American Cultures Merit Badge
American Cultures Merit Badge Info
This merit badge explores the concept of America being a melting pot of various cultures. Scouts are encouraged to recognize how differences and similarities between cultures influence our community interactions and can work to create a richer environment for us all.
Being aware of the backgrounds and cultural differences of our neighbors helps scouts become responsible citizens making moral choices in support of the BSA vision and mission. This merit badge ties in with the Citizenship merit badges, and helps frame the need for being a participating citizen.
Besides the requirement to give a talk and lead a discussion, this merit badge can be completed completely alone doing online research with the Resources below. But, choosing to go to a cultural festival and talking to someone from another cultural background makes it more interesting. There is nothing particularly difficult about the requirements, and there are no skills to learn, but the requirement to lead a discussion puts the scout in front of a group which can be stressful.
American Cultures is around 116th out of all merit badges with about 2,500 scouts earning it each year.
Requirements for the American Cultures merit badge:
Choose THREE groups that have different racial, cultural, national, or ethnic backgrounds, one of which comes from your own background. Use these groups to meet requirements 1, 2, and 3.
- Do TWO of the following, choosing a different group for each:
- Go to a festival, celebration, or other event identified with one of the groups. Report on what you see and learn.
- Go to a place of worship, school, or other institution identified with one of the groups. Report on what you see and learn.
- Talk with a person from one of the groups about the heritage and traditions of the group. Report on what you learn.
- Learn a song, dance, poem, or story that is traditional to one group, and teach it to a group of your friends.
- Go to a library or museum to see a program or exhibit featuring one group's traditions. Report on what you see and learn.
- Imagine that one of the groups had always lived alone in a city or country to which no other groups ever came. Tell what you think the city or country might be like today. Now tell what you think it might be like if the three groups you chose lived there at the same time.
- Tell about some differences between the religious and social customs of the three groups. Tell about some ideas or ways of doing things that are similar in the three groups.
- Tell about a contribution made to our country by three different people each from a different racial, ethnic, or religious background.
- Give a talk to your scout unit or class at school on how people from different groups have gotten along together. Lead a discussion on what can be done to help various groups understand one another better.
Hints for American Cultures Merit Badge
- By talking to someone in requirement #1, both #1c and #1d can be done at the same time.
- If #1d is done, the teaching portion can be done at the same time the requirement #5 talk is done.
- You can use your own family as one of the three cultural groups.
- Requirement #2 is the scout's opinion using imagination, so pretty much any description could work.
Resources for American Cultures Merit Badge
Read about many different World Cultures to find some that differ from your background.
Find upcoming Cultural Events near you that you can attend.
Find a Place of Worship near you to visit.
Read some stories from various cultures to teach your friends.
Learn about contributions from and backgrounds of many famous immigrants.
See America's Story for historic stories.
Visit World of Tales for folktales from around the world.
- Arab American Institute
- Asian Nation
- Immigration Stories
- Jewish-American History Foundation
- U.S. Census Bureau
Feb 05, 2018 - John Doe
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