Local Boy Scout leader launches online badge program

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OZARK, Mo. — One Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scouts of America decided to not let COVID-19 keep some scouts from earning their badges.

He moved the program online so that some scouts, who might’ve also been on a deadline, could still earn badges even during the pandemic.

Shawn Davidson is the activities and civics chair for the Boy Scouts Blazing Trails District.

As for many like the scouts, COVID-19 forced them to get creative in how they complete their courses by going online.

“Then I took it upon myself and said ‘Okay, let’s try to restructure this to where we can still keep the scouts that are at home, still working on their badges, the scout oath, the scout law and try to do these things not only by themselves but with their families,” Davidson said. “It’s just trying to evolve the scouts from the early days of hiking, being prepared to today of being prepared and working with what you have. One of my biggest things that I try to tell my scouts is that being prepared tells you to adapt and overcome any situation that is given to you.”

Davidson said they gave out 15 Eagle Badges, which is not easy to achieve.

And many others participated. Davidson said states ranging from Maine, Indiana, Ohio, all the way to Florida, Texas, California and 22 other states.

“I was like, ‘Oh!’ I was really excited,” Davidson said. “It was like, ‘Oh this is great. It’s working! It’s moving forward.’ We tried to get them to understand that it’s not just about the individual. It’s about the group. It’s about the troop. It’s about everybody coming together to do the positive.”

Davidson says that by the time they’ve finished the online course, 331 scouts will have earned badges.

“If you get that scout that gets everything done and signed off and the instructor says here’s my signature, you’re done,” Davidson said. “Guarantee that the moment the scout hears that, he’s got that confidence because he knows he’s done something worthwhile.”

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