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Enhancing our youths’ competitive edge through merit badges

There is more to merit badges than simply providing opportunities to learn skills. There is more to them than an introduction to lifetime hobbies, or the inspiration to pursue a career—though these invaluable results occur regularly. It all begins with a Scout’s initial interest and effort in a merit badge subject, followed by a discussion with the unit leader or designated assistant, continues through meetings with a counselor, and culminates in advancement and recognition. It is an uncomplicated process that gives a Scout the confidence achieved through overcoming obstacles. Social skills improve. Self-reliance develops. Examples are set and followed. And fields of study and interest are explored beyond the limits of the school classroom.

The merit badge itself is a simple embroidered patch.The intangible end result of earning it, though, is that youths have fun while they gain self-confidence and achieve a goal, sometimes overcoming obstacles and solving problems. There are more than 130 merit badges a Scout can earn. Subjects range from careers and life skills to hobbies, sports, and citizenship. You may ask yourself, “That’s all great, but what do I do, and how do I do it?”


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