Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Let’s Go to Town, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,428 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,886 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Each Other/Let’s Go to Town Expert Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Andy and I—you guessed it—went to town.

photo by James Steakley via Wikimedia Commons

If only earning Merit Badges were so simple …

Once we got there (several yard sales and snack breaks later), we headed over to our local library. Not for books this time, no siree, but to see what was thumbtacked up on the ol’ community bulletin board.

We saw:

  • Services from a pet psychic (Yeah. That’s all my chickens need. They already think they’re Marie Antoinette if their diva behavior is any indication.)
  • Tuba lessons (BYOT)
  • Something called Pickleball
  • Massage therapy for the ticklish
  • A seminar on DIY world domination
  • Matchmaking services for the romantically challenged
  • How to cook with inedible ingredients (say what now?)
  • Lost: guinea pig
  • Found: weird-looking rodent
  • Soccer for seniors
  • Conquer your fears through total immersion therapy (please sign waivers, provided)
  • Community theatre actors wanted
  • Underwater basket-weaving classes
  • Sign Language, Shakespeare, and You

There were probably lots more, but they were all stapled and scotch-taped and thumbtacked right over one another, all willy-nilly. I thought someone needed to offer a community class on the Proper Etiquette of bulletin-boarding, but Andy was all about … drum roll, puhleeze …


To earn his Expert Level badge, Andy and I were going to choose three different after-school-type activities. He had already joined Band last week, and I wrangle him in to my Book Club meetings every third Thursday (I lure him with the scent of chocolate-chip cookies. Works every time. Little guy is cute, but he isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to noticing things. Ah well. He gets cookies and some literary education, to boot. Although, he wasn’t real fond of The Bridges of Madison County, and when it was his turn to pick the novel, he chose Sir Farts-A-Lot Eats the Booger as revenge. How childish. Although, I have to say, I secretly enjoyed the book).

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. Pickleball was to be our third activity! We were both really excited. Andy because he likes balls, me because I love a good pickle.

Sadly (and you may be one step ahead of me on this), there were no vinegary cucumbers to be found when we got to the arranged meeting place. Instead, there were paddles, nets, plastic balls with holes in them, and a tennis court.

photo by Stephen James Hall via Wikimedia Commons

I was instantly suspicious. This looked like some sort of *gasp* SPORT.

Suddenly, I knew how Andy felt every third Thursday.

Putting my fear of all things sports-related aside for the greater good, I attempted learning the oddity that is pickleball. Turns out, I wasn’t really so bad. It’s kind of like ping-pong on a larger scale. And I’m happy to report one of the sports moms brought juice boxes and crackers, so I made it through a happy camper. And Andy earned his badge. He put it right next to his dog-eared copy of Captain Underpants (I think I know what we’re reading next month).

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I first learned about pickleball this summer from a friend who is a talented tennis player. It seems like it might be easier but since I failed so miserably at tennis……I doubt I will venture out to try this game. Maybe being the Keeper and provider of snacks is the best role for me. It seems that anything that involved a ball is pretty much NOT going to work for me. Besides, someone has to be in the cheering side, right?

  2. Karlyne says:

    It sounds like pickleball might be easier on the joints, just in case Senior Soccer doesn’t work for me…

  3. Krista says:

    This is the first time I have heard of pickleball. Now I have a new sport to try out with the family. I loved participating in after school activities when I was younger and love seeing kids staying involved with their peers and communities.

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