Scouts Rise in Ranks with Merit Badge University

April 12, 2014

Boy scouts from around Virginia gathered in Charlottesville today for a chance to get a few extra badges under their belts.

Hundreds of boy scouts filed into Buford Middle School for a daylong event called Merit Badge University (MBU), where they can earn several badges in one day and in one location.

“A lot of the times it's hard for scouts to get their badges,” says Christina Ramirez, president of University Scouts at UVa. “Since they use them to rise in rank, a lot of times it's hard to find opportunities for them to earn the badges.”

Scouts could get up to four merit badges in 42 different categories during the day including badges for crime prevention, engineering and camping.

“We just learn about the essentials of camping and how to be prepared for different environments of camping,” says Noah Shealy from Troop 198.

MBU is put on by the University Scouts at UVa who also volunteer throughout the day.

Ramirez says it's important for the young guys to get a chance to meet a few college students and learn from them.

“We've heard a lot of positives feedback from the parents and scouts that they prefer to work with people closer to their age and they just feel more comfortable with it. It's a lot more fun for them.”

One scout also explained why he enjoyed being a part of his troop.

“It's a great experience and you meet lots of friends and you get to experience things that most people don't get to,” says James Cook from Troop 700. “I've gone rock climbing; I've hiked decent parts of the Appalachian Trail and canoed down the James River for eight days, just fun experiences.”

Over all it's a chance for boy scouts to get together with friends and earn a few badges while learning lifelong lessons.

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