American Cultures

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Resources include the American Cultures merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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American Cultures merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1979
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 017
Requirements revision: 2006
Latest pamphlet revision: 2013


The United States is a nation of immigrants. Every person came to America from somewhere else—or their ancestors did—and understanding these various cultural backgrounds can help Scouts to live in harmony with others in our varied and increasingly multicultural society.

American Cultures merit badge requirements

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.

  1. Do TWO of the following, choosing a different group for each:
    a. Go to a festival, celebration, or other event identified with one of the groups. Report on what you see and learn.
    b. Go to a place of worship, school, or other institution identified with one of the groups. Report on what you see and learn.
    c. Talk with a person from one of the groups about the heritage and traditions of the group. Report on what you learn.
    d. Learn a song, dance, poem, or story which is traditional to one group, and teach it to a group of your friends.
    e. Go to a library or museum to see a program or exhibit featuring one group's traditions. Report on what you see and learn.
  2. 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.
  3. Tell about some differences between the religions and social customs of the three groups. Tell about some ideas, or ways of doing things that are similar in the three groups.
  4. Tell about a contribution made to our country by three different people each from a different racial, ethnic, or religious background.
  5. 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.

The official source for the information shown in this is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for American Cultures is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the American Cultures requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

  1. The BSA Cultural Awareness Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include American Cultures as one of your monthly themes.
  2. American Cultures is a rare merit badge!

Requirement resources

The Troop Cultural Awareness Monthly Theme includes meeting and activity materials.

1 - 5. American Cultures resources:

America's Story - Story of cultures in America
Library of Congress Jukebox - Cultural music
Library of Congress American Memory Exhibit - Historic maps, photos, documents, audio and video
  • General Cultural Links:
US Government's Cultures and Ethnic Groups links - Digital History: Ethnic America - The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation - Immigration - Ethnic Group Links
American Heroes - Notable persons of black, Irish, Hispanic, Jewish, Christian, and American Indian heritages.
Wikipedia: Ethnic Groups in the US - Wikipedia: Melting pot - Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity - Project Race

Related awards

Personal development-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools