This year has brought us some noticeable loss in numbers across the board for Scouts attaining the Radio Merit Badge..
To recap, this is a drop of 6 positions and a loss of 1,969, a staggering 35.6% plunge. While that has undeniably been due to COVID restrictions, there are also lasting local implications that we should look to solve in the long term.
Also a result of COVID, HAMCOM has decided to close it’s doors after a very successful 41 year run. Scouters in North Texas know that HAMCOM has hosted a Saturday event for Radio Merit Badge for 20 years. This was responsible for at least 100 radio merit badge completions every year, sometimes as high as over 200. Some quick math tells us that this was responsible for bare minimum of 2,000 scouts attaining their Radio Merit Badge over the years. Attendees were not only from units in DFW, but would sometimes drive from other remote parts of the state; even other states entirely. We need to fill the void. You can help. We’ll tell you how!
Radio Merit Badge is often not present at summer camps, Jamboree On The Air, ARRL Field Day, or any other event of opportunity largely because of the availability and low number of counselors. If you’re a ham club that has a vision of more youth involvement in the hobby, this is your chance to further that goal.
Requirements for becoming a Radio Merit Badge Counselor:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Complete the free online Youth Protection Training (YPT) offering at https://training.scouting.org
- Be a licensed amateur radio operator in good standing. This is your expertise needed to justify becoming a counselor for this subject.
- Be registered with the Boy Scouts of America. It’s free for Merit Badge Counselors, and we know how hams like free!
- Be able to work with scout-aged youth and pass a background check.
- Adhere to the requirements of the merit badge. You are free to fill in some background information on any aspects you would like, but the requirements themselves cannot be added to, changed, or removed for acceptance criteria of a scout completing the merit badge.
- Adhere to ALL BSA youth protection policies. These are covered during the online Youth Protection Training and keep both the youth as well as yourself safe during merit badge interactions. Adhering to these policies is also a condition of membership.
Registration in the BSA requires yearly renewal. Youth Protection Training must be renewed every two years and must be maintained as a condition of membership. Valid Youth Protection Training must be unexpired at the time of registration/renewal or the application is not processed.
That sounds like a lot, but you’re probably doing most of that anyway, so come on board to the wonderful world of Radioscouting and be a merit badge counselor with us! It’s a very rewarding and memorable experience!
Should you have any questions on any of this, feel free to contact us at . That’s what we’re here for and would be delighted to help you get going!