History and heroes

  • Older man with two young men looking at papers


Improve your understanding of yourself as you explore historical events and people.


Learning about history will help you see yourself as a part of history in the making. You can learn the stories of history in a variety of ways and with numerous technological tools. Plan a series of activities to help you learn about history and historical figures. These activities should be planned by various team members and chosen from the following five fields of emphasis. You should also plan a culminating activity—such as visiting a significant historical site or attending a history fair—from one of the fields of emphasis.

Fields of emphasis

Personal development

  • Invite a war veteran to share with your team his story of when he grew up and when he served.
  • Help converts to write down the story of how they joined the Church. Include the opposition they faced and how they remained faithful. With permission, you may want to share their story with others, such as during a sacrament meeting talk.
  • Help an elderly person sort his or her photographs and create an organized photo album. Help this person scan the pictures into the database on FamilySearch. Share some of the significant stories from this person’s life with your team.
  • Plan a fireside where the parents of your team members share their most significant stories from their lives, including trials or challenges they experienced and how these experiences changed them.
  • Ask each team member to share the most difficult experience he has had and why it was important to him.
  • Set a goal as a team for every member to keep a journal every day for three months. Record acts of service that you witness or participate in. At the end of three months, give each team member a chance to share something from his journal.


  • Identify a historical site in your community, and organize a service project to help maintain it and clean it up.
  • Create a map of your community that features historical sites. Make an interactive web page of your map. You could contact your city hall and ask them for permission to post a link on the city home page to your online map.
  • Collect photographs of the men and women who helped to found and build your community. Collect stories about the challenges they had to overcome to help the community succeed.

High adventure

  • Plan a bike ride where you and your team visit significant historical sites in your community. If possible, bring historical photographs of those sites and share with your team the story behind why those sites are significant.
  • Choose a river in your area and identify the famous people who have visited or traveled on the river. Then plan and prepare for your own trip down the river.
  • Research any natural disasters that happened in your community. Create a display for your community that shares the story of this natural disaster and gives counsel on emergency preparedness.

Special programs and events

  • Have team members prepare a short presentation on their favorite historical figure—someone whom they consider a hero. Share your presentations with one another.
  • Invite a person who survived the Great Depression to share his or her story with the team, including details of what it was like to live during difficult times.
  • Record an interview with a person of a different nationality or race. Ask him or her to describe how living in a different culture influences his or her perspective or increases courage. Prepare the recording to share with your team members.


The following merit badges can be connected to the history and heroes activities:

  • American cultures
  • American heritage
  • American labor
  • Citizenship in the community, nation, and world
  • Communication
  • Family life
  • Genealogy
  • Journalism
  • Moviemaking
  • Programming
  • Public speaking
  • Reading
  • Scouting heritage

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