Re­gion Scouts go to col­lege in Rome to earn 3 new badges

Merit Badge Col­lege draws young­sters from all over NW Ge­or­gia.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Doug Walker [email protected]

Ge­or­gia High­lands Col­lege’s Rome cam­pus was trans­formed from an in­sti­tu­tion of higher learn­ing to an in­sti­tu­tion of life­style liv­ing Satur­day. Scouts, both boys and girls, from Ma­ri­etta to Chat­tanooga, con­verged on the Rome cam­pus for the first of two Jan­uary Merit Badge Col­lege pro­grams.

Cave Spring Scout­mas­ter Mike Bur­ton, chair­man for the Rome event, said 70 young­sters had the op­por­tu­nity to earn as many as three merit badges each dur­ing the six-hour ses­sion.

“That’s a lot of merit badges,” Bur­ton said. A sec­ond pro­gram is sched­uled for Jan. 19.

Young­sters had the op­por­tu­nity to pick up badges in 22 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories rang­ing from as­tron­omy to animal sciences and au­to­mo­tive main­te­nance to in­vent­ing.

Bur­ton said Ea­gle badges, re­quired for young­sters to earn Ea­gle Scout des­ig­na­tion, were very pop­u­lar. Among those classes were emer­gency pre­pared­ness and cit­i­zen­ship in the na­tion, each of which had 30 young­sters reg­is­tered to earn, along with cit­i­zen­ship in the com­mu­nity.

Robert Young brought a por­ta­ble plan­e­tar­ium to teach the as­tron­omy course, which is a new badge for the Scouts.

“We had a cou­ple of classes we had to cancel be­cause we didn’t have enough sign up, like den­tistry,” Bur­ton said. “We only had one sign up this year, last year there were six, so you just never know.”

Carolyn Smyth, 16, of Cave Spring, and Kara Long 15, of Rome, were among the Ad­ven­ture Scouts who reg­is­tered for a CPR class. Smyth said she got into Scout­ing be­cause she grew up with Pack 20 and loved camp­ing, but it got to a point where she couldn’t go any­more. Long, said she got in­volved through Smyth.

“I grew up in Girl Scouts and I wasn’t en­tirely lov­ing it, but she told me all the things they (Ad­ven­ture Scouts) do and I said I had to try this,” Long said. She said CPR was im­por­tant be­cause ev­ery­one should know how to cope with an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion should it come up.

“You never know when it will be use­ful,” Long said.

Bur­ton said he was grate­ful to the col­lege for mak­ing its fa­cil­i­ties avail­able be­cause in­struc­tors were able to con­nect their lap­top com­put­ers to over­head pro­jec­tors so that a large num­ber of young­sters could at­tend any given ses­sion. Ac­cess to a din­ing hall for the lunch break was also im­por­tant, ac­cord­ing to Bur­ton.

In ad­di­tion to the young­sters, po­ten­tial Scout lead­ers also got a chance to learn some lead­er­ship skills from vet­eran Scout lead­ers across the re­gion.

/ Doug Walker

An­gel En­verga (left), 11, from Rock­mart, and Wil­liam Clay, 11, from Cedar­town, are among the Scouts sit­ting in to earn their emer­gency pre­pared­ness merit badge dur­ing a spe­cial Merit Badge Col­lege event at Ge­or­gia High­lands on Satur­day. Some 70 Scouts had the chance to earn as many as three badges dur­ing the six-hour ses­sion.

/ Doug Walker

Ad­ven­ture Scouts Kara Long (left), 15, from Rome, and Carolyn Smyth, 16, Cave Spring, laugh dur­ing CPR class.

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