More Boy Scouts Earn Graphic Arts, Paper Merit Badges at MuseumMay 12, 2011
“Fewer and fewer boys are learning about our industry and I thought there might be a desire among the Boy Scouts to learn while earning a merit badge,” continued Burdge. “A few years ago, I contacted the Boy Scout National Office and learned that the Graphic Arts and Pulp and Paper merit badges were among the least popular of all the merit badges boys can earn.
“As the father of an eagle scout, I remembered that merit badge days were popular among boys seeking rank advancement so I approached Mark Barbour about a year ago with the idea. Mark, in the mean time, had been working on a way to get the Boy Scouts more involved with the museum. The two of us came up with the idea of creating a Merit Badge Day.” Mark and Don, along with Dan Feedland and Ethan Lipton, professor of graphic communications at Cal State Los Angeles, created the program for the scouts to complete the fifteen requirements for the two merit badges in one day.
Don Burdge and Ethan Lipton, along with other industry volunteers with scouting connections, then contacted the five Boy Scout districts in the Greater Los Angeles area to promote the event. When the director of programming in the Orange County Boy Scout Council heard about the opportunity, he sent an e-mail blast out to his district. Within 24 hours, more than 100 boys had signed up. By the end of the month, there were over 300 boys registered to earn the two merit badges.
When asked why they signed up, one boy from Orange County said he had always been interested in Graphic Arts and the day sounded, “Cool.” Another boy said he liked engineering and he thought a job in this industry might be interesting. A third scout said he was there because his friend decided to come and he liked the chance to make something.
Because of the Merit Badge Day, the museum now has a steady stream of new visitors, the Boy Scouts now have a way to learn about our industry while earning two merit badges, and the industry is once again educating a group of smart and engaged boys who will soon enter the workforce. Now hundreds of boys will learn about the careers and benefits of the graphic arts and paper industries.
BurdgeCooper will continue support this program, both financially and logistically, and will ensure that there is a link between the Boy Scouts of America and the printing and paper industries for years to come.