Boy Scouts of America Seeks to Inspire Next Generation of Explorers with the Launch of the New Exploration Merit Badge

National Geographic to sponsor the interactive Exploration Merit Badge Experience at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree

Irving, Texas – (February 23, 2017) New discoveries are made every day, thanks to technological advancements and the keen curiosity of today’s explorers. To encourage future discoveries, the nation’s largest youth-serving organization is working to inspire the next generation of explorers by introducing the new Exploration Merit Badge. Created and developed by experts in the field, the Exploration Merit Badge is the 137th addition to the BSA’s bank of merit badge programs and is now available to Scouts nationwide.

“We have a wealth of experience encouraging Scouts to use their natural curiosity to learn how the world works, and now we’re putting that energy and adventure into a new merit badge,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “The Exploration Merit Badge adds to our broad range of STEM topics and programs Scouts can experience.”

To earn the Exploration Merit Badge, Scouts will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of exploration, as well as its history and importance in today’s world. They will complete hands-on projects about real-life explorations and have the opportunity to complete an exploration in a lab or in the field. The badge culminates with the Scout planning, preparing for and completing their own expedition. Throughout the program, they will also learn more about career opportunities across various fields such as oceanography, archeology, weather and biology, drawing inspiration from famous explorers and expeditions of our time.

To create this dynamic program, the BSA partnered with a diverse group of exploring experts from a variety of fields, organizations, professions and programs. These experts live and breathe exploring and their stories give Scouts great examples and advice of how to turn curiosity and interests into a results-driven adventure.

Michael Manyak, Distinguished Eagle Scout and expedition medicine expert, led the charge for the development of this merit badge and worked closely with the BSA and other explorers to make it come to life.

“Exploration is what drives innovation, whether in science, economics, or business – we need exploration to spur discoveries that help enhance their lives and improve our world,” said Manyak. “The possibilities for exploring are endless and require teamwork and dedication. We look forward to seeing Scouts become future change-makers through their experiences with this badge.”

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, who is also an Eagle Scout, contributed to the guidelines for the Exploration Merit Badge. That’s why this summer, National Geographic is thrilled to team up with the BSA as a presenting sponsor to offer Scouts the opportunity to begin earning the badge during the 2017 National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. At the Jamboree Exploration Merit Badge Experience, Scouts will learn alongside real-life leaders in exploration while also attending Scouting’s premier destination for high adventure and fun. Additionally, as part of National Geographic’s ongoing support of the badge, Scouts will be able to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to the 2018 Explorers Symposium at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Exploration Merit Badge is available to Scouts in print format to youth members, ages 11-18, who participate in the Boy Scouts program. For more information, visit

About the Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.®” The Scouting organization is composed of nearly 2.4 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit