Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scouting Saturday: Merit Badge College

So, Saturday dawned with us (Connor, William, and myself) on our way into town to attend a Merit Badge College sponsored by Troop 53 at Coronado High School. With the miserable weather, we arrived a bit late, but not terribly... just a couple minutes into the announcements. We were far from the last people to arrive.

But, to back it up a bit... the kids signed up for this event and got their first choice sessions. That meant in the morning session, Connor would be working on his Weather Merit Badge, and William would be working on Photography. In the afternoon session, they were together for a session that would include both Crime Prevention and Fingerprinting.

We weren't able to get the merit badge books until Monday, and at that point, Crime Prevention was sold out. We found an old copy at the library, however, so we were able to get somewhat prepared.

Since this was to be William's first Boy Scout event other than a troop meeting, and with his dyslexia and such, we ended up pretty much dropping school for the week and focusing on merit badges. That meant we spent a lot of time this week discussing drugs and gangs. We did a lot of combing the newspaper for crime and crime prevention stories. We discussed AFIS and papillary ridges. We discussed f-stops, aperature, and the pros and cons of film and digital cameras. Fortunately, Connor was able to do the prep for Weather on his own, because I don't think I could have taken another merit badge this week.

It was a lot harder than I expected to get William to his first session and to LEAVE him there. I did not want to do it. I just felt like I was abandoning him. What if they make him read? What if he isn't prepared?  Of course, he did great. He walked out of the morning session having earned his very first merit badge. He had a ball, he loved the session.

Connor had a good time in the weather session too. But since he hasn't had a chance to give a 5 minute speech on what to do in a tornado (or something like that), he didn't quite get the merit badge earned. He did, however, meet another homeschooled scout. I have to tell you about that experience.

The abbreviated version is that the weatherman was talking about global warming, and making the point that it is "just a theory" and we haven't proven it is really a problem. That we've only been recording temperature data for about 100 years of the earth's few billion year history. Connor raised his hand and asked, "Isn't the whole billions of years things 'just a theory' too?" It was acknowledged that it was. Connor went on to say something like, "Your point is still a good one, even for those of us who believe that God created the earth roughly 6,000 years ago. We've still only been collecting temperature data for a mere 100-ish of those 6,000 years, which certainly isn't a big enough perspective to draw the conclusions that so many people do."  It was acknowledged that evolution and an old earth were also not proven.

Can you believe it? I never, ever, ever would have dared to say something like that to a grown-up when I was his age. Of course, when I was his age, I had never, ever, ever heard anyone postulate that the earth was only around 6,000 years old.

Anyway, after the session, another scout came up to him and told him how much he appreciated how Connor stood up for his faith, and added "I'm homeschooled too." Connor looked at him funny, and the boy added, "You are homeschooled, aren't you?"  Connor replied that he was, and the other boy said, "It takes one to know one."  They proceeded to go get lunch and sit together to eat.  What a great kid.

I joined them for lunch, so I got some of the scoop on how things had gone.  I headed out grocery shopping during the afternoon session, no longer worried about my 'baby' and how he was doing.  The boys both earned Fingerprinting, and they nearly earned Crime Prevention.  We have to go visit a criminal trial or a jail... the things I do for my Scouts...

All in all, a great day.  The sponsoring troop did a fantastic job with this merit badge event, and I will certainly be willing to bring the kids again if they do it next year!

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