What About A Welding Badge for GIRL Scouts?

Just received this press release from the American Welding Society celebrating the kick off the 2013 Careers in Welding Trailer tour.

MIAMI, Fla., July 22, 2013 – Boy Scouts from across the country are exploring careers in welding as the AWS Careers in Welding Trailer kicks off its 2013 tour at the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia through July 24, 2013.

Over 40,000 [BOY] Scouts, volunteers and visitors are getting a chance to try their hand at welding at America’s biggest celebration in Scouting. Held once every three years, this will be the first jamboree at its new permanent home – The Summit, in West Virginia.

Let’s hope that the Careers in Welding Trailer finds ways to introduce GIRL scouts, and GIRLS in general, to the possibilities of working in the welding industry. After all, the American Welding Society’s new president is NANCY Cole, who has stated one of her goals is to get more women into the industry.

The national jamboree allows Scouts to camp out with friends, meet new ones, take part in exciting adventures, explore different exhibits, and work on earning merit badges, including the welding merit badge. Under an AWS Special Committee chaired by Dave Landon, current vice president of AWS, the welding merit badge was developed and approved by BSA. Introduced in February 2012, the welding merit badge program allows Boy Scouts to learn hands-on how to join metals using welding techniques.

A while back I wrote a post, “Welding Merit Badge for Girl Scouts,” which should give you a little background.  Here’s some highlights:

According to Monica Pfarr, AWS Corporate Director of Workforce Development, only 2% of the more than 450,000 welders in the United States are women, but she says, “We have not had any success in capturing the interest of the Girl Scouts in creating a badge for welding.”

I myself even tried to get in touch with the Girl Scouts, and received an uninspired response….

“The American Welding Society is excited to continue strengthening our relationship with the Boy Scouts and is thrilled that we were invited to take part in the jamboree,” said Landon, while attending the Jamboree. “Being part of such an amazing event allows us to connect with Scouts from across the country and we can’t wait for them to come onboard the Careers in Welding Trailer so we can show them how fun and rewarding a career in the welding industry can be.”

But what about the GIRL Scouts?  It would be awesome to see that Welding Career Trailer showing boys AND girls how rewarding a career in welding can be!

The 53-foot, expandable Careers in Welding Trailer features 650 square feet of exhibit space, including five Lincoln VRTEX 360 welding simulator stations. The VRTEX 360 feeds computer generated data with a virtual welding gun and helmet equipped with internal monitors.

Participants practice welding in virtual environments which include both simulated welding-booth training environments and field-welding applications. The simulator also has a video gaming component that
awards each “welder” with a score for his or her virtual weld.

Following the virtual welding experience the Scouts have an opportunity to try their hand on actual welding equipment thanks to the adjacent tent where the Lincoln Electric Company offers an actual welding experience. A Scout working with a welding professional can perform a portion of the requirement for the welding merit badge.

In addition to the simulators, the trailer provides other interactive educational exhibits, including a display wall featuring 11 industry segments with trivia questions, fun facts, and industry artifacts; a
“Day in the Life of a Welder” exhibit with videos depicting real-life environments in which welders work; a life-size welder highlighting welding as a safe profession; a social media kiosk allowing visitors to take their photo and post to Facebook or email to a friend; welding scholarship information; and more.

The Boy Scout Jamboree is the first stop of 2013 for the trailer which will then be on the road for about 20 weeks. For more information on where the trailer will be this year, please visit www.explorewelding.com.

Let’s hope that as the 2013 trailer makes its way across the U.S. the folks at AWS will find ways to connect with girls too…  and maybe just maybe, drop in on a few Girls Scout meetings and start the ball rolling on a Welding Merit Badge for Girl Scouts.

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