Smart, talented and brave. A friend to those in need. Someone who relishes learning new skills.

While one group carries hiking sticks and the other lightsabers, I’d argue that Scouts and Jedi have more in common than you might think.

The heroes of the Star Wars saga lived “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” but their spirit of selfless service lives on in young people wearing blue, khaki or green.

Maybe the heroes of today can’t move things just by looking at them, but they make amazing things happen anyway. And when they do, they make our planet a better, happier place.

Still not convinced? Below, find the top five merit badges that prove my point — just in time for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, in theaters now.


Jedi and Scouts must be comfortable with robots (or droids) that walk, talk, roll or are “fluent in over 6 million forms of communication.”

Scouts who earn the Robotics merit badge learn to design, build, program and test their very own robot. Phase one: a robot that can pick up a ball and move it across the room. Phase two: a robot that can pilot a spaceship and save the entire galaxy.

I wouldn’t bet against Scouts to get it done. Would you?

Space Exploration

Jedi were known as guardians of justice and peace across the galaxy. Scouts are perfectly suited for a similar role, just as soon as someone invents fast, efficient space travel.

The galaxy gets a little smaller every time a Scout earns the Space Exploration merit badge, where they’ll discover the fascinating past, present and future of humanity’s adventures into the heavens.

I do have one question for Space Exploration merit badge counselors about requirement 2, which asks Scouts to design a collector’s card about their favorite space pioneer: Does Luke Skywalker count?


Jedi must be comfortable getting up close and personal with a variety of furry, scaly and slimy creatures — some evil and some extremely adorable.

Scouts who want to earn the Pets merit badge must show a similar affinity for two- and four-legged friends. To earn the badge, they must care for a pet for at least four months. They can also choose to “train a pet in three or more tricks or special abilities.”

Or, you know, just luck out and befriend some Ewoks who already know plenty of tricks — like how to take down an AT-ST walker using ropes and logs.


Jedi have some pretty sweet powers, but they can’t just teleport from Planet A to Planet B.

From time to time, Jedi, like Scouts, need to pull on some sturdy boots and hike to their destination. Maybe there’s a wise old Jedi waiting in a hideaway at the end of the hike. Or maybe there’s a scenic camping spot with views you couldn’t get by car. Either way, hiking’s about enjoying the journey as much as the destination.

For the Eagle-required Hiking merit badge, Scouts must complete a 20-mile hike in a single day. Twenty miles in a day? Better bring some Polystarch bread.


Who am I? Where did I come from?

Those existential questions form a key thread throughout all nine movies in the Star Wars Skywalker saga as Jedi search for answers about their identity and purpose.

Scouts driven to earn the Genealogy merit badge have similar questions about themselves — and learn to use the tools that can answer them. They create a family tree, interview relatives and harness genealogical information to learn more about themselves.

Was their great-great-great-grandparent a warrior who fought evil? There’s only one way to find out.

What’d I miss?

What other merit badges belong on this list?

Remember the rule: This is a Top 5 list, not a Top 6 or Top 7. If you add one, you must say which one you’d remove.

More in this series

Click here for more “Top 5 merit badges” fun.

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