ST. LOUIS, Mo.
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
The 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 www.stlbsa.org.