Boy Scouts ages 11-18 will have the opportunity to either begin or complete three merit badges at the second annual Southern Oklahoma Merit Badge Fair Nov. 13 [SATURDAY] at East Central University in Ada.
A total of 20 different merit badges will be offered. Webelos Cub Scouts can participate in the “Webelos Wrangle.” They will have a chance to earn three activity badges, two belt loops and the U.S. Heritage Award which will qualify them for a medal and patch.
The cost is $10 per scout. Registration forms and more information are available at www.arbucklebsa.org. The merit badge fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and the Wrangle from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Scouts may attend as individuals or as a part of a group.
“Merit badges are meant to be educational, fun and an opportunity for career exploration for Boy Scouts,” said Dr. Pat Fountain, ECU professor of business administration and an Eagle Scout and active scouter. “What better place than a college campus to give scouts a chance to see facilities, perform experiments, do projects and meet with folks who work or will work in the field the merit badge explores?”
The fair is being coordinated by ECU Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team members Geoffrey Fonga, a senior business administration major from Cameroon, and Dai Edwardes-Evans, a senior business administration major from South Africa. Co-sponsors include the Arbuckle Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and ECU’s Center of Continuing Education and Community Services.
Coordinators anticipate that a number of ECU student organizations, faculty, staff and community members will assist at the event.
“For scouts to earn three merit badges in a day is a rare opportunity,” said Fonga. “With 20 different merit badges being offered, we think there will be plenty of variety for new scouts as well as those who have been around for awhile.”
One of the highlights of this year’s merit badge fair will be the opportunity to earn both the carpentry and pathfinding “historical” merit badges. These are two of the five “historical” merit badges being offered by the Boy Scouts of America this year.
“This year is the 100th anniversary of scouting in the USA,” Edwardes-Evans explained, “and so, for this year only, scouts across the country have an opportunity to earn five merit badges that use the requirements from 1910.”
Fountain expects the merit badge fair to draw scouts from well beyond the boundaries of the local Arbuckle Area Council. Last year scouts from Durant and Wichita Falls, Texas, attended the fair. Each merit badge class will be limited to 15 scouts.
It is recommended that scouts log on to www.meritbadge.com and print out the merit badge worksheets for the badges they intend to work on at the fair. Many scouts also may want to order the merit badge pamphlets that go with the badges they will be earning.
While many of the badges can be completed at the merit badge fair, others will allow scouts to leave with all but a requirement or two completed. Several of the badges require work to be done for time frames ranging from a few hours to a few months and will need to be done at home.
The scouts’ home leaders will sign off on the parts done at home either before or after the merit badge fair. ECU merit badge instructors will sign off on the things done at ECU in the same way that many summer camp merit badges are done, Fountain said.
“Getting what is known in the scout world as a ‘partial’ is nothing to worry about,” he explained. “The guys will just get home and get the last of the requirements done so they can receive their merit badges.”
Merit badge classes will be offered in American labor, architecture, carpentry (historical), chemistry, citizenship in the nation, citizenship in the world, composite materials, computers, disabilities awareness, dog care, engineering, environmental science, finger printing, law, painting, pathfinding (historical), photography, reptile/amphibian study, salesmanship and sculpture. Some merit badges may be dropped depending on enrollment.
Webelos scouts will work on their aquanaut activity badge in ECU’s indoor heated pool in the morning and work on the scientist and handyman activity badges as well as the U.S. Heritage Award in the afternoon.
“Even if a Webelos Scout has already earned one or more of the badges, he can come and have fun “re-earning” them,” Edwardes-Evans said.
For more information or to get a flyer and/or registration form, contact Fountain at 580-559-5270 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Charlee Lanis at the Center of Continuing Education and Community Services at 559-5457 or email@example.com.
# # #