"We are more afraid of excellence than of failure." -Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
Question #52138 posted on 06/08/2009 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What are the 10 easiet/quickest merit badges to get in boy scouts?

- Trustworth, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly.

A: Dear Scout,

In general, the easiest way to get merit badges is to go to a Boy Scout camp near the end of the summer, when all the staff are just tired and ready to go home. I knew of one merit badge counselor at a camp who was signing off on the Geology merit badge to anyone who would "Find ten natural things." Leaves, rocks, anything. Of course, there's a potentially large difference between getting a merit badge and earning a merit badge. Even when you don't get the "cheap" way out, scout camps are designed to earn you a lot of merit badges in a short time. Some of the more specialized merit badges (such as Archery, for example), are quite easy at a scout camp, but difficult elsewhere.

Not everyone will agree on the easiest merit badge, of course, but I think we can all agree that some are easier than others. There's a list of merit badges here. The requirements on most badges have changed a bit since I've been in scouts, but for sheer lack of effort, I think the following are probably the easiest:
  • Reading - This might not be the quickest merit badge, but essentially, you just need to read six books (they don't have to be long), and read stories to a younger sibling for four hours. For me, that would be easy.
  • Collections - Collect some stuff. (Other than stamps or coins.) Talk about why it's interesting. Again, this may not be quick; it can take some time to gather everything together, but it's not particularly hard.
  • Scholarship - If you're a good student, you're already mostly done. Write a 250-300 word essay, and you're probably done.
  • Computers - This one's a bit iffy; if computers are a mystery to you, skip this one. (If you're asking a question on the Board, this probably isn't you.) For the 7th requirement, visit your local grocery store, and note how computers are used in the check-out aisle.
  • Swimming - This one's required, so you may already have it regardless, but if you're comfortable in the water, this one's cake.
  • Safety - Learn a bit about how to protect yourself in case of a fire, accident, etc. Make a safety plan for your family. Very generic stuff, and not too hard.
  • Cinematography - Learn how to make a movie. This one may not be the quickest to get, but it's not hard, and if you like making movies, it's fun too.
  • Music - If you play any musical instrument well enough to read a hymn, you've pretty much got this one in the bag.
  • Art - Draw some stuff. Doesn't have to look nice, just has to be done by you. Also, visit an art museum.
  • Sports - If you play on sports teams, this one's easy.
The truth is, merit badges are designed to make you learn something, and not designed to be "quick and easy" (you'll note that Darth Vader was not a Boy Scout). So the easiest merit badges are really going to be those in areas where you already have experience.

-Yellow