If you are not aware, the Boy Scouts of America discontinued the beekeeping merit badge a few years back. There is now a young scout named Christopher Stowell who is trying to get it reinstated. With the help of ndvan, who is a member here and a neighbor of Chris Stowell, I have set up this forum to help organize our effort to make this happen. We beekeepers are key to making this happen, and we stand to benefit greatly from this. We are all aware that there is not enough youth involvement in beekeeping and that is detrimental to our future. Beekeeping has made the news lately, mainly due to CCD, and because of this we are seeing a great increase in hobbyist beekeepers. This is a good thing because a large majority of hobbyist gave up after loosing their hives to varroa. With the great advancements in technology, specifically the internet, forums like this have become a great resource for new beekeepers to learn and get mentoring. We have many great members on this forum that freely give their time and advice to help out beginners, now we need to take this effort outside the beekeeping community to help this young scout get beekeeping back into the Boy Scouts, and in turn get more youth into the beekeeping community. This is an excellent opportunity for us and we can't let it pass by.
Here is what needs to be done, and everyone that is reading this can play a part. I have attached 4 files at the bottom of this post. They are PDFs, so everyone can print them out.
a concerns of the BSA is that when the beekeeping merit badge was discontinued, one of the reasons was the lack of merit badge councilors. For those that aren't familiar with how the Boy Scout merit badges work, when a scout decides he wants to earn a merit badge, he must first contact a merit badge councilor for the particular badge he is interested in. This councilor acts as a mentor and explains the requirements of the merit badge and will ultimately be the one that signs off when the requirements are met. Now it is not a hand holding situation, the scout needs to take the initiative to make things happen and it is his responsibility to demonstrate to the councilor that the requirements are met. The councilor is there for support and guidance. So for the BSA to reinstate the beekeeping badge, they want to be assured that there will be ample councilors available.
There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to get your local beekeeping club to commit to support this effort. I'm asking everyone to print out the ClubSupport.pdf and take it to your next club meeting and ask them to vote on it.
You can also print out the BeekeeperSupport.pdf and pledge to personally be a merit badge council when the beekeeping merit badge gets reinstated. Get your friends who are beekeepers to do the same.
Another concern of the BSA is scout interest. They do not want to spend the effort and resources if there are not scouts that would take advantage of it. If you are involved in scouting, please do as much as you can to find the scouts in your area that would be interested and get them to sign the scout interest petition. I will be approaching my council at the next roundtable to get as many troops in my district involved as possible. If you are not involved in scouting, but know someone who is please pass the info on to them. Or, if you really want to get involved, contact your local council and act as a liaison for this effort. The scout interest petition is ScoutPetition.pdf
The final file, GeneralPetiton.pdf is an effort to show general support for reinstating the Beekeeping merit badge. Print it out and get all your friends, family, and colleagues to sign it.
Christoper's goal is to present to the BSA on July 15, 2010. So please keep this in mind and make sure you allow for postal delivery and please try to give Christopher some time to get things in order before the 15th.
Please use this forum to share ideas and let us know what you have done. I will be starting a few more threads, so keep a watch out for them.
One final thought. We need more youth involvement in beekeeping, and the BSA is not the only way to get it. Right now there is a young man trying to get the BSA to help get youth involved. We need to help him, but there is no reason our efforts need to be limited to the BSA. We should be willing, I know I am, to support any youth organization that is interested in beekeeping. But at this point, Christopher has been the first to step up and we need to focus all our efforts here until others show interest.