“Go big or go home.” That’s the motto of the Three Fires Council in St. Charles, IL which will seek to set a Guinness record for the world’s largest welding lesson on April 11, 2015. The event will bring together 14,000 Scouts at ETI School of Skilled Trades to earn the Welding Merit Badge. The record setting portion of the event is specifically focused on the “classroom” portion of the Merit Badge.
By its nature, the record will be a difficult one to set with rigorous guidelines set by the Guinness World Records organization.
Guinness defines the event as a “mass participation” event with specific requirements for counting the participants. During any part of the lesson, if a participant leaves the area, they will be deducted from the count. Witness statements along with photographic and video evidence will be collected immediately after the event and submitted to Guinness World Records, who will take a minimum of six weeks to evaluate the entry.
Event organizer Walter Berkowicz told the Chicago Tribune, “I’ve been planning this event for more than a year. There’s a lot of excitement about setting a world record. “
This is a remarkable display of community spirit behind Scouting and training our young people to learn careers that are important to not only their futures, but to the vitality of our nation. By the end of this decade, the American Welding Society estimates 140,000 new welders will be needed across America.
Learning the skills needed to build and move our country’s infrastructure is a vital contributor to our nation’s economy and the future success of many of our Scouts. Like any science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subject, the Welding Merit Badge offers high-interest, real-world, tactile experiences that can serve as a gateway to get kids involved in other great Scouting adventures while continuing to instill the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
In fact, the importance of introducing kids to skilled trades is something that prominent Eagle Scout and “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe speaks about often, including at our 2013 National Jamboree – teaching kids to work smart and work hard.
The popularity of our Welding Merit Badge – and the community support behind it – demonstrates the diversity of experiences that today’s youth crave – and how by focusing on our core, the outcomes which are achieved through Scouting’s methods, we can adapt to deliver the programs kids want now.
I want to recognize the Three Fires Council for setting such a strong example and engaging their kids in such a coordinated and noteworthy effort – that will yield up to 14,000 merit badges earned. Good luck, welders!
Yours in Scouting,