The Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America hosted the 16th annual Merit Badge College at Rhode Island College on Saturday, Jan. 4.
The all-day event gave over 1,000 Scouts the opportunity to learn from local business leaders in 62 different subjects, including Archaeology, Citizenship in the Community and Robotics.
Merit Badge College was the perfect occasion for Scouts to learn from experts about their careers and lifelong hobby interests. The Narragansett Council brought in experts from areas that are difficult for Scouts to learn otherwise. Scouts had the opportunity to choose both a morning and afternoon class, potentially earning two Merit Badges in only one day.
Merit Badges are an important piece of a Scout pursuing their Eagle Scout rank, with a requirement to complete 21 Merit Badge courses to receive the prestigious honor of becoming an Eagle. Of those 21, there are 13 required courses to complete – nine of which were offered at the 2020 Merit Badge College.
In February 2019, girls were admitted into a newly re-branded program called Scouts BSA, which allows girls to participate in the exact same Scouting program as boys have for over a century. Girls participate through all-girl troops and can join in the same activities as boys, including earning their Eagle Scout rank. This was the first Merit Badge College where girls could advance toward their Eagle Scout rank alongside male peers. To date, there are 21 girl troops in the Narragansett Council.
The local leaders who lent their time to teaching the next generation of Rhode Islanders include Stephen Ucci, Rhode Island state representative; Jim Cunha, Barrington town manager; Dr. Jim and Elaine Magyar, professors of chemistry at Rhode Island College; David Curtin, disciplinary counsel, Rhode Island Supreme Court; Mark Brady, patrolman, Taunton Police Department; T.J. Del Santo, meteorologist, WPRI; William McKenna, former chief, Cranston Fire Department; Lloyd Albert, vice president of AAA; multiple employees of General Dynamics Electric Boat; and multiple employees of Raytheon.