I'd like to know which Merit Badges are most popular now. Is "stamp collecting" even in the top twenty?
Wow, here's a sad state of affairs. I just checked scouting magazine's website, and stamp collecting has rated in the bottom 5 for 2016 and 2017! out of 137 possible! In 2016, the only merit badges less popular were bugling and American business.
But, on a brighter note, it's also the merit badge climbing the fastest in popularity - up 20% in the last year. But that still only translated in going from #135 to #133.
Yaknow, I bet if a few more of us stamp collectors volunteered to be merit badge counsellors, I bet those numbers would go up even more. Who knows? Maybe it would even re-kindle youth interest in the hobby, right? ;-)
Well, thanks -- you knew where to look and I didn't. My intention was to give away (to local Scoutmasters) items required to get the badge, to be furnished free to the Scouts by random drawing by the Scoutmaster. I don't know what the requirements are, but I'm sure a Scoutmaster would tell me. I have tons of excess supplies too heavy to ship anywhere, they could distribute those by drawing too. Win-win!
Now I wonder if scouting is growing due to the influx of (refugee) youth from countries where it's more popular.
Ya know, I bet if a few more of us stamp collectors volunteered to be merit badge counsellors, I bet those numbers would go up even more. Who knows? Maybe it would even re-kindle youth interest in the hobby, right? ;-)
I just talked to a Scoutmaster I work with with about scouts and stamps. I told him that I have a stack of extra Scout stamps on First Day covers, that I would gladly give to him for the scouts. My idea is to try to get them interested in stamps of course. I was a scout for many years and I have a Stamp Collecting Merit Badge myself. I have a lot of extra albums and such, I could give any of them that are interested, including old Scott Catalogs. I am also giving him a 1960's scout watch, that works perfectly and looks really nice, which I had to put a new leather band on. I have asked him to give this away to the scout who gets the most merit badges starting this week until the end of the year. Maybe I could get him to add in, a clause for that includes that they must get at least one badge in some sort of collecting? Whether it be stamps, coins, or lizards. LOL. It seems that a lot of people who collect things, collect in more than one area. Lets not even go into how many things I collect, that might be a 3 digit number. LOL.
I had already talked to him about being a Merit Badge Counselor, and you have encouraged me to look into this further. To make this easy on me, they hold their meeting across the street from my house, at the Methodist Church. I can literally walk about 100 feet to their meetings. This may be my way of paying back to scouting what it gave to me all those years ago.
Here is the link to the Merit Badge requirements for the stamp collecting merit badge:
The requirements to become a merit badge counselor are written up pretty formally meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badge_Counselor_Orientation, but I can't imagine talking to a scoutmaster won't get you a walkthrough without trying to interpret every detail. And there's something like a dozen troops within 50 miles of me!
I can't imagine trying to fit this in until I wrap up my degree, but this is definitely now on my To-Do List!
Many thanks to doug630 for starting this thread and to Andy (ajkitt ) and Mike (mikeclevenger ) for your responses. It really takes me back to my youth when I was a Boy Scout.
As it happens, stamp collecting was the first merit badge I ever earned, but also a tough one, since my Dad was the local counselor in our area. Since I was his first applicant, and his only son, I think he wanted to be sure that I wouldn't be telling all the other kids that it was easy. As I recall, he made me come back a couple of times before he would sign off on all of the requirements.
I remained active in Scouting well into adulthood, but never registered as a counselor for the stamp collecting merit badge. I agree with Andy and Mike that it is a fine thing to do, so perhaps after I finish my time in France and get back to the U.S., I will finally do it! I also like Doug and Mike's ideas about providing material to the Scouts to help them "learn and earn" the badge.
I became a Merit badge counselor a few years ago. So far, not one Scout has approached me regarding the Stamp Collecting MB and only one has for Coin Collecting.
One thing to consider is you have to be YPT certified (which means you watched a video and passed a test which proves you know not to be inappropriate with kids).
On a side note, I eventually became the Chair of our Advisory Committee and spend a lot of time with the Troop. So, what started as an interest in helping Scouts obtain a MB evolved into a very active role in a local Troop.
It was the Brownies' Collector's proficiency badge that first got me motivated to collect stamps in the late '50s early 60s, but in those days it was so much easier, in the UK anyway, to get a hold of stamps. There was more letter writing going on and stamps were more readily available in stationery shops.
They were also cheaper back in the day, either from a stamp shop or at the post office. What kid wants to spend his allowance on a couple stamps these days? You used to get a pile of stamps, now, just a couple.