UH Hosts Merit Badge Event for Boy Scouts

Learning Morse code, hunting for treasure boxes with handheld GPS devices and building household items are just a few of the activities on tap this Saturday (Sept. 18) at the University of Houston for Boy Scouts seeking to earn merit badges.

 More than 1,000 Boy Scouts of America are expected to attend the inaugural UH Merit Badge University, a one-day event where Scouts take classes on a wide variety of subjects to earn merit badges and gain some insight into potential careers. Middle-school and high-school Scouts from the Houston area and as far away as Dallas and Abilene are signed up to work on their merit badges at the event.

 "Merit badge classes introduce Scouts to a particular subject such as engineering, giving them a basic understanding of the topic and helping them see potential career opportunities," said event director Karen Cohen from UH's College of Technology. "In the case of other merit badges, such as photography, Scouts may learn an activity they enjoy so much it becomes a life-long hobby."

 Some of the classes offered this Saturday include geocaching, surveying, carpentry, environmental science, landscape architecture and space exploration. Thirty-four different merit badges will be offered, including four Historical Merit Badges brought out of retirement as part of the year-long celebration of the Boy Scouts' 100th anniversary.

 Signaling is one such historical badge featured at the UH event. For this badge, Scouts will learn Morse code, and several styles of flag signaling.  "We're excited for them to experience these early communication methods and see how far technology has come," Cohen said.

 Classes are being taught by adult Scout leaders, UH faculty and staff members and community leaders. Classes will take place at various sites around the UH campus, starting at 7:30 a.m. and ending with a closing ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

 "It's our hope that the UH Merit Badge University event will be a positive on-campus experience for Scouts and their parents, further encouraging the Scouts to attend college, begin careers and become community leaders," Cohen said.

 For more information about Saturday's event, visit: www.core.tech.uh.edu/MBU.htm

 About the University of Houston:

                The University of Houston is a comprehensive national research institution serving the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships.  UH serves more than 38,500 students in the nation's fourth-largest city, located in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region of the country.