Signs, Signals, and Codes Merit Badge


I’m a counselor in the Northern Star Council of the BSA for the relatively new Signs, Signals, and Codes merit badge.  My area of expertise, of course, is Morse Code, but this merit badge requires Scouts to learn a little bit about a lot of different methods of signalling.  In addition to Morse Code, these include the traditional Scouting activity of semaphore, as well as Braille and American Sign Language.  Signalling is an evolving art, and Scouts are even asked to teach their counselors about emoticons, since the Scouts probably know a lot more about them than their counselor.

In additional to semaphore, the merit badge covers a number of other traditional scouting skills, such as trail markings and silent Scout signals.  The January 1946 issue of Boys’ Life includes a good overview of many of the skills needed for this merit badge.  The image shown above is from that issue, and shows Scouts some of the silent signals they can use on the trail or at meetings.

In March, I’ll be counseling the merit badge as part of the Northwest District merit badge day.  This event is sometimes opened up to Scouts from other districts, so keep checking for updates.


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