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Brand new merit badge procedure

It has been a while since a new merit badge has been introduced, and a very long time since a brand new merit badge was made Eagle required. What is the normal procedure for that? Are the proposed requirements opened for comment? Once announced is there usually a one-year introduction period or something similar? In the case of this new DE&I merit badge it seems to have been fast tracked. When has that happened before? I’ve not witnessed the process as a leader and am curious.

They had asked the councils to give comment by last Friday. That was through your SE.
After the details of the badge are announced there will probably be a period of time when the badge is optional. Then the badge will become Eagle required. We initially were told the badge would be available Jan 1 and Eagle required May 1. Those date will either be confirmed or changed with the official announcement which hasn’t come out yet.

Are these DE&I specific details?
What is the usual process?

there is no Standard Process - it is different each time it seems - as Eagle Required ones are rare

Was the last Family Life? I earned my eagle in 1990 and thus did not do Family Life which looks like it was introduced in 1994. Safety was removed as required in 1999 and cooking added as required in 2014. A nice unofficial change log is located at:

History of Eagle Scout Required Merit Badges (usscouts.org)

Yeah, but I think Family Life was originally introduced a couple of years before it became Eagle required. I think Sustainability was introduced the same year it became Eagle required. Before that, I’m not aware of any newly-created MBs that went “straight to Eagle required” since maybe the early 50’s (Personal Fitness and Nature, I think).

To be clear, that’s not a complaint about the current process in action, just an observation that, for the most part, Eagle-required MBs have been field-tested somewhat, with some obvious exceptions. Paraphrasing @DonovanMcNeil, “What standard process?”

Good point. Family Life came out in 1991. I thought that even at the time people were saying that it may become eagle required. It had time to get the bugs worked out.

I believe the last MB to become Eagle-Required was Cooking. Of course, it has been around forever, and used to be Eagle-Required, and then got dropped off the list, and then added back to it. My recollection is there was quite a bit of notice given, but I don’t remember the exact dates of change notification and effectivity for Eagle.

Cooking was announced as becoming “Eagle required” in late 2012, with an effective date of 1 January 2014.

2011 Welding MB was introduced.
2013 Graphic Arts MB was introduced
2014 Cooking was re-introduced as Eagle-required … much to the satisfaction of troop leaders’ palates!
2014 Kayaking MB was introduced.
So, basically, just yesterday.

What is the normal procedure for that? The National Merit Badge Subcommittee sets procedure for its 100 or so volunteers.
Are the proposed requirements opened for comment? NMBS solicits comment from those who they deem to be experts in the respective topic.
D&I MB has been fast-tracked. BSA’s current CEO made his career in HR – which no doubt led to confidence that useful material could be translated to a format accessible to scouts.
Most leaders have never witness this MB development process, the start of the process is never announced in advance, and feedback from SE’s – let alone the membership in general – is never solicited. It is also extremely unusual to roll out a topic such as D&I in a format that will only be accessed by small percentage of youth members (i.e., those wanting to earn Eagle).

What does D E & I stand for?

Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion. I did a search on diversity on this forum because I, too, did not know exactly what the words are.

Thank you. Appreciate it.

That’s funny as a person on a DOC why would the council not share the comment time period or talk about the process or requirements? I only have heard bits an pieces through the NESA Committee I’m on. Always seemed to be a done deal, no comment period even hinted at.

Really getting tired of Council holding all their cards so close to the chest.

From this post

and another post that I can’t find that the SE was restricted from talking about it, my conclusion is National is the one holding the cards, and they are doing this the same way they do lots of things.

National created the program. And with input from those they ask, they modify the program.

Would I like the process to be outlined for the rest of us to follow? Yes. But almost all of us have no input on the process or result, so it would be nice to know, but not needed for anything I am currently doing.

Maybe a Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion webpage with a flow chart of the process with check marks as each box is completed. And an expected release date marked as an estimate, not a hard deadline. So if it slips, no one yells.

The same thing could be posted for any part of the program up for review.

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You would think they would reach out to units that are most diverse and get their opinion. It is not supposed to be political, but the topics are major political discourse in the country right now. Understanding diversity, equality and inclusion requires you to understand that diversity, equality and inclusion is a problem in this country.

Even the BSA has no idea how their normal policies don’t support inclusion and diversity. Case in point, to be a member properly dressed, you need to spend $100 on a uniform that is “the official uniform” Children in poverty do not have an extra $100 laying around so they have to find hand me down items. If they cannot then they are deemed “not official” and that excludes them from participating as equals to people who can afford the uniforms.

The first response here will be “they should earn it”. But other kids do not have to “earn it” just the poor ones.

DEI will require the BSA to rethink barriers they erect to “official” participation. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

I would like to know what the specific requirements will be for this DE&I merit badge. We are already on the fence about advancing into Boy Scouts due to their changes since 2015. If this new badge smells anything like Critical Race Theory or other fabricated “systemic” injustices, then we will look elsewhere for my Arrow of Light scout.

We are told, the requirements are being reviewed after receiving the feedback from the councils and have not been finalized. When they are, they will be officially announced. We will link to them in the BSA Announcement section when they are officially released.

There is no requirement that anyone purchase a uniform. The units decide if they will wear the field uniform. It is true most all do, however many units, councils and districts provide uniform exchanges. I haven’t ever turned anyone away because of finances and every council has very underprivileged people involved in the program.


David Freeborn. I sent a message requesting National reconsider the introduction of the DEI merit badge for several reasons, to include making it Eagle Scout required. So far, there has been a “company line” or silence. I won’t bother this forum with all of details of my objections. But, will send it to directly if you are interested. unit.commissioner77@gmail.com