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Merit Badges at Camp Lewallen

Most Scouts who come to camp want to advance.  At Camp Lewallen, we offer 26 different merit badges.  We recommend that you don't take on more than three, because camp is geared for fun -- not just advancement. 

Many of the merit badges we offer have requirements that must or should be done before you arrive. Some require four weeks of observation, others require some written work. Why take fun time to write a report when you could do it at home on your computer in less time? 

As you will see below, we have grouped merit badges in recommended groups for first-year campers on up to veterans.  With the exception of those recommended for fourth-year campers (in the Older Scout program), these are just recommendations.

Recommended for first-year campers and older:

Basketry, Fishing, Indian Lore, Leatherwork, Mammal Study, Swimming and Woodcarving

Recommended for at least your second year in camp:

Camping, Canoeing, Forestry, Lifesaving, Orienteering, Pioneering, Reptile and Amphibian Study, Rowing and Wilderness Survival

Tougher badges recommended for third-year campers and older:

Archery, Astronomy, Environmental Science, Geology, Nature, Shotgun Shooting, Rifle Shooting, and Weather.

Badges that require you to be at least a fourth-year camper:

Climbing and Space Exploration

Take a look at the following merit badges and choose which ones that you would like to complete at camp.  Then get to work!

Archery Merit Badge

This is one of the tougher merit badges we offer.  It is also one of the most fun.  Although some Scouts will be natural shots, some will never shoot well enough to qualify.

We recommend this merit badge for Scouts who are in their third summer camp or beyond. But if archery is your hobby, you can sign up earlier.  We will teach you to shoot properly and safely.

To qualify you must make at least one complete arrow and a bowstring.  We have the materials for purchase in the camp Trading Post.  You may bring your own personal archery tackle to camp, but we do not encourage you to do so. And if you do, we are not responsible for it.  Bows may not exceed 40 pounds pull, and they must be locked in the camp office when not in use.

Before camp:  Read the merit badge book, and practice shooting if possible.

Time offered: 2 p.m.; two-hour session

Astronomy Merit Badge

Heres another of the tougher badges.  It is also recommended for third-year campers and beyond.  But if astronomy is your hobby, come on down.  It is unlikely that you could qualify for this badge without prior work.

A great web site to check out is  On this web site are tons of interesting information and photos of what is happening above you every night.  If stargazing is your hobby, the Starry Night series of computer programs are easy to use.  You'll find them also on

Before camp: Requirements that you must complete beforehand are 5b, 6 and 7b. We recommend that you do the sketches for 4c and 7a at home where it will be easier for you to do.  Read the merit badge pamphlet, and get plenty of skywatching in.

Times offered: 10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m.; one-hour sessions in the nature area, with evening stargazing out of your campsite, as possible

Basketry Merit Badge

Here's one thats a piece of cake.  You could actually do this one before you come to camp, or do it in your spare time.

This is a fine first-year camper badge, open to all Scouts.  There are only three requirements.  You may purchase your kits ahead of time at the Scout Shop or a hobby shop.  If you wait until you get to camp, you can buy the kits in the Trading Post for $15-$24, depending on which kits you choose to weave.

Assistance is available in the Scoutcraft area daily from 2 to 5 p.m.  Just come on down and ask for help.

Times offered:  11:15 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Camping Merit Badge

Here's a great badge to earn at camp, and it's required for Eagle.  You should have 20 days and nights of camping before you sign up for this one. 

Before camp: Requirements 8c and 9 must be complete prior to camp. Requirements 1-6 should either be done or prepared for.  These are the bookwork-type requirements that will save you time at camp.  

Times offered: 9:15 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Scoutcraft area.

Canoeing Merit Badge

This badge is great fun. Canoeing and Swimming are our most-earned merit badges in camp.  You must be a swimmer before you can sign up.  Learn to paddle a canoe the right way.  Learn to save yourself and others in a boating accident.

Plan on taking some time in the afternoon to practice the skills that you learn in the sessions.  You will have to demonstrate your handling of the canoe in a number of situations. 

Before camp:  Read the merit badge pamphlet.  Practice your swimming.  To complete this badge, you must come to camp with a completed red card indicating that you have the necessary CPR instruction.  This badge requires some strength in moving and lifting a canoe, and the ability to climb back into a canoe from the water.  Study requirements 4, 5 and 10.

Times offered: 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. at Lake Potashnik; 1 hour, 15-minute sessions 

Climbing Merit Badge

Make sure that you have a current book.  You must be a fourth-year camper or older to sign up. It is part of the Older Scout program.

This merit badge is strenuous, so you need to be in good condition.

Before camp:  Pre-camp sign-up is necessary (see your Scoutmaster).  Read the merit badge pamphlet to become familiar with the equipment and terminology.  A red card for CPR will help.  If you can visit a climbing facility before camp it will help.

Times offered: 9:15 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday.  Meet at the Climbing Tower.

Environmental Science Merit Badge

This is a good camp merit badge, but requires a lot of pre-camp work to complete.  It is also another Eagle required badge.  Sessions for this badge are 1.5 hours each day.  We recommend that you be at least a third-year camper for this badge.

If you are a resident of the state of Missouri, you may receive (free of charge) the excellent magazine Missouri Conservationist.  Simply send your written request with your name, full address, city, state and zip code to:

     Missouri Conservationist
     P.O. Box 180
     Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180

Illinois residents may subscribe to Outdoor Illinois magazine. Go to  for subscription information ($10 per year).

Before camp: Read the merit badge pamphlet. It is recommended that you complete requirement 5.  To complete this badge, you must come with requirements 4 and 6 completed.

Times offered: 9:15 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Remember that these are two-hour sessions and this is a time-consuming merit badge.  It is also an important badge if you want to become an Eagle Scout.

Fishing Merit Badge

Heres the perfect badge to complete before you get to camp, and all you have to do is fish!

Bring your fishing gear and the pictures of fish that you've caught in the past.  Bone up on the bookwork requirements and parts of the tackle and you're home free.

Before camp:  Fish, fish, fish.  You can fish at camp as well, but if theyre not bitin'???  Read the merit badge pamphlet and come ready to answer the questions every fisherman should know.

For requirement 7 involving state fishing regulations, go to this web site for Missouri:;

and for Illinois, go to

Time offered: 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Lake Potashnik 

Forestry Merit Badge

This is a merit badge for those who love trees and forests and want to learn more.  Recommended for second-year campers and older, this is a badge that is better researched before coming to camp.  A tree identification guide and spiral notebook are essential.

Before camp:  Requirement 7 would be helpful to have done and Requirement 5 must be done.

Read the merit badge pamphlet and start assembling your collections.

Times offered:  9:15 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the nature area.

Geology Merit Badge

Wouldn't you like to be able to identify the rocks and minerals around you, and know how they formed?  This one is for you, recommended for third year campers and older.

Before camp: You must complete requirement 4 and we recommend that you work on requirement 5 depending on which option you choose.  A rock and mineral guide will definitely help you out.

Time offered: 11:15 a.m. in the Nature Area.

Indian Lore Merit Badge

The Indian Lore merit badge is a good one that can be completed at home prior to camp which will allow you more time to take part in the fun Native American skills and games that we will show you in the Scoutcraft area.  Any Scout may sign up for Indian Lore.  If you are a member of an Order of the Arrow ceremonial team, this one may be right for you.

Before camp:  Requirement 2 must be done, and we highly recommend that you complete requirement 1 as well.

Times offered: 10:15 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Leatherwork Merit Badge

This merit badge is open to all Scouts and is a great one for camp, where we provide leatherworking tools and advice.  You may purchase your kit materials prior to camp at the Scout Shop or a leather craft store.  If you purchase them at camp, plan on spending $7-$14, depending on your choice of kits.

Before camp:  Read the merit badge pamphlet. Bring your personal item for requirement 3 to camp to show. If you choose options a, b or d in requirement 4, youll need to have done them before camp as well.

Times offered: 9:15 a.m. or 4 p.m. in the Scoutcraft area

Lifesaving Merit Badge

Here's a great badge that gets you in the water every day, and may help you save your or someone else's life in the future.  It is also an alternative required badge for the rank of Eagle Scout (Emergency preparedness is the other option).  Although it is not a requirement, you should have first earned the Swimming merit badge.  You must be a strong swimmer before coming to camp, as requirement 1 requires you to swim 400 yards using four different strokes in a strong manner.

Before camp:  Swim, swim, swim, then read the merit badge pamphlet.  You must have completed those requirements for second and first class regarding swimming.  You must have completed the red card CPR training prior to camp to complete this badge.  You will need a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Blue jeans are not recommended.

Times offered: 11:15 a.m. or 3 p.m.  

Mammal Study Merit Badge

Mammal Study is a good badge for any Scout.  This is definitely one where you should do the paperwork and research before you come to camp.

Before camp:  We highly recommend that you complete requirements 3 and 4.

Missouri residents should receive (free of charge) the Missouri Conservationist magazine.  Illinois residents may subscribe to Outdoor Illinois magazine.  See subscription information under the Environmental Science merit badge.

Times offered: 10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the nature area.  You can choose either Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday.

Nature Merit Badge

Designed for Scout in their third year or more of summer camp, this badge will help you appreciate our natural wonders.

Before camp: Depending on which five of the eight options you choose, you should complete the following requirements before camp:  a2, d1, d2, e1, f2 or h2.

Times offered: 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Nature Area

Orienteering Merit Badge

This is a great camp badge, recommended for second-year Scouts and beyond.  Orienteering is like a treasure hunt with a map and compass.  It is the largest participant sport in the Nordic countries. You will need your compass and sturdy shoes or boots for running.

Before camp: Requirements 7, 8, 9 and 10 are recommended.  If you don't do most of these requirements, it will be tough to complete.  Read the merit badge pamphlet.

Check out the St. Louis Orienteering Club's web site at   This club has great events that can help you qualify for requirement 7; and if you contact and assist them, you can complete 9.

Times offered: 11:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Scoutcraft area

Pioneering Merit Badge

This Scoutcraft merit badge is recommended for second-year campers and beyond.  Building towers and bridges is a lot of fun, but you need to know your knots and learn to lash.  The Scoutcraft area has all the spars and ropes that you will need.  Pioneering sessions are two hours long.

Before camp:  You need to be prepared to pass requirements 1 and 2. We strongly suggest you make your simple ropemaking machine for requirement 6.  The Trading Post will have twine for you to purchase for using with your ropemaking machine if you wait until camp to try it out.  Read the merit badge pamphlet.

Times offered: 9:15 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Reptile and Amphibian Study Merit Badge

This badge is offered to second-year campers and older. If you like things that crawl, jump and swim, chase this badge.

Before camp:  Requirement 8 must be completed.  Bring your records with you to camp. If you complete requirements 1 and 4, you will be well on your way.

Times offered: 9:15 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Nature Area

Rifle Shooting Merit Badge

This merit badge is a lot like Archery.  It is a lot of fun.  Some Scouts pass the shooting requirement with no problem; other Scouts never seem to get the hang of it. The session is 2 hours long and is held at, you guessed it, the rifle range.  Ammunition is .22 caliber single shot, and bolt action rifles are used for option A.  You may not bring your own rifle or ammunition to camp.

This merit badge is recommended for third-year campers and older.  But if you are a marksman or hunter and have your Scoutmaster's and rifle range director's permission, you may sign up.

For a portion of requirement No. 1 regarding hunting laws go to this  web site:  (for Missouri residents) or (for Illinois residents).

Before camp: Read the merit badge pamphlet and practice shooting if possible.  Even if it is with a BB gun, it will help you prepare.

Time offered: 2 p.m.

Rowing Merit Badge

Here's another fun aquatic merit badge.  Although not required, we recommend that you earn the Canoeing merit badge first.  You must be a swimmer to sign up.  This is a recommended merit badge for second-year campers and beyond.

Before camp: Read the merit badge pamphlet. Earn the red card for CPR instruction.  Be prepared for requirements 4 and 10.  Practice your swimming skills.

Times offered: 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. at Lake Potashnik.

Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge

Shotgun Shooting merit badge is recommended for those Scouts who are at least in their third year of camp.  It is a lot of fun but is time-consuming.  Shotgun Shooting is a two-hour a day badge.  It will also cost you an additional $10 for ammunition. The fee is paid at the time you sign up on Monday morning.

We will be using option A (modern cartridge type). 

Before camp: Read the merit badge pamphlet and be prepared for requirement 1.  See Rifle Shooting Requirements above for resources for state regulations.  Practice shooting if possible.

Time offered: 9:15 a.m. at the shotgun range


Space Exploration

This badge will be offered to Scouts in the Older scout Program. Times will be announced at camp.

Before camp: Complete requirements 2 and 7.

You will need to purchase at rocket kit at camp.  These will be available at camp for a cost of between $5 and $15 depending on your choice of rockets.

Do not bring any rocket engines with you to camp.

Swimming Merit Badge

Swimming and Canoeing are the most earned badges in summer camp.  If you are a first-year camper and a swimmer, this one's for you.  It is lots of fun, and you swim everyday. Surface dives, different swimming strokes, and using mask, fins, and snorkel are just a few of the skills that you will learn.

Before camp: Read the merit badge pamphlet and practice your swimming.  To complete at camp, you must have your signed red card that shows you have completed the CPR instruction.  You must have completed requirement 3 in your troop, which qualifies you for the Second and First Class swimming requirements before you can sign up for this merit badge.

Times offered: At your troop instructional swim time, 9:15 a.m. or 11:15 a.m. (see your Scoutmaster for your time)

Weather Merit Badge

This badge is offered to third-year campers and older. Learn great skills to improve your status as an outdoorsman.

Before camp; Requirement 8 must be completed before camp. We also recommend that you work on requirements 3 and 6.

Times offered: 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Nature Area.

Wilderness Survival Merit Badge

Do you really like roughing it?  Then try Wilderness Survival.

Recommended for second-year campers, this badge will have a survival overnight.

Before camp: Read the merit badge pamphlet.  Make your own survival kit for requirement 5, and practice your fire-building for 6.  Be prepared to answer questions on requirements 2, 3 and 7.

Times offered: 11:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. with an overnight.

Wood Carving Merit Badge

Wood carving is a great merit badge for all Scouts in camp; but it is also a great one to start before you get here.  Step one is to get the merit badge pamphlet and read it.  Next get a pocketknife with a small blade.  Sharpen the blade so that it is very sharp, and then take your time carving the two projects that you will need to complete requirements 4 and 5.

You may secure neckerchief slide blanks at any Scout Shop.  For the relief carving, most Wal-Mart stores have basswood (or lindenwood) in their hobby/crafts area.  Most hobby shops will have carving wood as well.

Check out your library for whittling or carving books for ideas. Also check out for ideas.

Before camp: No requirements must be done before camp.

Equipment and instruction is available in the scoutcraft area.

Times offered: 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m.


OK, youve got all this information on merit badges.  Now how do you make it work for you?  We suggest that you build yourself a schedule.

Step 1 -- decide what you really want to do and accomplish
Step 2 -- make sure that you plan to have some time just for fun.
Step 3 -- check out your troop's time for instructional swim and free swim.  If you are going to earn Swimming or Lifesaving merit badge, this time is set for you in the Camp Lewallen Leaders Guide.
Step 4 -- fill in the times for your highest-priority badges first.

Here's the list of merit badges by times:

  • 9:15 a.m. -- Camping, Canoeing (75 minutes), Climbing, Environmental Science, Forestry, Leatherwork, Pioneering, Reptile and Amphibian Study,Rowing, Shotgun Shooting (2 hours), Swimming
  • 10:15 a.m. -- Astronomy, Indian Lore, Lifesaving, Mammal Study
  • 10:45 a.m. -- Canoeing (75 minutes),  
  • 11:15 a.m. -- Basketry, Fishing, Geology,  Swimming, Orienteering, Weather, Wilderness Survival, Wood Carving
  • 2 p.m. --  Archery (2 hours),  Environmental Science, Pioneering, Rifle Shooting (2 hours), Weather, Wood Carving
  • 3 p.m. -- Astronomy, Fishing, Lifesaving, Mammal Study, Orienteering, Reptile and Amphibian Study,  Whitewater (3:30 on Monday, 3:00 on Tuesday and Wednesday) Wilderness Survival
  • 4 p.m. --  Basketry, Camping, Forestry, Indian Lore, Leatherwork, Reptile and Amphibian Study