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 2015 MBC statistics:
This was our 8th annual LDS Merit Badge Clinic.
The event is hosted by the Raleigh, Raleigh South, and Apex Stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We’ve done this jointly with the Apex Stake for the past six years.
69 different merit badges were offered.
888 Boy Scouts registered to work on 1960 merit badges. (That’s almost 900 scouts & 2,000 MBs.)
They came from 172 different Boy Scout Troops from GA, SC, NC, VA, TN, MD, NY, & CA.
The staff was made up of about 225 adult volunteers.
The event was held in nine locations around the Triangle including Raleigh, Wake Forest, Knightdale, Zebulon, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, & Garner.
The event is free, but we do ask Scouts to donate non-perishable foods for the local food banks.
Last year, we collected 3,916 pounds of food from our nine venues. This food was given to several institutions who provide food to those in need. These included the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, the Knightdale United Methodist Church (KUMC), Dorcus Ministries, and the Holly Springs Food Cupboard.
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 many have been through a session of Merit Badge Counselor Orientation. (Beginning 2016, D-76, MB Counselor Orientation training is mandatory.) Last year in conjunction with the LDS MBC, about 150 new MB counselors received training from Gantt Edmiston or Steve Hanna. 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
On Saturday, I talked to some scouts in Wake Forest. Two of the scouts there were working to complete every MB. Michael Traynham (Troop 918) from Dana Point, California and Quinton Loy (Troop 52) from Mebane, North Carolina each earned their 100th merit badge on Saturday. Though the scouts did not know each other, they both finished animation merit badge in the morning and radio in the afternoon. There are currently 136 merit badges, but these scouts will earn 142 and 143 badges because they each have a few merit badges that have been retired.
Friday night and Saturday morning sessions of the conference are started with an opening consisting of a flag ceremony, prayer, and brief remarks from a church leader, Scout volunteer, or local dignitary. The Cary Chief of Police, Tony Godwin and Herb Council, Apex Stake presidency councilor visited the Cary building. The Mayor of Morrisville, Mark Stohlman, attended the opening in Morrisville, and Will Thornton of the Raleigh Stake Presidency and Robert Foster of the new Raleigh South Stake presidency were in Raleigh for the opening and a tour of the site.
Each year we try to include the new merit badges introduced by the BSA. This year we offered both of the new 2015 merit badges, Animation and Signs, Signals, & Codes (focusing on all non-verbal communications). All sessions of these merit badges quickly filled. One family came all the way from California to work on the Animation merit badge this year.
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, 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.
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.
I’m very grateful for the support of our Stake Presidencies and for the Bishops who open their buildings for our use each year. Kelden Everett, my counterpart in the Apex Stake, does an amazing job of coordinating Scout leaders in his five buildings each year as well. The impact of his involvement is immeasurable. 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
Raleigh South Stake Asst. Director of Public Affairs