Boy Scouts come back to campus for Merit Badge University

Waynesburg University held its seventh annual Merit Badge University on Saturday, Nov. 2. This brought together the Boy Scouts of America in the region, and university departments. Scouts were able to earn a merit badge based on the field they chose to study for the day. Topics from various academic departments such as Chemistry, Indian Lore, Citizenship in the World, Photography, Movie Making and many others offered a possible merit badge.

Sophomore forensic science major and Eagle Scout, Joshua Gurtner, was in charge of the Citizenship in the World merit badge course, where scouts learned about how to coexist with different parts of the world and become a world citizen.

“I’ve had a chance to work with some great people,” Gurtner said. “This also gives me a chance to pass on what I know to the younger generations that might not learn these things otherwise.”

Gurtner has valuable experience as an Eagle Scout and is dedicated to enhancing and proliferating the rich culture of the scouts.

Gurtner was able to obtain many merit badges over the years as a boy scout. He said he “never really saw it as work” but he found it to be “a lot of fun.”

An interesting merit badge option for the Boy Scouts was Movie Making, led by Harry Oakes, senior electronic media major, and his younger sibling, Jessica Oakes, sophomore communication major.

Movie Making student for the day, Brighton Luniewski, Life rank from the Westmoreland-Fayette council, is hoping to become an Eagle Scout one day, and wanted to take on a more creative approach for his newest merit badge.

“I chose [Movie Making] because I have a pretty big interest in it,” Brighton said. “I figured it’d be something new to try out instead of doing the other merit badges where you sit in a classroom … I figured I might as well have fun.”

Jessica Oakes, helping lead the Movie Making merit badge, has been a part of scouting for five years, and it part of the venturing system.

“I think it’s just a good way to be a role model to these scouts that are growing up and to just help the next generation be better leaders and to help them fulfill requirements in life,” Jessica Oakes said. “I was really involved with scouting in high school, but in college now I’m not as involved. Merit Badge University gives me an opportunity to continue with scouting and help other scouts with their merit badges.”

This was also the first time that girls involved with boy scouts could participate in Merit Badge University. Participating in Movie Making was Stephanie Colist, a Second Class rank from the Westmoreland-Fayette council.

“I’m taking it [Movie Making] because I like being behind the camera,” Stephanie said.

This is Stephanie’s first time partaking in Merit Badge University. She also has a passion and hobby for taking pictures and video as she brought her very own camera with her.

Altogether, the scouts all were eligible to earn a merit badge at the end of the experience. With over six hours of hands-on learning and instruction, the scouts finally earned their merit badges. At the end of the day, both the Waynesburg University faculty, student-instructors and the Boy Scouts collaborated for another successful Merit Badge University, and walked away with more knowledge than before.