New Merit Badges for 2009 & 2010

Posted on 13 August 2009 by admin

Merit Badge SashThe National Council has been putting out the word to Councils about some new Merit Badges coming soon! Rumors of the majority of these being in developed starting surfacing back in March, but now they have been approved.

So far we’ve heard about the following merit badges:

Robotics merit badge approved. Requirements under development. Debut expected spring 2010.

GPS/GIS merit badge approved. Requirements under development. Debut expected early 2010.

Scouting Heritage merit badge has been approved. Requirements under development. Debut expected later this year

Scuba merit badge has been approved. Requirements under development. Debut expected late this year.

What do you think about these new merit badges?

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41 Comments For This Post

  1. Len Jaffeq Says:

    A bunch of my scouts are on robotics teams at their schools, so that one should be popular in our troop.

    I think we’ll get some interest in the GPS/GIS MB, as we’ve got some geocachers too.

  2. Adam Says:

    I think GPS and Scuba are both long overdue. Scouting Heritage also seems to be going along with the Centennial just like the new handbook.

  3. Jan Baland Says:

    WOW! Cool! (So long as safety measures are observed for Scuba)

  4. Jeff Rocklein Says:

    I like the Scouting Heritage merit badge…We can teach the scouts about the good old days, when the uniform, badges, and equiptment were made in the USA! Unlike today -there made in china where scouting is not alowed!
    way to go BSA, was in worth the savings to sell-out? Is this “Doing your best to, do your duty, to god and my COUNTRY”???

  5. toomuchcountry Says:

    Scubing will be cool I suppose, but not sure many scouts in the heartland will have much opportunity to earn it. I’d like to see BSA also offer a caving / spelunking one. I believe there is one for venture crew, but I think regular rank scouts should be able to earn an MB for it as well.

  6. Chris Cancilla Says:

    Excellent! These will keep some of the older scouts interested…and give the younger scouts something to look foreward to…

  7. Steve Fee Says:

    It would be nice if people put sources as to where the information comes from. Otherwise this is useless information.

  8. Dan Says:

    Unfortunately the majority of the information is not available to the general public. When I can direct readers to a source I try to include that information. In this case it was internal communication from National to the Councils; there have been no official releases about it yet.

    Shortly you should see the information on Council websites and in newsletters. Some Councils have already made reference to it on Social Media sites, such as twitter.

  9. Trevor Says:

    I would love all of those merit badges, those are all of my hobbies, except scuba, i don’t know how to do that.

  10. Bob Says:

    The guide to safe scouting only permit scuba for older scouts (14 and above) so it is sort of a perk for the older scouts. Without seeing the requirements, it is difficult to see where it fits with BSA Scuba. I had a blast doing an intro course at Powder Horn and my crew will be trying it out at the end of this month!!

  11. Glen Says:

    I like the sounds of the new merit badges, but what badges are they going to be replacing?

  12. Bob Bowen Says:

    Scuba diving will be an excellent opportunity for Scouts to explore that which land Scouts rarely had a chance to envision other than on TV. People in the Midwest, diving in rock quarries, can look forward to seeing up close the game fish they have stalked with line and reel for so long. Excellent decision! Thoughts from a Midwest life-long Scouter and Scuba Instructor.

  13. JT Says:

    Which ones go away?

  14. Karen Lintala Says:

    So, if there is a SCUBA Badge, where are the requirements, and why would they be diferent from the ones for the patch?

    I have 6 boys who layed out cash at summer camp to get the SCUBA course and it seems ridiculous that I will be awarding them a patch at our upcoming court of honor and there is a badge announcement.

    I think your timing is poor. You should have decided what the nuances are between the patch and the badge. The requirements for the patch should count toward the requirements for the badge. After all, money is tight, I know you already know that.

    Same complaint for Snorkling.

  15. Dan Says:

    The Scuba Merit Badge was released this week. A post will be made later today with some of the details.

  16. Dennis Says:

    The Gps badge will be fun, I have taught geocaching several times at Merit badge college & University of Scouting. Robotics and the others sound good as well

  17. dave Says:

    Scuba is long overdue. The requirements have been published. The Guide for Safe Scouting is being revised so that Scouts younger than 14 may participate. We have been struggling with ways to keep our older (15+)Scouts interested in scouting, and give them some more robust activities to participate in. This ought to be a BIG hit with our boys. As soon as I heard this, I enrolled in the PADI Instructor Development Course so that I may teach this to our scouts at camp next year. The main requirement of the badge is that a student go through all the things necessary to obtain Open Water Certification. That’s MUCH more than is necessary for the Scuba BSA patch (which will stay). Much lesser requirements.

  18. JT Says:

    SCUBA requires open-dive certification — that’s a very pricy requirement. It’s no coincidence that PADI pushed this; they’ll be the financial beneficiaries. I think the SCUBA requirements are far too strict. Merit Badges are supposed to be about giving a boy an introduction. Open dive certification is NOT an introduction.

  19. Ron Says:

    In addition to the news above, I overheard that there was talk about
    re-releasing some of the “old time” MBs from the past for the 100th Anniversary. MBs that were mentioned were “Path finding” and “Stalking”. There are others I am told.
    Anyone have info on this? If so please confirm or deny this.

  20. Hauptmann Stoßstange Says:

    I heard about all the new Merit badges and the old ones thye are bringing back at my OA meeting last Thursday, and I think it is pretty cool. Except that I am aging out of Scouts in 2 months and can’t do them…and I ca’t teach them either.
    Scout Heritage

  21. Chris Grasso Says:


  22. Grant Says:

    I think that next year when the robotics merit badge comes out- I’m going for it! And probably scuba divivng next year at summer camp.

  23. Peter Sorensen Says:

    I heard that there was a badge anyone could earn? I know that’s kinda vague – but has anyone heard anything about that? I’m 24 years old, I earned my Eagle Scout rank – but recently heard someone talking about a badge that anyone can earn. Someone let me know!

  24. Dan Says:

    @Peter – They were more then likely talking about “A Year of Celebration”, which has different tracks for Cubs, Boys, Venturers, Adult Leaders, and Alumni.

  25. William Says:

    @Chris Grasso – Learning heritage is an important life skill.
    A lot of harm can/will happen if XYZ’s history isn’t reviewed.

  26. Isaac Says:

    I just completed my Scuba with a man that used to be a treasure hunter as his career. Has coins, wood from Spanish galleons dating back to 1400, and many cool things.

    Anxious for the GPS and scouting heritage badges

  27. Leader1 Says:

    all boring choices. How about if you make Public Speaking or some other worthwhile badge a NEW required badge. Don’t add any more cheesy badges.
    Also, 21 merit badges is very lame. # of badges needed to make Eagle should be 25 now.
    Kids are earning badges way too easily and 6 years of Scouts is long enough to earn more than 21.

  28. JT Says:

    Grant, as far as I know, only the Scout camp on Catalina Island (probably some FL ones, too) offer CERTIFICATION. Many offer Scuba BSA. The badge is not complete, however, unless you become Open Water certified in a course with a certified instructor. I hope camps are not getting confused by this.

    I think the Scouting Heritage is an excellent badge. It teaches research, interviewing, and presentation skills.

  29. B. Goetz Says:

    The new badges sound awesome! Looking forward to my son turning 14 so he can get the merit badge. He has been scuba certified since he was 11, so this year he qualifies for the advanced deep water diver certs. Great timing as we will be heading to Puerto Rico again for more amazing wreck dives.

    Our scouts are waiting for the official release of GPS as they find a great number of opportunities to use it in Gettysburg every year. It will be good for them to receive something for the fun knowledge they have.

    It’s a great day to be a scouter! Happy Scouting. Keep positive and the youth will stay positive with you.

  30. treker Says:

    I agree with leader1. Many merit badges are too easy to earn. Then look at the hiking and backpacking. I took the troop on three shakedowns and a 50 miler. If a boy missed one shakedown he missed the merit badge. We had the boys out for one week and they still could not earn the badge. After 50 miles they know about backpacking. A boy can earn the swimming in one day but it takes several weeks to earn the backpacking and hiking. they are alterantives for the swimming MB,

  31. PSpencer Says:

    I believe open water is an proper level of requirement for the scuba merit badge. Some badges are just intros and others, like swimming and first aid, have a certain level of competence so the boys can be safe when they continue with the activity later.

    Also, scouting heritage may apply to life skills. You can make scouting your profession. I know one university that offers a program or degree in scouting towards that end.

    As we all agree, scouting is great.

  32. William Says:

    I still wish I knew who to contact for a new merit badge idea.
    There is NO Geography Merit Badge, but I really believe Geography
    should be a merit badge. I run across scouts and other people who do not know all the US states and/or couldn’t find X (state) on the US Map.

  33. Scouter Says:

    These look so cool. For just joining scouting i got a lot to look forward if i can get into jambo. They finally have these plus signiling, tracking, pathfinder, and craftworking.

  34. Jim Britt Says:

    I would like to see an Armed Services Merit Badge. Talk about a career field! We don’t want BSA to look para-military as some troops run their program, but it would be good for Scouts to understand basic military chain of command, rank structure, assignments, jobs opportunities, and doing your duty.

  35. Rich Says:

    21 is plenty of Merit Badges to require for Eagle, but the requirements for the badges should be enhanced, and some really easy badges dropped. My son knocked out Basketry in about 2 hours.

    I was looking at some of the older requirements. There used to be an Agriculture Merit badge that required the Scout to raise an acre of corn, and achieve a yield at least 30% greater than the average yield in his county.

    Now THAT is a MERIT badge!

  36. Mike Walsh Says:

    Any news on requirements for the Robotics merit badge? I just completed the FIRST FTC season as a Mentor and would like to sign up with my son’s troop as a counselor for this merit badge.

  37. JEFF Says:


  38. dave Says:

    Most merit badges are about turning rank novices in to beginners, qualified to participate in an activity independantly. Taking a Discover Scuba Diving, or “resort course” doesn’t do that. The divers still must dive with a professional. The Open Water Diver status is the lowest certification level that allows a diver to dive intependantly. Is it a lengthy or expensive requirement for an elective merit badge? Sure! There are easier badges out there than this one, that’s for sure. Fingerprinting and Basketry come to mind. But is it about another merit badge, or learning a lifelong activity that happens to be a badge? That said, should we require a kid to become a licensed pilot (17 is the FAA minimum for powered flight) for Aviation merit badge? Or a licence driver for Traffic Safety? There is something to be said for both of these. I’d draw the line at AMA Board certification for Medicine though! Same thing with Law.

  39. Lou Min Says:

    not for nothing leader1 or treker, but those easy badges are what make the younger boys interested in scouting, as a 16 year old going for his Eagle Boards within the next month, i wouldn’t have earned 40 badges [or better more, the want to do 40 badges] if i hadn’t worked on basketry as a 12 year old; if one of the 5 Year of Celebration ribbons is achievement for a main part of the scouting experience, then older scouts and younger scouts should be able to do, say art or basketry so its easy, the feeling of earning the badge is the same whether you’re 12 or 2 weeks from turning 18… but hey what do i know, im only a scout, not a leader,

    also, i think that scouting heritage should become a required merit badge, except that requirement 4 is a little much, doing all of the listed things costs over $1000 each, and writing to a museum you haven’t been to isn’t a real eye opener for scouts, i think maybe a 500 word essay on places that mean a lot to scouting could be good, like the scouting museum,or talk about any of the High Adventure Bases and what they have to offer,[the Tooth of Time at Philmont, etc.]

  40. 44Eagle Says:

    I like the new merit badges (all of them for 2010/11), alot more than I like the US Mint BSA coin. I’ll refrain from going on about how disappointed I am with it. I’ve already offered to instruct Stalking, opps, rather Tracking for the interested Scouts in my Troop. I noticed some comments about the SCUBA that I wanted to address. SCUBA is a very technical activity that requires alot of training. I don’t think its possible to do SCUBA without actually having the certification (open water diver). You can do scuba at a resort/cruise ship but that’s less likely to be pursued by Scouts (in response to the “introductory” comment by someone). Some merit badges are harder than other, and some require costs that are significant. So long as they are not required, then I think we should continue offering new merit badges that keep boys outside doing fun activities…..did I hear of a video game merit badge? bad idea.

  41. Sam Says:

    I’ve also herd rumors of a “black powder” merit badge so can anybody tell me about that?

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