Apr 17, 2024 | By: Matthew Freeman

Northwoods Experience: Bemidji Area Scouts Learn New Things on Merit Badge Day

Merit Badge Day for the Boy Scouts of America was earlier this month on April 6, and in Bemidji, Scouts got a chance to earn one of six provided badges.

“So the kids are taking like Healthcare Professionals merit badge, Fire Safety, Plumbing, Automotive Maintenance,” said Brad Olson, Voyageurs Area Council Scout Executive. “The classes that they’re taking can either be a hobby that the kids go into at some point, maybe a career path for them. And so, it’s engaging for them to to learn these different skills and you never know when you might need some of them later on in life.”

One of the badges that the Scouts had a chance to earn that day included the Automotive Maintenance Badge.

“We’re just looking at all the basic automotive systems here for the Scouts,” explained Mark Johnson, an automotive instructor at Northwest Technical College. “This is a great thing for any kid to learn, is some basic automotive maintenance and to be able to check their fluids and make sure their tires are good.”

Or if the Scouts were looking for a more hands-on course, they could try to earn the Electronics Badge.

“So they want to learn a few skills like soldering, desoldering, learning a bit about circuit theory,” said Peter Thul, Northwest Technical College Electronics Instructor. “So we were having them use volt meters and ohm meters and talking about what the different parts of a circuit are. There’s so much technology going on with all the electronics everywhere – understanding how it works and something they can enjoy as hobbyists, or maybe they go into work in that field some day.”

Other badges the kids could earn included Entrepreneurship, Fire Safety, Healthcare Professionals, and Citizenship in the World.

“Citizenship in the World is looking at what it means to be a good citizen worldwide,” said Troop 4053 Scout Master Ron Wendt, who also taught the class. “Most of these kids have been exposed to the effects of how one thing may interact with another on a worldwide basis – pollution or climate change, or how you deal with your trash and how you deal with different nationalities around the world. This ties it all together and makes them realize a little bit more along the lines of, what does it take to be a good global citizen and start thinking about it?”

And these Scouts aren’t just learning useful skills – they’re also having a blast while doing so.

“I like cars and dirt bikes and all that, so I decided it would be a good choice to do that so I can learn more about them,” said Braden, a Boy Scout who went for Automotive Maintenance Badge.

“We’re about electricity and melting the stuff together to make batteries power the lights,” explained Isaiah, who was interested in the Electronics Badge. “It’s really fun. It’s kind of nice watching the stuff melt and it’s just a really fun class and I’m happy I’m taking it.”

The Voyageurs Area Council just announced on their Facebook page that registration is open for Summer Day Camp for the Cub Scouts. If a Scout recruits a friend to join by the end of April, they will both receive a free pass to the camp.

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