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Saturday sessions give boys a chance to earn Scout badges

Union Leader Correspondent

February 17. 2013 9:07PM
Ryan Beal, 11, of Dublin molds a face during a class at Mason Elementary School for Boy Scouts looking to earn merit badges. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)

MASON - Over 100 Boy Scouts gathered at Mason Elementary School Saturday morning for the opportunity to earn merit badges in subjects ranging from aviation to wildlife management.

This is the 11th year that 70-year-old Eagle Scout Ron Dube of Mason has organized the three Saturday sessions for scouts to take advantage of, helping them on the path to becoming an Eagle Scout, Dube said after teaching a course in communication.

In one of the elementary school classrooms, Assistant Scout Master Christine Wheeler of Rindge taught an art class in sculpture.

Saturday was about letting the Boy Scouts get a feel for the class by getting a little creative with some clay, she said.

She will be meeting with the students two more times over the next month so they can complete her course.

"The next one you're going to get really messy. I'm going to bring 80 pounds of plaster," she warned the Scouts in her class.

Whole troops to individual Boy Scouts from Keene, Swanzey, Walpole, Jaffrey, Rindge, Wilton, New Ipswich, Greenville, Mason, Greenfield, Hillsborough, Peterborough, Antrim, Windsor and Deering as well as Gardner, Pepperell, Bellingham and Winthrop, Mass., were in attendance for the first Saturday session this year, totaling 115 Boy Scouts, Dube said.

A Boy Scout is required to earn 21 merit badges to be an Eagle Scout.

Some badges are mandatory, like first aid and citizenship in the community, nation or world, and personal fitness. Many of the required courses are offered by the volunteer scout masters and merit badge counselors in the Saturday morning session Dube organizes.

Elective courses such as electricity, railroading and sculpture are also offered.

"Hopefully they are fun for the kids," Dube said of the electives.

Not every Boy Scout is going to become an Eagle Scout, Dube said, but he hopes the Saturday sessions offered in February and March nudge some toward the rank.

"It depends on how motivated you are. If you're motivated you will find a way to do it. That's what I did when I was a kid. But having been a teacher for over 40 years I know a lot of them need nudges," Dube said. "I'm a big believer in nudges."

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