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Mc to host Merit Badge University

Barry McNamara
Monmouth College, in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America, has announced it will begin serving as host of the area’s Merit Badge University for the next several years.

The college will host its first day-long conference on March 17 for more than 100 Boy Scouts who are working toward their Eagle Scout rank by earning merit badges. The scouts are from the Medicine Lodge District of the Illowa Council, an area that is no more than two hours driving distance from Monmouth. Many of the young men will eventually become Eagle Scouts.

“All scouts will work on one merit badge selected from an identified list of 20-25 merit badges that are possible to complete in one day,” said MC staff member Kathy Mainz, who is helping to organize the event in her role as chair of the local Merit Badge University committee. “Most sessions will be held in the college’s Haldeman-Thiessen Science Center, and some others will be held at off-campus locations in Monmouth.”

The Medicine Lodge District has sponsored the workshops for the past few years at Western Illinois University.

“Now it’s our turn to show off Monmouth College’s great facilities and programs, and maybe recruit some of these students, who have a superior work ethic and great academic credentials,” said Mainz, who also serves as the district’s roundtable commissioner.

A merit badge indicates competency in a certain subject area, ranging from first aid to topics such as law or nuclear energy.

“In order for a scout to earn a badge, they explore their interest with an adult who is an ‘expert’ in that area,” said Mainz.

She is currently recruiting MC faculty members to participate in the first event, noting, “Our merit badge counselors will work with small groups of scouts and guide them through a booklet of information on their particular topic. Asking faculty to take most of their Saturday is a large commitment of time and energy, but it’s so worth it. I’ve been delighted to work with these young men for the past seven years. They are a remarkable group.”