Merit Badges for Grown Ups


Merit badges popped into my head recently. I know – random.  It’s especially random because I wasn’t ever a Brownie or a Girl Scout.  I did go to Girl Scout camp, and my Aunt Bobby – who was like a second mom to me – was a devoted Girl Scout, but I never earned a single merit badge as a child or teen.

And yet, there I was – inspired to create my own “merit badges” on a page in my art journal.  It was really an exercise in self-assessment, a chance to take stock.  What things do I devote time to?  What are some of my best qualities?  What do I have a particular affinity for?  This was my self-designated criteria as I determined what I’d theoretically earned merit badges in.  Here’s what I ended up with, and they were drawn in random order:
1. Nature Lover
2. Baking
3. Travel Bug (as in, I’ve been bitten by the Travel Bug)
4. Generous with Smiles
5. Helping Others
6. Creativity
7. Friend-Auntie-Family Member
8. Bibliophile
9. Significant Other/Wife.  Hubby and I have been a couple for over 16 years and are approaching our 14th wedding anniversary.  :]
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: drawing is not my strong suit, so my illustrations are pretty simple and crude. I had fun though, and it was a good exercise to help rebuild the dexterity in my right hand post-surgery.
The black pen I used on the page is one of my favorites for making art and for general writing: the Uniball Vision Elite.  The color was added primarily by coloring with watercolor pencils and then blending the color with a wet paintbrush, though I did use some Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons as well.
Oh, and lest you think I’m all about self-congratulations, the page opposite from the merit badges includes a list of eight things I will work on improving about myself – and that’s by no means a complete list!  That list includes getting more consistent exercise, eating more fruits and veggies, and not getting wrapped up in fear and worry when it’s not going to help anything anyway.  I try to balance being proud of who I am with being humble, and always strive to keep an eye on ways to improve and grow.  The things I listed on the two pages (both “good” and “bad”) are not a complete catalog – just a few examples on one particular day…
If you were to wear a sash, a vest, or shirt with merit badges on them – or have a Merit Badge Collecting app on your smart phone (ha!), what would your Grown Up Merit Badges be?  Gardening?  Literacy Program Volunteer? Wine Lover? Please comment and share, dear readers…
Warm regards,
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  1. Posted October 9, 2012 at 11:04 am by Jo Murray | Permalink

    I don’t have too many ‘merits’ that I can think of but I am a loyal friend, and suffer from terminal optimism.

  2. Posted October 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Ooh, loyal friendship and terminal optimism are great merit badges to claim. Good for you, and keep up the great work!

  3. Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm by Azizah A. | Permalink

    Wow. This is a seriously awesome idea. I was never a girl scout or anything so I never earned badges but I totally LOVE this idea of adult merit badges. Plus, I think they’re pretty good for being a mood lifter when you feel useless or crummy. I’ll have to think about it but in the meantime, I must share this on my blog on Sunday for linky love!

  4. Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thanks – I’m glad you like the post! Thank you in advance for sharing it with your readers this weekend.
    :] Melody

  5. Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:07 am by iHanna | Permalink

    Love your badges, what a fun idea. You should make buttons of those and wear them! 🙂

  6. Posted October 10, 2012 at 9:29 am by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I’m glad you like the post, and love your button idea. :]

  7. Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:42 am by Jumps | Permalink

    I am a Girl Scout alum with a Gold Award. I living in a small town and completed high school in the early 90s – denim jackets are cool (not as cool as bow ties, of course). So my adult merit badges would need to be physical items that I could display on my denim jacket.

    My first merit badge would actually be a GS Alum merit badge. Several of my adult badges could probably be removed from my old sash (I only ever sewed a handful of badges on it, and I have no idea what most of them mean. I have no idea what happened to the others – I was the kid who had to get as many badges as possible to prove I was the best *rolls eyes*

    I would keep my books/reading badge, my animal lovers badge, my bicycling badge, my crafts badge, my travel badge, and my music badge. I would add a motorcycling badge and trade in my mechanics badge for one about fixing motorcycles and bicycles. I’m not sure if I should break my crafts badge down to things like “knitter,” “origami folder,” and “fountain pen, paper snob, calligraphy learner.” I’d toss in a rainbow pride flag (not to be confused with the Girl Scout bridging rainbow from brownies to juniors), a Pagan badge, and a feminist badge. There should be a movies badge, a sci fi badge, and a board games badge. *ponders* Perhaps I should get that wine drinker badge you mentioned. And while I don’t drink beer, I am well educated on the brewing process and the tasting process, so I would get a beer badge. It would look sweet next to my beer badge.

    Oh! I almost forgot one of the most important badges – TEA! I am a tea snob (the kind that dislikes Teavana the way coffee snobs turn their nose up at Starbucks). I’ve started studying the provinces of China just so that I can become a better tea chooser. And I get a coffee badge next to the tea badge. When I was a coffee drinker, I was one of those snobby ones, and I still only buy good quality stuff when I drink it.

    Side note – did you know that there are mathematical properties that describe how the cream swirls into the coffee? Oh, so pretty!

  8. Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:42 am by Jumps | Permalink

    PS: I should get the babbling rambler badge, too. That last comment was far too long!

  9. Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:54 am by Melody | Permalink

    Ooh, love all your badges – thank you for sharing! It’s nice to have an actual Girl Scout weigh in, since you’re more legit when it comes to merit badges.
    I definitely qualify for the “wordy” badge, so your other comment’s length was just fine with me!