In this update:

Blue Card Reminder

As soon as a scout has an interest in earning a merit badge, he should familiarize himself with the badge requirements. The definitive source of current requirements is the BSA site. You can also read the merit badge pamphlet, and/or download a free merit badge workbook from meritbadge.org or usscouts.org. Merit Badge Pamphlets are available at NEIC, at Scoutstuff.org or (when available) via Kindle for $4.99. Another troop has posted slightly outdated PDF versions of the pamphlets which can get you started. If you are using a non-current pamphlet, you will often find that the requirements changes from prior editions is quite minimal. To verify whether the changes are material, you can look up the badge at usscouts.org, which lists Previous requirements, with highlighted Changes in the header section for the badge; you can keep clicking Previous to get to the version of the pamphlet you are using.

The Scoutmasters have asked that scouts be familiar with the badge requirements and that scouts personally have a brief conversation with a Scoutmaster prior to receiving a blue card. This can be a brief informal conversation before or after a troop meeting or at any other scout event when the Scoutmasters are not otherwise occupied.


Upcoming Eagle Merit Badge Opportunities

Evanston Environmental Association has just announced their spring schedule for Monday afternoon sessions running from 430pm-630pm (two consecutive sessions required) per workshop. Sign-ups are now available online. These classes are $25 each, with no uniform requirements (you will need a signed blue card). There are no prerequisites but there is usually some homework between sessions; a study group will be arranged if there is interest. There are at least two Glencoe scouts signed up for both workshops, so carpools will be available. Carpools generally depart Glencoe Starbucks at 4pm (at 350pm if a pickup at New Trier is required). Note: sign-ups require creating an account which is not instantaneous, and the scout will need a signed paper waiver (which you only receive by email after successful enrollment), so if this is your first Evanston program, please try to register before Friday 5pm as this process can be difficult to complete over the weekend or on Monday before class. Please contact Mrs. Pantelic if you are willing to drive carpool/need a ride.
https://apps.cityofevanston.org/webtrac/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html

  • Citizenship in the World: March 11 and 18
  • Environmental Science: April 8 and 15 April 15 and 22 (this workshop was rescheduled after it was initially posted)

Rolling Meadows Park District offers a variety of Eagle and elective merit badges. These are single-day/morning programs, usually offered on a Saturday ($25 each). Search their registration site keywords for “merit badge”. Most (all?) participating scouts wore either Class A or B uniform and had read the pamphlet in advance. They request a signed blue card, but may also provide one on-site on the day of the workshop.

https://apm.activecommunities.com/rmparks/Activity_Search?txtActivitySearch=&applyFiltersDefaultValue=true&cat=Activities

  • Citizenship in the World: Saturday March 2nd, 8am-12noon (no pre-requisites)
  • Emergency Preparedness: Saturday, April 27th, 8am-1pm (several pre-requisites) – note: if you have already completed Lifesaving, this will count as an Eagle-required badge for Star and Life, but will be counted as an elective for Eagle purposes.

SAVE THE DATE: It looks like the Sycamore Merit Badge Day in Crystal Lake has been set for April 13th, but online sign-ups and details are not yet available. Last year’s session was held from 8am-5pm and sign-ups were open until the day prior to the event. Last year, they offered Camping, all three Citizenships, Communications, Emergency Preparedness, Family Life, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, and Sustainability. They have a few elective sessions recommended for new scouts (last year it was Signs Signals and Codes, Photography, and Sculpture) with all other sessions restricted Tenderfoot and higher. You should be able to complete the classroom portion of any two badges during the day. I will send additional information when it is available.

Morton Arboretum has announced spring sessions for all three Citizenship badges from 6pm-830pm in two weeknights (both dates required for each session), plus a number of electives ($42 each for non-members). The June sessions will be after the end of the school year. Sign-ups live and these programs do sell out. There is potential for carpooling for the Citizenship in the Nation and/or Community sessions, with a possibility to combine the Second Class 5-mile hike requirement while completing a “troll hunt” before the June session (if there is interest). Please let Ms. Lin know if you sign up and are interested in carpooling. https://www.mortonarb.org/youth-groups-and-scouts/merit-badge-programs

  • Citizenship in the World: Tuesday May 21 (tentatively a PLC meeting night) and June 20
  • Citizenship in the Nation: Wednesday May 22 and June 19
  • Citizenship in the Community: Thursday May 23 and June 20

Upcoming Elective Merit Badge Opportunities

You never need a “workshop” or merit badge university to complete a merit badge, though some (e.g.,SCUBA diving, shooting sports, farm equipment, welding) are difficult to complete without the requisite equipment (!). However, if you are interested in exploring most badges, you are welcome to start on your own at any time. If you don’t know where to start, would like to carpool, or would like to find an opportunity to earn one of the equipment-intensive badges, contact Ms. Lin for suggested workshops or merit badge counselors in the area. If you have friends who are interested, buddying up is encouraged!  If you need some ideas to get started, here are a few upcoming programs:


Summer Merit Badge Weekend (with Potential Camping Nights)

Space Jamboree (or Space Jam, for short) is a BSA weekend taking place August 2nd to August 4th in Rantoul, Illinois (near Champaign). Space Jam annually offers several dozen (mostly elective) merit badges as well as many STEAM and fun non-scouting-specific activities (movies, inflatables, etc.). It is a fully planned Friday-evening-to-Sunday-morning program with free camping on-site. The program including meals and campsite is $65 per scout or adult.

If you are interested in participating, registration (by mail only) is currently open, and some merit badge sessions are already full. 

This is currently not a troop-sanctioned event, so if your scouts are interested in attending, they are welcome to do so, but it will require the participation of a parent as well. As such, although free camping is offered on site, the scouts would likely not be able to earn camping nights/campout rank requirements, though they could still earn up to 5-6 mostly elective merit badges and have a fun weekend.If your scout is available the weekend of August 2-4 and realistically might be interested in participating, could you please Ms. Lin know ASAP so the PLC can consider whether to make this a troop activity (and therefore, eligible for short-term camping nights)? As an official troop event, this would be an additional opportunity for scouts – especially newer scouts who are unable to attend Makajawan – to earn two nights of warm-weather camping, and to knock off rank advancement requirements like cooking, clean-up, duty rosters, etc.  It would also require the troop to provide at least two YPT-trained adults and provide appropriate leadership to manage the advancement and camping components.

Please contact Ms. Lin with any questions.


Troop Rank Advancement and Merit Badge Opportunities

  • Personal Fitness Testing: if you are interested in starting your fitness testing, please see the troop email or contact Ms. Lin to participate in the Sunday, March 9th afternoon testing session.
  • Second Class 5-mile Hike: if you need this requirement, it is currently slotted to take place during the early May Starved Rock campout. If you are unable to make this session and are close to advancing, please let Ms. Lin know ASAP to investigate alternative opportunities.
  • First Class 1-mile Orienteering: this is currently planned for the mid-March campout at Camp Crown. If you are unable to make this campout and are close to advancing, please let Ms. Lin know to investigate alternative opportunities.
  • Life EDGE Requirements: if you are working on your Life rank and need to complete your edge teaching requirements, we are currently in need of scouts to help lead the Orienteering and Hiking programs before/at upcoming campouts. If you would be willing to teach the newer scouts, please let Cal and the Scoutmasters know ASAP.
  • Knife and Fire Skills (Totin’ Chip and Firem’n Chit): these are currently planned for the late May campout at Warren Dunes. These skills are definitely covered during Makajawan’s Wayfinder program and may also be requested at other troop outings.
  • Citizenship in the Nation field trip: if you are working on Citizenship in the Nation, tours are available of the Wilmette Coast Guard Station and Glencoe Post Office. Fermilabs, another federal facility, also offers tours of the particle accelerator for scouts with an option to complete the Nuclear Science Merit Badge. Please let Ms. Lin know if you are interested in any or all.
  • Reminder: Personal Fitness, Personal Management, and Family Life – for many scouts, term time is ideal to make progress on the 12-week logs required for Personal Fitness, Personal Management, and Family Life . The last full week of school in Glencoe ends June 7th. To complete 12 weeks of logging, scouts need to begin no later than Monday March 18th. Note: Some counselors require a consultation before the logging begins. Younger scouts also have three 4-week-ish fitness logs to complete for rank advancement.
  • Communications: If you are working on your Communications Merit Badge and would be interested in emceeing an upcoming Court of Honor, please let Ms. Lin know. Spots will be allocated based on need for advancement, and on how far the scout is on completing the badge. In th enear future, we will likely have more scouts needing to complete this badge than we have Courts of Honor. Other ways to meet this requirement include planning a campfire program or other scout event. Please contact your Merit Badge Counselor (Mr. Shapiro or Mr. Miller, who is registering as a Counselor for Troop 28) if you need additional suggestions.

(Conservation) Service Hours

If you are in need of conservation or other service hours, you are encouraged to find opportunities to meet your interests; if you are having trouble finding an organization whose opportunities fit your schedule, please contact Ms. Lin for suggestions.

If you are working on your Life rank and need conservation service hours, there are many opportunities available without leaving Glencoe (at Turnbull Woods, on the Green Bay Trail, and at Skokie Lagoons), and many more if you are willing to drive to Northbrook (Somme Woods/Preserve on Dundee). Sponsoring organizations typically post their upcoming service days, and opportunities include Backyard Nature Center, Cook County Preserves (many three-hour opportunities throughout the year), and Friends of Green Bay Trail, plus the Cub Scouts’ annual fall buckthorn clearing at Little House. Spring-summer-fall is the ideal time to get this requirement completed!  This requirement should be fairly easy to meet with a little advanced planning.