STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University welcomes approximately 700 Scouts and leaders to its Stephenville campus Feb. 21-23 for the 35th annual Tarleton State Merit Badge Seminar.
Offered almost every year since 1986, the seminar provides Scouts an opportunity to attend classes led by Tarleton faculty, staff and students, and regional experts.
The event is sponsored by the Texas Trails Council and has been a service project of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts for the past five years.
Coordinator of the event, Dr. Eric Morrow, dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, said this year’s event is one of the largest ever with more than 850 registrants, instructors and staff.
“In the early years of the event, more than 650 participants came to Tarleton’s Stephenville campus over several one-day Saturday events,” Morrow said. “In 2008 the event moved to a weekend format, and over the last decade participation has grown.”
The Scouts’ appearance in town is evident as tents pop up Friday night on Tarleton intramural fields.
“With the large participation, we will have more than 500 campers on the fields over the weekend,” Morrow said.
Participation has grown from troops representing four area council to more than 63 troops from throughout the state. Texas Trails Council Executive Mark Conrad attributes the growth and the annual return of so many troops to the hospitality of Tarleton and the quality of the event.
“Tarleton has always shown strong support for Scouting, and the emphasis on service for both Tarleton and Scouting makes this a special event that impacts the lives of so many of our youth,” Conrad said.
In addition to standard merit badges like citizenship, communications and personal management, Scouts have the opportunity to earn unique badges at Tarleton — nuclear science and game design; animal science and veterinary medicine at the Tarleton Agricultural Center; astronomy in the Planetarium; and more.
The event will feature almost 100 classes over three sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Scouts will root for the Tarleton Texans at Saturday’s afternoon basketball game.
In recognition of the many years that Tarleton has welcomed Scouting, the 2020 event supports the campus food pantry. Each participant has been asked to bring a needed food item to help with food insecurity, a challenge for many students trying to get through college with limited resources.
For more information on the Tarleton Merit Badge Seminar, contact Dr. Eric Morrow at email@example.com.