Service Fraternity Teaches Boy Scouts Life Skills
COLUMBIA - Nearly 1,000 boy scouts gathered for Merit Badge University on Saturday. The event was organized by the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and was held on MU's campus.
Alphi Phi Omega teamed up with the Great Rivers Council of Boy Scouts of America for the event, which is the largest event ever organized by the service fraternity. Boy Scouts across mid-Missouri were invited to a day filled with classes involving skill work needed for scouts to earn merit badges. "It's all about where the boys come and work on merit badges that they need for their Eagle Scout and to work on skills that they have to have throughout scouting," said Andrew Lovewell, president of Alphi Phi Omega. Lovewell said, "It's important to give access to younger people for leadership skills and life skills that they're going to need down the road."
Some examples of skills classes taught were personal fitness, personal management, communication, dog care, music, and citizenship in the community. Jon Wilson, senior district executive for the Great Rivers Council said, "It teaches them a variety of life skills and it is proven statistically that if they're in a program for at least five years, our scouts will do better in high school, graduating at higher percentage rate versus non-scouts, they will have a higher academic score on tests, their attendance rate is higher, and also the discipline is better."
Lovewell and Wilson both said these skills are meant to be learned in order for young scouts to learn the importance of service in the community. While this is the first time Alphi Phi Omega has held Merit Badge University, Lovewell says the service fraternity plans to make it an annual event.