There are over 131 merit badges currently approved by the BSA. Merit badges encourage Scouts to explore areas that interest them and to teach them valuable skills in Scoutcraft. Scouts earn a merit badge by satisfying specified criteria and receive their badge at the next a Court of Honor. Scouts must earn a total of 21 merit badges for the Eagle Scout rank, 13 of which must be from a mandatory list.
You can start a merit badge either (1) by yourself, (2) with a Troop 990-run program, (3) at a BSA camp, or (4) at an approved Scout program like Merit Badge University.
Starting on merit badges yourself:
Merit badges, particularly a number of Eagle required merit badges will be offered by Troop 990 on a rotating two year schedule. Watch for email annoucements of merit badge programs which will also be posted in the events section on the troop calendar.
Approved Scout merit badge programs in addition to the Troop 990 program:
Print & Use MB Workbooks: Print and fill out the Merit Badge Workbooks for badges you are working on. They will help to keep your work in order and will facilitate faster counselor reviews. Here's the link to all workbooks: http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badge_Worksheets
Merit Badge Completion Nights: Attend Merit Badge Completion nights offered by Troop 990 two to four times per year where counselors review/approve completed requirements &/or badges. The announcement of an upcoming Merit Badge Completion night is a great "flag" to go to work and finish up partials..and get them finished! More information:
http://troop990.org/sites/default/files/MB Completion Night How it Works.pdf
List of ALL Merit Badges, including list of Eagle Required Merit Badges: http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badges
Scouts working on obtaining the rank of Eagle must earn 21 merit badges. 13 of these must come from the list below.
List of Eagle Required Merit Badges
Scouts can earn Eagle required merit badges on their own under the guidance of a counselor, but T990 recommends the following venues based on past experience.
|Badge||Best Venue||Best Earned||Comments|
|Camping||T990 and Summer Camp||Early||Scouts who attend T990 events regularly should be able to earn this badge within the first two years of joining|
|Citizenship in the Community||Merit Badge University||Anytime||Scouts can start these badges at MBU, but will not complete all the requirements. T990 has dedicated counselors to assist scouts in final completion. All three required.|
|Citizenship in the Nation||Merit Badge University||Anytime|
|Citizenship in the World||Merit Badge University||Anytime|
|Communication||T990 / Merit Badge University||Anytime||Start at MBU, complete the rest through troop/school/home activities|
|Cooking||T990 / Merit Badge University||Anytime.||Start at MBU, complete the rest trhough troop/school/home activities|
|Environmental Science||Hornaday Weekend/Camp/ Aquarena Spring||Anytime||Takes most of the weekend and registration fills up quick, but is a strong and fun program|
|Family Life||T990 / Merit Badge University||Anytime||See comments on Citizenship. Min. time: 13 weeks|
|First Aid||Summer Camp||Early||Discussion of first aid skills is included in most SM Conferences|
|Lifesaving (best) or Emergency Preparedness||Summer Camp||Anytime||Great badge offered every summer. Emergency Prep is much more difficult to earn.|
|Personal Fitness||T990||Early||Great badge to teach young scouts how to focus on a lengthy badge Min. time: 13 weeks|
|Personal Management||T990||Later||More sophisticated content. Classroom, application and research based. Min. time: 13 weeks|
|Swimming (best) or Hiking or Cycling||T990 / Summer Camp||Early||Ideal for group sessions, and is 1st Eagle badge for many scouts. T990 has many water-based activities.|