The First State Model Railroad Club BSA Railroading Merit Badge Program
The First State Model Railroad Club started their Scouting USA Railroading merit badge program on April 12, 2003 by hosting 20 scouts from 6 troops throughout the Del-Mar-Va Council.
The 6-hour program consists of 4 sections:
A 2-hour lecture on railroad history, signals, Operation LifeSaver, and other components of railroading.
Learning how to pick-up, move, and drop-off various type of freight cars in a railyard by operating a "Timesaver" module.
Learning the differences in modeling with a DC-wired layout and a DCC-wired layout.
Building an HO scale model boxcar, donated by the Mid-Eastern Region of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), which they are presented at the closing ceremony, along with their completed "blue card".
The club has hosted 2 classes yearly since 2003, with the exception of 2013, when they were transitioning into their current headquarters at 1282 McKee Road in Dover. In the years since starting this program, the club has awarded 404 merit badges to scouts from as far north as South Glens Falls, NY, as far south as Raleigh, NC, and as far west as Provo, UT.
In 2017, the club decided to hold one class per year. The date selected was the 2nd Saturday in March.
Although the club plans on 1 class each year, we are happy to work with scouts, and troops, on special occasions. A father asked if his son, a scout from near Provo, UT, could take the class during the time he would be visiting his grandparents in Dover during the summer of 2012. Several members got together with the scout, and his grandfather, and completed the program over 2 Thursday nights in July of that year and the scout was awarded the merit badge.
Although this class is meant for Boy Scouts to earn the Railroading Merit Badge, the club has opened it to ALL scouts. Appropriate credit will be given to any rank of Cub, Explorer, Venturing or Girl Scout attending.
The merit badge program had been recognized by the Two Bays District of the DelMarVa Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Mid-Eastern Region of the NMRA for its continuing dedication of teaching the skills necessary for scouts to achieve the Railroading Merit Badge.
In 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the club cancelled the March 14 class. Due to health concerns, no classes are scheduled for the foreseeable future.