ROCHELLE – BSA Scouts from counties in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin gathered this past week to complete different merit badges at the Merit Badge Midway in Dixon.
The Blackhawk Area Council’s White Eagle District held the event on Feb. 1 at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon. The Blackhawk Area Council is charted by the National Council of Boy Scouts of America and serves local scout troops in 12 counties including Ogle County.
Every merit badge has a requirement or project that must be completed in order to earn it. The badges are used as a way for scouts to achieve the next rank in their journey of becoming an Eagle Scout.
“Boy Scouts earn merit badges to work their way through the Boy Scout ranks, from Second Class all the way up to Eagle Scout,” said Christopher Tenggren, district programs vice chair. “As they complete merit badges, they slowly earn their way up the ranks.”
Scouts sign up online and pay a small fee to attend the event, which includes two merit badge sessions and a lunch. During the sign-up process, scouts choose up to two merit badges from a list of 65 that they want to complete that day.
Some badges took four hours to complete, while others were finished in three hours. Each badge time slot was set for four hours to ensure the scouts had enough time to finish.
“When they come to the Midway, they meet in classrooms with counselors who are qualified and assigned to administer that badge,” said Tenggren. “We had both morning and afternoon sessions, and the scouts were allowed to sign up for either one or both. “
The Blackhawk Area Council attempts to host the event twice a year. About 500 scouts attended and earned over 1,000 merit badges this year. The Blackhawk Area Council would like to thank everyone involved in making the event a reality.
“We would like to give a special thanks to the devoted scout parents, awesome merit badge counselors and our amazing team of volunteer leaders that make this awesome event possible and such a great success,” said Heather Wiedrich, White Eagle District religious emblems coordinator.