… First Aid!
And the most popular merit badge in 2012 that is NOT among those required to achieve the rank of Eagle was …
Each spring, the BSA councils across the country report the number of badges earned to us here at the National Council. It’s a pretty interesting list.
The top 12 badges, not surprisingly, are all Eagle-required:
First Aid: 92,312 earned in 2012.
Environmental Science: 76,238.
Citizenship in the World: 67, 486.
Citizenship in the Nation: 64,120.
Citizenship in the Community: 57,951,
Personal Fitness: 56,908.
Family Life: 56,210.
Personal Management: 54,529.
Emergency Preparedness: 51,035.
Then we get to the “elective” badges, or those not required to earn your Eagle rank.
Rifle Shooting: 50,435.
Wilderness Survival: 46,829.
The Chess merit badge, introduced just two years ago, has really taken off, with 29,298 Scouts earning it in 2012.
The rarest merit badge earned in 2012? Bugling (included in the Music and Bugling pamphlet), with 613 badges awarded.