By Boy Scouts of America
Aug 19, 2014

The Merit Badge Maintenance Task Force: At Your Service

Guide to Advancement

This article first appeared in the April-May 2014 Issue of Advancement News

The National Advancement Committee’s Merit Badge Maintenance Task Force is dedicated to keeping the entire merit badge library up-to-date, relevant, and interesting for our Scouts. Experts in every field, both in and out of Scouting, are sought to review and make recommendations to improve each badge. However, we still need YOU!

Scouts and Scouters often write to merit.badge@scouting.org seeking answers to their merit badge questions, or to offer recommendations to improve certain badges. The suggestions—always welcomed—sometimes lead to changes in requirements and also to the information in the pamphlets that supports the requirements. And merit badgesvery now and then a series of suggestions may lead to a major overhaul, such as those included in the recently revised Cooking merit badge.

As comments come in, a staff member reads and acknowledges receipt of each message. Sometimes it may only entail an answer to a question, but in the case of recommended changes, it may be assurance that the idea or suggestion will be forwarded to the Merit Badge Maintenance Task Force for consideration.

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The current Boy Scout Requirements book is available from your local Scout Shop. It may also be ordered online at www.scoutstuff.org . You can also access requirements at  Introduction to Merit Badges

The task force reviews each submission, and occasionally may follow up to ask for clarification. Of course, not every suggestion is accepted, but all are reviewed and considered.

Although the members of the task force are located all over the country, they meet regularly via teleconference. When they agree that a change or revision to a merit badge is needed, the task force will present it to the National Advancement Committee for approval, or send it to another task force responsible for major overhauls.

Changes approved by the National Advancement Committee are forwarded to the national editorial staff for inclusion in the next printing of the merit badge pamphlet and in the next annual . The process is thorough and thoughtful, but each begins with input or a suggestion from a volunteer somewhere in the country.

Who knows? Maybe you will be the next person who suggests a better way that a merit badge can “enhance our youth’s competitive edge.”

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