Boy Scouts attend Merit Badge Day at Washburn

Boy Scouts at Washburn: The Boy Scouts of Northeast Kansas gathered at Washburn for their annual Merit Badge Workshop. Merit badge workshops are a great way to progress towards the rank of Eagle Scout. 

Matthew L. Self, Review Editor in Chief

Washburn University welcomed the Boy Scouts to campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 as they attended various workshops. The all-day event was sponsored by various professors who helped the scouts earn merit badges that would have been difficult to obtain outside of the university. The Boy Scouts hailed from many different troops around the Northeast Kansas region with many coming from the Topeka area. The Merit Badge Workshop Day is a great way for the Scouts in the local area to come together and learn about subjects such as engineering, physics and more.

The Boy Scouts in the Northeast Kansas region came together under the Jayhawk Area Council and each group of scouts is divided into troops, which may contain anywhere from a handful of scouts to 30 or 40 scouts. Each troop is also divided into patrols that are run by the scouts themselves while under overall adult supervision. Many of the scouts brought their adult leaders or parents with them for the workshop event.

One of the adult leaders, Michael Beech from troop 81 out of McClouth, Kansas, spoke about some of the workshops that his scouts attended in the morning and what events they were looking forward to in the afternoon.

“We have nine scouts with us today. Most of our scouts this afternoon are going through engineering, prior to that we had scouts in weather, family living, law and art workshops so they got to experience a lot this morning,” said Beech. “The scouts get to experience the campus and see what it’s like, get familiar with it. I know my son and some of the other scouts love this place and know the layout better than the adults.”

Wayne Pancoast, scouting executive director of the Jayhawk Area Council, said that around 35 separate troops arrived to attend the workshops, and some from as far as Junction City.

“This workshop day draws in more than just Scouts in the Northeast region of Kansas, and has a much broader reach than that,” Pancoast said. “This workshop day is a great way for the scouts to be exposed to the campus and earn merit badges that may be difficult for the troops to earn on their own. The scouts can take advantage of some of the experts here on campus.”

Experts such as Senior Lecturer Mazachek, pre-engineering, were present to help the Scouts. Mazachek spoke about the history of the merit badge day and the university’s connection to the Boy Scouts.

“It was 20 years ago. We had an individual who was the assistant to the president at Washburn, who was Tom Ellis, and back then Dr. Farley was fairly new to the campus and he was looking for a way to give back to the community, so Tom Ellis had this idea and President Farley said ‘run with it’ so we put together this program that has evolved over the years,” Mazachek said. “It’s just a great way to get Scouts on campus to see this environment and show off our wonderful campus and also give the scouts an opportunity to earn some merit badges.”

The Boy Scouts will hold another Merit Badge Day next year on Washburn’s campus to continue the tradition. For more information about the Boy Scouts of the Jayhawk Area council, visit their website at