GoldenWest Merit Badge Day 2024

The Goldenwest Merit Badge Day
The Goldenwest District (GWD) held its first ever Merit Badge Day on Saturday, March 16th
at the St.Ireanus Church campus in the City of Cypress. To put things into context, the Orange County Council has
not had a merit badge day held during the last four years, if not longer. This was a “first’ for our GWD
committee volunteers; however, we already have people who plan and execute some of the top events
within the OCBSA like our GWD Camporee and the Central Orange County Cub Scout Summer Day Camp.
It makes sense that we have the talent to plan and host an event where Scouts can earn multiple merit
badges, network with other Scouts, work on advancement and have fun - that’s what set out to do.
Led by GWD Chair, Mat Forester, the other members of the planning committee comprised of Dan
Moran (Troop 642), Charlie Osaki (GWD Vice Chair), Amanda McCall (Pack 526), Bruce and Jamie
Finnsson (GWD Program Chair and District Commissioner, respectively), Kathy Hight (Popcorn Chair) and
Tan Luu (GWD Advancement Chair), the planning committee had one common goal: to create a sense of
community and relationship building amongst the Scouts within our district through “live” instruction,
and in a collaborative and fun manner. The event also offered lunch and snacks for the Scouts and adult
participants. We offered five Eagle Scout-required merit badges and five elective non-Eagle Scout-
required merit badges (the electives were selected by the unit leaders within GWD). Our goals were
modest: get a minimum of 120 Scout participants to sign-up, have 24 adult volunteers to handle the
required number of merit badge counselors at each merit badge station, and execute the event plans in
the best manner possible.
And the most important thing is that we wanted our Scouts to have fun!
Sometimes, the wildest dreams come true because 233 Scouts attended (another 23 Scouts were “no-
shows”), over 40 adults volunteered, and 434 merit badges were earned by the Scout participants!
Marcie Lui, Troop 660 and cook extraordinaire, hosted lunch for everyone comprised of hot dogs, caprice
sandwiches (for non-meat eaters), assorted chips, cookies and ice-cold drinks – even seconds were made
available! –
“Thank you, Marcie!”
Our GWD Eagle Advisor, Norm Herron also hosted a “Life Scout to Eagle Scout” workshop during the
lunch break that had 35 Scouts in attendance along with 10 adults.
Thank you, Norm!
Things we learned centered around registration and arrival/drop-off logistics, but the expectations that
were exceeded mitigated needed improvements, which were few and far between. In fact, most of the
Scouts completed the pre-event requirements [for their merit badges] which enabled so many Scouts to
complete all of the merit badge requirements.
The outpouring of support for this event was so great and the outcome so good that we have decided to
host another GWD Merit Badge Day this coming fall, either in September or October. No matter what the
month, all of our GWD Scouting units will be informed of the date, time and place during early summer.
Our 2024 Scouting year is off to a great start!
Our next event, the GWD Camporee, will be held at
Firestone Scout Reservation on Friday to Sunday morning, April 12th to 14th