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Hundreds of Scouts work on badges at MU event

February 10, 2019

HUNTINGTON - Marshall University and the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America partnered Saturday for the 23rd Annual Boy Scout Merit Badge College on the campus of Marshall University.

Nearly 600 Scouts from throughout the Tri-State region came to Marshall for the opportunity to work on up to two merit badges during the day while receiving instruction from university faculty serving as merit badge counselors.

“This is an opportunity for our middle school and high school scouts to come and work on a merit badge with subject matter experts and hopefully accomplish that merit badge while they are here today,” said Carl Sullivan, a district executive for the Buckskin Council.

Merit Badge College essentially gives Scouts an opportunity to advance their skills so they may move up in the ranks sooner than later.

James Morton, a 13-year-old student at Barboursville Middle School, said he was working on two merit badges at the college.

“I took the movie-making merit badge and I filmed our court of honor a few weeks ago where scouts get their rankings,” he said. “In the afternoon I will be doing community citizenship in the nation. I wrote paragraphs and essays about being respectful to your nation, flag and colors.”

Sullivan said the Scouts, ranging in age from 11 to 17, who attended the event are from the areas of Cabell, Wayne and Lincoln counties in West Virginia; Boyd, Carter and Lawrence counties in Kentucky; and approximately half of Lawrence County in Ohio.

“We also have several female scouts here today as well,” he said.

A total of 48 different merit badges were offered at the college, Sullivan added.

“These aren’t merit badges we would do in a camp setting, so we don’t have to necessarily be outdoors” Sullivan explained. “We are looking at merit badges that deal with citizenship, family life, environmental science, law, medicine and engineering, just to name a few.”

Each merit badge has specific requirements, and scouts are advised well in advance of the college what preparation faculty counselors expect for classes.

Benjamin Woodard, a 15-year-old 10th-grade student who is homeschooled in Kenova, was one of several Eagle Scouts in attendance.

“I am taking the electricity merit badge class and the scholarship merit badge class,” he said. “These are some fun ones that I don’t have and want to get.”

Woodard said he loves being in the Boy Scouts.

“You get to develop character and leadership, and this merit badge college allows me to learn about interesting subjects and also see the Marshall University campus,” he said. “Being in the Boy Scouts allows me to set goals and to work hard to achieve those goals. I also get to do community service, which helps me learn the needs of my community. There is also has so many fun outdoor activities as well.”

Sullivan said the event offers an excellent opportunity to showcase Marshall and its academics.

“We appreciate Marshall University’s support of this program,” Sullivan said. “We appreciate the faculty that has volunteered their time today to share with a group of young people and have a big impact in their lives. Many of these scouts will attend college in the future and this event gives these students a chance to see Marshall’s beautiful campus and what it has to offer.”

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter at @FredPaceHD.

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