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Merit badges for social distancing: 58 badges Scouts can complete at home

In times of crisis, Scouts find a way to adapt.

We’re hearing from Scouts and leaders across the country who have found creative ways to keep on Scouting even while practicing social distancing (staying home and remaining at least 6 feet from others if you must go out).

Today we wanted to share another way Scouts BSA members can continue their Scouting journey during this period of isolation: by earning merit badges. Below, we have listed 58 merit badges that Scouts can complete from home. The merit badges on the list meet two main criteria:

  • They don’t involve visits to public places or companies.
  • Their requirements can be completed indoors or in an average-size yard.

That eliminates merit badges like Citizenship in the Nation, which includes a visit to a state or federal facility, or Backpacking, which requires three treks of at least 15 miles each.

You will find merit badges that require special materials, like Basketry and Pottery. If you don’t have the necessary supplies at home, move on to the next suggested merit badge.

Lee Rhys is one of those industrious Scout leaders who plans to suggest this idea to his Scouts. The Scoutmaster of Troop 73 of Indianapolis (Crossroads of America Council) says his troop has suspended meetings during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Not all families will have the necessary materials on hand,” Rhys says. “But resourceful Scouts may find ways to overcome these challenges.”

Youth Protection reminder

Remember to review Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse before beginning digital contact between a Scout and a merit badge counselor.

The BSA’s Youth Protection guidelines, including a rule against one-on-one contact, apply to digital communication.

Merit badges for social distancing: reminders

A few things to keep in mind when using this list:

  1. Find a registered merit badge counselor: Scouts should work with their Scoutmaster to identify a merit badge counselor for the badge or badges they want to earn. (Merit badge counselors — either current or future — should read our guide to being a merit badge counselor for some helpful tips.)
  2. Use the official requirements: You’ll find a lot of outdated merit badge requirements online. For the most current and up-to-date requirements, go to the BSA’s official merit badges page.
  3. Understand what made the cut: All 137 merit badges have certain requirements Scouts could complete at home. What makes the list below special is that all of the badge’s requirements can be completed at home.
  4. Have fun: Earning merit badges is one of my favorite parts about Scouting. Other than the merit badges required for Eagle, young people get to pick any merit badge that interests them. That decision should be 100% theirs. If earning a merit badge ever feels like schoolwork … well, you’re doing it wrong.

Merit badges for social distancing: the list

  • American Business
  • American Heritage
  • Animation
  • Art
  • Basketry
  • Bird Study
  • Chemistry
  • Chess
  • Citizenship in the World
  • Collections
  • Composite Materials
  • Cooking
  • Digital Technology
  • Drafting
  • Electricity
  • Electronics
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Family Life
  • Fingerprinting
  • First Aid
  • Game Design
  • Genealogy
  • Graphic Arts
  • Home Repairs
  • Leatherworking
  • Mammal Study
  • Metalwork
  • Mining in Society
  • Model Design & Building
  • Moviemaking
  • Music
  • Nuclear Science
  • Oceanography
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Plant Science
  • Plumbing
  • Pottery
  • Programming
  • Pulp & Paper
  • Railroading
  • Robotics
  • Salesmanship
  • Scholarship
  • Sculpture
  • Search & Rescue
  • Soil & Water Conservation
  • Space Exploration
  • Stamp Collecting
  • Sustainability
  • Textile
  • Theater
  • Weather
  • Wilderness Survival
  • Woodcarving
  • Woodwork

Your advice?

What creative ways have you seen Scouts complete merit badges at home? Share your comments below.

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