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The Boy Scouts of America program offers over 120 merit badges that kids can earn, everything from archery to camping, from coin collecting to dog care. As time goes on, outdated badges, like blacksmithing, end up being replaced with new versions more relevant to the skills boys need to succeed. In the past five years, only four new badges have been added. Go ahead and add one more to the list, because starting next week, your little scout will be able to earn his robotics merit badge.
"Last century, camping was an essential survival skill. Sometimes, you might have had to live outside in the 1900s to survive. We view STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) as an essential survival skill in the 21st century," said Matt Myers, who oversees the Boy Scouts' STEM initiative. "We're just trying to keep relevant with what kids need to learn."
In order to earn a robotics merit badge, scouts will need to design and build a robot while learning about robot movement, sensors, and programming. It's one of the geekier badges available, others being radio, photography, computers, nuclear science, and geocaching.
"It's a bit strange because most of [the badges] have to do with camping, and robotics doesn't have to do a lo with camping," said Josh Cerniglia, a 10-year-old scout from Atkinson, N.H. "But I think as soon as I'm finished with fishing, I'll try to go for it."