The Personal Fitness merit badge

The Personal Fitness merit badge is required for advancement to Eagle Scout, and can be used as one of the badges for advancement to Star and Life rank.

Requirement 1 for the badge includes this:

Before completing requirements 2 through 9, have your health-care practitioner give you a physical examination, using the Scout medical examination form. Describe the examination. Tell what questions you were asked about your health. Tell what health or medical recommendations were made and report what you have done in response to the recommendations.

The next time you have a physical exam scheduled, print out a copy of the form and bring it to the appointment. With that in hand, you’ll be able to complete the other requirements.

Astronomy observation session Friday, April 5

We will have an observation session to help meet requirements for the Astronomy merit badge at 8pm at Crow Island Woods. The session will be led by Andy Bulluck of Skokie Valley Astronomers. The session should include constellation-spotting, stargazing, planet-watching and tracking satellites including the International Space Station.

Details on the observation session can be downloaded here.

Update on Nuclear Science merit badge at Fermilab, Thursday, March 14

Eleven of our scouts have signed up for next week’s trip to Fermilab, for a two-hour program on the Nuclear Science merit badge. We have two parents signed up to drive, and the 11 scouts will fill those two vehicles. Because we’ve reached our transportation capacity, the program no longer appears on the online signup form at .

An email was sent on Sunday afternoon to the 11 scouts who have signed up for the badge.

If we have more parents who are able to drive, the program at Fermi could accommodate up to 20 scouts. We need a five-hour commitment that day, leaving Winnetka at 11:30am and returning around 4:30pm. Please send an email to if you can drive.


Golf merit badge session added for March 9

For scouts who were unable to attend the golf merit badge skills session last November, we’re going to hold an additional session at the Winnetka Golf Club from 1:30-3:00 pm on Saturday, March 9. You can sign up using our online form at .

Thanks to the Winnetka Park District and Assistant Scoutmaster Clay McLaughlin for putting this together!

Update on Astronomy merit badge

Scouts who attended the first part of our Astronomy merit badge work at Northwestern’s Dearborn Observatory should be continuing to read their merit badge pamphlets and prepare for the next leg of our journey.

We’re fortunate to have made contact with a volunteer from the Skokie Valley Astronomers club, who will be helping us learn more about astronomy, recognize the stars and planets in our night sky, and meet merit badge requirements.

Look for more information here in the blog and at a troop meeting in the near future.

If you weren’t able to attend the program at the Dearborn Observatory, you can still start working on the badge. Let Mr. McLaughlin or Mr. Hess know if you’re interested in getting started.

Something’s cooking!

Cooking is an important part of scouting, and not just because no one wants to go hungry on a campout.

Meal planning and cooking are part of the requirements for advancement to Second Class and First Class; teaching cooking to younger scouts is a requirement for Life Scout. In 2014, the Cooking merit badge becomes a requirement for Eagle Scout.

The Cooking merit badge requirements are being revised for 2014, and should be released sometime this year.

Scouts who have started working on the badge using the current requirements will have the option to complete the badge under the old requirements, or switch to the new requirements.

Survey: Trip to Harley-Davidson Museum for engineering merit badge

In addition to its many exhibits, the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee offers a scouting program to meet many of the requirements for the Engineering merit badge.

If you’re interested in a Troop 18 trip to the Museum, please cast your vote in the online survey.

Scout’s honor: One vote per Troop member.

Signup open for two merit badge programs

Troop 18 is organizing programs for the Automotive Maintenance and Nuclear Science merit badges.

The Automotive Maintenance merit badge workshop will be held on Saturday, February 16 from 3pm – 4:30pm at Fields BMW in Northfield. A technician from Fields BMW will help the scouts learn and perform the requirements for the badge.

The Nuclear Science merit badge workshop will be held on Thursday, March 14, from 1pm-3pm at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Winnetka District 36 has conference days scheduled for Thursday-Friday March 14-15, so we’ve been able to schedule a session at Fermilab on a weekday — all Saturdays in 2013 were booked months ago. The workshop is part of the Lab’s education program, and will complete all of the requirements for the merit badge.

If more than five scouts sign up, we’ll need additional parents to drive. The tentative plan is to leave Winnetka at 11:30am for the drive to the lab, which is located in Warrenville.

You can sign up for both of these troop-sponsored merit badge programs using the online form at

2013 Camp Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan information now posted

There’s a new web site for the Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation operated by the Northeast Illinois Council, including a list of more than five dozen merit badges and multiple High Adventure programs being offered this year. Troop 18 will be at Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan from July 14-20 this summer. Information on signup and fees will be coming out soon.

New Merit Badge Procedures

This is a busy time of year for the Troop, as we work together on merit badges and as our scouts pursue merit badges in programs run by our Potawatomi District, by neighboring Councils, by outside organizations such as Morton Arboretum, and by scouts working directly with merit badge counselors.

To help make certain that scouts have the blue cards they need to record progress and completion of merit badge requirements, we’ve created an online form that should be used to request a blue card signed by a scoutmaster. That form can be accessed at On the Monday before each troop meeting, the database will be checked and blue cards will be prepared for and brought to the meeting. A one-page overview is available to provide more information on the online form and the process.