fgoodwin wrote:Thanx for the replies -- one last question. The Troop expects the "new boys" to do four MBs at their first summer camp.
The other responses to your question have been good, and let me toss another one or two your way. Some merit badges are perfect for a first-year scout (Leatherwork) and others are best for scouts with some more experience (Shotgun Shooting, Climbing). Depending on what your summer camp offers, you might find your son finishing more than four MBs.
After having been to five summer camps, I've seen our scouts earn from 3.2 MBs per scout to 3.8. The historical average for our troop is 3.5. Younger scouts tend to earn more than older scouts since they SHOULD be taking the easier MBs. Some good younger-scout MBs frequently offered at camp are Mammal Study, Leatherwork, Art, Basketry, Fingerprinting, Swimming (if he can swim), Nature, Indian Lore, and Wood Carving. Rifle Shooting shooting is another good choice. A lot of adult scout leaders think this is hard, but our troop records show that well over 90% of scouts complete this on their first try at summer camp, regardless of age -- one 10-3/4 year old scout was the best shot at camp, and had never touched a rifle before. If the scout is at all handy with knots Pioneering is another good one. Your troop leadership can probably direct you to a good list of first-year-camper MBs for your camp.
For what it's worth, my older son turned 11 about three weeks before he went to summer camp the first time and he earned six merit badges. My second son earned four his first year.
Have your son read the books (he might be one of the few at camp who actually did, by the way) and have a good time. Tell him John Tyler earned six and he can too. Good luck.