Farm Mechanics Merit Badge

January 9, 2012 | Comments Off

By: Rebecca Miller
The Sandwiched Homeschooler

Farm Mechanics Merit Badge

Mr. Whiting (green shirt) explaining using farming equipment safely and responsibly

Today the kids were scheduled to start back to schooling with me and to also log on this morning for the first day of their internet college course (and, of course, to get ready to go back to their public school class tomorrow for the beginning of a new semester)…but we met with Mr. Gregg Stutzman this morning instead.  Trust me; my kids weren’t upset about the change with their classes one bit.  An opportunity for a “field trip” of sorts had them highly motivated from the get-go.  I knew it was going to be a good day when the kids were up and going—and ready to leave to meet Mr. Stutzman—before I was ready to leave the house.

I’m going to digress for a moment…The Boy Scouts of America program has many benefits.  Not only is the program a way to help develop young boys into productive men and participants within their community, but it helps to give them the skills that they will need for employment in the future.  Calling on the telephone to a merit badge counselor who is not a member of the boy’s troop is a good example: it gives the boys experience at “cold calling”.  In my own adult life, I have had to “cold call” for sales and job notices.  And it can be very scary the first couple of times that you try it.  Contacting a merit badge counselor outside of your own troop—making that acquaintance—is also a form of networking; and those in the business world understand the importance of networking.  So the different aspects of Boy Scouts, used the way they were intended, will only benefit the boys involved…even if the boy does not continue on to be an Eagle Scout, but brings with him these learned experiences into his adult life.  

Mr. Gregg Stutzman, Walter, Mr. Roy Whiting, and Charles

The boys had a 10 a.m. get together with Mr. Gregg Stutzman, a Farm Mechanics Merit Badge Counselor from Boy Scout Troop 86, at our closest John Deere location.  There were only one or two things left for the boys to do to complete all of that merit badge’s requirements—one of those requirements being to “visit an implement dealer and to interview the dealer, technician, or service manager for hints on good preventive maintenance”.  While this was something that Walter and Charles could do without Mr. Stutzman’s presence and report back to him the findings, Mr. Stutzman offered to meet the boys there in order to help put closure to the completion of the merit badge, especially because he was, in my view, understanding of how Walter is trying to finish extra merit badges in order to receive at least 3 (Eagle) Palms before he ages out at 18 years of age from the Boys Scouts.  Regardless of why Mr. Stutzman volunteered to meet the boys at the dealership and ensure that the merit badge was completed, it was an exceptionally nice gesture.  And maybe that is why the boys both agreed after their initial meeting with Mr. Stutzman that he was a very nice man.

Plenty of John Deere for the little ones!

[I will interject at this moment that my 9 year old nephew, Nickolas, loves John Deere; and when we walked into the sales section of the John Deere location, and I noticed just how many items that they had geared toward young kids—bikes, books and DVDs (of farm machines, of course!)—I understood his fascination!  And it also reminded me that I had not been able to get the boys back over to his house since Christmas to play with Nickolas and his new Xbox 360 that Santa brought him.  So I did tell the boys at that moment that when they were finished at the John Deere location, we were going to go over and visit their cousin.]

Mr. Stutzman and the boys spent a couple of hours at the John Deere dealership. They spoke with Mr. Roy Whiting, who not only went over farm vehicles and equipment but (large) lawn equipment as well.  He also showed them (from the entrance because of liability issues) the mechanic shop.  Safety of the employees while working on equipment, use of tools, diesel and gasoline engines, hydraulic systems, transmissions and equipment use were all discussed—and probably more; but I was not as attentive as I usually am to such things. 

This Gator might be just what Mommy and Daddy need as the kiddos are preparing to leave the nest...it may help to relieve Mommy's "Empty Nest Syndrome".

I, on the other hand, buzzed through the lot day dreaming of which “Gator” I would like to own.  Now that the boys have changed their fume interest—no longer the great interest of go-carts and ATV fumes, but rather car fumes and the smell of their girlfriend’s perfumes (as generally happens with teenage boys)—I have vehicles that probably could be, or should be, traded for something that perhaps their Mom and Dad might enjoy…and those Gator vehicles do look appealing!

Mr. Josh Coffman, Charles, Walter, and Mr. Gregg Stutzman (new hats included!) at our Farm Mechanics field trip to a John Deere dealership (Everglades Farm Equipment Co.)

After Mr. Whiting’s informational tour of the dealership finished, the boys and Mr. Stutzman met with Mr. Josh Coffman, the Site Manger.  Just as Mr. Whiting, Mr. Coffman was a very amicable man who did not mind the questions and time that my kids took up.  (He even gave everyone a hat at the end of our visit!—picture included)

Mr. Stutzman and Mr. Josh Coffman talked about setting up a Farm Mechanics merit badge clinic on an afternoon and Mr. Coffman was very receptive to helping out with this matter.   Walter and Charlie offered to help if Mr. Stutzman wanted to do a Farm Mechanics merit badge clinic.

The kids had a great time and were very appreciative of the time of Mr. Stutzman, Mr. Whiting, and Mr. Coffman provided.

More information from Mr. Whiting about lawn mowers

We left the John Deere dealership and went to my sister’s house.  The boys figured that their cousin would enjoy the opportunity to show off his Xbox360, but no one was home.  This probably worked out better because I forgot that their dual enrollment class at the local community college started today and I still needed to go by the college and buy the textbook, which I did for a whopping for $175.00  

While the tuition is free for (homeschooled) dual enrolled students in our county, the cost of textbooks is not! 

The kids and I split up after leaving the college.  I went to my chiropractor appointment—two days of a migraine, and the boys went to pick up their friends to go eat at the local pizza buffet and then head over to the mall for the afternoon.

Mr. Whiting (green shirt) explaining lawn mower maintenance and safety

At dinner time the kids all ended up at my house—Walter, Charlie, Yeidy and Dakota.  Since the Scrabble games started over Christmas break the kids have been spending more time playing board games and less time playing video games.  The weekend games included Life and Clue, and today’s board game was Life. 

Tonight was a Cub Scout Day Camp planning meeting and we split up into two cars once more.  Walter had to drop Dakota off at his house while Yeidy decided to go to the meeting with Walter.  Charlie, who has not been feeling good for a couple of days, wanted to leave later for the meeting, so he rode with me—or rather he drove us there.

The Cub Scout Day Camp planning meeting was very informative as it was the last meeting in November.  Walter and Charlie were excited to see Mr. Scott Tengzelius and Mr. Steven Gill, and to learn that they will, more than likely, be working at the Gun Range and Archery for the Day Camp again.  (Technically they are “volunteering” their time at Day Camp.)

While you can't see him (he's hidden), Mr. Whiting is there sharing information with Mr. Stutzman, Charlie and Walter.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, will be the start of our next semester of school.  And while the boys did not get signed on tonight for their internet course at the college, it will be done first thing in the morning!  But I can’t complain too much; today was, after all, an educationally eventful day—even if wasn’t formally noted as such! 

–Rebecca Miller
The Sandwiched Homeschooler

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