To an outsider, one look at a boy or girl scout may generate the question “How did they get all of those badges?” Some scouts earn as many as 30 of them (there are a total of 135 offered). At least four badges can be earned with the help of the Romeoville Emergency Management Agency (REMA).
“REMA does quite a bit with the Boy Scouts,” explains Peter O’Connor, an EMT and member of the volunteer REMA force. “We offer training for the First Aid and Weather merit badges and wanted to add Search and Rescue and Emergency Preparedness as well.”
Search and Rescue and Emergency Preparedness are both merit badges with some specific requirements that are hard for a scout to accomplish without the support of organizations like REMA. The scouts need to meet with and talk to someone who does these things every day. In addition, they also have to be part of a search and part of a troop mobilization. REMA is part of the Will County Search and Rescue team, making them the perfect group to help scouts with this task.
“We thought using our training to teach search and rescue skills, coupled with simulated searches at Village Hall with our new command vehicle, would be a great way to support the scouts in our area,” said O’Connor. “Several of the REMA team are scouters as well as merit badge councilors for Search and Rescue, Emergency Preparedness, and First Aid merit badges, so we can sign off on these requirements.”
On July 21, 40 scouts from all around the area came to Romeoville Village Hall and were trained by REMA in Search and Rescue and Emergency Preparedness. They searched for golf balls in knee high grass, followed clues to find a dummy hidden in the woods, and coordinated searches from the mobile command unit. This was the first time REMA held an event like this and they anticipate holding more in the future to help scouts earn those trickier badges.
If you know a scout looking for some help with these badges, reach out to Peter O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Scouts can also meet several requirements of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge by attending a Village Board Meeting, which are held at 6 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month at Village Hall.