American Heritage Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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    American Heritage Merit Badge

    Aids for the Boy-Led Scout Troop

    American Heritage Merit Badge - A fun activity to learn more about the meaning of Citizenship in this great country.

    American Heritage is richly portrayed in many ways. Part of this activity includes an field tour to your local historic site.

    Sample Activity Plan

    Opportunity for Great Family Fun and to Participate in an Extraordinary Service Project:


    A) Make Your Plan
    The Trail to Adventure Fun!

      1. Merit Badge Activity Preview

      2. Sample Plan Outline
      Note: This Plan is a Draft - Some dates, events and activities may change after reviewing it with your leaders.

      • Make draft of Event Flyer (See Example Here).
      • Each Participant to be notified that he needs:
      • Event Dates / Places / Dress Code / Supplies / Etc.
      • Pre-requisites (ie worksheet, blue card, research materials)
      • Homework Requirements
      • Service Project Opportunities? (See Extra Credit)
      • Outdoor & Camping Opportunities? (See Extra Credit)
      • Other Related Scouting Activities? (See Extra Credit)

      3. Meet the Merit Badge Counselor
      Review your plan with the merit badge counselor. Some activities require his advance approval. The Scoutmaster should be able to recommend a counselor to you.

      4. Patrol Leader Council
      Present Activity Proposal to your fellow patrol leaders and scoutmaster. Make assignments as needed.

      5. Field Trip Plan

      • Contact the destination venue. Confirm that they can assist with the Field Trip Requirements. Reserve your Event Dates.
      • Troop Historian should be ready to take pictures on this activity to report back on the next troop blog, newsletter or court of honor.

      6. Announce & Start Activity

      • Get final approval from your scoutmaster.
      • Update event flyer (#2) above.
      • Distribute event flyer / Begin Introduction


    B) Introduction
    Present the plan to your patrol or troop (Either at your first activity meeting or sometime earlier.)

    Here are some ideas to show why this activity will be both fun and important.

    Why Do American Heritage Merit Badge

    Every Scout swears to an oath that includes duty to his country. A better understanding of American heritage, the ways in which the past has lead to our present nation, is key to truly knowing what it means to be an American.

    American Heritage Merit Badge
    American Heritage Merit Badge

    Show on Laptop or portable TV & crank up the sound!


    American Heritage Merit Badge D) Study Hall

    Purpose: Help each Patrol Member learn key concepts on this subject. Include the following resources:

      Preparation A:
      - Each scout to bring Merit Badge worksheet and bluecard
      - Each scout to bring history research book and tablet.
      - Each scout to bring a current newspaper.
      - Patrol Leader to bring Field tour activity plan

      Preparation B:
      Bring Audio/Visual Display Unit (APL/ASM).

      American HeritageMerit Badge Field Trip Planning
      Patrol planning for related field trip activity.

      Req #1: Declaration of Independence
      Read the Declaration of Independence. Pay close attention to the section that begins with "We hold these truths to be self-evident" and ends with "to provide new Guards for future security." Rewrite that section in your own words, making it as easy to understand as possible. Then share your writing with your merit badge counselor and discuss the importance of the Declaration of Independence.

    • Declaration of Independence - Display Link

      Req #3a: News Discussion
      Select a topic that is currently in the news. Describe to your counselor what is happening. Explain how today's events are related to or affected by the events and values of America's past.
      News Links: CNN / FoxNews /

      Req #3b: American Symbols
      For each of the following, describe its adoption, tell about any changes since its adoption, and explain how each one continues to influence Americans today: (Each one has a display link)

      Req #2: American Heritage Reports
      Scouts discuss choices and how to start present their several American Heritage research reports.
      Do TWO of the following:


        2a. Select two individuals from American history, one a political leader (a president, senator, etc.) and the other a private citizen (a writer, religious leader, etc.). Find out about each person's accomplishments and compare the contributions each has made to America's heritage.
        2b. With your counselor's approval, choose an organization that has promoted some type of positive change in American society. Find out why the organization believed this change was necessary and how it helped to accomplish the change. Discuss how this organization is related to events or situations from America's past.
        2c. With your counselor's approval, interview two veterans of the U.S. military. Find out what their experiences were like. Ask the veterans what they believe they accomplished.
        2d. With your counselor's approval, interview three people in your community of different ages and occupations. Ask these people what America means to them, what they think is special about this country, and what American traditions they feel are important to preserve.

      Req 3c: Family Heritage Report
      Scouts discuss to discuss options to research their family heritage:


        Research your family's history. Find out how various events and situations in American history affected your family. If your family immigrated to America, tell the reasons why. Share what you find with your counselor.

    .


    Pioneer Wagon Train F) Field Tour

      Near your home you should be a site of local historical interest. Their tours guides should be able to provide a wealth information for Requirements #4 to #6 of this merit badge. (Note also that there are alternates available for Requirement #4.)

      Historical Site Tour (Req #4)


        4b. Research an event of historical importance that took place in or near your area. If possible, visit the place. Tell your counselor about the event and how it affected local history. Describe how the area looked then and what it now looks like.
        4c. Find out when, why, and how your town or neighborhood started, and what ethnic, national, or racial groups played a part. Find out how the area has changed over the past 50 years and try to explain why.

      Motion Picture (Req #5)


        5a. Watch two motion pictures (with the approval and permission of your counselor and parent) that are set in some period of American history. Describe to your counselor how accurate each film is with regard to the historical events depicted and also with regard to the way the characters are portrayed.

      Careers: (Req #6)
      Interview people involved with the historic site or event. Discuss what education and training are required for a career in American Heritage:
      Discuss with your counselor the career opportunities in American heritage. Pick one that interests you and explain how to prepare for this career. Discuss what education and training are required for this career.


    H) Final Meeting

    After completion of all activities there should be a final session with the merit badge counselor. In this meeting each scout has the opportunity to discuss and reflect with him on what they learned and future educational and work opportunities that exist in this field.


    I) Extra Credit

      Campout Option
      Is there a campground facility nearby or within distance of an easy hike, bikeride or carpool to the facility you will visit? If so this can add an extra level of adventure fun to this activity.

      Service Option
      Do A Good Turn Daily: - Scouts should always look for an opportunity to do service on every field tour.

      USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum Tour
      Several large carriers have been converted into floating museums and most hold regular scouting events including Merit Badge Seminars, Tours and Overnight Camping onboard. Check out the following USS Midway (San Diego CA), USS Lexington (Corpus Christi TX), USS Yorktown (Charleston SC), USS Intrepid (New York City NY), USS Hornet (Alameda CA). An overnight visit here may also cover requirements for both Aviation and Camping and Citizenship in the Nation merit badges.

      Civil War Boy Scout Experience Tour Civil War Experience Tour
      Brady Saunders Scout Camp

      This Central Virginia adventure tour is a great opportunity for older scouts looking for something beyond a week of summer camp. This program will leave the camp everyday and visit Civil War battlefields and museums throughout the Richmond area. You will return to camp every evening (except one overnighter) to enjoy evening activities. You will have the opportunity to earn your Historic Trails award and your American Heritage merit badge.

      Historic Trails of America Award Historic Trails Award Patch

      Working this merit badge can help scouts meet some of the requirements for the BSA Historic Trails Award. Note also that many historic trails also have their own customized award program sponsored by individual scout councils.

      This activity will emphasize cooperation between historic societies and Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venturer units. A unit should establish a close relationship a local society as soon as possible when planning a historic activity - most communities have such societies.

      Cumberland Gap Virginia Tour Popular Backpacking Adventure Treks
      U.S. National Historic Parks

      There are many state and national historic parks connected to famous trails and or landmarks. Many offer opportunities for fun camping, hiking and backpacking adventures:


        Cumberland Gap - Take a scenic, multi-day, backcountry adventure tour on one a historic trial first cut by the legendary Daniel Boone through land rich in danger and challenge. Several park trails are specially maintained by BSA to support backpacking adventures here.

      Genealogy Merit Badge* - Shares requirements for researching family history.

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    J) American Heritage Famous Quotes:

      Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf - What people don't understand is this is something that we only have in America. There is no other country in the world where the ordinary citizen can go out and enjoy hunting and fishing. There's no other nation in the world where that happens. And it's very much a part of our heritage.
      Gen. Dwight D Eisenhower - Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.

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American Heritage Merit Badge
Official Merit Badge Book



America: The Last Best Hope
If you love American History, then you will enjoy this book by acclaimed commentator Dr. William J. Bennett. (Get the Two Volume Discount.)



BSA Fieldbook
BSA Fieldbook
Outdoor Trek Guide

Based on experiences of millions of Scouts and leaders, this book holds essential information for every outdoor enthusiast. A comprehensive reference, this handbook includes sections on trek, preparation and adventures, appreciating our environment, and more.


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