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Boy Scouts offering virtual merit badges

Posted at 9:46 AM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 10:46:56-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Growing into their better future selves is just one of the many principals of the Boy Scouts of America, and summer camps usually play a huge role in their development with a lot of hands on activities.

Due to COVID-19, they have had to take their merit badge training to the virtual world.

"We had to figure out which CH badges work better in a digital domain as some are very hands-on," Mark Dreiling, merit badge counselor said. "So obviously they won't work as well in a digital domain."

But they surprisingly found plenty of merit badges that actually work well virtually, everything from citizenship and cooking to astronomy and animation.

"There is a real need from our scout families, and we have even had some kids take some merit badges that aren't even a part of scouting," said Chris Mehaffey, CEO of the scouts' Mid-American Counsel. "We hope that sparks some interest to get involved without being a registered member."

They offer a different merit badge each week, and they are even able to take their virtual program national.

And there is one merit badge in particular that gives the organizers a pleasant surprise.

"For the citizenship badge, they require that scouts write letters to congressmen and senators," Dreiling said. "The one thing I will say is the things in America that unite us is far greater than things that divide us. A lot of these kids have the same concerns and dreams for the future. I think our best days are still ahead, and it is because of this next generation."

Outdoor camps are still taking place, but with a reduced number of scouts participating.

There is a merit badge being offered online Thursday evening as well as this weekend, and for the online merit badges you don't have to be a registered member. Boys and girls from anywhere across the county can sign up and master a skill or two.