Troop 387, like all the best Boy Scout troops, is youth-led. The adults are there for support and safety.
So when the Scouts from Kingsport, Tenn., decided they wanted to earn the Welding merit badge, the adults simply said, “sounds good, how can we help?”
Help came from the good folks at Lincoln Electric. The Cleveland-based manufacturer of welding products is a fervent BSA partner. They helped the BSA develop the Welding merit badge, released in 2012. In 2013, the BSA recognized the company with the North Star Award.
“People would be surprised how many kids want to learn how to weld,” says Scott Schallon, Troop 387’s Scoutmaster.
Lincoln Electric teamed up with the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, or RCAM, for a hands-on Welding merit badge day with 40 Scouts. The day fused fun with hands-on learning.
“One of our goals for merit badges is to blend in some fun components,” he says. “I am certain every Scout who participated had an experience they will remember for years to come.”
Some Scouts might have been inspired to pursue a career in welding, a field where pay and job availability are high. Others walked away with a greater appreciation for the role welders play in our society.
“Mission accomplished!” Schallon says. “What a great example of how community, business and Scouting can come together to help our youth grow and develop skills.”
April is National Welding Month
It’s easy to see the appeal of welding among Scouts. After all, the main requirement for the Welding merit badge is to do some actual welding. What Scout wouldn’t want a turn with a tool that runs at up 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit? Where else but Scouting could a young person try that?
Excitement about welding isn’t limited to Tennessee. Thanks to Lincoln Electric, Scouts across the country have been exposed to welding. Many more will see the appeal of welding at events like these:
- The Heart of America Council in Kansas City will have five welding stations set up at an event in August. Local ironworkers will help show Scouts the ropes.
- In the Denver Area Council, three welding stations will wow visitors at the Scout Show in April.
- In the Three Fires Council in Illinois, Scouts can access a complete portfolio of more than 10 welding stations.
- In the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council, the May Scout Show will include three welding stations.
- In the Pennsylvania Dutch Council, the May camporee will feature a trio of welding stations.
- In the Coastal Carolina, Ventura County and Hoosier Trails councils, welding workshops are actively being held to teach Scouts about this exciting field.
- In the Greater New York Councils, a nice welding lab includes at least five machines.
- In the Daniel Webster Council in New Hampshire, a welding lab with more than 10 stations is the main reason more than 110 Scouts earned the Welding merit badge last year.
More on Lincoln Electric’s partnership
Lincoln Electric’s Charlie Cross, who helps manage the BSA partnership, says welding is an “exciting, relevant, valuable skill” for Scouts to learn.
“Lincoln Electric is helping Scouts get excited about such career options as welding, engineering and manufacturing in a hands-on way, while earning their badges,” he says.
What does Lincoln Electric get out of this? In the fast-moving, technologically focused world of welding, Lincoln wants to help inspire and educate the next generation of welders.
“Since welding is so relevant to our lifestyle, we need to invest and find the next generation of educated workers in the welding industry to keep up with the changing technologies around welding,” Cross says.