The first new BSA Scouts Program Youth Merit Badge since 2017 is officially launched today. Called Citizenship in society, it offers Scouts opportunities to learn more about our world by encouraging them to explore information about diversity, equity, inclusion and ethical leadership – and to discover why these qualities are important in society and in Scouting.
To earn the Merit Badge, Scouts must conduct research; explore resources; having conversations with badge of merit counselors, peers, parents and community members; and identify actions they can take to ensure inclusion and belonging to Scouting and to society in general.
The complete requirements for the merit badge and materials for the merit badge advisors can be found at scouting.org/dei.
How it works
One of the unique features of Citizenship in Society is that there is no merit badge brochure with prescribed approaches or ideologies. There are also no requirements intended to lead a particular response or lead a Scout down the path to a predetermined conclusion.
Instead, Citizenship in Society encourages Scouts to embark on a journey of discovery. In this case, it’s a journey of self-discovery as they explore a variety of topics around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, then discuss how they apply. their discoveries in life as a scout and as a good citizen in society.
Scouts are encouraged to explore the topics as deeply and broadly as they see fit for their personal learning and growth. Although a Merit Badge Advisor may ask the Scout to identify their sources of information, the Advisor will not provide answers to the Scouts. Instead, they will help facilitate discussions which help the Scouts in their understanding.
The badge of merit will become Eagle Required on July 1, 2022. Further details will be provided by the National Youth Program team in the coming weeks.
“The Eagle Scout rank represents the highest achievement in Scouting and embodies a commitment to leadership and service,” said Roger Mosby, Scout CEO / President and CEO. “Learning to respect and understand people with different identities and perspectives is essential to becoming a good citizen and a good leader, which is why we have decided to make this merit badge mandatory for our future Eagle Scouts. “
Already scout approved
Citizenship in Society has been carefully and thoughtfully developed by the Diversity and Development Office of the BSA Youth Program with input from a dedicated group of volunteer Scouts, youth and professional BSA staff – including 31 Scout executives and more than 60 troops in different regions who participated in a pilot program to test the new badge of merit.
The vast majority of Pilot Scouts say the badge of merit is a positive experience. The Scouts were open to conversations around their research and answers, and they shared personal examples of meeting the concepts and ideals covered by the requirements.
Here’s some of what they had to say:
“This is the most important job I have done in Scouting. The requirements were both difficult and satisfactory.
“I’ve never felt left out – now that I hear other people’s stories, I feel angry and want to do something! ”
“It’s important to stand up for each other and make sure everyone’s opinions are heard. “
As part of a wider engagement
“As we have always strived to do in BSA, we hope to prepare Scouts for life,” says Elizabeth Ramirez-Washka, Director of Diversity and Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. “As our world changes, we want to help our Scouts grow with it by understanding, appreciating and respecting the differences that make us unique. “
A legacy of empathy and respect is already written in BSA’s DNA, as shown in Scout Oath and Scout Law and other existing merit badges, such as the Community Citizenship, Disability Awareness, and American Heritage badges, which require Scouts not only to learn and develop their understanding of diverse perspectives, but also to take positive action.
You can find more information about the merit badge and BSA’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at scouting.org/dei, including the Press release.