the week will be announced at the Monday session. In case of inclement weather, other arrangements will be made for the class, so listen closely for announcements during the week.

It is the policy of the Buffalo Trail Council that all trail riders weighing over 250 pounds are not permitted to ride our horses. This is for the safety of both horses and participants. ALL RIDERS MUST WEAR BTSR HELMETS! ALL PARTICIPANTS IN ANY OF OUR HORSE PROGRAMS MUST ALSO HAVE LONG PANTS AS WELL AS CLOSED TOE, STURDY SHOES, whenever in the corrals, barn, or on horseback. This is extremely important to insure the health and safety of all participants and equines. (Pants can be of any material, as long as they reach the ankles.) Please plan ahead and have these items on hand when coming to BTSR. No exceptions can be made.

Free rides are available to all Scouts and leaders beginning immediately following breakfast with the last ride leaving the corrals at about 8:30 am. Scouts will be placed in a saddle before adults to insure that all boys get a chance to have this great experience. Any empty saddles will be filled with adults that wish to ride. Scouts should not skip classes for these rides and should plan in advance to ensure the ride is finished before they have to be in class! Also, all weight limit and apparel guidelines will be enforced for all participants. (See Horse Policy above.)

Horseback riders enjoying Cavalcades at BSTR.A special program has been put together that will allow adult leaders (18 and up) to see the beautiful backcountry of Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch from the back of a horse on the trail! The Head Wrangler, depending on demand, sets times for the ride. Rides are held on Monday or Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, the group will go to the Notch, enjoy scenery of the green trail, and swim. On Wednesday, the group will go to Pig Pen Canyon and enjoy a ride and scenery that not many folks get to enjoy!


Leaders wishing to take part in this program will need to sign up for the rides at the Jersey Lilly and pay for the ticket as well. It will be open to the first 10 that pay. No pre-registration. All requirements listed in the Horse Policy above including weight and apparel must be adhered too. Also, 2 quarts of water per person is required for the ride.

Each Scout who participates in these Merit Badges will also be required to help with the care and feeding of the BTSR livestock. This is one of the requirements to earn the badges and due to feeding schedules, must be completed outside of class time. Each Scout will be required to feed and to help clean the stalls at least once during the week. Assignments will be made by the instructors to fit the boy’s schedules.

Tasks are assigned by qualified Wrangler Staff. Special arrangements may be made when weather or other conflicts arise. Qualified staff members will supervise all feeding and cleaning. Any questions may be directed to the Head Wrangler. Apparel guidelines will be enforced at all of these times.

Due to the astronomical rising costs of feed, livestock, and equipment, a $20 fee per youth for the Horsemanship Merit Badge has been implemented. Adult Leader Trail Rides are $75 per participant (see above). Fees are payable upon arrival to BTSR, through the business office are at the Jersey Lilly Trading Post.

The Totin’ Chip award is required before a Scout can use a pocketknife or take part in the Woodcarving or Cooking Merit Badge. Learning safety and use of the axe, knife, and saw is important in helping a young Scout to be prepared for future campouts. This class will be taught on Sunday after Chapel service and on Monday & Wednesday at 2:30. The Wednesday class will be taught by the Paul Bunyan class in order to fulfill their requirements for their award.

Scouts will complete the requirements for the Firem’n Chit on Tuesdays at 2:30 pm. Adult leader supervision is suggested, especially when class sizes are large.

Paul Bunyan is a three part class with the first session being held at 2:30 on both Monday and Tuesday. On Monday and Tuesday, the Scouts will be instructed in various wood cutting and conservation techniques. On Wednesday, the Scouts will instruct the 2:30 Totin’ Chip class in order to complete requirement 1. Any Scout or leader who does not have a Totin’ Chip, or would like to be a student for the Paul Bunyan award is encouraged to attend.

pot-lipelectrickilns_02HANDICRAFT MERIT BADGES
A variety of Handicraft merit badges are offered throughout the week, some of which only take two days to complete the classroom portion of the class. Scouts will work on their projects in class and in their free time as well. Once they complete their two-day class, they can then work on a related Merit Badge offered at that same time frame, and be able to complete yet another Merit Badge while at camp!


A variety of programs* will be offered throughout the week for Troops and campers to enjoy. Listed below are the programs offered each night.

  • SUNDAY: SPL & SM Meeting
  • MONDAY: Team Spirit HAT DAY, Opening Camp Show
  • TUESDAY: Adventure Race, Free Shoot
  • WEDNESDAY: Chapel, SM Dinner, Skit Night
  • FRIDAY: Picnic Lunch, Closing Campfire & OA Ceremony*subject to change

NOTE: Any leader attending camp that would like to assist in teaching a merit badge offered at BTSR, or to even teach one that is not listed and is in their area of expertise, contact the camp director prior to arrival to arrange for you to help teach it during the week you attend.

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