Southeast Missouri State University receives Cosmos Award from St. Louis Area Council of Boy Scouts of America

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Southeast Missouri State University was awarded the Cosmos Award, the highest award the council can bestow on an individual or organization by the Greater St. Louis Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Southeast received the award for supporting local Scouting programs through the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camps and providing leadership to the Scout’s executive board.

“The University, from its leadership of Dr. Carlos Vargas, Dr. Bruce Skinner, Kevin McMeel and other SEMO staff, have provided enhanced experiences for youth in southern Missouri and Illinois that the Scout Council could not have done without this impactful partnership,” said Thomas Kroenung, Director of Program Development with the BSA.

The Greater St. Louis Area Council of the BSA is one of the top five largest BSA councils in the country. The Council awarded Southeast with the Cosmos Award during its Einstein Recognition Dinner held Nov. 11 at The Magic House in St. Louis.

Southeast has been associated with the BSA for more than half a century, beginning with the creation of Merit Badge University. The Merit Badge University is a single-day event held with local school districts in Dempster Hall on Southeast’s campus that allows Scouts who participate to earn merit badges.

Merit badges are a specific set of skills or knowledge that Scouts must demonstrate to progress in rank. Southeast and the BSA strengthened their relationship nine years ago when they again partnered to create STEM on Campus which is a camp for scouts that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math.

“STEM on Campus was the first of its kind in the nation and was a partnership between the Council and the University with a focus on STEM merit badges,” said Bruce Skinner, associate vice president of student life at Southeast.

While most badges can be earned on their own, there are others that require the help of professionals such as the instructors found at Southeast.

“This is a great chance to earn merit badges that can be difficult to earn like composite materials, chemistry and welding. Those aren’t badges you can earn on your own and Scouts need programs like this where they have access to faculty and professionals who can teach them,” said Skinner.

Southeast provides access to instructors and materials for the BSA.

Skinner says the University takes pride in helping Scouts achieve merit badges but also in helping them to experience life on a college campus.

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