More than 3,000 Boy Scouts gathered at BYU on March 15 to attend classes and earn merit badges for the spring Pow Wow.
For 57 years BYU has hosted one of the largest merit badge Pow Wows in the country, serving more than 7,000 Scouts twice a year. Registration begins in January, and classes are held every spring and fall.
Benjamin Hyrum White, a seminary teacher and author of the history of Preach My Gospel, was one of the speakers for the opening ceremony in the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU football’s starting linebacker, Bronson Kaufusi, also shared his experiences with the Scouting program.
Parents were drawn to the ease of attending the Pow Wow and earning many badges in one day instead of attending weekly cub Scout meetings.
“This is a really good way to earn badges because the classes are so specific, and it’s more focused than Tuesday nights,” said Jared Cannegieter, a father who brought his son and two friends. “We’ve been coming for a couple of years.”
A Scout may register for up to three merit badge workshops. Some of the more unusual merit badges are chess, space exploration, animal science, entrepreneurship, music and weather.
Every merit badge class includes an instructor and two counselors who predominantly come from a pool of BYU volunteer students.
“I got this job since I’m a recreational management major,” said Leah Lemuller, a Pow Wow student planner. “It’s pretty chaotic, but I just love doing it because it does so much good for the Scouts.”
Attending group instruction does not, by itself, qualify a Scout for any merit badge — he must complete all merit badge requirements as well.
The weekend event was held at both UVU and BYU up until the last couple of years. Centralizing the event in one location has allowed more Scouts to come at once. The Boy Scouts of America have partnered with BYU because of the strong relationship between the Scout Council and the university, as well as the availability because of the facilities and community involvement.