Archive for the ‘Merit Badges’ Category

Tonight, our Troop Committee Chair presented a talk to the scout leaders who attended the Boy Scout Round Table on Genealogy.  Unfortunately I missed it but I am eager to get the details from him.  Buffalo Eagle gave me a list of the links he presented so they could be added at the bottom of this entry.  You’ll find many of the usuals, but there are a few that aren’t mainstream.

I have a huge desire to spark our troops interest in this merit badge.  As with any counselor, it is largely because I personally partake in this research for my own family.  I also think that in this era of kids who don’t seem to think too far past the last text to come into their phone, that they need a gentle reminder of how hard their ancestors worked to get them the technology and lives they enjoy.

While I’m personally more than happy to do the leg work and walk though cemeteries, I’m not sure how much they will want to do.  I would love to have those of you who read this reply with how you have approached this merit badge.

Clayton Geneaological Library of Houston-www.sparc.hpl.lib.tex.us/hpl/clayton.html
Library of Congress- chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/
Royal and Nobal genealogical data- www3.dcs.hull.ac.uk/genealogy/GEDCOM.html

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Historical merit badges help Boy Scouts celebrate Scouting’s past


A merit badge called Computers would sound just a crazy to a 1910 Boy Scout as a merit badge called Tracking sounds to Scouts today. That’s because the BSA’s list of available merit badges has evolved through the years as the interests of boys have changed.

In honor of the BSA’s 100th Anniversary, though, today’s generation of Scouts will get the unique opportunity to experience some of the activities their predecessors enjoyed. That’s possible thanks to the BSA’s new Historical Merit Badge Program, a set of four discontinued merit badges that today’s Scouts can earn.

Boys can earn any or all of these merit badges:


  • First offered in 1910 and discontinued in 1992.
  • Sample requirements: build a simple buzzer or blinker capable of sending Morse code messages, and send a message of at least 35 words; send and receive messages using semaphore flags at a rate of at least 30 letters per minute.


  • First offered in 1911 (as Stalker merit badge) and discontinued in 1952.
  • Sample requirements: recognize the tracks of 10 different animals; give evidence to show you have tracked at least two different kinds of birds or animals, documenting their speed and direction.


  • First offered in 1911 and discontinued in 1952.
  • Sample requirements: be able to guide people to important places within a three-mile radius of your home; submit a scale map of your community.


  • First offered in 1911 and discontinued in 1952.
  • Sample requirements: demonstrate the use of tools, such as a miter and bevel; build a simple piece of furniture for use at home.

Sounds like a blast, right? But there’s one catch: Boys must start and finish all requirements within the year 2010. So if your guys built furniture for their patrol kitchen at last year’s summer camp, they can’t use that product for the Carpentry merit badge. And don’t delay—after Dec. 31, 2010, these merit badges will go back on the “retired” list.

If this is a program you want to bring to your troop, the BSA suggests you track down merit badge counselors soon. For Carpentry, contact a local cabinet-making business. A nearby Homeland Security office could help you with Pathfinding. Signaling would benefit from the help of a local amateur ham radio group. And for Tracking, try your state’s department of natural resources. Those are merely suggestions. Be creative!

For more information, look for a special Web site and a printed guide by the end of the month. That’s where you’ll find the complete requirements for each patch. The BSA also plans to deliver a guide that will help councils and districts host a historical camporee or similar event to offer these merit badges.

The Historical Merit Badge Program gives you the perfect chance to organize exciting activities for your Scouts, while connecting them with the BSA’s rich past. It’s another example of the BSA’s devotion to Celebrating the Adventure, Continuing the Journey.

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Arthur R. Eldred received the very first Eagle Scout badge on Labor Day, 1912. Twenty-three Scouts received the Eagle merit badge award in 1912. Any first-class Scout qualifying for 21 merit badges were entitled to wear the highest Scout Merit Badge, the Eagle. Back in 1912 the Eagle Award was called a merit badge. 


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The Troop will be leaving for BTSR in the Davis mountains in west Texas at the end of the week. The boys and a few adults went through the gear, serviced and washed the trailers, so we would be ready for the trip out there.

BTSR happens to be my favorite camp and this will be my third time there. I will be with the high adventure group at Calvary for the week. The rest of the group will be at base camp while the newer boys will be working on their trail to eagle and the older ones attending MB classes.

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As you all know by now, I, and Troop 483, have gotten rather excited about the notion of getting the Duct Tape Merit Badge officially up and running.   Earlier today, we distributed a petition, a mock merit badge book cover, and the curriculum to each and every district that attended SHAC’s Scout Fair.  We are asking that the DE of each district push this out, via the files above, to every cub scout pack and boy scout troop in their district with directions to have the petitions signed and returned to the DE.  The DE will then get the petitions back to me and I’ll compile them, to submit to National.

For everyone else who reads this blog and lives outside of the Sam Houston Area Council (SHAC), I am asking that you arrange for this in your own council  You can collect them and funnel the scanned petitions through me, or let National receive them Council by Council.  If you have friends in other councils that don’t read this blog..  show them this blog, and tell them about the movement.  Together, we can make this merit badge a reality.  By having cub and boy scouts, as well as leaders, sign the petitions, National will see that there is a future for the merit badge and leaders that would be happy to council it.

As soon as I discover how to actually add files to the side bar, these will be a permanent fixture to this blog.  In the meantime, I want to be sure you all have quick access.  I fully believe that the boy scouts of SHAC have the ability to make this happen.  Let’s not stop with SHAC though, I want all the councils to take this to their troops all around the world.  Don’t let this die.  Put it on your websites!  Put it on your scouting business cards!  Get the news out!  Let’s get these boys a Duct Tape Merit Badge!!

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Each year, our troop volunteers at WTSE (Webelos to Scout Expo) and this year will be no different.  A few adults and several scouts will trek up to Camp Bovay with equipment in hand to build a Pioneer Monkey Bridge.  It never fails to provide a fun excursion for the Webelos who come to visit us.

This is one of those events where the boys become accutely aware of why we pay such close attention to knot tying and following procedure.  It also proivdes a great opportunity to give back to our district.  The added bonus is this project puts the participants on the path to earning their Pioneering Merit Badge.

Above are pictures taken at last year’s event.  Our leaders take time to doublecheck the knots the scouts tie before the boys begin assembling the bridge.  Once it is up, we test it with one of the older boys to be sure it will stand up to the weight of the cub scouts who will soon follow.  Finally, the fun begins for the cub scouts who cross the monkey bridge with spotters on either side.

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We’re all busy gearing up for Ike but this applies to any hurricane!  Be sure to include your scouts in the Emergency Preparation.

They can:

  • Board windows
  • Move yard art / furniture / sporting equipment into the garage
  • Pack if you’re heading out
  • Grub Master!  Who better to plan for potentially picnic / grill cooking than our boy scouts!  They’re better at it than we are and know what is easy to cook outside on the grill if need be.
  • Gather what is necessary to care for your pets
  • Assemble an emergency first aid bag
  • Gathering flashlights / candles / etc in case the power goes out
  • I’m sure there is more!

Put them to work and make sure they keep a list so they can get it check off anything that applies if they’re working on their Emergency Preparedness merit badge.  If they’re not already, Scoutmaster Buffaloeagle said they (the scout!) can send him a quick email that they’d like to start so they can get credit for their ‘not so much of an’ emergency drill.

God Bless and God Speed to all in Ike’s path.  If you’re reading this, you’re most likely associated with Boy Scouts.  If you think about it, you either know what to do or how to figure it out.

Hang in their everyone!  If you’re still in Houston, we’ll see you at Scouts on Monday.

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