March 12, 2013
The 2nd Annual Hampden-Sydney Merit Badge Weekend was held on February 22-23. Nearly 250 Boy Scouts and over 60 adult leaders attended. This is up from just under 200 Scouts last year. Each Scout attendee was able to earn two merit badges from 17 offered.
The highlight of the weekend was a presentation on Friday evening by Wayne Brock, Chief Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, who while on campus, attended a reception hosted by President and Mrs. Howard at Middlecourt to meet the Eagle Scouts currently enrolled at Hampden-Sydney. Hampden-Sydney enrolls more Eagle Scouts per capita than any other institution of higher education.
The Scouts and their leaders are members of the Heart of Virginia Council, which stretches from Ashland to the North Carolina border and from Buckingham and Cumberland Counties in the west to the Northern Neck in the east.
Some of the Troops came only for the day on Saturday, but 100 Scouts and leaders camped out Friday night on one of the intramural fields near Kirby Field House. Although the focus was Scout activities, the weekend provided an opportunity for these boys, mostly 14 to 17, to be on a college campus. It seems that eating in the Commons was a particular thrill.
Among the merit badges offered were Chemistry and Electronics which was taught by H-S students who are members of Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity; this was a particularly popular session. The Sports Merit Badge was taught by members of the H-S rugby and football teams. Photography was taught by fine arts student, Jay Brandt '15, for the second year. Scouting Heritage was taught by current H-SC Eagle Scouts and Fire Safety by student members of the H-S Volunteer Fire Department.
Robb Koether, Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science, taught Computers; Ken Townsend, Elliott Professor of Economics & Business, taught American Business; and Jonathan Keohane, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy, taught Astronomy.
Director of External Relations at the Wilson Center for Leadership Rucker Snead '81 taught Citizenship in the World, and Campus Security Officer Noel Malave taught Crime Prevention.
Alumni also participated. Bill Muse '70, Senior Assistant State Attorney and Chairman of the Virginia Parole Board, taught the Law Merit Badge. Dr. Rob Wade '91 taught the Medicine Merit Badge.
Sean Clark '14 coordinated student volunteers. Organizations out in full force for the weekend were Theta Chi Fraternity, members of the Pi Kappa Alpha Colony, and the Rotaract Club as well as almost all the Eagle Scouts in the freshman class.
According to Randy Reed '82, Major Gifts Officer, who directed the effort this year and last, "We hope next year to reach our full capacity of 300 Scouts."
Hampden-Sydney College has recently established a $5,000 honor scholarship for any Eagle Scout who attends the College. For young men there is a great similarity between Scouting ideals and those inherent in the Hampden-Sydney experience.