By Abigayle Hutten
City can usually be depicted as a small town that was "smushed" together with a
large University. Once a year approximately 700 Boy Scouts become part of this picture
when the local Alpha Phi Omega chapter hosts Merit Badge University(MBU).
When the Omicron chapter re-chartered at the University
of Iowa in 1984 the brothers decided that MBU would be one of their first
large service projects. The goal of the event was simple: to bring the resources of the
large University to area Scouts and help them achieve Merit Badges that they might not
otherwise be able to. What started out as a few hundred Scouts and a handful of brothers
has grown into a multi-state event. Last year 700 Scouts attended MBU and over 25 Badge
classes were offered from the Citizenships to Basketry and Law.
Over the years the program and goals have shifted slightly. Now teachers include
community leaders, university students and professors, most classes will be involved in
community service projects and Adult Leadership Training is available throughout the day. The cost for each Scout has remained at $5.00 over
the last several years. With these funds our chapter has created the David Holub
Memorial Campership. David Holub was an Eagle Scout and brother of the Omicron chapter who
loved working with campers and exemplified the ideals of both organizations. This Spring
approximately $3,500 will be distributed to Scouts through this Campership.
Occasionally we have a brother or volunteer present who once attended MBU as a Scout
and who describes it as one of their best experiences. This event allows Scouts to
experience community leaders who bridge the age gap between Scoutmasters and themselves.
It is a chance for them to meet young adults who dedicate their energies to helping
others and understand that volunteering can be cool. This event is also an
opportunity for Scouts to earn badges before the traditionally-busy summer. I cant
think of an easier event to attend as troop. Your Scouts wont be busy with
Spring sports yet. They can each take a class within their own interests. Eagle
Scout classes are available. And YOU can receive the adult leader training you need for
this summer. This is also a great event for younger troops who are just starting to take
All Scouts are invited to this event and
if your troop would like to travel the night before the event we can arrange