Working on interesting merit badges is your passport into a world of new possibilities. I’m serious! Finding the right merit badge could lead you to your future dream career or a lifelong passion. While some of the merit badges you’ll earn will come from troop activities, others, you’ll need to choose and complete by yourself.
What are the most interesting merit badges to earn alone? Outside of a scout’s immediate interests, the best merit badges to earn are those that expose a scout to skills that might be useful in their future. In my opinion, the best 7 merit badges to earn alone are:
- Traffic Safety
- Coin Collecting
- Digital Technology
In this article, I’ll be explaining exactly why each of these merit badges are perfect for most scouts to individually compete in 2020. I’ll also be noting each badge’s most difficult requirement so that you consider if the challenge is right for you.
Just pick one badge to start! I promise you, all of the badges I’ve listed will teach you incredibly valuable and interesting skills to help you succeed after graduating. Some of my best Scouting experiences came from the learning and activities I’d done while earning merit badges outside of troop functions. Take the leap, and commit to finishing at least one of these badges within the next month!
Looking for the easy badges? Check out my top 3 easiest merit badges for 2020! Now let’s get started by going over one of the most interesting skills you can learn, as well as one of my favorite merit badges…
Some people say that in life, everything is sales. I think they might be on to something. To convince others to do the right thing you’re selling your ideas. To land a job you’re selling your experience. To work hard and succeed you’re selling yourself on your goals. Earning the Salesmanship merit badge will teach you the incredible powers of persuasion.
Especially if you’ve already done popcorn or ticket sales for your troop, the Salesmanship merit badge could help to take your skills to the next level. If you decide to work on this badge, be sure to also learn different sales techniques from books or online articles. You’ll be using these skills for the rest of your life, so be sure to learn them correctly the first time.
Hardest Requirement: Although the Salesmanship merit badge is quite easy to earn, to complete requirement 6 you’ll need to find and interview a salesperson or retail store owner. You’ll also need to sell on your own if your troop doesn’t fundraise by selling popcorn or other products.
2. Traffic Safety
If you’re in the process of earning your driver’s license, the traffic safety merit badge is a great way to learn how to maintain your vehicle and follow the rules of the road. Traffic Safety is a quick and easy five-requirement badge that’ll teach you driving skills that you’ll use for life!
Vehicular accidents are one of the leading causes of death in America. When earning this badge, you’ll learn how you can keep yourself and your family safe while driving.
Hardest Requirement: Requirement 3 will teach you valuable skills, but it might also be the hardest to complete. You’ll need to perform a maintenance inspection on your car, which includes taking the tire pressure, testing your windshield wipers, and making sure that all lights are functioning. That’s something that many adults can’t even do!
3. Coin Collecting
This might surprise you, but I think it’s likely that almost no one will still be using metal coins 10 years from now. What do you think? If you agree, earning the Coin Collecting merit badge will be a great opportunity to capture a piece of history for yourself and your future children.
Coin Collecting is an awesome merit badge for scouts to complete alone! I still have my state quarter collection from earning this merit badge, and it’s only become more valuable with time! By earning this merit badge and creating your own coin collection, you’ll create a treasure that you can keep for life.
Hardest Requirement: Coin Collecting is a bit more difficult than the previous two merit badges, and has 10 total requirements. Your hardest but most fun requirement will likely be requirement 9, where you’ll need to collect and identify different coins or banknotes.
4. Digital Technology
There’s a pretty strong chance that your future career will involve digital technology. By learning about cybersecurity, programming, and the future of technology, this merit badge will give you a foundational understanding of computers and their uses.
Do you currently have an up to date cyber chip? To earn the Digital Technology merit badge, you’ll need to use a computer and the internet to create electronic projects to share with your merit badge counselor. Nowadays, using technology is common, but understanding it is rare. Be the type of person that understands and creates — remain curious and don’t just follow the trends!
Hardest Requirement: This badge mainly consists of knowledge requirements. However, to complete requirement 6 you’ll create three digital projects for your unit. I recommend doing 6a, 6d, and 6f. Using spreadsheets and creating presentations are currently two of the most common workplace-uses of digital technology.
Becoming an entrepreneur could be your path to enormous success in the 21st century! A growing number of careers are being replaced by technology, but entrepreneurs are people that create their own jobs, as well as jobs for others. Earning the Entrepreneurship merit badge will open your eyes to the possibility of starting your own business and bringing something new into the world.
To earn this badge, you’ll need to learn about the skills of an entrepreneur. Most notably, you’ll practice creating a business plan for your own ideas and later interview a business owner.
If you decide to create a business plan, make earning your Entrepreneurship merit badge just the beginning! Entrepreneurs do. They constantly execute. Commit to following your plans, and try to make them into a reality. You’ll probably fail a few times, but along the way you’ll learn and improve. Remember, life is a long game; you only need to succeed once for everything to change. 🙂
Hardest Requirement: Aside from creating your own business plan, you’ll need to interview an individual who’s started a business to complete requirement 3. This could be a family member, someone related to your scout friends, or maybe a shop owner you see on a daily basis. However, if you’ve finished all of the requirements and truly can’t find anyone to interview, email me and I’d be happy to help.
Exploration basically means embarking on a journey into the unknown to discover truth. In earning the Exploration merit badge, you’ll need to prepare for, and venture on, your own expedition.
This is a great merit badge for scouts hoping to one day travel the world. When visiting Machu Picchu, I used the skills you’ll learn in this badge to plan my trek, travel safely, and experience as much as possible. Exploration will help you to become self-reliant, and teach you to take the mindset of a scientist and adventurer wherever you go.
Hardest Requirement: The hardest and most fun requirement of the Exploration badge is to actually go on your own expedition. Requirement 8 will have you venture to an area you’ve not previously explored and record your findings. Once there, have an adventure and learn all you can, but be safe.
The last journey I recommend you take is one into your own family’s history. In earning the Genealogy merit badge, you’ll learn about different ways of uncovering your ancestry and create a family tree that records your lineage.
The Genealogy merit badge will be incredibly interesting to complete, especially if your family doesn’t already have an extensive family tree. With your parents’ permission, I’d also recommend getting an ancestry DNA test for more genetic insights into your family’s history. Once you’re finished, share what you’ve learned with all of your relatives. I’m sure they’d love to learn more about their heritage as well!
Update: Reddit user Lkaos, brought to my attention that there are many genealogy-related scholarships available for Eagle Scouts! For instance, if you can prove a genetic link to someone in the American Revolution, there are scholarship opportunities from the SAR available. Do some research to see if you qualify for any scholarship opportunities after learning more about your ethnic background.
Hardest Requirement: To complete requirements 4, 6, and 7, you’ll be uncovering your own family tree. Genealogy is not a difficult merit badge but requires that you locate historical documents and communicate amongst your family members. Once finished though, I promise that the information you uncover will be well worth the work you put into earning this badge!
I’d recommend completing these merit badges in my listed order, but if one of them especially calls to you — DO IT FIRST! The key to earning your Eagle and succeeding at everything you do is to take action. By completing these merit badges on your own, you’ll train yourself to take charge of your own learning.
On top of your elective badges, if you have other Eagle-required merit badges to earn, I’d recommend checking out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I’m certain this resource will be helpful to scouts on their road to Eagle!
I hope you’ve found this article helpful! I truly believe that each of these merit badges could be enormously useful later on in your life. Keep learning and coming back to ScoutSmarts regularly, because I’m constantly putting out new content for driven scouts like yourself. Stay awesome, and best of luck on your Scouting journey!