Boy Scouts in the Cradle of Liberty Council earned a total of 13,240 merit badges in 2014. The merit badge program offers boys ages 10 through 17 the opportunity to learn about a wide array of subjects in the areas of sports, crafts, science, trades, and business. Many Scouts discover their future career interests as a result of earning merit badges.
Scouting aims to build character, foster participating citizenship and encourage personal fitness through programs that teach leadership skills and environmental stewardship. As you can see by the list below, many of our Scouts are well on their way to accomplishing these goals and learning skills that will prepare them for life.
Here’s the top 10 merit badges earned in 2014 by Scouts in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware Counties (and how many Scouts earned each):
1. Cooking (557)
The Cooking merit badge introduces principles of cooking that can be used both at home or in the outdoors. Scouts who earn this badge will learn about food safety, nutritional guidelines, meal planning, and methods of food preparation, and will review the variety of culinary (or cooking) careers available. (Side note: volunteers from our very own council helped to rewrite this badge when it became required to become an Eagle Scout in 2014!)
2. First Aid (482)
First aid—caring for injured or ill persons until they can receive professional medical care—is an important skill for every Scout. With some knowledge of first aid, a Scout can provide immediate care and help to someone who is hurt or who becomes ill. First aid can help prevent infection and serious loss of blood. It could even save a limb or a life.
3. Citizenship in the World (430)
Scouts who earn the Citizenship in the World merit badge will discover that they are already citizens of the world. How good a world citizen each person is depends on his willingness to understand and appreciate the values, traditions, and concerns of people in other countries.
4. Swimming (409)
Swimming is a leisure activity, a competitive sport and a basic survival skill. Scouts who earn this badge will learn about safety when swimming and diving, how swimming can contribute to overall fitness and health, and gain some basic competitive swimming skills.
5. Citizenship in the Nation (396)
As Scouts fulfill the requirements for this merit badge, they will learn how to become active citizens who are aware of and grateful for their liberties and rights. They will understand the need to participate in their governments and protect their freedom, helping to defend their country and standing up for individual rights on behalf of all its citizens.
Camping is one of the best-known methods of the Scouting movement. When he founded the Scouting movement in the early 1900s, Robert Baden-Powell encouraged every Scout to learn the art of living out-of-doors. He believed a young person able to take care of himself while camping would have the confidence to meet life’s other challenges, too.
7. Environmental Science (394)
While earning the Environmental Science merit badge, Scouts will get a taste of what it is like to be an environmental scientist, making observations and carrying out experiments to investigate the natural world.
8. Family Life (357)
The family is the basic unit of society and is important to both individuals and communities. The world is rapidly changing, making today’s society much more complex than ever before. As Scouts earn this merit badge, they will realize why it is important to know more about family life and how to strengthen their families.
9. Citizenship in the Community (354)
A nation is a patchwork of communities that differ from each other and may be governed differently. But regardless of how local communities differ, they all have one point in common: In the United States, local government means self-government. Good citizens help to make decisions about their community through their elected local officials.
10. Personal Fitness (339)
Personal fitness is an individual effort and desire to be the best one can be. Regardless of their current levels of personal fitness, in the twelve weeks it will take Scouts to complete the athletic requirements for this merit badge, they will be in better shape, feel better about themselves, have more energy, and gain self-confidence in their overall abilities.
All of the above merit badges are required to become an Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting.