What Merit Badges Would Star Trek's Captain Archer Need To Be A 22nd Century Eagle Scout?


"Star Trek: Enterprise," episode "Rogue Planet" (March 20, 2002), depicted Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) achieving Eagle Scout status during his childhood and earning 26 merit badges with their organization. Long into the 22nd century, Boy Scouts of America will remain as a benchmark of decency; its terms "Boy Scout" and "Eagle Scout" will still be widely used to denote hard work ethic, integrity and perseverance. Archer might best be described as an archetypical Boy Scout: someone characterized by trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courteousness, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness braveness cleanliness reverentness.

Well, in "Star Trek," there is no money so Kirk doesn't practice thriftiness or reverentness as much, though his actions likely acknowledge proper resource allocation as well as respecting religious practices of other alien worlds.

The Boy Scouts Association, more commonly referred to today simply as Scouts, remains active today and remains at the center of many deep controversies in recent years (as shown below) which may have resulted in reduced membership or popularity; yet ultimately it still flourishes, becoming more progressive than ever before.

Former Scouts reading this are likely familiar with how the ranking system operates, though most laypeople might find it somewhat opaque. Outsiders might know Eagle Scout is the highest rank but may be unfamiliar with all the ranks they must pass to reach it. Many may know of Merit Badges due to seeing Scouts wearing them at public functions but few might understand just how many there are or whether or not more are required for promotion.

Controversies within BSA

"Rogue Planet" was written in 2002, just prior to real-life Boy Scouts of America being embroiled in several public scandals. Bullying had long been part of its culture since 1970, forcing leadership to implement corrective actions during the 1990s and after their bankruptcy filing (in 2020) reveal 92,000 sexual abuse complaints had been received since 1968.

The BSA also faced harsh criticism over its longtime and open rejection of queer and transgender Scouts and Scoutmasters, leading many to leave due to outdated attitudes toward LGBTQ Scouts within its organization, leading many to perceive them as antiquated or even bigoted compared to rival organizations such as Girl Scouts of America or Cub Scouts. At its credit, BSA instituted a more stringent screening process for its Scoutmasters as well as an open whistleblowing campaign when abuse occurs. Furthermore, major revisions were made to their charter document that strongly opposed bullying while welcoming LGBTQIA youth members openly into membership. Indeed, in 2018 they became simply known as Scouts following girls being allowed into membership for the first time; certain bigoted conservative churches left as a result of queer kids' inclusion within BSA, leaving happy goodbyes at both camps' doorstep.

Imagine that by the 22nd century, Scouting will have transformed back into a healthier and wholesome organization again, as suggested by Captain Archer's success with Eagle Scout rank attainment. I prefer to think that in 22nd-century Boy Scouts formed something resembling Starfleet: built to teach diplomacy, tolerance, multiculturalism and pacifism.

Boy Scout ranks
There are seven ranks within Scouting: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class Scout (SC2), First Class (FC 1), Star Scout, Life Scout and Eagle Scout. Although Scouts can earn Merit Badges throughout their tenure with the organization - even as young members - there are no requirements until becoming Star. There are two classes of Merit Badge; electives and requirements.

Merit Badges that must be earned include First Aid, Citizenship in Society (2021), Communication, Cooking, Personal Fitness Management/Personal Management of Fitness Training Program, Camping and Family Life. There may also be options within certain of the required Merit Badges such as Swimming/Cycling/Hikeing; Environmental Science or Sustainability and Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving. In 2021 a Citizenship in Society Merit Badge became mandatory.

As part of their requirements to become Star Scouts, individuals must acquire six Merit Badges--four from the required list as well as four elective ones from additional lists--while Life Scouts should earn five more from additional required and three elective lists to reach this stage of advancement. Eagle Scouting requires not just more required Merit Badges but seven additional ones as well--this explains why most Scouts typically earn these awards early.

As part of their Eagle Scout requirements, Scouts need 21 Merit Badges in total in order to advance to Eagle. In addition, Eagle Scout candidates also undertake an intensive community service project organized entirely on their own - this presents its own set of challenges!

Personally, I earned 23.

Star Trek Merit Badges In 2022, there are 138 Merit Badges available; even an ambitious Scout would likely not earn them all; therefore the large amount was added as options to give ambitious Scouts. Earning badges takes initiative; Scouts need to contact their Scout leader about starting on a Merit Badge course themselves; no one is expected to accrue badges like in school; back in 1911 there were only 26 Merit Badges available and six required for completion. Merit Badges were slowly introduced over time; since this author joined Boy Scouting during his teen years (1980s-1990s), 29 additional Merit Badges have been earned; most recently Healthcare Professions (2021); there are also Merit Badges available for Filmmaking, Geocaching Robotics and Video Game Design.

On "Enterprise," Captain Archer earned 26 Merit Badges - which is certainly above average; by 22nd century standards there will likely be many more to collect; there was even dialogue that alluded to how certain characters might earn Exobiology Badges.

Archer might have enjoyed earning his Kayaking Merit Badge, but I imagine he might also have studied something exclusive to "Star Trek." One of the more modern merit badges might focus on Xenolinguistics or Space Travel and Warp Physics studies - perhaps also learning First Contact protocols and basic diplomacy along the way! There would also most definitely have been an official Citizenship in the Galaxy Merit Badge that offered educational courses dedicated to First Contact Protocols and diplomacy training!

Given there's no money in "Star Trek," chances are the Personal Finance badge would become inactivated.

Read More