Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will come to Huntsville from all around Texas to participate in a camping weekend and earn badges with the Scouts @ Sam program April 19-21.
Hosted by the Boy Scouts of America Troop 114 of Huntsville and the Sam Houston State University Enrollment Management Department, Scouts @ Sam held its first merit badge ceremony in 2009.
When it began, it only hosted Boy Scouts and has since then evolved to hosting Girl Scouts as well. This will be the second year it will be a weekend-long event rather than just a day-long. A projected 500 scouts will attend to receive their badges.
Some scouts may earn multiple badges over the weekend. Valerie Matthys, on-campus recruitment manager for enrollment management, said SHSU is unique in that it is one of the few campuses that allows both boys and girls to participate.
We bring them on campus to earn badges and to be taught by faculty and staff members in their respective fields of expertise, Matthys said. The students who help facilitate are able to gain leadership skills and the faculty members are able to build relationships with prospective studentsmany whom end up coming to Sam.
The scouts that are a part of the program vary between the ages of seven and 17 and are striving to earn either their Eagle Award or their Gold Award. The student volunteers are all former scouts who had to fill out applications and be interviewed before placing them in their positions. Additionally, there are two college facilitators per course.
Kay Angrove, director of the First-Year Experience program, said they try to match up everyone involved to the best of their abilities.
I just cant tell you what a great match up it is between the faculty members, the student volunteers and the scouts; they all win, Angrove said. Everyone involves benefits from this extraordinary event. In a perfect world, everyone is matched up according to their interests; we arent always able to do that, but we try.
During the weekend the boys will stay at Huntsvilles historic Josey Boy Scout Lodge while the girls will stay at the Huntsville State Park. However students have the option to only participate in the merit badge day only program (Sat.).
Angrove said merit badges offered this year include everything from first aid and public speaking, to cinematography and scuba diving. Registration is open on the website: http://www.shsu.edu/scoutsat
Registration for the merit badges is quite similar to registering for actual college classes, Angrove said. The system is really sophisticated and allows us to know where everyone is at all times, allowing us to ensure everyones safety.
Tickets for tickets for just the day cost $15 per Girl Scout and $20 per Boy Scout, while tickets for the entire weekend costs $30 per Girl Scout with no additional charge for the Boy Scouts ($20).
Although Matthys said that at this time, there is no scholarship or financial aid SHSU offers for Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts, there may be one in the future.
We have a new friends of scouts account which we are hoping to build up and one day, be able to use for scouts attending SHSU who are economically disadvantaged.
Matthys said that because SHSU is centrally located and offers programs opened to both girls and boys, it is an ideal location for scouts to earn their badges. She also said that, not only do the kids acquire valuable skills from the program, but SHSU as well as the Huntsville community benefits as well.
It’s a great way to bring new people into our community who havent visited before and also helps our economy because parents tend to shop in the stores while their kids are in workshops all day, Matthys said. Its a great opportunity for use to make connections and show kids what were all about.