Trudging between classes on a brisk fall Saturday was hardly how I wanted to spend my adolescent weekends for an month. Doing homework, in addition to my normal school load, was not exactly my definition of fun either. But there was no denying that Pow Wow was the fastest way to accrue those coveted merit badges, other than at camps during the summer. Thousands of other Scouters seemed to agree, as we marched to and fro across a local university campus to meet with our merit badge counselors.

With the imminent release of Marvel Studio’s Thor: Ragnarok, we have a few terrific candidates for some seriously (over)qualified merit badge counselors! No more boring Pow Wow! This time around, we’ll stick with Marvel’s Avengers, from “Phase One”… The others will come in time (including characters from other series/brands). But let’s see what subjects we can imagine them teaching, both real badges, and some sarcastic or silly ones, just for fun!

 

Hulk (Bruce Banner)

While the catchphrase is “HULK SMASH!”, Bruce Banner’s daytime vocation is focused more on building. Although his character was endowed with a realistic level of emotional struggle, due to his somewhat uncontrollable green-thingy-ness, being a physicist of high regard, he has a sharp wit and a very self-assured confidence in his scientific abilities. And owing to the accident that caused his Jekyll/Hyde situation, he has become one of the foremost experts in the field of gamma radiation. And goodness knows what he has had to figure out in fixing all the stuff he has broken!

Badge: Nuclear Science + Energy

Not Serious Badge: Home Repairs + Traffic Safety

 

Thor Odinson

The God of Thunder, and heir to the throne of Asgard, Thor made a big splash (or crater), when he and Mjolnir arrived on Earth. Similarly capable to his green counterpart, Thor has been known to lay waste to enemy armies, and a few buildings, if they’re in the way. With an innate understanding of the cosmos, he was able to coach his mortal girlfriend, Jane Foster, and her colleagues, astrophysicists all, in the nature of the universe. The point is that he knows his way around the galaxy, and seems to be capable of using that knowledge, with or without the rainbow bridge of the Bifrost to transport him anywhere. And then make it home to help save his kingdom from certain doom. But in Ragnarok, will he prove successful in preventing his home from destruction?

Badge: Astronomy + Space Exploration

Not Serious Badge: Citizenship in the Community + Hammer Throwing

 

Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff)

A highly trained Russian spy and assassin, the Black Widow excels at all things manipulative, whether it’s hand-to-hand on a battlefield, disguising herself for ops, or gaining the intel to prevent certain battles from even occurring. She is always a step ahead, which grants her the ability to face down extremely dangerous foes. After defecting to the United States of America, her loyalties have been unwavering, as shown by her dedicated friendship with Hawkeye, but she remains as strategically dangerous as ever!

Badge: Chess + Theater

Not Serious Badge: Espionage (Only existed in the Boy Scouts of the U.S.S.R.; discontinued with the country… Just joking. There were 50,000 Scouts under the Tsar, with a rich history, for those interested.)

 

Captain America (Steve Rogers)

As the name implies, this is the patriot who wanted to do and be more, not just to avoid bullying, but to leave a lasting mark in his fight for the right. Altruistic to the end, and always fighting for the underdog, Captain America is not just the first Avenger, but one with the strongest and truest moral fiber. Armed with a vibranium shield, he also proves a devastating foe, if you are on the wrong side of the line. Actor Chris Evans even modeled his character after a lifelong friend who was an Eagle Scout!

Badge: Citizenship in the Nation + American Heritage + Law

Not Serious Badge: Frisbee/Shield-Throwing

 

Hawkeye (Clint Barton)

Not many know the story of this orphan, grown to be a master archer. Having seen Iron Man, he decided to use his talents for good, and joined forces with the Black Widow. He isn’t known for having great relationships, having had a falling out with his only brother after they ran away from an orphanage together, and fighting authority figures constantly. However, Hawkeye’s “my way” mentality and loyalty to his friends help make him more relatable, and an example of rising from one’s circumstances.

Badge: Archery + Climbing

Not Serious Badge: Family Life + American Cultures

 

Iron Man (Tony Stark)

The self-described millionaire-playboy-philanthropist was a boy marvel, studying electrical engineering at MIT at the age of 15. His later forays into military arms, and pride led to his being captured by a militant terrorist who wanted him to make weapons. His ingenious work, inspired by Nobel-winning physicist Ho Yinsen, was to create the first Iron Man suit from scraps, as well as the renewable power cell that helped keep his heart beating, and shrapnel from killing him. With ingenuity and hard work, there is nothing that Iron Man can’t handle. Embodiment of “Be Prepared”!

Badge: Welding + Metalwork + Energy + Inventing + Composite Materials

Not Serious Badge: Home Repairs + Anti-terrorism + Public Speaking

 

J.A.R.V.I.S.

Just Another Rather Very Intelligent System is the artificial intelligence program meant to aid Tony Stark and Pepper Potts in managing suits, business transactions, household and robotic automation, and critical defense. JARVIS proves a friendly and useful companion, managing all the cleaning and maintenance that Tony misses, as well as helping document his research and work.

Badge: Aviation + Digital Technology + Robotics

Not Serious Badge: Automotive Maintenance + Moviemaking

 

Virginia “Pepper” Potts

Another example of rising from humble beginnings, Pepper moved up within Stark Industries after helping find and fix accounting errors. From a secretarial position to accounting, to assisting the CEO, to running much of the business by herself, she has a trajectory that matches her own determination, and ability to put up with the conceited Tony Stark. Brilliant and careful, she is not a character to be dismissed or taken lightly.

Badge: American Business + Communication + Personal Management + Sustainability

Not Serious Badge: Art + Putting up with arrogant people

 

James “Rhodey” Rhodes

When he was wounded as a marine, Rhodey was rescued by Tony Stark, who then became one of his closest friends. A soldier and patriot to the end, Rhodey served as a compass to help keep Iron Man within reasonable limits, as much as he could.

Badge: Citizenship in the World + Rifle Shooting

Not Serious Badge: Putting up with arrogant people

 

Director Nick Fury

A native of “Hell’s Kitchen”, Manhattan, NYC, Fury worked through being an aviator in WWI, training commandos for the British forces in WWII, being a test subject to the Infinity Formula (French-developed serum that healed him from a landmine incident, and continues to keep him young), and eventually getting involved in cold war espionage for the C.I.A. All of this preparation led him to be a perfect liaison to various superhero allies, like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and then become the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Avengers. Always watchful, careful, and even paranoid, he maintains his independence and deniability, keeping his cards close to the vest.

Badge: American Heritage + Crime Prevention + Fingerprinting

Not Serious Badge: Disabilities Awareness + Poker/Cards + Espionage (see Black Widow)

 

Agent Phil Coulson

The headline S.H.I.E.L.D. front man, Agent Coulson had no name for the first few films in the Marvelverse. But he was ever-present, showing that the strings were being pulled from somewhere. He served loyally as a high-ranking officer within the organization, with a bit of wit, some moments when he had to be the tough guy, as the “everyman” that really says that anyone can become him, slick suit-and-tie look, and all. No pixie dust though; This realization comes through loyalty, dedication, and strength, for all who dare take it. Hopefully that doesn’t include getting run through by a spear-wielding Norse god.

Badge: American Labor + Communication + Safety

Not Serious Badge: Textile + Airship Survival/Not-Getting-Speared-by-Norse-Gods

 

Margaret “Peggy” Carter

A star in her own right, Peggy started her adventure before even meeting Captain America, fighting with the WWII French Resistance. Despite falling in love, the two are separated by the war, and Captain America’s bout of suspended animation in the arctic. Peggy doesn’t stop there though, and helps found and then direct S.H.I.E.L.D. before Director Fury came on the scene. More of a trained fighter and dedicated character than simply a “damsel in distress”, she would have a lot to offer as a teacher and Scouter, whether you go with the original depiction of an American, or the later Marvel take with a British heroine.

Badge: Signs, Signals, and Codes + Communication + First Aid + Search and Rescue

Not Serious Badge: Criminal Justice + Early Super-Villain Digital Technology

 

This is just “Phase One” of the Avengers Assembled (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Marvel’s The Avengers), but there will be more to come! Let us know what think in the comments. Any other real or made-up merit badges that really seem to have someone’s name on them? We can’t wait to see Thor: Ragnarok, and add some of the new characters and badges to the list!

All images are licensed to Marvel Entertainment. Disney and Marvel Entertainment have no affiliation with the BSA.

5 comments

  1. Leah Overson says:

    I’m a complete “newby” to Marvel’s marvelous heroes. When i tried to work on pow wow merit badges with my son, he just folded his arms and smiled at me. I knew then that we were finished with Scouting (except for the campouts). If I’d been more in-the-know, maybe I could have pulled up an example from the movies to inspire him. Space exploration would have been a good fit for some of the flyers. My son did enjoy putting together rockets and launching them. There are So Many merit badges to sample – never a need to be bored. I used to tell myself that once I retired, I would go through all the merit badge requirements for all the badges. What an education that would be! and I’d meet some fabulous, knowledgeable people in the process (especially if I could talk a Scout into coming along to the counselor sessions). Thanks for your well-researched article Samuel and for the flights of fancy. Who can tell? Maybe we will see another 10 or 20 merit badges introduced over the next several years!

    1. Samuel Gardner
      Samuel Gardner ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      The number of badges, and leaders dedicated to teaching them are more tremendous than I knew during my youth Scouting days. I am not sure that I am ready to invest the time to “earn” them all now, let alone become qualified to teach more than a handful, but that is certainly a praiseworthy goal. And it will be interesting to watch those badges and awards continue to evolve in the future, even as they have done in recent years.

  2. Madison Austin
    Madison Austin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If I were a Scout, it would be hard for me to ever complete a merit badge if a superhero was my counselor! I would want to stay and hang out forever. How cool would that be?

    1. Samuel Gardner
      Samuel Gardner ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      I did get to meet some amazing teachers and mentors through the course of earning my own awards, a few of whom I still keep in my contact list. And occasionally there were some that did “blow my mind”, and made it difficult to focus on working, because it was like being in the room with a newfound hero! Those are the volunteers who deserve the credit for making my Scouting experience a good one! There is a good reason why there are opportunities for parents and mentors to earn badges alongside their Eagles!

  3. Melany Gardner
    Melany Gardner ( User Karma: 3 ) says:

    I don’t know about you, but I would love to have ANY of the Avengers teach me a merit badge. But I feel like Tony Stark’s class would be the shortest and most entertaining. I might be too distracted to pay attention in Thor or Captain America’s class, and I would never finish the badge just so I could keep coming by.

    And for some reason I really want the Hulk to teach basket weaving. I can imagine him demonstrating with grunts, then getting frustrated and “Hulk Smash”-ing it to smithereens.

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