There are several Scouting achievements related to collecting. For example:
- Wolf Achievement 6 – Start a Collection
- Collecting Belt Loop and Pin from the Cub Scout Academics and Sports program
- Coin Collecting Merit Badge
- Collections Merit Badge
- Stamp Collecting Merit Badge
- Venturing Arts and Hobbies Bronze Award
So how do you start a collection? Here are some tips to get started.
- Decide what interests you. This might seem obvious, but sometimes it is the hardest step. You might be drawn to items which are frequently collected such as stamps, coins, or trading cards. On the other hand, maybe those don’t interest you. Look around your room. Is there something you have a few of? Maybe you can find more. Your collection doesn’t have to be all the same type of object. It could be different types of objects which share a common theme, such as a group of items related to your favorite sports team or movie.
- Don’t decide to collect things which are expensive or difficult to obtain. Sure, I’d like to have a diamond collection also, but it doesn’t seem practical. That doesn’t mean you have to choose something which you can make a collection of with ease, but it should be something which you can reasonable add to every month.
- Check with your parents. You might want to make sure that they are willing to provide you space to keep your collection. And they will have other considerations about the wisdom of what you are considering collecting. Maybe your mom isn’t so wild about you keeping a live bug collection in your room. And she might remind you that the bugs are better off in their natural environment anyway.
- Consider collecting something unique. If you want to stand out and get some attention, collect something really strange. Sometimes these are the most inexpensive things to collect also. I once saw a collection of gum wrappers which was nicely categorized and displayed.
- Make a nice display. As mentioned in #4, a nice display really makes a big difference when viewing a collection. Label the items and give a little history or extra explanation if possible. What makes a single item in the collection special. Your collection will hold the viewer’s interest longer if the display is organized, informative, and easy to view.
- Know how to store your collection. Do some research and find out how to store your collection so it is preserved over time. This is especially important with delicate items, like stamps or pressed flowers.
- Keep collecting. It is OK to start with just a few items if you continue to add to it over time. It might be good to set a goal for yourself like “I will add at least one new item every month.”
- Network with other collectors. If you can find other people who collect similar objects, then you might be able to swap items and increase your collection. Local hobby clubs might have fairs you can attend. Remember safety though and never contact another individual without your parents’ permission and knowledge.