Troop 868 in Action
(Saturday, February 23, 2013)

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While many classes were traditional "lecture and take notes" experiences, many others were more "hands on."  Some met at various locations away from the school campuses.  Others took field trips.  Some merit badges could be fully completed, start to finish, at MBU; others required a significant amount of advance preparation and prior completion of selected requirements.  

MBU offers something for every scout.  The program provides an outstanding initial introduction to the merit badge program for newer scouts, such as former Webelos who have just crossed over from Cub Scouting.  The younger guys get an opportunity to work on badges appropriate for their age and experience, such as Art, Leatherworking, Indian Lore, Collections, and Fingerprinting.  At the same time, the program offers older scouts an opportunity to work on some of the really tough merit badges like Citizenship in the Community, Lifesaving, Communications, and Personal Management with experienced counselors who really are experts in those fields.  And, of course, there were more than 80 other offerings between those extremes.

Scouts taking PHOTOGRAPHY MERIT BADGE made pin-hole cameras from cardboard boxes then went outside to check them out.  Wow!  This is really cool!
SPACE EXPLORATION MERIT BADGE counselor Paul Abboud talking to his class about the parts of the International Space Station. Ahhh ... paperwork.  Believe it or not, doing research, making lists, and writing reports is part of many Boy Scout merit badges.
Older scouts, many of whom have been coming to MBU for several years really appreciate the program.  The number of boys who do the listed pre-requisites and come in the door on Saturday morning, paperwork in hand, ready to complete an Eagle-required badge or two is really impressive and proves that the program is far from being any kind of "merit badge give-away."  Guys who come with that expectation, go home with partials.
The younger guys have a good time and learn in the process.  The number of brand new scouts who earn their first merit badge as MBU is amazing.  And, because they leave with a good understanding of what it takes to earn a merit badge and how the whole process works, these new scouts will be better prepared to get more out of their year of Boy Scout summer camp.  
While their sons were busy working on merit badges, many of the adults who brought them to MBU spent their time taking various kinds of adult training.  The adults in the two photos above were becoming certified in CPR.
These adults spent time in one of the computer labs taking various on-line training courses of their choosing. These soon to be Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters were taking the Scoutmaster Job Specific Training course taught by a council trainer.
Scouts taking the ROBOTICS MERIT BADGE worked in pairs to insure that both got "hands on" experience with both the building of the robot and in programming it to do the assigned tasks.
These guys working on the ENGINEERING MERIT BADGE prepared to test the catapult they had constructed. These scouts taking the ARCHERY MERIT BADGE were shooting inside a school gym.  It's a lot more comfortable shooting indoors than outdoors in February!

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