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I mentioned back in December that I have developed a merit badge program for myself.  I’ve always had a thing for merit badges.  I love earning things – give me a point system and I am there.  I love learning and experimenting.  However, I never found a merit badge program that perfectly suited me.  To be honest, I have never followed through because there seemed no point – I was too old, too female, or it required a membership.  There was  always an obstacle that kept me from feeling like I could do them.

Then I found a book at the library.  It was a book on merit badges for women.  I loved the idea but I found it at a time when I barely had time to look at the topics, let alone explore them.  I tried to take notes but, when it was all said and done, the tasks were too ambiguous.

So then I had this idea – why don’t I design my own merit badges?  I could do it.  Instead of starting from scratch, I dug through the BSA Merit Badge program,  Mary Jane Butters Farmgirl Sisterhood, and the notes I took from the previously mentioned book.  I would have utilized other merit badge programs such as the Girl Scouts but their requirements were not freely available online.  I didn’t want to invest any money into this because it’s all for my own enjoyment.

I merged and edited the topics I was interested in.  Once I had them all figured out, I realized that the current method was not going to work.  I had way too many merit badges that I had no way to easily divide them up into a system that worked for me.  So, I opted to come up with categories.  The original idea here was to come up with 12 topics and do one a month.  Two things happened – 1. there were still more topics than months and 2. some couldn’t be completed in a month or needed a particular type of weather (like summer).

I ended up with 14 topics in the end.  Some could have been merged further but the lists would have been very, very long.  Then, I went about highlighting the activities.

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Blue activities are ones I can do at the computer and don’t necessarily require anything special to do them.  They are ones I can watch a documentary or read book to complete as well.  The pink and orange are activities that require something to complete them or can’t be done in my office (such as outside observations).

Then I created the “notebook”.

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I needed something to house my pages and this three ring binder worked well.  But as I got to completing my “program”, I realized the notebook could be more.  It could be what organizes my year and all my plans.  I dug into my random office supply stash and found some business card holders (as well as page protectors).

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I got a stack of notebook paper which required digging out these tabs so I could keep all my notes in an easy to find manner.

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The last few pages are page protectors to hold random pages like this paperwork for donating my body to the university when I die and recipes for household cleaners.

It’s merged and evolved, much like the merit badge program.  This is a program designed for me but I don’t mind sharing.  I hope that you can use this to design your own program.

Here is my file for my merit badge program: merit-badge-project

Feel free to use it as a template to design your own or follow along.  Through the year, I will be sharing what I am learning.  I am so excited to see how this all works and hope that this year I will spend my time more productively.

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