Boy Scout Troop 233 is sponsored by Bradley United Methodist Church, Greenfield, Indiana. Troop leaders have organized seven annual Central Indiana Merit Badge University programs each May (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015). Special note is made of a local alumni club, the Central Indiana chapter of the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M, that stepped up and provided 14 volunteers that served as Merit Badge counselors/instructors during the first two years, and taught more than 25 classes in each of those first two years. Several have continued serving every year, although the majority of MB counselors/instructors are now Scout parents/leaders and professionals from Greenfield and nearby communities. In 2012, parents/leaders that had started bringing their Scouts to the event from other Councils began stepping up and now there are a number of our volunteer MB counselors/instructors that are from those other Councils, from as far away as Chicago and Michigan.
The 2015 MBU offered 63 different merit badges in more than 111 classes over five sessions. Attendance was 480+, and Scouts came from more than 25 Councils in 8 states (IN, IL, MI, OH, KY, WI, PA, and GA). During the lunchtime break, Scouts participated in a service project to honor and recognize caregivers for wounded veterans. During the dinner break, Scouts completed their meals and then viewed the Eli Lilly "Chemistry is a Blast" program in the gym.
Our 2014 MBU offered 73 different merit badges in more than 110 classes over four sessions. Attendance for 2014 surpassed the 500 mark for the first time, with 501 Scouts registered for the event from more than 20 different Scout Councils and 9 states (IN, IL, MI, OH, KY, MO, WI, TN, and GA).
In 2013, 62 different merit badges were offered in a total of 89 classes during four sessions (Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening), with Scouts having an opportunity to earn at least 3 and and as many as 6 merit badges during the event. BSA Scuba was offered in the Greenfield Central High School indoor pool. Adult leader training (three different classes) was also offered.
Attendance in 2013 hit a new high of 381 Scouts and over 150 adults, in addition to the volunteers and instructors, with Scouts and leaders/parents coming from 14 Scout Councils and 8 states (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Texas).
In November, 2011, the first annual "Eagle Academy" merit badge event, was held by Troop 233. This event featured 10 different Eagle-required merit badges, offered in 29 classes in three sessions on a Saturday. Over 200 Scouts from 4 states participated in this inaugaural "Eagle Academy". In November, 2012, we held the second annual "Eagle Academy" event. This event again featured 10 of the Eagle-required merit badges, plus 4 other merit badges. We added a Scuba BSA/Snorkeling BSA session in the evening. More than 250 Scouts from 5 states participated in this event. Our 2013 "Eagle Academy" drew 275 Scouts and the 2014 "Eagle Academy" had 345 Scouts registered. Our 2014 "Eagle Academy" had an attendance of almost 400. The 5th annual "Eagle Academy" in November, 2015 drew more than 430 Scouts.
Our recent annual MBUs held in May of each year have had the same weekend pattern of events. The MBU opens with a Friday evening session of classes. While Scouts are attending classes, parents and leaders that come with the Scouts usually set up camp at the Fairgrounds; although in 2015 the camping was actually in the large field directly behind the junior high, and it is anticipated that camping will continue to be behind the junior high for future Merit Badge University events each May. During the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 MBUs, we were also able to make available cabins and tent camping sites at Nameless Creek Youth Camp just outside Greenfield. Tent camping is usually available for the Merit Badge "Eagle Academies" each November at Nameless Creek Youth Camp.
Saturday mornings have started off with a hot breakfast at the Fairgrounds (and beginning in 2015, the junior high school instead of the Fairgrounds) hosted by the local Troop 233. Then morning class sessions start at 8:00am and last until 11:30am. Lunch is then served, and service projects typically take place during the extended lunch break. Afternoon classes then start at 1:00pm and last until 4:30pm. The 2013 MBU featured the addition of a fourth class session that ran from 6:00pm until 9:30pm, and a dinner meal was added. The 2013 MBU also featured the opportunity for Scouts (and parents/leaders) to participate in a 5K run/walk on the nearby Pennsy Trail during each of the three Saturday sessions.
During our MBU and Eagle Academy events, BSA adult training classes are held during time periods "nested" within the Scouts class time periods, i.e., adult classes start 15 minutes after the Scout class sessions, and end 15 minutes before the end of the Scout sessions. This allows leaders and parents to first make sure that their Scouts are started in their classes, and then be ready to take charge of their Scouts once the Scouts' classes are completed.
Troop 233 leaders and parents work closely with the Crossroads of America Council BSA, based in Indianapolis, to plan and budget for each annual Central Indiana Merit Badge University. The Crossroads of America Council handles all receipts and approves payment of all expenses for the annual Central Indiana Merit Badge University events.