Troop 20 Merit Badge Thoughts
The Troop emphasizes that first year scouts spend most of their Tuesday night meeting times working on Advancement or Patrol Activities but many first year scouts choose to do some Merit Badges on weekends or late afternoons and it is a good way to build camaraderie within the age group. As Scouts move through First Class Rank (normally 7thgrade or so), they are expected to start working on Merit Badges for Advancement and some Tuesday night program time is dedicated to Merit Badge Requirements or integrated into the other activities. The Troop tries to make sure that most Eagle required Merit Badges needed for Advancement are available and taught by very qualified Troop Counselors. Some will be offered during Tuesday nights and others will be offered on their own schedule. We have developed a timing, as shown below, that seems to work well with most scouts but any Scout is welcome to pursue Merit Badges as they would like and in consultation with the Scoutmaster.
There are many fun badges to do. Great ones for this are some of the vendor, non-profit, and corporate offered ones (Movie Making (Microsoft), Railroading (Botanic Gardens), Engineering (Harley Davidson), or ones that you work individually with a Troop or Council Counselor – see the websites or check with the Merit Badge Chairs. Rifle Shooting, Shotgun Shooting, Archery, and Craft Badges (metal working, leather working etc.) are easily done at Camp Ma-ka-ja-wan.
Eagle-required merit badges – generally taken outside the Troop
Environmental Science – is often times offered by Non-profits in the area. It is wise to check how thoroughly they are teaching the Badge. This is an Eagle Required Badge that should take some time. Boys need to earn Environmental Science or Sustainability.
Emergency Preparedness – is often taught very well by Northwestern on a weekend (need to have First Aid Merit Badge as a prerequisite). Boys need either Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving.
Lifesaving – boys that earn this badge generally earn it during summer camp.
Sustainability – this is a newer merit badge (circa 2013). Troop 20 has not taught this badge, nor is it available at Ma-ka-ja-wan. Interested scouts should contact their ASM for more information.
Swimming is very easily done at Camp Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan. The Troop normally has a swimming Counselor but access to a pool during the School year is harder.
Eagle-required merit badges – generally taught by Troop resources
First Aid – Normally taught in the winter by Troop parents who are Doctors/nurses to 6thGraders/First Year Scouts in 4-6 classes of 1.5 hours each that take place before the Troop meetings on Tuesdays. Scheduled to coincide with the First Aid Rally Training that takes place during the Tuesday meetings.
Cooking – Normally taught by Troop Parents in 7thgrade year and into the 8thgrade year. Integrated into monthly camping and Tuesday meetings. Parts can include preparing the Thanksgiving Dinner cooked on grills and served at the Devils Lake Campout.
Camping – Normally taught by Troop Parents in 7thgrade year and into 8thgrade year. This takes multiple nights of camping and often takes multiple years to finish.
Communication – Normally taught by Troop Parents no earlier than 7thgrade year and onwards. Helping run the Courts of Honor normally helps fulfill requirements in this badge.
Citizenship in the Nation / Community / World – Normally taught by Troop Parents with special expertise to 8thgrade (coincides with US History in School) or older Scouts. This has been taught to younger students but they get more out of it if they have either had US History or are very informed on current events/history. They are normally held in multiple weekend classes in mid-winter.
Personal Fitness – Normally supervised by a Troop Parent. This badge requires fitness benchmarking, the development of an improvement plan, and execution of that plan. This badge is taught at least once a year in time slots before regular Tuesday meetings.
Family Life – Normally supervised by a Troop Parent in Spring 8thgrade (“Merit Badge Period”) and onwards. Among other items, the Badge covers issues of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, sexual activity, finances, manners, and how to be a good father.
Personal Management – – Normally taught by a Troop Parent during the Spring “Merit Badge Period” and best if done no earlier than 8thGrade. Subjects covered include loan interest, budgeting, comparison shopping, charitable giving, investments, personal scheduling, project planning, and career thinking.