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Scouting Forums

Merit Badge Feedback


Is there an official channel for providing feedback to Scouts, BSA about particular merit badges?

Specifically, I would like to provide feedback about the Bugling Merit Badge. For scouts who don’t play a musical instrument, let alone a brass instrument in their school band, the Bugling Merit Badge is a disproportionately difficult merit badge and I think the requirements need another update. I would like to communicate that to those who have the ability to modify the requirements for future scouts.

Thank you.

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Contact the merit badge team at merit.badge@scouting.org. there’s a proposal form at: Advancement Resources | Boy Scouts of America, although it’s really intended for new badges.

I suggest that Bugling Merit Badge is not a good choice for a scout who does not play any musical instrument. For a scout really intetested in music, and in bugling, in particular, the current requirements do not look particularly onerous to me. Of course such a scout will need to put in the time and effort to learn a few things. But that’s the point, isn’t it?
Not every scout can earn every merit badge, and I believe that earning every merit badge on the list is an inappropriate goal for any scout. It’s a “ticket-punching” exercise inconsistent with the values of the scout oath - the time and effort to really earn all the merit badges is better spent elsewhere.


Thanks! I’ll pursue that route.

Hello Jeff,

Thank you for the feedback.

However, earning every merit badge is exactly the goal my son is pursuing. While I agree that not every scout can earn every merit badge, I very much disagree that it’s an inappropriate goal. Your opinion that the scout’s time and effort is better spent elsewhere is just that - your opinion. I know full-well the time and effort it takes to earn all 137 merit badges and that commitment and hard work is very much exemplary of the Scout Oath and Law.

But again, thank you for expressing your opinion, it definitely helps.

The thing is the MB is now SO MUCH EASIER than what it was 2 years ago.


In my opinion, changing merit badge requirenents because they might be too hard for some scouts is a bad idea, and “snowplow parents” who work to clear all obstacles from their child’s path in pursuit of his/her goals isn’t doing them any favors in preparing them to be independent, productive leadets in “the real world.” While I respect a “Renaissance Man” with many talents, someone capable/talented/privileged enough to earn 51 merit badges (double silver palm) might do better to invest any excess time/energy/resources to helping others who are not so blessed than to accumulate even more badges for their sash.
“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
—Minor Myers Jr.
My opinion; we can agree to disagree.


Different merit badges do have differing levels of difficulty. For example, a Scout who is not a strong swimmer will find the Lifesaving merit badge to be difficult. If your Scout’s goal is to earn all merit badges, then I would recommend looking into the possibility getting your Scout trumpet lessons and expect this merit badge to take many months to earn.


Hi Jennifer,

Yep! That’s pretty much right where he is! :wink: He’s taking lessons and has been at it for over 6 months so far. Two weeks ago, his counselor signed him off on his first call. Just 9 more to go!

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Understand that the merit badge task force moves slowly and is likely to not consider removing requirements or providing alternatives.
It is certainly reasonable for some MBs to take six to twelve months for a scout to earn.
I commend your son for his hard work. May he find a few more MBs that pose similar challenges.


Hi Qwazse,

Thank you for the kind words of encouragement! He only has 7 to go, and 3 of those are mostly done, so Bugling is really the only remaining challenge.

Just to be clear, my intent is not to have the Bugling requirements changed for my son. I merely would like to provide feedback based on my personal experience with all 137 current merit badges to help strengthen the program.


Nice! Congrats to him for all of his hard work!

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Why would National modify requirements so a Scout and punch a ticket. Those requirements have been in place for Years and a many Scouts have taken the EFFORT to earn it. All Scouts find Merit Badges that are difficult for them. They overcome this difficulty and move on.

Not every badge is for every Scout. Eagle is not for everyone.

Scouting, unfortunately is not for everyone. I’ve watched a youth with no musical experience earn Bugling.

Badge requirements are purposely written to be surmountable challenges for the Scouts and like everything else in Scouting, earning this badge works to achieve the Aims of Scouting, to build the character, the citizenship, the personal fitness, and the leadership skills of the Scout.

I will note that Bugling was the lowest ranked badge last year with 476 youth earning it.

The requirements are surmountable and should remain as written.


That is amazing!!! Congrats to your son - I’m sure he will reach his goal!!

Is he using a trumpet or a bugle? If a trumpet, the songs can be played with all three valves pressed down. This makes the high notes much easier to play. Most MB counselors should accept that modification as you are still playing the music, just in a different key.


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