Top Five Most Surprising Merit Badges Top Five Most Surprising Merit Badges The Boy Scouts' merit badge series is constantly evolving. Older, traditional ones are reevaluated to ensure relevance, engagement and accuracy with today's society. New Boy Scout merit badge proposals funnel to an innovation team who examines the idea from a broad perspective. Questions are considered – Can it be obtained safely? Does it fit in with Scouting values? Is the concept in sync with today's society? – to ensure that all merit badges adhere to a standard of criteria. Sometimes merit badge proposals are good but not enough to make a standalone badge, and they get integrated into the requirements of an existing badge. Environmental Science, for example, covers a wealth of concepts, from endangered animals to ecology to water pollution.If a new merit badge idea passes through the task force, it goes to a panel of about 300-400 kids to find out what they think and their impression of the concept. This youth interest survey is a solid indicator of the need and potential success for a new merit badge – if it ranks high, the idea continues to a team of experts who then make recommendations on the badge's requirements. The standards are modified by an internal program content committee before the badge's adoption into the program. Best case scenario, this timeline is about 60 days but, on average, it can take a year to implement a new merit badge into the BSA program. Scuba Diving Introduced in 2009, the Scuba Diving merit badge is enjoying a wave of popularity among Boy Scouts. The Scuba Diving merit badge requires a significant amount of instruction, time and money to complete. A Scout must first complete several prerequisites – like the Swimming badge and an Open Water Diver Certification – before working towards this merit badge. All phases of the scuba instruction must be completed by a recognized PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) agency, as BSA is not a dive certification agency. Requirements for obtaining the Scuba Diving merit badge also include CPR knowledge, memorization of the Scuba Diver's Code guidelines and a general understanding of the aquatic ecosystem. Geocaching Introduced in 2010, the Geocaching merit badge appeals to a boy scout's thrill in exploration and is taking off in popularity across the nation. The word geocache means, literally, a hiding place on planet Earth. To obtain the badge, a Scout must follow a modern-day treasure hunt – He will properly use an electronic Global Positioning System (GPS) and locate a concealed object. The Scout will also need to identify potential hazards he may face, follow the buddy system, use proper geocaching etiquette and Leave No Trace on his journey. Robotics It took 14 months for the Robotics merit badge to be developed and prepped for its 2011 launch. The requirements to obtain the badge were developed by a team of experts with over 280 years of Scouting experience and 250 years of Robotics knowledge. A Scout working towards this badge will understand how robots move, sense the environment and understand what to do. He will also build a robot and explore the career field to see if it may be a profession of interest. Search and Rescue Introduced in 2012, the Search and Rescue merit badge is primed to become one of the most popular. Scouting is by provision an outdoor program – while there are merit badges that focus on community activism and digital technology, there is still a big desire for the thrill of adventure. A Boy Scout with the Search and Rescue merit badge not only knows First Aid, he can explain the buddy system and the meaning of terms like Incident Action Plan, Evaluating Search Urgency and Scent Item. He can describe the differences between urban, wilderness and water SARs, and had successfully carried out a "hasty search" with his patrol or troop. Kayaking New in 2012, Kayaking is an exciting addition to the merit badge program. It appeals to a boy's active nature, offers training in a skill that can be enjoyed throughout his lifetime, and ties directly to the heart of the Boy Scouts movement – the great outdoors. Some of the requirements to earn the Kayaking merit badge include learning about potential hazards associated with the activity and a wealth of safety equipment, such as a life jacket, signal device, sponge, bilge pump and throw bag. A Scout displaying the Kayaking merit badge on his uniform will be able to explain the major parts of a kayak, talk about the different kinds of kayaks, safely capsize and perform a wet exit, and solo paddle. 1 comments   Get Livefyre FAQ Sign in + Follow Post comment Link Newest | Oldest Kevin Delany Clarke 5pts Swimming; canoeing; leatherworking; citizenship in the community; communications and family life.