In my mind, a great way to help improve trucking's image is to reach people when they're young. There's the Trucker Buddy program, of course, which targest grade-school kids with its penpal program, and the American Trucking Association's Share the Road program and similar state and corporate programs target teenagers. But have you thought about reaching out to Scouts?
Jack Murray, an 11-year-old boy scout from Oakdale, Minn., received his “Truck Transportation” merit badge this week at a scout ceremony. According to the Northern Star Boy Scout Council, the Truck Transportation merit badge is considered a “rare” merit badge; in 2011 there were only 69 Truck Transportation merit badges in Minnesota.
To complete the merit badge requirements, Jack Murray had to study multiple supply chain business models, differentiate the mechanics of diesel versus gasoline engines, identify eight different truck configurations, successfully maintain a logbook, tour truck facilities, and interview truck drivers – among other activities.
With help from Bill Logue, president of Fedex Freight, and Jeff McKenzie, Fedex Freight’s Service Center Manager in St. Paul, Jack spent several hours meeting with key trucking personnel in dispatch, safety, maintenance and cross-dock operations. He also interviewed Steve Laubach, Minnesota’s 2006 Truck Driver of the Year.
According to Patt Dee, Troop 360’s Scout Master, “It is especially gratifying for me to award merit badges that I’ve never presented before. After 18 years in scout leadership, that doesn’t happen very often.”
Jack Murray’s father, who works for the American Transportation Research Institute, confessed, “Even after 20 years in the industry, I can’t tell you how many new things I learned through this process."
How about we make it our mission to make the Truck Transportation merit badge less rare?
I'm a Girl Scout leader myself. Unfortunately we don't have a similar badge, but the you can bet I'm going to be thinking about how I could make a difference with my troop's view of the industry I'm in!