Event Details

CANCELLED - 2021 (17th Annual) Towpath District Merit Badge University - Hosted by Alpha Phi Omega

84 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623

Merit Badge
3/27/2021
9:30am
4/10/2021
3:00pm
3/8/2021
3/22/2021
1 (# badges a single scout can attend)
$5.00 (Cost to attend this event)
by Invitation Only (Who is invited)
Seneca Waterways
Towpath
Troop
6801-818-20

--- Start here for help ---

Most of your questions about payment, start and end times, and where to be are explained beneath the list of badges on this page.
Please read everything we've included in the event description. If you still have questions, contact the event manager by clicking this button.

Email Ursula Seefeld (TowpathMBU@Gmail.com), the Event Manager

--- ---

Sponsor Information



Xi Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity is
hosting our annual day merit badge event, Towpath Merit Badge University again
in 2021.
Over the last few years Alpha Phi
Omega has invited Scouts for a day of merit badges on their college campus at
Rochester Institute of Technology.  As we
all know in the Scouting, COVID has impacted our daily lives thus many
Scouting events.  The annual merit badge event Towpath District Merit
Badge University, now in its 17th year, is no exception.



Did COVID restrictions stop the Alpha Phi
Omega fraternity? 
Nope!  Instead Alpha Phi Omega fraternity has risen
to the challenge, taking Towpath Merit Badge University Scouts enjoy; to the
internet… doing a Virtual Towpath Merit Badge University for the first time
ever!  Are you Scouts ready for a Virtual Towpath Merit Badge University? The Alpha Phi Omega fraternity hopes Scouts are ready to join them in the challenges of doing a Virtual Towpath Merit Badge University together!





What is Alpha Phi Omega fraternity?  It is
a service fraternity located on college campus of Rochester Institute of
Technology. Alpha Phi Omega or APO for short, shares the same ideals as seen in
the BSA Scout Oath and Scout Law.  Sound
familiar?  It should,  and is a surprise to
many; APO has Scouting rooted deeply in their fraternity’s history as seen
here:  https://apo.org/about-us/our-story/the-founding/  Be sure to read this because you in for a treat! 



Who are the Alpha Phi Omega members?   Since
it located on a college campus, they are college students from all over the USA
and sometime, the world.  Some have been
Boy Scouts of America (BSA) members themselves while others worked summer jobs
in Scout camps  which means many Alpha Phi Omega members are knowledgeable about
Scouting.  In fact, thanks to our host Scouts from Seneca Waterways Council in New York will meet Scouts from Mayflower Council in Massachusetts and Greater Los Angeles Council in California.

What are Alpha Phi Omega (APO) members
called? 
They are called ‘brothers’, regardless if male
or female, so please be respectful and never attempt to call a female brother ‘sister’
as these college women will proudly say ‘I am a brother!’  In fact, APO brothers welcomed females into
the APO fraternity long before Scouts BSA did. For Towpath Merit Badge University
(whether virtual or in-person), APO brothers welcome female Scouts BSA, along
with their male Scouts BSA buddies for a fun day in merit badges! 

Why do APO brothers host a merit badge event?  By hosting the Virtual Towpath Merit Badge University (Towpath MBU), APO brithers aim to serve as role models for Scouts while being given an opportunity themselves to put to practice leadership and service to others, along with friendship. Did you know Alpha Phi Omega's motto is Leadership, Friendship and Service?  Surprising, huh?



So be sure to thank every brother you see on event day with a 'Thank you for your Leadership, Friendship and Service, along with what you liked most or learned that day!

More information on Xi Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega here:  https://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/lead/student-groups/alpha-phi-omega


Event Description

Update as of March 5, 2021:

Towpath Merit Badge University is cancelled for 2021 due to lack of counselors.

We have decided the best course is to learn from this experience and
move forward with planning for next year when we can hopefully hold the
event in person.


Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause for troops.

 


Saturday February 13 (& 20), 2021

9:30 am – 3:00 pm as a virtual event


Cost: $5.00 per Scout, includes a
commemorative patch.

Dress Code: Class A uniform





Platforms:  
Zoom is utilized for this event with Alpha Omega Phi brothers as our hosts.  Each merit badge session will have Two Deep Leadership.  Some Counselors may use Google Classroom
Zoom, emails and some Google Classrooms.  Many Counselors may require worksheets from
here: http://usscouts.org/mb/mbbooks.asp

Platform Operations:

  • Cameras - Everyone must have cameras on and working, regardless if desktop, laptop, iPad type device, or cellphone is used. 
  • Microphones -
    All must have working microphones and know how to turn your microphone
    on and off as you will be muted upon entry into the Zoom room.

  • Names
    - All Scouts MUST use first (nickname) and last name and troop number
    so it reads like this: <first name> <(nickname)><last
    name><T-number> for this results: Ursula (Deaf Scouter) Seefeld
    - T-397 to be allowed entry into their virtual merit badge sessions.


Class Size:  To fit the 12-person Zoom screen with Two Deep
Leadership (Counselor and adult volunteer), the MAX in a merit badge session is
10 Scout.  Some sessions may be smaller
to fit the needs of the Counselor.

Merit Badge Choices: 
When selecting Scouts' merit badges, please select
either:
  2
electives --or-- 1 Eagle-required and 1 elective





Prerequisites:  The K-12 winter break is being utilized for
this event by Counselors so prerequisites will come in two sets: 1st
merit badge session on February 13, 2021 –and– 2nd merit badge
session on February 20, 2021.  Scouts
MUST attend both dates, if their Counselor has two sessions for a merit badge
the Scout is signed up for.


Dates:
Saturday, February 13, 2021 - 1st merit badge session and event date.

Saturday, February 20 - If needed for YOUR merit badge. We have
shortened the session time by one hour.  This may affect your merit
badge. Plus -- in the virtual arena, two sessions for most merit badges
works best. 

If a Scout has two sessions, the Scout MUST attend BOTH Saturdays: February 13 & 20.


Schedule:



Opening
begins at 9:30am SHARP (ALL Scouts MUST attend!)

Morning Session - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Lunch hour - Noon to 1:00 pm - The Scout’s responsibility.

Afternoon Session - 1:00 pm - 3:00 p.m. 





Registration:

Registration is by troop only – all scouts must register with their unit (troop). 
If you are a single scout wanting to register, contact us at TowpathMBU@gmail.com
for instructions. 



A designated unit leader from each troop must register (create an account) with
https://www.MeritBadge.Info/ to sign up their Scouts. 
If you need help. there is a help section with videos here: https://www.meritbadge.info/MBN2/help.aspx

Please Be Aware:  MeritBadge.Info
upgraded in 2020.  Adults are required to
have the following to sign in -or- register on MeritBadge.Info:  a current BSA membership number and current Youth
Protection Training (YPT) date.  Have
them handy when you sign in.





Troops
that provide Merit Badge Counselors will be able to register under the Early
Bird Open Registrations, starting February 1, 2021.  Figure a Counselor for every 8 to 10 Scouts
for Troops with over 10 Scouts attending Towpath MBU.





Open
Registration Dates:
  (12:00am is the
cutoff time.)

February 1, 2021 – February 5, 2021 – Early Bird Registration (By Invitation
Only)



February
6, 2021 – February 10, 2021 – Open Registration (General Public)



Two Deep Leadership:



Each Troop
is expected to provide registered BSA adults (21 years of age or over) to help
as Two Deep Leadership for Virtual Merit Badge Sessions (AM and PM) as APO
brothers will be busy running Zoom sessions with break out room as host.  This is a perfect opportunity to include
your Troop’s Unit Commissioner so don't hesitant to ASK them!  https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss01/



Additional Information:

NO CHANGES, CORRECTIONS, OR SUBSTITUTIONS AFTER FEBRUARY 10, 2021.  IN THE EVENT REGISTRATION CLOSES OUT BEFORE
FEBRUARY 10, 2021 AS OFTEN HAPPENED IN VIRTUAL MERIT BADGES, THE CLOSE OUT DATE
BECOMES THE END DATE FOR NO CHANGES, CORRECTIONS, OR SUBSTITUTIONS MADE.



Counselor Information



WELCOME Merit Badge Counselors and THANK YOU for
offering your expertise at the Towpath Merit Badge University
!  

We are
grateful for you, the Merit Badge Counselors, for volunteering your time again
and again to counsel a merit badge for our Scouts. Each year we continue to
improve thanks to the feedback you offer. We are always in need of additional
Merit Badge Counselors so we welcome those who make the leap for the first time
to counsel a merit badge. Know that our Towpath MBU Team is here to help you
learn the ropes and share what we know to make your Counselor experience a
pleasurable one.


You can
see the current list of offerings posted here at meritbadge.info. Please fill
out the Google Form below if you are willing to counsel a merit badge. Someone
will respond back by email to notify you of your assigned merit badge.




For 2021, the deadline date for Merit
Badge Counselor sign up is January 30, 2021.
Before filling out the form below, consider planning your merit badge(s) with this Helpful Pre-Planner <<-- Click Here



Counselor Sign Up Form:  https://forms.gle/fm4LvjnUQKi2z6iu5
 



Registration opens for Troops beginning
February 1, 2021.



 



More Information, Counselor helps, and Updates
can be found at our event page below so be sure to bookmark it in your browser so
you can refer back to it easily.



Towpath MBU Event Page:  https://www.scoutingevent.com/397-MBU2021


Here are some notes that should answer most of
your questions:
 

  • Please
    wear your Class A uniform (if you have one).
  • Counselor will be expected to register
    for an account on https://www.meritbadge.info/   MeritBadge.Info is where you, the Counselor, will get your rosters yourself and communicate with your Scouts using the Counselor portal of MeritBadge.Info. The Towpath MBU Team will NOT be emailing Counselors their rosters since MeritBadge.Info provides you with that tool.  Please Be Aware:  MeritBadge.Info
    upgraded in 2020.  Adults are required to
    have the following to sign in -or- register on MeritBadge.Info:  a current BSA membership number and the date of their current Youth
    Protection Training (YPT).  Have
    them handy when you create an account/sign in.  This information can be obtained from your My.Scouting.org account.

  • Make sure
    you check the ‘Merit Badge Counselor’ as your role in MeritBadge.Info. This
    will connect you to the ‘Counselor’ Tab.  After you register, the Towpath MBU Team will
    connect you to your assigned merit badge.  (FYI... The Towpath MBU Team checks daily to connect Counselors to their assigned merit badge.)  In the ‘HELP’ section of MeritBadge.Info, be
    sure to watch the video titled -- Counselor - Update Bio and Completion –
     that goes into detail of the functions
    and more of the ‘Counselor’ tab found here: https://www.meritbadge.info/MBN2/help.aspx
  • Training
    will be offered on the following dates below, depending on the responses from the Counselor's Sign Up Form:












Training
Dates



 



Possible
Trainings




Tuesday, January 26


Wednesday, January 27


Thursday, January 28


Friday, January 29


 


Times: To Be Determined



 



Towpath MBU – Counselors Specific


Electronic Blue Cards


Google Classroom


Zoom –Counselor Perspective


MeritBadge.Info


(Scoutbook)


Offerings: To Be Determined


 

  • Counselor
    Check In – For the Virtual Towpath MBU, Counselors must be in their Zoom room a
    half hour before Scouts to ensure that Counselors are set up with the proper ‘shared’
    Zoom controls like Co-Host, ‘Screen Share’ and etc. and in the correct breakout room ensure they can run their
    session successful. Wisdom Woods:  On event day, do NOT touch the waiting room.  This means do NOT admit Scouts from the waiting room.  Let the HOST (an APO Brother) do that because if you, the Counselor do that you can admit Scouts into your session that do not belong, overriding the Host's controls!

                        Morning
session begins at 10:00am and ends at 12:00pm, a 2 hour session with Counselors
Checking in starting at 9:00am in in place BEFORE 9:30 am.

                        Lunch Hour
– Counselors remain logged into their Zoom session with videos off and mics
muted.

                        Afternoon
session begins at 1:00pm and ends at 3:00pm, a 2 hour session with Counselors
back online by 12:45 pm with videos on and mics on.

 

  • Counselors
    will be able to use PowerPoints in their Zoom sessions if needed but please do NOT
    play videos during your session.  Videos draw lots of streaming power that can affect other Counselors in other merit badge sessions and boot
    Scouts with minimum online capabilities.  Consider cellphone game apps instead that you
    can utilize within your merit badge breakout
    room.  There is also Zoom polls you can
    set up within your own Zoom account and share.
  • Counselors
    will be responsible for getting all electronic blue cards (e-Blue Cards) to their Scouts and a
    final copy of their roster to Towpath MBU. 
    It is preferred if the roster shows your merit badge requirements Scouts have or have not
    completed.  Counselors will be provided
    with options of merit badge trackers in the following formats – Word, Excel or
    G-Drive Sheets. (Wisdom Woods – If you like them, do a ‘save as’ and create a
    TEMPLATE in your computer files.)
  • Electronic Blue Cards MUST be emailed
    to Scouts BY February 28, 2021 and Counselor Trackers to TowpathMBU@gmail.com by March 1, 2021,
    regardless if the Scout earned Partials –or– Completed Blue Card.
  • It is
    greatly appreciated if the information is entered into MeritBadge.Info as many
    hands make light work over one set of hands doing everyone's'  The Troop would be able to use to the
    information to double check their Scouts Blue Card.  Even though Scouts are ‘Trustworthy’, e-Blue Cards can provide a temptation to some of our technology savvy
    youths.
  • It is highly
    encouraged that all Scouts use the worksheets available on US Scouts.org at http://usscouts.org/mb/mbbooks.asp
    to write down answers to the requirements. Worksheets are found underneath the
    requirements.  For Counselors, this makes checking prerequisites/ requirements’
    work a lot easier.  For the Scouts, it helps them organize their requirement submissions.
  • Merit
    badge counselors are responsible for bringing any other supporting material to
    their Zoom sessions and/or sharing resources for Scouts to look into to help them
    with completing requirements.
  • Merit
    Badge Counselors are encouraged to bring another BSA registered adult they know
    to help serve as their Two Deep Leadership in their Zoom sessions.  The Two Deep Leadership adult can help the
    Counselor with: renaming Scouts if needed, taking attendance, and tracking
    requirements completed during Zoom discussions to ease the load of you, the
    Counselor, during the Zoom session.  People who help do not need to be merit
    badge counselors but remember, only the merit badge counselor is allowed to
    sign off on blue cards
    .
  • Although
    the Scout’s goal is to complete his blue card by the end of the day and for
    Counselors to give Scouts time and opportunities before the last session to do
    so, it is OKAY for a Scout to walk away with a PARTIALS Blue Card.  Partials Blue Cards helps the Scout in the
    development of their goal setting skills to Be Prepared. For Life.
  • During
    your Zoom session let the Scouts know if they can contact you or if they need
    to contact another Counselor after the event is over to complete their Partials Blue Card once the
    Scout has their final requirements are completed.
  • Instruct
    the Scouts to do a <save as> Be Prepared copy of their Completed e-Blue
    Card to their computer where they can find it later, if needed and FORWARD
    their email with the Completed e-Blue Card to their Scoutmaster or TROOP
    Advancement Chair for their advancement credit. 
    (Forward in most cases keeps the attachment while ‘reply and reply all’
    does not.)
  • Remind
    Scouts that ALL email communications must have another adult CC’ed in.  Suggest the Scout check their email features
    under their <settings> buttons to see if their email provides a
    <default> set up to utilize the <reply all> EVERY time.  FYI.. Gmail does and here is a helpful PDF
    with the added Wisdom Woods of creating a default signature:  ForScouts: HOW TO: Making ‘Reply All’ your Default Setting!

  •  We will
    have a Zoom hospitality room for Merit Badge Counselors, along with other means
    of contacts for event day: text, email, and Slack, to name a few.

Again a HUGE THANK YOU for signing up to counsel a merit badge for our Scouts!  Our event wouldn't be successful without you, the Merit Badge Counselor!



Unit Sign-up Instructions

If you need help in registering your unit (Troop, Crew, or Ship), this website has a HELP section with videos here: Meritbadge.Info | Help

  • Please wear your Class A uniform (if you have one).
  • Please promote Counselor Sign Up within your troop.  For every ten boys in your troop attending,
    it is much appreciated if your troop provides a Merit Badge Counselor.  The benefit to your troop is being able to
    sign up during Early Bird Registration.  Please direct them to the Counselor section of this page.
  • Troop’s registered BSA members not counseling a merit badge are needed to help
    with Two Deep Leadership since the APO brothers will be busy with Zoom hosting
    the merit badge sessions.
  • The adult leader who registers the troop will receive all the
    materials for our event and is expected to pass the information down the line
    to the Scouts registered for our event and their parents.  Therefore one person in each troop receives
    the Towpath MBU material, NOT each person that registers for the event.
  • MeritBadge.Info serves as the Online Registration found at:
  • Scouts are expected to attend Opening at 9:30 am on event day
    (February 13) as important information will be shared to ensure the smooth
    running of our event: Virtual Towpath Merit Badge University.
  • Scouts are expected to be in both of their merit badge sessions
    (AM & PM) 5 minutes BEFORE the session starts, No exceptions!

    Opening begins at 9:30 am SHARP!

    Morning session begins at 10:00 am SHARP! And ends at 12:00 pm.

    Lunch hour is from 12:00 pm to 12:55 pm

    Afternoon session begins at 1:00 pm SHARP! And ends at 3:00 pm.
  • The event opens on Saturday, February 13 and closed on Saturday,
    February 20, 2021.  The last day a Scout
    can submit requirement work to their Merit Badge Counselor is Friday, February
    19, 2021.  Scouts are expected to attend
    BOTH merit badge session if their Counselor has 2 sessions.  Failure to do so, will results in no e-Blue
    Card being emailed to the Scout.
  • Some merit badges are two weekends where the Scout MUST attend
    both sessions while others are only one session.
  • Prerequisites are given by the Merit Badge Counselors to
    incorporate the Scouts K-12 winter break as a time the Scout can work on merit
    badge requirements.
  • The Scouts are responsible for their own blue cards – not the
    merit badge counselors. Towpath MBU uses Electronic Blue Cards (or E-Blue Card
    for short).  Details are being worked on
    how this will be done.  
  • Scout official name should be on the e-Blue Card, not their nickname and the Blue Card is an official document.
  • Files with e-Blue Cards should be <save as>, using this file name order: <scout's first name & last name> - <merit badge name> so it reads like this:
    Scout Awesome - Photography -
  • There will be
    training on E-Blue Cards that is open ONLY to Scoutmasters and Troop
    Advancement Chairs during the week of Tuesday, January 26 – Friday, January
    29.  Scoutmasters and Troop Advancement
    Chairs will have times and days to choose from that work best in their
    schedule.
  • All Scouts should use the worksheets available on the web (http://usscouts.org/mb/mbbooks.asp)
    to write down answers to the requirements. (This makes checking their prerequisites
    a lot easier.)
  • Scouts should come Be Prepared to Zoom sessions with their
    prerequisites and ready to participant in Zoom discussions.
  • In email communications, a Scout is expected to CC in a second
    adult per BSA Youth Protection Policies. 
    If a Scout does not have a second adult, use TowpathMBU@gmail.com.
  • In the event the family uses one email for the entire family,
    please CC in TowpathMBU@gmail.com
    because the Merit Badge Counselor has no way of knowing it is a family email.
    (Counselors will end reminding the Scout a second adult was not used again and
    again.  With emails there is no way of
    knowing who it belongs to so Counselors expect to see two emails every time
    they receive an email from a Scout.)



  • Although the goal is to allow every Scout the opportunity to complete their merit
    badge by the end of the day on Saturday, February 20, 2021, it is OKAY for Scouts
    to end up with a partials e-blue card. After Towpath MBU, the boy can contact
    any counselor for that merit badge (not just the one who taught the class) to
    sign off on their e-blue card once the Scout has completed their final requirements. 
  • Scouts should receive their final e-Blue Card by February 28, 2021
    by email directly from their Merit Badge Counselor as Towpath MBU wraps up and
    closes it books on 2021 Virtual Towpath MBU.




  • Please take a moment to thank your Merit Badge Counselor, Two Deep Leader and
    APO brothers at the end of each Zoom session.

Unit Payment Instructions

NO PAYMENTS ARE ACCEPTED AT THE SENECA WATERWAYS SCOUT SERVICE CENTER! 

Towpath Merit Badge University Payment Portal = https://www.scoutingevent.com/397-MBU2021

Deadline Date for Payments: BY February 10, 2021 

The Payment Portal is password protected.  

UNITS (TROOPS, CREWS AND SHIPS) MUST BE PAID IN FULL BEFORE THE VIRTUAL EVENT -OR- YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO ACCESS ZOOM SESSIONS.  YOUR REGISTRATION WILL ALSO BE REMOVED FOR OUR EVENT.

So that begs the question.... How do I make my payment?

After you register at MeritBadge.Info, you will receive an email with the link and password directing you to the payment portal above where you make your online payment.  Only online payments will be accepted at our event.

If you have a security issue on your end, consider getting a 'pre-paid' credit card available at most Wegmans and using the 'pre-paid credit card' instead of one's bank card or credit card, for one's ease of mind.

For Council Accounting: Event is
Towpath MBU, acct number 1-6801-818-20.







 

Directions

Zoom links will be done by chain communications!  Meaning the person who registered the Scouts/Scout will be responsible to communicating out to all in their unit (Troop, Crew or Ship) the Event's Zoom Links provided by APO. 


How does the Communication Chain work?

1. APO sets up the Zoom Link and shares it with Towpath MBU Team.

2. Towpath MBU Team emails it to the Units' event registrar for Towpath MBU.  Who is the Units' event registrar?  The person from your Troop, Crew or Ship who is in charge of coordinating (registering) all the Scouts within one's Troop, Crew or Ship  on MeritBadge.Info.

NO ZOOM links will be emailed out for individual email requests.  Instead you will be re-directed back to the person in charge of coordinating Scouts registrations  in your unit (Troop, Crew, Ship).

 

Release