How Scouting put this meteorologist on his career path

As Andrew Adams worked his way up the ranks of Troop 326 in Fort Worth, Texas, he was also taking advantage of the many life-changing activities that Scouting has to offer.

Multiple summer camps? Check.

Visits to each of the BSA’s national high-adventure bases? Check.

Earning the rank of Eagle? Check.

But there was one experience that just might have had more long-term impact than all the others: the time he earned the Weather merit badge.

“I remember we used to go to these merit badge colleges, where you could earn different merit badges,” Adams says. “So, one of the first ones I went to, I got the Weather merit badge.

“Looking back on it, it really was like an introduction-to-meteorology class. That’s what got me really interested in it.”

Fort Worth is at the southern tip of the loosely defined tornado alley, the middle section of the United States where tornadoes are more frequent. Severe weather was often on the mind of young Andrew, which prompted his interest in the merit badge.

“By the time I got to the point where I was thinking about going to college and what I wanted to do,” he says, “the idea just popped into my head of, ‘What can I do with weather?’ ”

Now, Adams works as a meteorologist for News 9 in Oklahoma City.

Pursuing his dream

While earning merit badges is great for advancement, the real purpose of the BSA’s merit badge program is to introduce young people to different aspects of science, business, sports, hobbies, trades and, yes, future careers.

Adams ended up attending Oklahoma University in Norman, Okla., just a few hours north of his hometown. There, he earned a Bachelor of Science in meteorology, with a minor in broadcast meteorology.

Not all meteorologists are on-air TV personalities, but as Adams learned more and more about the field, he found himself drawn to that possibility.

“I kind of fell in love with the communication aspect of it,” he says.

Good thing there’s a merit badge for that, too.

“I basically got a minor in journalism,” he says.

Oh look: There’s a merit badge for that as well.

Adams appears on News 9 on weekend mornings and during severe weather events. He may have thought his days in Scouting were over, but a chance encounter at a previous job in Fort Myers, Florida, gave him a chance to reconnect with his past.

Reconnecting with Scouting

It was during the opening game of the 2021 NFL season, a Thursday night spent with friends and co-workers at a restaurant, when Adams overheard a colleague say something about Scouts.

“She was saying, ‘I’ve got this thing on Saturday’ and I heard the word ‘Boy Scouts,’ ” Adams says.

Turns out his fellow meteorologist had committed to working with some Scouts BSA members on requirement 9b of the Weather merit badge: “talk with a local radio or television weathercaster.”

“I was like, ‘not to steal your thunder, but I can take that,’ ” Adams says. “It really just fell into my lap.”

Adams, of course, was happy to free up an hour from his colleague’s weekend. It was the first time he participated in a Scouting activity since he volunteered at the National Jamboree right before he went off to college.

“There was a lot of common ground there,” he says. “I’m a meteorologist, they needed someone to help them with the Weather merit badge … it just felt like all the pieces falling into place.”

About Aaron Derr 57 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.