The Boy Scout program is for boys who are 11 years old, are at least ten years old and have finished the fifth grade, or are at least ten years old and have earned the Arrow of Light award as a Cub Scout. The purpose of Boy Scouting is the same as it is for Cub Scouts: to help boys grow into good citizens who are strong in character and personally fit. But because they're older, Boy Scouts have a program with more and bigger challenges.
Boy Scouts work together in groups called patrols. The patrol leader is an older boy, not an adult. The Scouts in the patrol elect their patrol leader.
Patrols are part of a troop. The troop has adult leaders, but their job is to give guidance and advice to the Boy Scouts. The Scouts run their own program.
Boy Scouts have exciting outdoor activities. They go on long camping trips and long-distance hikes. They go canoeing and whitewater rafting, and more. They move through the Boy Scout ranks, from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout. They earn merit badges that show many kinds of knowledge and skills. Scouts can also earn special awards for feats of skill, such as completing a mile swim or 50 miles of hiking.
BSA Historic MeritBadge Program
You may have heard rumors that the Historic Merit Badge Program has been canceled. Not true. For the 100th Anniversary Celebration, four vintage merit badges are being released for the centennial celebration year only, giving BoyScouts the hands-on opportunity to experience the exciting past of Scouting while learning how our world has changed in that 100 years.
The four vintage merit badges that will count toward rank advancement are Carpentry, Pathfinding, Signaling, and Tracking. Earning these historical merit badges should be more than just earning another merit badge. The team wants today’s Scouts to get a sense of what Scouts in the 1910's experienced. They want Scouts to earn the merit badges in ways similar to those used by Scouts back then. The world has changed drastically in 100 years, but the fundamental lessons of these merit badges have not. Merit badges have been a fixture of the Boy Scouts of America since its inception in 1910. The requirements that generations of Scouts have completed have taught lifetime citizenship lessons, personal fitness habits, and life skills.
In the spirit of being green and making the program accessible, you won’t be able to get printed materials for the merit badges. Instead, have your Scouts go to scouting.org. You’ll have access to scans of the original pamphlets for each of the four historic merit badges. However, because the language and techniques used in those badges comes from the early 20th century, the BSA has been hard at work crafting supplements that will help put the requirements in a modern context. The site also offers a program implementation guide, a camporee guide, a Boy Scout resident camp guide, a training session guide, press releases, and other materials that councils, districts, and units can use to promote the program.
The effective date for earning these new merit badges is April 1, 2010, and requirements must be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2010.
Information for Boy Scout Adult Leaders