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This Forum has been created by Barry to spearhead what I hope becomes a nationwide, organized, and persistent effort to get Boy Scouts of America to reinstate the Beekeeping Merit Badge.

Really, the goal is broader. In addition to getting the Merit Badge reinstated, I want to provide a way to organize efforts by beekeepers to at least expose young folks to beekeeping. If you look around your local bee club meeting, what is the average age of members? What does that say about the future of beekeeping? What are we going to do about it?

The most fundamental way to promote the future of beekeeping is to expose young people to it. I can think of no better place to start than to get Boy Scouts to reinstate the merit badge that used to exist but was terminated due to lack of participation years ago.

Realistically, most scouts probably won't get a beekeeping badge, and most of those scouts that do will not become beekeepers. But it is certain that some will take an interest in beekeeping. Even those who don't will have a greater appreciation for bees and beekeeeping, which is reward enough for taking on this project.

Here is what I generally envision:

1. Using Beesource as a direct way to notify the general public, beekeepers, scout leaders and scouts that they need to directly contact BSA to request that the merit badge be reinstated. Essentially, I want to start an email, letter-writing and petition signing campaign. The message to be conveyed to BSA is that there are beekeepers available to act as mentors. I want all of these letters and petitions to be directed to one person at BSA, so that we make a distinct impression.

2. Using Beesource as a way to get a program started to create interest among scout troops to create new interest in beekeeping and reinstating the merit badge. It is not enough to tell BSA the obvious fact that beekeepers are interested in beekeeping. We need to demonstrate that scouts would be interested in earning a beekeeping merit badge if given the choice. In short, we need to locate scouts and troop leaders to let them know that this project exists and get scout leaders to inform BSA that there would be participation.

3. Using Beesource to carry the word to bee clubs to create direct involvment by the clubs. If this campaign spreads to members of the clubs, then that will dramatically increase the scope of the letter writing campaign. Ideally, I would hope that bee clubs around the country would even pass resolutions that promise to hold classes where scouts could earn a beekeeping badge. That would also ensure scout participation.

4. Using the content section of Beesource as a repository for posting form letters and petitions that may be used by interested persons and bee clubs to do the stuff listed above. What I would like to do is draft form letters and/or emails that can be sent by beekeepers and scouts. I would also like to draft some form resolutions that could be enacted by beekeeping clubs in which assurances are given to BSA that clubs will mentor scouts who want to get the badge.

5. Hopefully, recruit Bee Culture and ABJ to join in this effort, and get those publication to spread the word, recruit more letter writers and direct interested persons to Beesource for materials.

6. Give an assurance to BSA that, if the badge is reinstated, this Beesource forum will be available to link scouts with beekeepers and/or local clubs who can help the scouts to do what is needed to get the badge. In other words, there may not be as many beekeepers now as there were 50 years ago, but technology now exists to link scouts to beekeeping teachers.

7. Use this Forum as a way to locate people who have information that will make it easier for BSA to reinstate the badge. For example, somebody out there surely has the old materials that relate to the beekeeping merit badge and a badge showing what it looks like.

That's the plan, anyway.

However, I don't want to jump into this project immediately for two reasons. First, I am in the process of selling my house, buying another one and moving between now an the end of January. I'm booked for the moment.

Second, I want to hear ideas from anybody who has them about how to get this done. Truth is, I was never in Boy Scouts myself. I know how to persuade people, but I don't really have a clue what I'm doing with this, truth be told. Maybe the plan should change in basic ways.

Consider this a formal request to share your ideas -- however crazy they may be -- for how to get this done.

Also, I'd appreciate any help that anybody can give.

Thanks,

Neil
 

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I earnestly suggest that while this is a worthwhile effort and certainly starting with such a renowned national scouting group is fine, perhaps broadening the scope to support other scouting groups be considered as well.

It could even be used as a 'pressure point' to the BSA to point out that we are helping other scout groups to develop beekeeping programs with badges, etc.. to show them the interest is there and kids will join those scouting groups which meet their interests and will not be part of groups that ignore said interests.

Just my 2 cent.

Big Bear
 

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I would love to see them re instate Beekeeping as a Merit Badge but the group has gone off the deep end in the last couple of decades and the liability is bordering on insanity.

Did you realize that Scouts are not allowed to bring peanut products on outings because of the fear that someone that is allergic might actually consume it and have a reaction?

That means you cannot even give your kid a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to take with him on an outing.

If you can't get them to reverse their position on Peanuts do you really think you have a hope in heck of getting them to support a merit badge for Beekeeping?

I look back in my days as a scout when we would go winter camping in Northern New England in Jan/Feb and freeze our butts off....ahhh the good old days.....I really don't mean that sarcastically either.....there's something about adversity that helps shape people and teaches them important lessons growing up.....in part it teaches kids not to be quitters.
 

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I rembemer a camping trip (boy scouts) we were in the everglades and came across a 7' water moccasin, they leaders helpped us to catch it, skin it, and cook it over an open fire. I'm guessing now they teach scout to ran away from any snake, while screaming like a little girl.

Back to the original sub. A bee keeping badge would be great and I would help my local troop.
 

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Like I said in the other thread, they don't change MB's easily, so it will take a huge grass roots effort. To add a MB, they really want to drop another MB to keep the total at about 120. I think golf should be at the top of the list to be dropped -- or maybe computers.

Since they change MBs easier than they create them, Plan B could be to get more beekeeping requirements into the insect study MB -- importance of insect pollination, require a visit to an apiary, etc.

I would suggest offering to become an insect study merit badge counselor, give a beekeeping presentation as part of it, then interest will swell from there.

The peanut butter rule must be local. The camping permission slips are supposed to identify allergies. We carry peanut butter on every campout should they ever totally destroy a meal in the process of cooking it. Amazingly enough they pretty much eat everything they cook if for no other reason they are working hard on campouts and are starved.

Trust me -- you haven't lived until you've had a spaghettios omelet.
 

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I earned the beekeeping merit badge, and some other award with some bird on it. What do you wish me to do?

Roland
 

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JPK said "Did you realize that Scouts are not allowed to bring peanut products on outings because of the fear that someone that is allergic might actually consume it and have a reaction?"

I was a scout for many years and an asst scoutmaster up untill last year(I may still be on the roster)and I can assure you that the Boy Scouts of America does not have any kind of a ban on peanut butter or any other food for that matter. Peanut butter is a staple of every scouts diet and is even served as the primary meal at virtually every summer resident camp in America. We had a kid in our troop who was away on a 16 day trip with us and didnt eat anything but peanut butter the whole time-every meal.
In the patrol method of scouting the kids themselves prepare their own menus and buy and prepare the foods when at camp.The adult leaders also prepare their own menus and foods.If you had several patrols you could have 5 or 6 completely different menus at each meal.

I dont think this organization has taken quite the political correctness dive that a lot have in the past few years.The scouts in our troop partook in a number of activities that were not exactly what some people consider safe for example,they went rock climbing/rappeling,whitwater rafting(up to class 4 rapids if your under 16),Kayaking,woodchopping,and a host of other things.They were also allowed to camp outside in 18 degree weather and back pack in 100 degree heat. They were taught how to do these things safely and taught first aid for when someone made a mistake. We never lost a kid to injury and it wasnt because they didnt try.

We taught our kids how to catch snakes too. The scouts are big on youth protection training so the leaders can spot things like abuse or inapropriate contact with the kids.The adults are not even allowed to go into a shower house at the swimming pool if any youth members are present and you cannot share tents with a youth member(outside of your own child).

The reason the boy scouts dropped the beekeeping merit badge is because of decline in interest, Not because of safety concerns over bee stings. I think the interest declined because they had a serious lack of resources available at a local level. Not all badges are taught at all camps or councils.I believe that this is a great merit badge and shares a lot of the values that the scouts promote and I would be happy to help with whatever it takes to get it reinstated
 

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Not to be controversial here, but I agree that
this forums scope should be broader and even
have a different title altogether. Like "Beekeeping
Promotion in Today's Youth".

The Boy Scouts exclude all to many youths. I am
all for them reinstating the MB. A darn shame it was
deleted.

Do the Girl Scouts have one??? There are certainly a
lot of female beekeepers.....
 

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Boy Scout national headquarters is in Irving, TX. I think TX beeks need to step up and play a major part in this effort. Maybe at some point in time a representative group could meet with the man in charge at national headquarters and outline the value to scouting and a major industry(beekeeping) of reinstating the beekeeping merit badge.

How many Eagle Scouts are out there who also make a living full or part time at beekeeping? I'm betting their voice will carry a lot of weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sundance,

Don't worry about being controversial. I want everybody to say whatever they think about this.

I agree that maybe the scope should be different. For one thing, I recognize the basic reality that the specific goal of this thread will be difficult to achieve. However, this ball got rolling because of a scout's request for help. Also, they used to actually have this badge, so there is some precedent for it.

I'm not sure about Girl Scouts though. This may be sexist and politically incorrect, but I really question whether we could sell an organization catering to young girls on beekeeping.

Somebody did mention 4-H. Maybe if the Boy Scouts deal does not work out, we could go to encouraging 4-Hers to try beekeeping or at least facilitate that. However, I don't know anything about 4-H or whether beekeeping is involved there already or how. (Anybody know?)

I still see this as being in the stage where we are figuring out what we are trying to do, not doing it quite yet.

Any ideas are welcome. Keep the input coming. I intend to let this go for awhile longer to give people a chance to realize this forum is here and contribute.

Thanks to all who have already,

Neil
 

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ACBees - I am guilty as charged:

Beekeeping merit badge

Eagle Scout

Commercial Beekeeper

Beekeepers since 1852


Talk to me, what do you want me to do.


Roland
Linden Apiary
 

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Discussion Starter #14
To all who are asking me what I want you to do:

Right now, I want suggestions for what might work in dealing with BSA.

Neil
 

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Neil,

In regard to the girls who are into scouting. While there may be a large number of girls who aren't into 'bugs' as I have heard many say, those that volunteer to get into scouting are a bit 'tougher' and more open minded than those who don't sign up for scouting.

I am a beekeeper and I have daughters. Back a day or two ago, they might have been called tomboys because they don't mind getting their hands dirty andplaying rough.

Either way, They like helping with the bees maybe more than a lot of boys in their school.

My point is, we should be there for any kid who wants to work bees, not just the ones we think we want to support.

Big Bear
 

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Thanks for speaking up Roland. I feel guys like you can be major players in this effort. Since my son recently earned his Eagle rank, he has been receiving mail from an org. called the NESA(National Eagle Scout Association). I wonder if there would be a way to get them involved? I bet there might be other Eagle rank holders involved in beekeeping and we could indentify them through this org.
 

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I was just on the Girl Scout merit badge sight and they dont have a beekeeping specific merit badge. They might have it lumped under another catagory like insect studies.I wouldnt dismiss the whole Girl Scout organization as too girlie to mess with bugs,my sister while in girl scouts did the equivilant to everything I did in Boy Scouts and maybe a little more.She also did some beekeeping at Eastern Kentucky University way back when. The 4-H organizations are about all things agricultural so if they were contacted at a state level with volunteers to teach about beekeeping I'm sure they would be happy to utilize the resource.The best bet for all of these programs is to go out at your local level and offer to teach kids about beekeeping.I know for a fact that scoutmasters(girl and boy) are always looking for interesting ways to fill their weekly programs and will find a way to work you into the program if they know you are available.You can get the word out by making a trip to your local councils round table programs which a representative from each troop should attend monthly.Once you educate and stir interest at the local level then sometimes the groundswell will work its way back up to the top when troop leaders and council people start asking for programs then the higher level folks are forced to act.Our troop has a merit badge university every year that allows scouts from any troop to attend and take merit badge classes that are not always availble to them in their troops.They can show up and earn as many as 4 merit badges in a single day.Our scoutmaster started this on his own with no help or endorsement from the local council and in the four or five years I was involved it went from about 100 kids to about 1200 kids and forced the council to stand up and take notice.As a matter of fact they used to schedule a council sponserd event on the same weekend as MBU every year but on the fourth year they were forced to cancel their event because MBU had such a large draw.These types of events would be a perfect place to introduce kids to beekeeping even if it was under the heading of insect studies or enviromental science.
 

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This ezine is also available online at http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-20...4.archive.html

CATCH THE BUZZ

The brand announced today it is also joining forces with 13 year-old Boy Scout Christopher Stowell, Troop 250, Skiatook, OK. Christopher is also a beekeeper and is petitioning the Boy Scout Council for reinstatement of the Boy Scout Beekeeping merit badge that was discontinued in 1995. To sign the letter and petition, visit “The Buzz” page at http://www.helpthehoneybees.com/#buzz.

“Now, more than ever before, the survival of the honey bee is important to us all,” said Stowell. “If other kids are not encouraged to learn how to become beekeepers, the honey bee will surely die out.”

“Christopher is an amazing advocate for honey bees and serves as a great example of learning about a problem and working to find a solution,” said Mara Lowry, Häagen-Dazs brand manager. “It’s because of people like him that we continue to be encouraged and inspired to work to help both bees and beekeepers, and we urge everyone to do their part. Signing this letter and petition is one small but impactful thing people can do.”

Häagen-Dazs loves Honey Bees™ Program Encourages Consumers to Take Part

Committed to being part of the solution, the Häagen-Dazs brand is renewing its efforts for a third year to help in the preservation of honey bees and nature’s finest ingredients. In 2010, Häagen-Dazs ice cream will continue to support Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Davis, bringing the brand’s total donation to $620,000 over the past three years. In addition to university funding, the Häagen-Dazs brand is also continuing its Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream flavor and HD loves HB™ icon labeling on all packages of bee-built flavors of ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt and bars to drive awareness of the ongoin g issue.

The brand encourages everyone to find a way to become a bee crusader, and do their part to help save the honey bees. Here’s how to make a difference:

Start a hive and become a backyard beekeeper – your garden will thank you for it. Look for a beekeeping club in your area to help you get started.

Create a bee-friendly garden with plants that attract honey bees. Select a plant with a long growing season or a group of plants that together will offer flowers from spring through fall. A great resource for information can be found at www.helpthehoneybees.com, or from the horticulturalist at your local plant nursery.

Avoid insecticides in your garden. Instead, promote good bugs (called ‘beneficial insects’) – bugs that will happily eat the bad bugs chomping on your plants. More information is available at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/ and http://horticulture.psu.edu/extension/mg.

When you buy a Häagen-Dazs ice cream bee-built product, a portion of the proceeds of the sale go toward helping the honey bees.

Tell a friend – Visit www.helpthehoneybees.com to send a Bee-Mail or to create your own animated honey bee to help spread the word.

Visit the Häagen-Dazs Bee Store at www.helpthehoneybees.com – All proceeds from our bee store will fund CCD and sustainable pollination research at Penn State and UC Davis.

About Häagen-Dazs loves Honey Bees™

Alarmingly, over the last three winters, more than one in three bee colonies died nationwide. Researchers are calling the mysterious bee disappearance Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Because the Häagen-Dazs brand uses only all-natural ingredients in its recipes, more than 50 percent of the brand’s flavors are bee-built, meaning they use ingredients pollinated by the bees.

In 2008, the Häagen-Dazs brand launched the HD loves HB campaign to create awareness of the honey bee crisis. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of HD loves HB labeled flavors fund sustainable pollination and CCD research at Pennsylvania State University and University of California, Davis, totaling $620,000 over three years.

About Häagen-Dazs

Crafted in 1960 by Reuben Mattus in his family’s dairy, Häagen-Dazs is the original superpremium ice cream. True to tradition, Häagen-Dazs is committed to using only all-natural ingredients in crafting the world’s finest ice cream. Truly made like no other, today Häagen-Dazs ice cream offers a full range of products from ice cream to sorbet, frozen yogurt and frozen snacks in more than 65 flavors. Häagen-Dazs products are available around the globe for ice cream lovers to enjoy. For more information, please visit www.Häagen-Dazs.com.

Subscribe to Malcolm Sanford’s Apis Newsletter right here For a comprehensive listing of beekeeping events around the country and around the globe, check out Bee Culture’s Global Beekeeping Calendar

This message brought to you by Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping, published by the A.I. Root Company.
 
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