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mrkstvns

Most and Least Popular Merit Badges

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Each year, "Scouting" magazine publishes a list showing the number of each merit badge earned in the previous year. The 2018 list is available here:

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/02/11/2018-merit-badge-rankings-a-deep-dive-into-the-official-numbers-from-1-to-137/

As usual, all the top positions are Eagle-required. 

I always find the bottom 10 to be the most interesting.  This year, American Business managed to tie perennial last-place Bugling as the least-earned merit badge in scouting.  A mere 551 merit badges earned nationwide...

Observations?  Comments?

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You reminded me of a note to self ... I need to suggest the SPL invite a businessman to talk about how he/she started his/her company.  We really should do that on the run up to our fundraisers.

There's gotta be a way to bring bugling into the 21st century to make the badge worth shooting for. By that, I mean troops need to learn how to use bugle calls, say on ringtone apps, to the point that one of the scouts really learns how to do it on a horn.

The cost of plastic bugles has dropped dramatically.

Camporees could start including bonus points if a troop comes with its bugler. They could have a calling contest. "So you think you can bugle?"

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30 minutes ago, qwazse said:

There's gotta be a way to bring bugling into the 21st century to make the badge worth shooting for. By that, I mean troops need to learn how to use bugle calls, say on ringtone apps, to the point that one of the scouts really learns how to do it on a horn.

I don't know that ringtones are gonna do the trick, but I agree that the badge is a tough one.  What I think makes it outdated is that it requires LOTS of completely irrelevant calls that nobody has ever heard (aside from scouts trying to earn Bugling merit badge).

Let's face it. The only bugle calls that most scouts (and scouters) pay any attention to are Taps and Revellie.  (Maybe To the Colors also, but I don't think I've ever heard that at a scout camp).

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The saddest observation I see in the list is that Backpacking is down by a third...

Sad because that should be such a core activity of any unit's program.

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27 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

The saddest observation I see in the list is that Backpacking is down by a third...

Sad because that should be such a core activity of any unit's program.

I'm wondering how much of that is attributed more to fewer experienced adults, or the culture of kids wanting less outdoors.

Barry

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32 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

The saddest observation I see in the list is that Backpacking is down by a third...

Sad because that should be such a core activity of any unit's program.

In the midwest it is hard to make backpacking a core activity. Our scouts do enjoys it but its a good 6 hour drive to get to any decent trails that allow backpack camping.

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2 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I'm wondering how much of that is attributed more to fewer experienced adults, or the culture of kids wanting less outdoors.

Barry

I think it is a combination of the two.  I see more and more adult leaders who were never scouts themselves, and have little to no interest in strapping on a backpack and doing a minimum of 15 miles.  I also see a lot of new scouts who hear 15 miles with a backpack on, (or the dreaded hiking MB 20 miles in a single day) and think, I could never do that; not realizing that only equates to 5 miles each day of the trek.  One one of our recent 15 mile trips, the boys made that 5 miles in about 1.5 hours, and spent the rest of the day enjoying themselves.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I'm wondering how much of that is attributed more to fewer experienced adults, or the culture of kids wanting less outdoors.

 

6 minutes ago, TMSM said:

In the midwest it is hard to make backpacking a core activity. Our scouts do enjoys it but its a good 6 hour drive to get to any decent trails that allow backpack camping.

Plus, Philmont closing. I'm sure some scouts were counting on their high adventure for that badge.


Plus ... wait for it ...  youth protection ... if you are waiting for two adults over 21 to free up their schedules, you're trip might not happen. There have been times when I've done a trip with a couple of 18 year old ASMs. Those opportunities within BSA are gone.

Just remembered: my 1st 50-miler was when I was 18 with two other scouts and the SM. I might have known one other teacher who would have taken us up on the hike, but never thought to invite him until now.

Edited by qwazse

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

I think it is a combination of the two.  I see more and more adult leaders who were never scouts themselves, and have little to no interest in strapping on a backpack and doing a minimum of 15 miles.  I also see a lot of new scouts who hear 15 miles with a backpack on, (or the dreaded hiking MB 20 miles in a single day) and think, I could never do that; not realizing that only equates to 5 miles each day of the trek.  One one of our recent 15 mile trips, the boys made that 5 miles in about 1.5 hours, and spent the rest of the day enjoying themselves.

I think it will only get worse with the addition of girls because very few moms have any camping experience. The councils could help out by providing some high adventure with giving adults some experience, but that is likely and expense they can't afford.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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6 minutes ago, TMSM said:

Our scouts do enjoys it but its a good 6 hour drive to get to any decent trails that allow backpack camping

We are fortunate here in FL that there are hundreds of miles of trail within easy driving distance.  Our problem is that we have to try to get it in during our very brief foray into "winter", when we are less likely to fry our brains in the wonderful FL sunshine.  We did a 20 mile hike a month ago, where it was 45 degrees at the start of the hike, and 86 at the finish.

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51 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Plus, Philmont closing. I'm sure some scouts were counting on their high adventure for that badge.

What?!?!  

Is this for real?  When/where was this announced??

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59 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

We did a 20 mile hike a month ago, where it was 45 degrees at the start of the hike, and 86 at the finish.

I am about to take my new scouts on their first cabin overnight.  In order to have a campfire, they are going to have to shovel out about a foot of snow that is covering the fire circle.

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1 hour ago, MikeS72 said:

We are fortunate here in FL that there are hundreds of miles of trail within easy driving distance.  Our problem is that we have to try to get it in during our very brief foray into "winter", when we are less likely to fry our brains in the wonderful FL sunshine.  We did a 20 mile hike a month ago, where it was 45 degrees at the start of the hike, and 86 at the finish.

It would seem you could earn the big Reptiles MB along those trails...one way or another.:blink:

Barry

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32 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

What?!?!  

Is this for real?  When/where was this announced??

Nobody panic! We're talking about merit badges earned last year.

22 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

@mrkstvns,  he was referring to the fires of 2018.

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Boo.

Boo Who?

Don't cry, Phlimont will reopen next year!

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