On Saturday, Greenwich Emergency Medical Service and Greenwich Council Boy Scouts joined up to offer an all-day Emergency Services merit badge workshop. There were 39 Scouts from six different troops participating, 19 Explorers, and a total of 71 merit badges were earned.
The event was originally scheduled for January 29 at Ernest Thompson Seton Reservation, the 249 acre property on Riversville Road owned by Greenwich Scouting, but was postponed due to last weekend’s storm.
The numerous leaders included Greenwich Chief of Police Jim Heavey, GEMS staff and teenage volunteers. They led 40 Scouts in training sessions for five merit badges, including Traffic Safety and First Aid.
The GEMS Explorers did an outstanding job leading the Fist Aid merit badge.
Members of the Greenwich Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) taught a Safety merit badge.
The Glenville Volunteer Fire Company taught a Fire Safety merit badge.
Sergeant JD Smith, Greenwich Police Department’s Chief Accident Investigator, taught Traffic Safety on Saturday.
They also taught a Emergency Preparedness merit badge.
In order to achieve Eagle Scout status, the highest rank of the scouting program, a Scout must earn 21 merit badges. There are more than 100 merit badges, and each Scout is encouraged to pursue the skills they are passionate about.
According to Chief Heavey, who is the Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 35, the flexibility of the merit badges is one of the program’s strengths.
“It gives [Scouts] an opportunity, under adult guidance, to see if they’re interested in a particular field,” he explained.
Heavey, a Scouting alumnus himself, reflected on his experience earning merit badges.
“I’m a police officer but my first merit badge was First Aid,” he said. “And, of course I’m still involved being a first responder.”
Chief Heavey explained that Traffic Safety was one of the badges Smith had the most expertise in upon graduating the scouting program.
According to Emilia Schiro, Greenwich Scouting event coordinator, Scouts participated in the day’s events and received a GEMS patch, Scouting book, and lunch for one fee.
Inside the Nielsen building, Scouts practiced administering oxygen on medical mannequins and taking peers’ blood pressure. Throughout the day, they recorded their observations on paper.
Many of the Scouts, such as teenager Jack Lindberg, were familiar with the skills being taught.
Lindberg, who has participated in Greenwich Scouting since kindergarten, said that he was trying his best to finish the program while pursuing other commitments, including water polo.
“For this specific first aid topic [oxygen administration] I’d say I’ve seen around five other demonstrations, and with all the other merit badges being offered right now, I’d say closer to 20,” Lindberg said.
For the GEMS 911 Explorers, the high school volunteers who helped with instruction on Saturday, the experience was a day of both education and team bonding.
GEMS explorer Arabella Everitt later reflected on the day spent with friends helping the Boy Scouts develop their medical knowledge.
Everitt, a junior at Greenwich Academy, joined the Explorer program six months ago and received her EMS certification three months later. On Saturday, she utilized those skills to answer questions and oversee the indoor workshops.
Around 1:00pm, Scouts and GEMS staff gathered in the Malcolm Pray Memorial building for lunch.
Chief Heavey reviewed previous opportunities offered by the Greenwich Scouting, such as local Fire and Police Explorer Posts and larger expeditions to Mount Philips, New Mexico.
Addressing the eighth grade Scouts, Heavey identified Greenwich Scouting’s community as an advantage in the transition to high school.
“Next year, when you go to the high school it won’t just be the kids from Eastern and Western and Central,” he said. “It’ll be all the Girl Scouts and Boys Scouts that you know.”
After Heavey’s remarks, young Scouts led the group in reciting the Philmont Grace, a prayer written by Texas Scout Camp Director A.J. Fulkerson in 1929. The Grace was a testament to Greenwich Scouting’s respect for the tradition and history of the program.
The Greenwich Council of Boy Scouts of America was chartered in 1912 by Ernest Thompson Seton, two years after British army officer Robert Baden-Powell founded the organization. Camp Seton has functioned as Greenwich’s primary Scouting location ever since.
In the afternoon, Scouts continued pursuing their merit badges, learning to tie cloth arm slings and assemble emergency stretchers.
“Scouts left with a wealth of knowledge in all the different emergency services departments,” Ms event Schiro said. “Parents were so thankful for the workshop, and for the first responders and their time.”
For more information on Greenwich Scouting, visit https://www.greenwichscouting.org/.
See also: Eagle Scout Candidate Blazes a Waterfront Trail Along Mianus Pond