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Earning And Learning: Merit Badge College Helps Boy Scouts Get Ahead

January 6, 2019 GMT

WILKES-BARRE — Local Boy Scout Henry Sedorchuk hopes to pursue a career in fire rescue. He got a chance to learn more about how to prepare for emergencies Saturday during the 21st annual Merit Badge College at King’s College.

“I learned that it takes more than one person to help a situation get better,” said the 15-year-old Nanticoke resident and a Boy Scout with Troop 418. “It gave me a step up on learning all the stuff I would have to go through in training for fire rescue.”

Sedorchuk earned a merit bade in emergency preparedness, the last one he needed to become an Eagle Scout.

He helped put up a new ticket booth at the football field at Greater Nanticoke Area High School for his Eagle Scout project.

It marked his second time going to Merit Badge College and he said everyone was friendly and helpful.

“You could ask questions and they help you with anything you need,” he said. “It’s a friendly environment.”

About 230 Boy Scouts participated in this year’s Merit Badge College, said David Srebro, camping and program director for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council, Boy Scouts of America, which sponsored the event. The majority of Scouts who participated were from Northeast Pennsylvania and about 10 percent came from outside the area, he said.

The Boy Scouts worked toward a variety of merit badges in classes that also included architecture, automotive maintenance, chemistry, crime prevention, dentistry, digital technology, electronics, fingerprinting, lifesaving, movie making and veterinary medicine.

The merit badges the Scouts earned were introductory learning modules that exposed them to a variety of trades, careers, activities, crafts, hobbies and professions. The badges also brought the Scouts closer to Eagle Scout status.

In all, 35 different subjects were offered. One of the featured badges this year was “Dog Care.”

King’s College faculty, local educators and experts volunteered their time to teach the Scouts.

“This is an opportunity for boys who are on the trail to advancement maybe on the quest to become Eagle Scouts,” Srebro said. “It’s an opportunity for them to come to a one-day session to knock out some merit badges that are being offered by some high quality individuals in a high quality environment. There are a lot of things we’re doing today that would be hard for them to do on a one-on-one basis with a counselor.”

The classes that Scouts participated in varied from two to eight hours in length. Volunteer counselors who facilitated were selected based on being accomplished professionals or experts in specific fields.

Boy Scout Kameron Taylor said he liked the program because he earned a merit badge in emergency preparedness in one day.

The 16-year-old Wilkes-Barre resident and Boy Scout with Troop 43 said he plans to help redo a handicapped ramp at Wyoming Valley Montessori School in Kingston for his Eagle Scout project.

Boy Scout Anthony Giovinazzo, who also earned a merit badge in emergency preparedness, said he just needs one more merit badge to be an Eagle Scout. If someone else is in danger, he said he now knows how to help them.

“I’ll know what to do if I’m caught in a snowstorm or in a desert,” said the 15-year-old Edwardsville resident and Boy Scout with Troop 43. “If there’s a flood, I know what to do to protect my family.”

Giovniazzo said he also liked that the event offered him and other Scouts the opportunity to experience a college atmosphere.

“I’ll probably go to college here so I get to know the building and get a badge in a day,” he said.

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570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh