Sunday, June 20, 2010

Inventing Merit Badge Released. First badges awarded

Boy Scouts and Lemelson-MIT Program introduce Inventing merit badge

Inventing-pamphlet The inventive spirit of young people burst onto the scene today in Cambridge, Mass., as hundreds gathered to see the first awarding of the Boy Scouts of America's new Inventing merit badge to 50 Scouts from the Boston area.

The ceremony was a part of EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Part of the program's mission is to inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers through innovation.

“Throughout the Boy Scouts of America’s rich, 100-year history, merit badges have given Scouts an opportunity to experience and learn about a variety of hobbies and professions," he said. "We are very excited about the Inventing merit badge and what the future holds as Scouts use the tools learned while working on the requirements to help make the world a better place."

One of those merit badges from the BSA's 100-year history was the similarly named Invention merit badge. The badge was discontinued in 1915 after only 10 boys had earned it. The reason for its low popularity? The main requirement told boys to "Invent and patent some useful article." Receiving a product patent is not an easy feat in any generation.

Even though an official merit badge recognizing invention has been dormant for 95 years, the idea of innovation has been fully alive in the Scouting program over the past century. Whether it's a Boy Scout creating a useful camp gadget out of wood and rope or a Cub Scout tuning the aerodynamics on his pinewood derby car, Scouts never stop innovating.

Ready to introduce Inventing merit badge to your troop? Start with the official requirements, available here.

Note: The numbering of the requirements as listed on BSA's web site is incorrect (each subsection is numbered as a separate requirement). The link above, to the version on the US Scouting Service project web site, shows the correct requirements numbering.

Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
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