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Greater St. Louis Area Council: Boy Scouts of America

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Gravois Trail


Gravois Trail > Posts > Area Scouts Attend Woodwork Merit Badge Skill Center
March 19
Area Scouts Attend Woodwork Merit Badge Skill Center

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Last weekend more than 30 Boy Scouts from St. Louis and the surrounding area gathered at the Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters Training Center in South County for the Woodwork merit badge skill center. After a morning of training, the Scouts put their newly acquired skills to work assembling their very own birdhouses to take home.

Woodwork merit badge is designed to introduce Scouts to the woods, tools and skills needed to create wood projects. At the skill center, participants get the chance to work with real carpenters at their expansive training facility. Tony Caputa, an instructor at the Training Center, has worked with the Boy Scouts of America for the past several years to make the event an annual success.


In Saturday’s edition, the day got started early as the Boy Scouts gathered for their first “class” at 8 a.m. For the next three and a half hours, Scouts received training in a variety of areas related to woodworking and also learned the journey wood takes in getting from the forest to your home.


“We also came here to learn about what wood looks like, different types of wood, how to identify it and how to sharpen your tools and take care of them,” said Josiah, a Scout from Gravois Trail Troop 780 who attended the skill center.


After a quick break for lunch, the Boy Scouts had a chance to use all of the new knowledge gained from their morning session. Armed with tape measures, drills and hammers, participants set out to assemble birdhouses. A staff member from the Training Center oversaw each station to provide guidance and help.


“We had blueprints of the birdhouse so we could look off of that to see how to build them,” said Josiah. “They showed us in one of our classes how to read the blueprints and how to use the tape measure and stuff like that. Building the birdhouse was not really that difficult. It took some time but it wasn’t that hard.”


Finally, after a long day and maybe even a few smashed fingernails from an errant hammer, the Scouts happily accepted their completed merit badge cards to tote home along with their homemade birdhouses. As everyone filed out of the training center, it was apparent that the Boy Scouts weren’t the only ones who had a fun time.


“The staff comes in and provides the adult supervision and a lot of them are our apprentices,” said Terry O’Reilly, an instructor at the Training Center who helped direct the day’s activities. “They enjoy it. It starts out as an early morning for them but by the end of the day when the kids walk away with a finished project, I think they feel pretty good about being a part of it.”


To get more information on additional merit badge skill centers, visit



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