A Merit badge is an award earned by youth members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), based on things within an area of study by finishing a list of updated . The purpose of the merit badge program is to allow Scouts to find subjects to figure out if they would like to further pursue them as a career or . At first, the program also exposed Scouts to the life skills of contacting an Merit Badge Counselor they had not met before, arranging a meeting and then showing the Merit Badge Counselor their skills, kind of like to a job or college interview.
Merit badges are an important part of earning the high ranks in Scouting (Star, Life, and Eagle). Eagle requires earning 21 merit badges, including 12 in specific areas such as camping, first aid, and citizenship; Life requires eleven and Star six.
At first, there were fifty-seven merit badges; today, there are 122.
Merit badges are also used as ways to move up in Scouting in other countries, such as Ireland.