Scouting is a prime opportunity to earn merit badges.
Merit badge programs offer a chance for children to strive to learn new things and participate in new experiences. While the outward incentive of a merit badge program is to garner a collection of badges, the true value of such a program is that the primary incentive is intrinsic. Because merit badges are merely insignias, the primary draw of a merit badge program is participation in activities, community service and leadership opportunities.
The Boy Scouts of America is a national program that accepts both boys and girls starting at age 12. Boy Scouts participate in activities that range from outdoor sportsmanship to community service projects to camping excursions. Merit badges can be won in a variety of fields, including business, carpentry, archeology, computers, graphic arts, plumbing and woodworking.
The Girl Scouts of America is an organization founded in 1912 to help promote character, courage and confidence in young women. Girl Scouts participate in activities such as arts and crafts, camping excursions, scuba diving and career orientation. Merit badge opportunities are equally broad and can be earned in activities such as sewing, canoeing, drama, veterinary care, child care and car repair.
The USS Hornet is a retired naval aircraft carrier that is now moored in the San Francisco Bay. It is a floating history museum with exhibits about American military and technological history. The museum offers a merit badge program with badges available in aviation, radio communication and space exploration.