After a rather sputtering start, the historical merit badge program is finally live and ready to go.
In honor of their 100th Anniversary, BSA brought back four historic merit badges. There were plenty of discontinued merit badges to choose from, but the winning four are:
Tracking (all introduced in 1911 and discontinued in 1952)
and Signaling (the longest running merit badge of the group, beginning in BSA’s debut year of 1910 and not falling out of the program until 1992)
Grab these up while you can. These historical merit badges are available this year only. That means all requirements must be completed in the year 2010, because after December 31st it’s bye-bye badges.
The idea of these badges is to give boys a taste of life in BSA’s earlier days. They’re asked to imagine what life was like in 1910. For the Pathfinding merit badge, scouts learn how to get around in their town but they also learn something of their town’s history. For Carpentry, boys are encouraged to fulfill their requirements the old-fashioned way (i.e. without power tools).
(Which is fine for the boys, but don’t ask me to do things the old-fashioned way. I’m rather fond of my washer and dryer.)
Since these merit badges are available for such a short time, BSA won’t be printing any merit badge booklets. Requirements are at the official site along with scans of the original merit badge booklets.
Now these are cool. If you have any doubt about the value of the merit badge booklets (then or now) these scans should change your mind. And if you want to know how to make an old-fashioned “candle light fixture,” page 17 of the Carpentry merit badge booklet is waiting for you.
One last little side note. The Tracking merit badge used to be called the Stalking Merit Badge.
They changed the name for obvious reasons.