Tuesday, February 22, 2011

UT Austin Merit Badge College

Little Troop 5 spent the last weekend in Austin at a Merit Badge College put on by Alpha Phi Omega. APO is the national Boy Scout Service Fraternity. To put on a Merit Badge College is a fantastic service project for this organization.

Austin is quite the drive from Dalworthington Gardens. As the previous post noted, it did not start off very well, we successfully made it to Austin.

The trip for the boys was quite uneventful, but fun and productive. Merit Badge Colleges are kind of a beating for the adult leaders. Once the boys are stowed away in a class, there is not much to do. It should be noted they did offer classes for adults, but the Little Troop 5 contingent did not seem interested.

What made the trip really work was that the troop stayed at Texas Motor Transportation Association at no cost. This gave us a location in downtown Austin, close to the university, without having to deal with the issues of camping. As a rule, camping in February in Texas is a gamble. Sometimes it is freezing and wet, other times are beautiful. To schedule an inside campout where there was a chance of advancement, seem like a no brainer to the boys.

John Esparza, President/CEO TMTA

The troop owes a great bit a gratitude to John Esparza, the president of TMTA for the opportunity to stay. John is a scouter with the local St. Austin Cub Scout pack, but more importantly he is long time friend of mine from Texas Tech University. John has an impressive resume beyond his degree in Public Relations from Texas Tech. He has been on the Staff for Governor Bush and Governor Perry.

Without John’s hospitality, I do not think we could have pulled this trip off. Each of the 12 boys from the troop got a chance to attend four different Merit badge classes, thought by professors , teachings assistants and college students. I was very proud on how the boys seemed to get something out of each class.

Even though it’s behind the orange curtain, I would not have a problem to take the troop back if the boys vote to go again. We just need John to keep his job.

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