Merit Badges are awarded to Scouts for fulfilling requirements in specific fields of interest. There are more than 120 Merit Badges that scouts can earn, in subject areas that include careers, sports, hobbies, and Scouting skills.
Merit Badges can help a Scout discover abilities he didn’t know he had, and fields of interest he’s barely heard of. These badges can guide a Scout toward a career, enrich his leisure life, hone his fitness, enhance his ability to help others, and stimulate his personal growth. A Scout earns a merit badge by working with an adult counselor, an expert in the chosen subject, who is on a list provided and approved by the troop, council, and district. The Scout, along with a buddy, makes an appointment with the counselor, and works on the merit badge under the guidance of the counselor during one or more visits.
There is a core list of merit badges required to make Eagle rank, and there are many optional ones. Please follow this link to learn more about Merit Badges http://www.usscouts.org/mb/mbindex.asp