Boy Scouts at GemFest

On the first weekend of June,. the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club holds a two day mineral show in Canandaigua, New York. This year we welcomed a new partner to its annual gem, mineral, and fossil show.  The Seneca Trailways Council of the Boy Scouts of America added GEMFEST to their calendar of events on both their Facebook page and their weekly e-mail which is sent to Scouts and their leaders across the council.   WCGMC believes this is a perfect match.  The involvement of Scouts aligns with both of WCGMC’s primary objectives, providing family fun and working to spread knowledge while stimulating interest in the earth sciences.

In return for the BSA’s assistance with advertising, we offered all Scouts and Scout leaders in full uniform free admission to the event.  It was great to see Scouts roaming the show floor and participating in all the activities.  We also thanked the council for their assistance by sending a donation of $1 for each Scout that attended.  Rounding up, we counted 50 Scouts over the two days.  We look forward to increasing that number next year as we fine tune and improve our relationship with the local BSA council.  We’d love to do the same with the Girl Scouts and any other youth organization interested in our event.

Scouts from Brockport visit club member Craig Stephens’ table at GEMFEST 2018.

In addition, we offered interested Scouts an opportunity to work on the Geology Merit Badge at GEMFEST.  The variety of displays (at both club and vendor tables) and the many club activities were used to fulfill a number of the requirements for the badge.

In addition, I met with the 16 boys who had pre-registered through the council.  We worked on the map requirement using a geologic map of New York State.  Each Scout also built an egg crate collection of rocks and minerals to fulfill the collecting requirement.  In doing so they learned the differences between sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks and the difference between a rock and a mineral.  I was able to use my chocolate chip cookie analogy yet again!   I thank club members John Rhoades and Rita Lesniak for helping me on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Most came prepared, having completed some of the requirements as prerequisites and 11 were able to earn the badge at GEMFEST.  One other came to our June meeting in Newark after completing requirements he did not have done at GEMFEST.  The other four have my e-mail address should they complete the remaining requirements.

Having enjoyed this interaction with Scouts, I have agreed to do it again twice this fall.  First, offering the Geology Merit Badge at the Montezuma Audubon Center in Savannah.  I will also spend a Saturday at the council office in Henrietta where I’ll help Scouts with a relatively new addition to the Merit Badge list.  About five years ago BSA added a badge called “Mining in Society”.  I have read the requirements and am quite satisfied with the effort to integrate environmental aspects with our practical needs.  Today’s society does require earth’s resources. Responsible mining and resource processing can co-exist with a clean and environmentally friendly world.

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