Excerpts from US Scouting Service on the web
PURPOSE OF THE MERIT BADGE PROGRAM
- Basic character-developing tools.
- Scouts learn career skills.
- Scouts develop physical fitness and hobbies that give a lifetime of healthful recreation.
- Contact with adults with whom they might not be acquainted.
One of the methods of Scouting is "Advancement".
The merit badge program is one of Scouting's basic character-developing tools. Earning merit badges gives a boy the kind of self-confidence that comes only from Overcoming difficult obstacles to achieve a goal.
Through the merit badge program, a boy is introduced to skills which may help him choose his adult vocation. Scouting introduced Spielberg to movie making, look where he took this.
Other merit badges help a boy develop physical fitness, or discover "outside" interests and hobbies, encourage citizenship and generally become a more well-rounded person.
Many youths are uncomfortable dealing with adults they are not familiar with. Working on a merit badge with an adult should provide a super environment to help youth overcome this discomfort. It can be an excellent opportunity to help the youth build confidence.
The primary purpose of merit badges is to advance to Star, Life, and Eagle.
Fact or Fiction
The merit badge program is created to (a) offer a Scout exposure to an area of interest that may become his profession or life-long hobby, and (b) to expose him to interaction with adults with whom he is not readily familiar, for the purpose of growth in inter-personal relations.