1. Read the Declaration of Independence. Pay close attention to the section that begins with "We hold these truths to be self-evident" and ends with "to provide new Guards for their future security." Rewrite that section in your own words, making it as easy to understand as possible. Then share your writing with your merit badge counselor and discuss the importance of the Declaration to all Americans.
Scouts should come to the class with notes on their research and understanding of this component. The "discuss" action will more than likely be a part of group discussion led by the counselor in which each Scout will be given an opportunity to share their findings for this component of the requirement.
2. Do TWO of the following:
a. Select two individuals from American history, one a political leader (a president, senator, etc.) and the other a private citizen (a writer, religious leader, etc.). Find out about each person's accomplishments and compare the contributions each has made to America's heritage.
Scouts may choose to complete this requirement ahead of time or complete this after the class. The class will focus some time for discussion of this component as well as the sharing of the chart as specified in this part of the requirement. Only Scouts that have completed their visit, and can substantiate that with the counselor, as well as having completed their chart, will have an opportunity to complete this part of the requirement during the class.
b. With your counselor's approval, choose an organization that has promoted some type of positive change in American society. Find out why the organization believed this change was necessary and how it helped to accomplish the change. Discuss how this organization is related to events or situations from America's past.
Scouts should arrive prepared for the class with notes written out for reference to help assist with their explanation on this component.
c. With your counselor's approval, interview two veterans of the U.S. military. Find out what their experiences were like. Ask the veterans what they believe they accomplished.
Scouts will be given an opportunity to share their findings either one on one with the counselor and/or in group discussion with the other scouts facilitated by the counselor within the class. Scouts should utilize the merit badge pamphlet to prepare for the explanation and discussion items within this component of the requirement. Consider making notes to help aid in your completion.
d. With your counselor's approval, interview three people in your community of different ages and occupations. Ask these people what America means to them, what they think is special about this country, and what American traditions they feel are important to preserve.
It is strongly recommended that Scouts come to the class with notes ready for use when completing this component. Scouts will want to be able to share their explanation clearly and concisely and notes will not only aid in this but help show the Counselor that some thought and effort have gone into preparing for this requirement.
3. Do the following:
a. Select a topic that is currently in the news. Describe to your counselor what is happening. Explain how today's events are related to or affected by the events and values of America's past.
b. For each of the following, describe its adoption, tell about any changes since its adoption, and explain how each one continues to influence Americans today: the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the seal, the motto, and the national anthem.
c. Research your family's history. Find out how various events and situations in American history affected your family. If your family immigrated to America, tell the reasons why. Share what you find with your counselor.
Scouts will need to come to the class with these items already in the works, if not already completed. Time will be allotted in the class to review any of these components that Scouts have completed or are nearly completed with for consideration by the counselor for sign off. Some of the concepts required for these different components may be demonstrated and discussed for general knowledge purposes within the class, however ultimately it is the Scout's responsibility to fulfill requirement completely before the Counselor can consider signing off on this requirement.
4. Do TWO of the following:
a. Explain what is meant by the National Register of Historic Places. Describe how a property becomes eligible for listing. Make a map of your local area, marking the points of historical interest. Tell about any National Register properties in your area. Share the map with your counselor, and describe the historical points you have indicated.
b. Research an event of historical importance that took place in or near your area. If possible, visit the place. Tell your counselor about the event and how it affected local history. Describe how the area looked then and what it now looks like.
c. Find out when, why, and how your town or neighborhood started, and what ethnic, national, or racial groups played a part. Find out how the area has changed over the past 50 years and try to explain why.
d. Take an active part in a program about an event or person in American history. Report to your counselor about the program, the part you took, and the subject.
e. Visit a historic trail or walk in your area. After your visit, share with your counselor what you have learned. Discuss the importance of this location and explain why you think it might qualify for National Register listing.
Scouts should choose one of the options in this requirement to work on prior to the class and bring their completed work to the class ready to share for completion. It is strongly recommended Scouts bring any notes or other supporting documentation to help demonstrate to the Counselor that time and effort has gone into preparing for the delivery of this requirement on the day of the class.
5. Do ONE of the following:
a. Watch two motion pictures (with the approval and permission of your counselor and parent) that are set in some period of American history. Describe to your counselor how accurate each film is with regard to the historical events depicted and also with regard to the way the characters are portrayed.
b. Read a biography (with your counselor's approval) of someone who has made a contribution to America's heritage. Tell some things you admire about this individual and some things you do not admire. Explain why you think this person has made a positive or a negative contribution to America's heritage.
c. Listen to recordings of popular songs from various periods of American history. Share five of these songs with your counselor, and describe how each song reflects the way people felt about the period in which it was popular. If a recording is not available, have a copy of the lyrics available.
Scouts will need to carefully manage their time and resources when working on this requirement. This is not a requirement that can be done in an hour or two. Scouts should note that while the Counselor will review the selected requirement by each Scout during the class; ultimately it is up to each Scout to select and prepare one of the three items either before or after the class. It can not be emphasized enough that Scouts will need to have proof of their work to share during the class if they desire to be considered for sign off on this requirement at the class. This requirement is best completed by Scouts who allot themselves plenty of time to complete and realize this is not just a single afternoon project. Time will be provided within the class for any Scouts interested in sharing their partial or completed progress on this requirement.
6. Discuss with your counselor the career opportunities in American heritage. Pick one that interests you and explain how to prepare for this career. Discuss what education and training are required for this career.
Scouts should review this requirement and its components and be prepared to discuss. It is strongly recommended that Scouts bring any notes or supporting documents they may have to help show the counselor that they have prepared for completion of this requirement.