Citizenship in Society Merit Badge

On November 1, the Boy Scouts of America launched the Citizenship in Society merit badge, its newest merit badge for youth in the Scouts BSA program (ages 11-17).

In case you’ve heard rumors or seen early reports on this merit badge before its release, let us offer some clarity on what the Citizenship in Society merit badge is. All key facts and information about this merit badge can be found at www.scouting.org/dei. If you hear or read something about the merit badge that is not included on the above-mentioned site, then it’s not connected to the merit badge.

What you will see in the information and approach surrounding this badge:

Like every other merit badge Scouts earn, this merit badge encourages Scouts to embark on a journey of discovery. In this case, it’s a journey of self-discovery. They will explore a variety of topics around diversity, equity and inclusion, and they will discuss how they apply their findings to life as a Scout and good citizen in society.

Though we all come from differing backgrounds, in Scouting, our goals and commitments are the same. We all take the same Scout Oath, and we all follow the same Scout Law. This merit badge aligns with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, which collectively encourage Scouts to respect the beliefs of others, be kind and courteous, and help other people at all times.

What you won’t see in the Citizenship in Society merit badge:

There is no merit badge booklet with prescribed approaches or ideologies. There are no requirements meant to drive a particular response or lead a Scout down a path toward a predetermined conclusion.

The Citizenship in Society merit badge wasn’t developed by one person. In fact, the merit badge was developed by multiple Scouting volunteers, youth, and professional staff working together. Just like every other merit badge, this one connects Scouts with a merit badge counselor who will help facilitate discussion with the Scout as they seek to further understand the topic and the world we live in.

The Boy Scouts of America has a commitment – both to developing a culture where every youth, volunteer, and employee feels a sense of belonging, and to building communities where every person feels respected and valued. The Citizenship in Society merit badge is an important initiative within that larger commitment.

We are grateful to all our volunteers who join us in partnering with families and communities to shape young people of high moral character with greater respect, empathy, and understanding of perspectives, including those different than their own. Thank you again for all you do to support Scouting. Your work is valued and appreciated.

Key Information

  • This November 1, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is launching the Citizenship in Society merit badge, its newest merit badge for youth in the Scouts BSA program (ages 11-17).
  • BSA merit badges give Scouts opportunities to learn more about the world we live in and are earned through completing a series of guided activities and tasks. The new Citizenship in Society merit badge encourages Scouts to explore information on diversity, equity, inclusion, and ethical leadership, and learn why these qualities are important in society and in Scouting.
  • Scouts will conduct research, explore resources on their own, have conversations with merit badge counselors, peers, parents and community members and identify actions they can take to ensure inclusivity and to act as upstanders.
  • The Citizenship in Society merit badge aligns with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, which collectively encourages Scouts to respect the beliefs of others, to be kind, courteous, and to help other people at all times.
  • The Citizenship in Society merit badge builds upon existing merit badges, including the American Cultures, Citizenship in the Community, Disability Awareness and American Heritage merit badges, which require Scouts to learn and grow their understanding of diverse perspectives and spur positive action.
  • The merit badge was developed carefully and thoughtfully by BSA’s Office of Diversity and Youth Development Office, with input from a dedicated group of Scouting volunteers, BSA youth and professional staff, and pairs Scouts with a merit badge counselor who will help facilitate discussion with the Scout as they seek to further understand the diverse world we live in.
  • Starting July 1, 2022, the merit badge will be required for any youth seeking to achieve the prestigious Eagle Scout rank.  Scouts who complete ALL of their requirements for Eagle, including their Eagle Scout project, AND have all of their paperwork submitted and verified on or before June 30, 2022 may earn the Citizenship in Society Merit Badge but are not required to do so.  Any Scout completing Eagle requirements on or after July 1, 2022, will be required to complete the Citizenship in Society Merit Badge.
  • This new merit badge is designed to help Scouts learn about the diverse, unique identities and characteristics we each possess, understand different perspectives and experiences, and learn how to encourage an inclusive and welcoming culture in Scouting and in society.
  • The new Citizenship in Society merit badge is an important initiative within the Boy Scouts of America’s larger commitment to develop a culture where every youth, volunteer, and employee feels a sense of belonging and to build communities where every person feels respected and valued.
  • For more information on the Citizenship in Society merit badge and BSA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, you can visit scouting.org/dei.

Would like to be a merit badge counselor for Citizenship in Society Merit Badge?

If you are currently a registered merit badge counselor please complete this form: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34405.pdf

Please submit the form to Cory Kercher at Cory.kercher@scouting.org

If you are not currently registered as a merit badge counselor please follow the below steps:

    1. Complete the Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge Counselor Form.  BSA Merit Badge Counselor Application: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34405.pdf
    2. Complete a BSA Adult Application for code 42 (Merit Badge Counselor).
    3. If not on file at the council office, provide up-to-date PA State Clearances.
    4. Submit the paperwork to Cory Kercher at Cory.kercher@scouting.org for processing. We recommend making a copy of the Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge Counselor Form before submitting it.

Please read through the merit badge counselor guidelines and the merit badge requirements before committing to be a counselor for this new merit badge. Links to both documents can be found below.

Citizenship in Society Merit Badge Counselor Guidelines

Citizenship in Society Merit Badge Scout Requirements

For information please go to: www.scouting.org/dei

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