Each November, Scout Leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share their time, talents, and passions to host a Merit Badge Clinic. The clinic is always held on the second weekend of November and is open to all Scouts.
A few 2016 MBC statistics:
This was our 9th annual LDS Merit Badge Clinic.
The event is hosted by the Raleigh, Apex, and Raleigh South Stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
70 different merit badges were offered.
940 Boy Scouts registered to work on 1,998 merit badges.
Scouts came from 199 different Boy Scout Troops from GA, SC, NC, VA, TN, MD, & NY,
The staff was made up of 223 adult volunteers.
The event was held in eleven locations around the Triangle including Raleigh, Wake Forest, Apex, Cary, Morrisville, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Knightdale, and Zebulon. Two new venues were added this year in Pittsboro and Henderson.
The event is free, but we do ask Scouts to donate non-perishable foods for the local food banks.
This year we collected 3,506 pounds of food from our eleven venues. Food was donated to several institutions who provide food to those in need. These included The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Loaves & Fishes of Warren County, Holly Springs Food Cupboard, Dorcas Ministries in Cary, CORA food Pantry of Pittsboro, Garner Community of Hope, Knightdale United Methodist Church (KUMC), and a local church food pantry (Oak Level Christian Church) in Youngsville collecting food for hurricane victims.
My staff is made up of both LDS and non-LDS volunteers. Although this event is sponsored by Latter-day Saints, it is open to all Scouts. The majority of Scouts attending this event are not LDS.
Our counselors are dedicated to providing quality instruction and experiences for our Scouts. All counselors are registered with the BSA, current with Youth Protection Training, and have been through the newly required D76 Merit Badge Counselor Orientation. This year in conjunction with the LDS MBC, 19 sessions of the D76 course were taught since last April. Both Gantt Edmiston and Steve Hanna were active in teaching these sessions. Our success in attracting qualified instructors has led to continued growth of the Merit Badge Clinic.
Each year we have a few Scouts who are working on completing all the BSA merit badges available. There are currently 136 merit badges. The complete list can be found at http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badges#List_of_current_Merit_Badges
Friday night and Saturday morning sessions of the clinic are started with an opening consisting of a flag ceremony, prayer, and brief remarks from a church leader, Scout volunteer, or local dignitary. This year we focused on honoring our Veterans.
Each year we try to include the new merit badges introduced by the BSA. This year there were no new merit badges introduced. We did offer both of the 2015 new merit badges, Signs, Signals, & Codes and Animation again this year.
We also offer some dual merit badge sessions where Scouts can work on similar or connected merit badges. These include Welding/Farm Mechanics, Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Fingerprinting/Crime Prevention, & Traffic Safety/Truck Transportation. This year we were able to offer a couple of merit badges not previously taught at our merit badge clinic: Robotics, and Rifle Shooting (black powder option).
Our website at www.LDSMeritBadgeClinic.com contains links to various sites that are helpful to merit badge counselors as well as current details about the LDS MB Clinic. Since last April, our website has been visited 5,800 times. When we began using the online registration system at www.meritbadge.info, Scouts from other states started attending our event. To date, we have had Scouts attend from 11 states and Washington D.C. We had queries this year from Arizona and Hawaii.
The purpose of our merit badge clinic is to provide advancement opportunities for Scouts. By working on merit badges, the Scouts learn to set and achieve goals. They investigate areas of skill and knowledge that may well become their career, trade, or lifelong avocation, learn a bunch of new things, and have some fun. We are happy to provide that opportunity to our LDS Scouts and our many non-LDS Scouting friends.
I’m very grateful for the support of our Stake Presidencies and for the Bishops who open their buildings for our use each year. This event is only so successful because of the dedicated counselors, building captains, and Scout Leaders who support this endeavor. And of course, I must acknowledge tremendous blessings from Heavenly Father as we host this event each year.
LDS Merit Badge Clinic Director