Scout Merit Badge Books

Merit Badge books c 1960sBoy 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

1963 Boy Scout RequirementsMy 1963 Boy Scout Requirement book lists the merit badges needed to advance to Star, Life and Eagle ranks. I made it to Life before I was distracted by girls and newspapering.

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

Boy Scout Merit Badge books c 1960sTomorrow I’ll run a 1971 list of all the merit badge in the SE Missouri district. You’ll recognize lots of names.

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.

One Reply to “Scout Merit Badge Books”

  1. You made a statement about the lack of agricultural badges that is not accurate. You stated, “In fact, the only remaining agricultural badge is Farm Mechanics.” They have simply combined the animal husbandry into a single badge, Animal Science. My family just picked up the pamplet, copywrite 2016, on July 2, 2022. A look at the requirements shows that it does indeed cover the purchase, care, and breeding of beef & dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, and poultry. The first paragraph states, “Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, hogs, poultry, and other domesticated animals are important to people for many reasons. They supply us with food and clothing, we use them for regreational purposes, they work with and for us.” It seems good enough for our micro-farming scout who raised his own quail as a Webelo.

    Also, the buddy system and 2-deep leadership is to ensure that scouts are safe. Many scouts had been abused in the past and people who are currently involved with scouting are dedicated to making sure that never happens again.

    Below is the current list of merit badges with links at the bottom for each pamplet if anyone wishes to explore Animal Science and others.

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