Merit Badge University

By: Chris Brennaman
By: Chris Brennaman

Every year, millions of young boys and girls earn Merit Badges while participating in the Boy Scouts of America. Several different Merit Badges were given out Saturday at Meridian Community College.

In Boy Scouts, there is one ultimate goal...To become an Eagle Scout. In order to become an Eagle Scout, a young man has to complete a series of tasks, one of those being earning merit badges. Twenty-one of them to be exact. But don't tell that to Steven Stewart. He's been an Eagle Scout for three days now, but he's still collecting merit badges. In fact, today he's going for his thirty-sixth...This one in electronics.

"it is important, because a lot of the Merit Badges that they base our Eagle requirement on are life skills. The citizenship skills, the family life, and money/personal management. And all of these skills are meant to help you, not only in rank advancement, but they're meant to help you in your everyday life," said Eagle Scout James Steven Stewart, Jr.

Meridian Community College is helping other scouts trying to earn the same prestigious honor as Stewart, by hosting Merit Badge University. An opportunity for scouts to earn one of 13 different badges. Ranging from metalwork to cinematography to space exploration, many of the badges earned today are newer badges, skills not required years ago, when the scouts first started.

"As life goes on, what our grandparents thought was the most modern things in technology have been replaced. So, scouting has moved along with those things and we're dealing with things that people need today," said Ross Tingle of the Choctaw Area Council Boy Scouts of America.

MCC officials see hosting this one-day event as an opportunity that they can't pass up.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for the scouts to be a part of a college situation, they come to campus, they see our facilities, they meet our instructors, they have a chance to work with our instructors. It's a good opportunity for us to give something back to our community," Shirley Nell Goodman Associate Vice President of Workforce Education at MCC.

As for Stewart, he says that earning merit badges is fun and makes life a little more interesting.

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