More Boy Scouts Earn Graphic Arts, Paper Merit Badges at Museum

Kari Fry helps a scout print a Mother’s Day card. (Double click to enlarge.)

Just a few of the 88 Boy Scouts who printed cards as one of the tasks required to earn a Graphic Arts Merit Badge.

Gary Remson instructs the scouts on how to make paper from pulp.

Craig Nelson describes the identifying characteristics of various printed products.

Bob Lindgren discusses career opportunities in the printing industry.

The Graphic Arts Merit Badge Day was the brainchild of Don Burdge, president of BurdgeCooper, and Mark Barbour, curator of the museum.

“For the past eight years, I have been a merit badge counselor for both the Graphic Arts and Pulp and Paper merit badges,” said Burdge, “During that time, only one boy called to get his Graphic Arts merit badge and he never showed up for his appointment.” Burdge, who was the Chairman of the Southern California Printing Industry Trade Association in 2009, experienced the decline of the printing industry during his tenure and witnessed the lack of funding in the education system for printing programs.

“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.

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  • stin

    This is great. A wonderful effort by the museum and volunteers