Barry McNamara  |  Published March 14, 2022

Merit Badge University

After two-year hiatus, Boy Scouts of America event returns to campus.

IN SESSION: In a courtroom at the Warren County Courthouse, Mike Pearson, chair of Warren Co. Boa... IN SESSION: In a courtroom at the Warren County Courthouse, Mike Pearson, chair of Warren Co. Board, speaks about county government to scouts attempting to earn their merit badge in Citizenship in the Community and Citizenship in the Nation.MONMOUTH, Ill. – After a very successful weekend for the Boys Scouts of America brought more than 500 people to the Monmouth College campus, Kathy Mainz expressed five words she’s been waiting two years to say:

“Merit Badge University is back!”

Two years ago, the annual campus event that helps Boy Scouts earn merit badges – some of which are difficult to obtain any other way – was among the very first to fall victim to cancellation due to COVID 19. The lingering pandemic also blocked the return of Merit Badge University last year, so Saturday’s event was the first time it had been held since spring 2019.

“We had more than 315 scouts in attendance with 100 adults and more than 80 volunteers.” Kathy Mainz

“We had more than 315 scouts in attendance with 100 adults and more than 80 volunteers,” said Mainz, the College’s biology lab manager who has directed Merit Badge University on campus since 2012. “In order for a scout to earn a badge, they explore their interest with an adult who is an expert in that area. Our merit badge counselors worked with small groups of scouts and guided them through a booklet of information on their particular topic.”

Scouts attended from the following councils: Illowa, WD Boyce, Abe Lincoln, Northern Iowa and Mississippi Valley.

HANDS-ON LEARNING: Davenport, Iowa, scout leader J.P. Macke helps a youth earn his leatherwork me... HANDS-ON LEARNING: Davenport, Iowa, scout leader J.P. Macke helps a youth earn his leatherwork merit badge.“The geographic area represented is from Des Moines to Dubuque and Davenport to Muscatine in Iowa, as well as all of central Illinois as far south as Springfield,” said Mainz. “I also want to give a special shout out to the College’s admissions department and, in particular, Michelle Carlson and Kristen English for their support and assistance. More than 100 visitors toured campus facilities. This week, an email blast will go out from admissions to all of our visitors with information about our great school.”

The day also made a big difference in the community.

“If my estimation is correct, there was more than 425 hours of community service to Monmouth College, the Boy Scouts of America and the Monmouth community just for this event,” said Mainz.

In addition to Mainz, the Office of Admission and the College’s food service, Monmouth faculty and staff who played a part in the day were Kevin Baldwin and Tim Tibbetts of biology, Chris Fasano of physics, Stacy Lotz of art, Laura Moore of chemistry, Jeff Rankin of communications and marketing, and Sean Schumm and Kari Shimmin of kinesiology, as well as emeritus professor of theatre Bill Wallace.

Support from Monmouth businesses and groups was provided by Bruce Foote Chevrolet, Jenks Family Farms, St. George Plumbing, Prairie Communication (WMOI-FM/WRAM-AM), the Warren County Genealogy Society, the Warren County Courthouse, the City of Monmouth, and the Monmouth fire and police departments.

Out-of-town support was provided by the Augustana College chemistry department, the Galesburg Railroad Museum, the McDonough County Public Health Department, Philmont Scout Ranch and Suburban Construction.

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