Local Boy Scouts attend Merit Badge University to learn how to be Eagle Scouts

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On a recent Saturday in the Burien area, hundreds of scouts gathered at a local church to attend advancement classes for becoming Eagle Scouts.

Boys from all over King County came here to spend the day earning merit badges and had the option of attending a multitude of merit badge classes. Scouts must serve in Scouting for a minimum of two years, earn 21 merit badges and complete a community service project to become an Eagle Scout.

Such merit badge programs are usually reserved for summer camp, but local Scout leaders Chancy and Shelly Johnson, of Troop 360 at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church, organized a Merit Badge University Jamboree, breaking the record for getting volunteers to teach classes. Over 20 merit badge classes were available that Saturday. Such programs are uncommon in Scouting, but are a way to create additional opportunities to support boys (and soon girls) to advance towards the rank of Eagle Scout.

Burien City Councilmember Bob Edgar was one instructor. He, along with local Scoutmaster Mark Ufkes, taught Citizenship in the Community and Citizenship in the World merit badges. Both merit badges are required for the Eagle Scout rank. Councilmember Edgar was able to offer real life observations about how local governing works, and the challenges with finding common ground in city policy. As the photos above indicate, there were lots of questions from the boys, and Mr. Edgar’s participation allowed the boys to complete the requirement where they had to interview a public official.

Along with parent involvement, and participation at summer camp, Merit Badge University programs are a critical part of an effective Eagle Scout mentoring program. Last year, over 1,200 boys in Washington State became Eagle Scouts.

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