SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— Scores of young people spent their Saturday at a local college, but it was not what you may think. They were there to earn some awards at an event that’s been held for nearly a quarter century.
Kids are told all the time not to play with fire but in this case, using a torch is encouraged.
This soldering experience is part of a presentation on plumbing at the Boy Scouts of America’s 24th Annual Merit Badge College. Some 150 scouts gathered at Johnson College to take part in up to four classes on the day. Each scout could potentially earn up to two merit badges in a variety of categories.
“I’m currently working on a metal box,” said Adam Sales a Boy Scout from Edwardsville.
Besides metalwork, scouts participated in such hands-on learning activities as woodworking, automotive maintenance, and electronics.
“I just got done with the home repair,” says Danielle Lambert a Boy Scout from Charlestown, New Hampshire.
The scouts range in age from pre-teens to teenagers while most of them live in northeastern Pennsylvania, others came from out of state like Danielle Lambert who traveled more than 300 miles from her Charlestown, New Hampshire home.
“It is really fun and it’s definitely worth all the work that you have to do to get it, but honestly the work is nothing compared to all the fun things that you get to do,” added Lambert.
Earning a merit badge is a big deal. Besides helping scouts learn new skills, it can help them advance in rank including to the highest level: Eagle Scout.
Current Life Scout Ian Padden of Wilkes-Barre hopes to achieve the Eagle Scout rank which his brother already did.
“I guess it kind of shows who’s really going to be committed and who fully want to commit themselves to scouting skills and being an eagle scout and going the extra mile to complete the summit and reach eagle,” said Padden.
“This is an awesome event for the scouts to come to,” said Mark Chappell who is the coordinator of the Boy Scouts Merit Badge College.
At the end of the day, Boy Scout leaders say the experience is more than just about merit badges.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, make some friends, get onto a college campus experience. There’s lots of opportunities for growth,” added Chappell.
Merit badges in 23 categories could be earned through Saturday’s activities at Johnson College in Scranton.