Boy Scout Program

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Boy Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America. It is available to boys under the age of 18 who meet any of the following qualifications:

  • boys at least 10 years old who have completed the fifth grade
  • boys who are at least 11 years old.
Prior participation in Cub Scouting is not required.

The Boy Scout program is designed to develop a boy's character, citizenship, and personal fitness using the following methods: a structured advancement program, high ideals, the patrol method, outdoor activities, adult association, personal growth, leadership development, and uniforming. This program and development structure is referred to as the Aims and Methods of Scouting.


Structured advancement and recognition


The Boy Scout advancement program is divided into three main areas. The first and primary advancement area is a series of Ranks that the Scout progresses through known as the Eagle Scout trail. The rank system occurs in two distinctly different phases.

After earning the Scout Badge (which is simply the way boys join Boy Scouts, not a rank), boys work on the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. During this phase, all three ranks may be worked on at the same time. These ranks focus on Scouting skills - the outdoors, physical fitness, citizenship, patrol/troop participation, and personal development. After completing these ranks, a Scout should be adept at participating in all of the activities in the Boy Scout program, literally a First Class Scout.

During the second phase, Scouts work on the Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout ranks. These ranks are worked on one at a time and must be earned in order. Here the focus of advancement switches from Scouting skills to personal development and community service. Merit badges are an integral part of this part or rank advancement.

After earning the Eagle Scout award, a Scout still has the opportunity for advancement recognition by earning Eagle Palms.

Merit badges

Merit badges are the second main area of the Boy Scout advancement program. Unlike ranks, there is a degree of choice in the merit badge program. A sub-group of merit badges are known as Eagle required merit badges (listed in bold in the table below). To earn Eagle Scout, most of these badges must be earned although some of them are optional. The remainder of the badges help with earning ranks as well as Eagle Palms after the Eagle Scout award has been earned.

Boy Scouts may work on merit badges from they time they join a Scout troop until they turn 18 years old. There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18. Merit badges currently available to Boy Scouts include:

List of current Merit Badges

The following are all the Merit Badges currently offered by the Boy Scouts of America:

  1. American Business
  2. American Cultures
  3. American Heritage
  4. American Labor
  5. Animal Science
  6. Animation
  7. Archaeology
  8. Archery
  9. Architecture
  10. Art
  11. Astronomy
  12. Athletics
  13. Automotive Maintenance
  14. Aviation
  15. Backpacking
  16. Basketry
  17. Bird Study
  18. Bugling
  19. Camping
  20. Canoeing
  21. Chemistry
  22. Chess
  23. Citizenship in the Community
  24. Citizenship in the Nation
  25. Citizenship in the World
  26. Climbing
  27. Coin Collecting
  28. Collections
  29. Communication
  30. Composite Materials
  31. Cooking
  32. Crime Prevention
  33. Cycling
  34. Dentistry
  35. Digital Technology
  36. Disabilities Awareness
  37. Dog Care
  38. Drafting
  39. Electricity
  40. Electronics
  41. Emergency Preparedness
  42. Energy
  43. Engineering
  44. Entrepreneurship
  45. Environmental Science
  46. Family Life
  47. Farm Mechanics
  48. Fingerprinting
  49. Fire Safety
  50. First Aid
  51. Fish and Wildlife Management
  52. Fishing
  53. Fly Fishing
  54. Forestry
  55. Game Design
  56. Gardening
  57. Genealogy
  58. Geocaching
  59. Geology
  60. Golf
  61. Graphic Arts
  62. Hiking
  63. Home Repairs
  64. Horsemanship
  65. Indian Lore
  66. Insect Study
  67. Inventing
  68. Journalism
  69. Kayaking
  70. Landscape Architecture
  71. Law
  72. Leatherwork
  73. Lifesaving
  74. Mammal Study
  75. Medicine
  76. Metalwork
  77. Mining in Society
  78. Model Design and Building
  79. Motorboating
  80. Moviemaking
  81. Music
  82. Nature
  83. Nuclear Science
  84. Oceanography
  85. Orienteering
  86. Painting
  87. Personal Fitness
  88. Personal Management
  89. Pets
  90. Photography
  91. Pioneering
  92. Plant Science
  93. Plumbing
  94. Pottery
  95. Programming
  96. Public Health
  97. Public Speaking
  98. Pulp and Paper
  99. Radio
  100. Railroading
  101. Reading
  102. Reptile and Amphibian Study
  103. Rifle Shooting
  104. Robotics
  105. Rowing
  106. Safety
  107. Salesmanship
  108. Scholarship
  109. Scouting Heritage
  110. Scuba Diving
  111. Sculpture
  112. Search & Rescue
  113. Shotgun Shooting
  114. Signs, Signals, and Codes
  115. Skating
  116. Small-Boat Sailing
  117. Snow Sports
  118. Soil and Water Conservation
  119. Space Exploration
  120. Sports
  121. Stamp Collecting
  122. Surveying
  123. Sustainability
  124. Swimming
  125. Textile
  126. Theater
  127. Traffic Safety
  128. Truck Transportation
  129. Veterinary Medicine
  130. Water Sports
  131. Weather
  132. Welding
  133. Whitewater
  134. Wilderness Survival
  135. Wood Carving
  136. Woodwork

Note: Merit badges shown in bold italics are Eagle-required merit badges.


Awards are the third area of the advancement. Unlike the first two areas or advancement, awards are completely optional. However, they are still an important part of the program providing opportunities not available in the other areas. Awards currently available to Boy Scouts include:

Venture Patrol
Honor Awards
Unit Awards

Varsity Scouts and qualified Venturers may earn Boy Scout awards.
List of all Scouting Awards
Scouter Awards for leaders

See also

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