IN THE SAME BOAT: a blog for Scouts BSA parents (subscribe)
It is certainly a trying time to be in Scouts BSA these days, what with stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scouts who are working on rank advancement need to be creative, at the very least!
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has a web page titled Scouting at Home that provides resources to help parents and leaders support Scouting at home. Resources include ScoutingWire TV and Scouts BSA challenges. The BSA's official blog for BSA adult leaders, Bryan on Scouting, is another great place to find news and resources related to COVID-19 and its impact on Scouting. A recent blog contains a list of 58 merit badges Scouts can complete at home, while another helps you find the gear your Scout might need for some of these badges, from ScoutShop.org (the BSA’s official online store):
Although in-person merit badge classes are on hold most everywhere, there are many Councils that are offering virtual, online merit badge classes. Youth protection policies must be followed, even for online meetings. For the BSA’s Online and Social Media Guidelines, visit https://scoutingwire.org/social-media-guidelines.
Unless otherwise noted, the virtual, online merit badge classes offered by the following Councils are available to any Scout(s) from any Council, and are free. I have noted any fees I have seen. I highly recommend that you and your Scout take some time to look around the various Council offerings for merit badges s/he is interested in.
Boy Scouts of America Councils – Online Merit Badge Classes for 2020
Big Cypress District: http://big-cypress.shac.org/virtual-scouting-event
Black Hills Area Council: https://www.blackhillsbsa.org/introducing-merit-badge-mondays-free-weekly-online-merit-badge-classes – There is a fee for out-of-Council Scouts.
Blue Ridge Council: https://scoutingevent.com/551-onlineMBU – There is a $5 fee per merit badge class.
California Inland Empire Council: http://www.ciecbsa.org/document/online-merit-badge-classes/198879
Cascade Pacific Council: https://cpcbsa.org/tools/advancement-academy
Central Florida Council: https://scoutingevent.com/083-OnlineMB – There is a $5 or $10 fee per class.
Chattahoochee Council: https://www.91bsa.org/programs/online-merit-badge-classes-2020/72857
Chief Seattle Council, Alpine District: https://www.seattlebsa.org/alpine/2063-online-merit-badge-classes-may-2020 – In-Council Scouts may sign up for 2 classes (1 Eagle merit badge); out-of-Council Scouts may sign up for 1 class (no Eagle merit badges).
Connecticut Rivers Council: https://scoutingevent.com/066-VMBXweek8
Dan Beard Council: https://www.danbeard.org/virtual-merit-badges – Scouts from the Council have first preference to get into classes.
Daniel Webster Council: https://nhscouting.org/scouting-at-home/youth-programs/virtual-merit-badges
Evangeline Area Council: https://www.eacbsa.org/OnlineMB – There is a $15 fee per class.
Gateway Area Council: https://www.gatewayscouting.org/OnlineMeritBadge20 – There is a $5 fee per class.
Glacier’s Edge Council: https://www.glaciersedge.org/2549
Great Rivers Council: http://www.bsa-grc.org/scouting-home/72755
Great Trail Council: https://scoutingevent.com/433-onlinemb
Hawk Mountain Council: https://hmc-bsa.org/virtual-merit-badge-classes
Heart of America Council: https://www.hoac-bsa.org/scoutconnect
Hoosier Trails Council: https://www.hoosiertrailsbsa.org/2552
Las Vegas Area Council: https://lvacbsa.org/mb-clinic – There is a $10 fee per class.
Mount Baker Council: https://www.mountbakerbsa.org/virtual-merit-badge-clinic
Narragansett Council: http://www.narragansettbsa.org/camping-activities/virtual-scouting/72761
National Capital Area Council: https://scoutingevent.com/082-MBH
New Birth of Freedom Council: https://newbirthoffreedom.org/virtual-merit-badges
Northern Star Council: https://www.northernstar.org/scouting-at-home (click on Virtual Classes/Events/Training tab)
Orange County Council: https://www.ocbsa.org/virtualadvancement – There is a $20 fee per session.
Pee Dee Area Council: https://scoutingevent.com/552-MBU – There is a $15 fee per class.
Piedmont Council: https://www.piedmontcouncilbsa.org/mbuonline – There is a $5 fee per class.
Sam Houston Area Council, Raven District: https://raven.shac.org/merit-badge-university – There is a $7.50 fee per class ($5 for each additional class if registering at same time).
San Francisco Bay Area Council, Mission Peak District: https://missionpeakscouts.com/virtual-merit-badge-classes – There is a $40 per day fee for the Virtual Exploration Camp (2 merit badge classes).
Seneca Waterways Council: https://scoutingevent.com/397-MBonline – There is a $5 fee per class.
Simon Kenton Council: http://skcscouts.org/meritbadges – There is a $5 fee per class.
Virginia Headwaters Council: https://www.vahcbsa.org/MBonline – There is a $10 fee per class.
Online Merit Badge Classes for 2020 Offered by Base Camps & Others
Base Camp Online Merit Badge Classes: htttps://www.scoutspirit.org/advancement – There is a $25 fee per participant.
New England Base Camp: https://www.newenglandbasecamp.org/online-merit-badge-classes – There is a virtual guest speaker program offered as well.
Scoutmaster Bucky’s Online Merit Badge Courses: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scoutmaster-bucky-online-collections-merit-badge-2020-03-11-scouts-bsa-registration-73178973279 – There is a $15 fee per class.
If you know of a Council or other organization that is offering online merit badge classes, and you would like to see them included on this page, please provide the information in my blog’s Comment section below.
Finally, for all the latest, updated advancement guidance from the BSA's COVID-19 FAQs, visit https://www.scouting.org/coronavirus/covid-19-faq.
If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll share it with a friend!
P.S. Do you wish being a Scouts BSA parent was a breeze? It is with the Smooth Sailing eGuide, Planner and Organizer for new and continuing Scout parents! Updated January 2020.