Merit Badges or Fun?

Getting ready for summer we are looking at the merit badges offered at camp.  It has been a long standing rule of mine that Scouts in their first year at camp take at least one Eagle Required merit badge.  Something like Environmental Science or First Aid.  Beyond that, First year Scouts should spend at least a half hour at the Trail to First Class station.  I want those first year Scouts to find a good balance between merit badges/advancement and fun.  

There is always so much to do at summer camp that I want all the Scouts to enjoy their experience.  I am trying to provide that opportunity for our Scouts to go to camp and develop strong bonds with their buddies and memories that last forever.
Spending all their time consumed with merit badges, while it pays in the end for rank, it does little for memories and adventure.  Unless of course they are merit badges like climbing, sailing and the like.
I have learned over the years that about 5 merit badges is about the maximum when we are talking about a good balance between fun and work at camp.  Those Scouts that spend more time working on merit badges than hanging out at the water front collecting lizards or heading out to an out post have a far less summer camp experience.  Those Scouts that work a few good merit badges but have a blast in the program areas come home with countless stories and memories that they take with them forever.
So find a balance at camp.  Yes praise the work of those Scouts that work hard and complete merit badges.  But encourage the experience of Summer camp and build lasting memories… in the end they will be far more important than a badge.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. Some day I'll have a group of Scouts who will take me up on the offer that they ca spend their week building a fort or something rather than working on badges – I have to practically beg the older guys to do something like the COPE program instead of Merit Badges.


  2. Of course merit badges are important, but I encourage Scouts to take as much First Class Adventure as necessary/able to get them to First Class before sweating merit badges too much.


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