Boy Scouts collect stamps

boy scouts stamps

Stamp Collecting
Boy Scouts of America

I couldn’t believe that the date on this book was 1993. The pictures seem to be much older.  Stamp collecting is still a big hobby and there are many more current books on stamp collecting. I am not sure I would add this to the collection, unless there is a current need for scouting material. I hope the scouts have updated this particular book.

And then we have the back cover advertising a subscription to Boy’s Life. I guess the scouts are into some cultural appropriation after they get the stamp collections done.


boy scouts stamp collecting back cover

requirements of badge

learning the lingo

displaying your collection



  1. I suppose the merit badge pamphlets were only partially edited before being re-issued. Of course it’s too old and should go, but I don’t see how you know that the Boys’ Life cover is of a white kid; he looks to me like a Native American kid in ceremonial dress.

    1. He’ll be one of the Koshare Indian dancers- a Boy Scout group that carefully researches, learns, and presents Native American culture. It is a lot more respectful than, say, getting a sexy Indian costume for Halloween. Aside from performing and educating visitors, they teach the boys themselves about all the people whose history and culture they are learning about, and the crafts and skills in making the clothes (they make their own dress).

  2. Scouting merit badge books are updated regularly as requirements and information changes, but they don’t always update the photos. Looks like the latest update is from 2007.

  3. The Boy Scouts have incorporated a lot of Native American traditions, and I know that in the 90s at least there was concern about doing so respectfully and getting it right. I’m not sure what their position is in this century, when cultural appropriation has come into the spotlight.

  4. I used merit badge books in the 1980’s. They were indeed often reprints of much older editions.

    There is a long tradition of Boy Scouts dressing as Native Americans and appropriating (usually superficial) aspects of their cultures. For example, try an image search for “Order of the Arrow” or research the Koshare Indian Museum and Dancers (La Junta, Colorado — interesting museum). However, those appropriations were relatively respectful compared to how Indians were treated in older movies and films, not to mention write-ups in U.S. history textbooks and historical markers. Ex.

      1. That particular stamp book looks suspicious. Kind of looks like “Xtreme Sports” was scribbled on and the images on the stamps themselves could have been last-minute photoshops. Wouldn’t it be easier just to take a new picture, though?

  5. That is not the current edition of the Stamp Collecting merit badge pamphlet. Entire series is updated regularly, especially when requirements change.

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