Boy Scout merit badges are designed to allow boys to learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business and future careers. There are more than 100 badges these days, many of which weren’t even on the drawing board in the mid-60s when I was earning them.
The ones that are missing are equally interesting. The current list doesn’t include Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Beef Production, Beekeeping, Botany, Corn Farming, Cotton Farming, Dairying, Farm Arrangement, Forage Crops, Fruit and Nut Growing, Hog Production, Pigeon Raising, Poultry Keeping, Rabbit Raising, Sheep Farming, and Small Grains. In fact, the only remaining agricultural badge is Farm Mechanics.
Another indication of how times have changed is this requirement: “You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor. This person can be another Scout, your parents or guardian, a brother or sister, a relative, or a friend.”
Badges needed to advance in rank
I ended up with more than 21 merit badges, but I tended to go after ones I was interested in rather than what was required. Brothers David and Mark were more diligent: they both made Eagle.
Merit badge counselors
Photo gallery of merit badge books
We had a whole shelf of Scout books in the basement. Here are some of the merit badge books that were much-thumbed. They were great references, even if you weren’t working on a particular badge. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.