The hallmark of a Boy Scout is the merit badge program. Merit badges signify that a Boy Scout has exhibited tenaciously Scout spirit and determination to complete all requirements to fully realize and hone a specific skill. Merit badges are earned by the Scout’s own deeds and actions, and require the guidance and signature of a merit badge counselor.
To earn the rank of Eagle, Boy Scouts are required to earn 21 merit badges with the following now being required:
- First Aid
- Citizenship in the Community
- Citizenship in the Nation
- Citizenship in the World
- Personal Fitness
- Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
- Environmental Science
- Personal Management
- Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling
- Family Life
Scouts are urged to contact their Scoutmaster and/or Council to find merit badge counselors BEFORE beginning work on a merit badge. Many merit badges REQUIRE previous permission from the counselor before beginning the process.
A very helpful guide to earning merit badges is www.meritbadge.org. Here Scouts can preview what requirements are needed, and download worksheets to help along the way. All merit badges have books that help to guide the Scout. Many of these books are available through Pack 358. Simply ask the leadership team to borrow a book. However, you can also purchase books at official Scout retail venues.
In addition to merit badges, Boy Scouts can work toward other awards. Some of the most popular include:
- The Firem’n Chit required before any Scout is able to build or manipulate a camp fire.
- The Totin’ Chip required before any Scout is able to wield a knife or axe.
- Leave No Trace which shows a Scout’s mastery of conservation.
- Religious Emblems demonstrate the Scout’s dedication to his faith.
For a more complete look at awards, click here to visit the official BSA page.