Friday, December 14, 2018

Duke Energy Merit Badge Encampment 2011

duke camp flag at sunset

The Troop 333 flag waves in the breeze coming off Lake Norman at sunset.

Success At The Duke Merit Badge Camp This May!

The weather cooperated after a brief flirtation with thunderstorms early on Friday, May 6th, 2011 and the scouts from Troop 333 - Huntersville, NC were all present to participate in the Duke Power Merit Badge encampment held each year on the grounds of the Duke Energy Explorium just west of Huntersville, NC. The lush grassy picnic areas were primed and ready. Scouts set up their tents along with the adult Boy Scout leadership. Being one of the first to arrive we got to enjoy the unhindered view of Lake Norman with its white sailed boats skimming about. The whole setting portended success and a beautiful weekend camping event.

For those not aware Boy Scout troops do not just focus on survival or wilderness camping skills. There are plenty of opportunities to join together with other troops at council events and enjoy the camaraderie while focusing on the serious business of earning merit badges. As a homeschool troop (with flexible school options) our group was able to arrive fairly early in the day and setup quickly. With boys coming from Rockwell to Mooresville, Charlotte to Cornelius and Huntersville we gathered from the four corners for a great time. The scouts finished off their camp by raising the only scout flagpole we saw on the grounds that day. With the flag hoisted from our official color guard we were ready to proceed.

Everyone prepared for the first class of the evening. Most scouts opted for taking the Fire Safety merit badge, learning about the importance of controlling fire, and planning for emergencies, such as designing a home fire drill exit plan and practicing with family members. Each scout had to visit a fire station to learn about fire prevention activities in their community. In class that night a fire Captain went over the other requirements, such as the safe ways to store flammable liquids and materials, how to maintain a smoke alarm, proper care of power equipment, and other important items related to fire safety. Our boy scouts were attentive and filled out their worksheets. Each was signed off and will earn their Fire Safety merit badge at the next troop meeting!

One of the scouts completed their Energy merit badge which included a hands-on tour of the Energy Explorium exhibits. Duke power personnel were on hand all weekend and could answer questions about plant operations, and aspects of the merit badges. We even got to meet one of the anti-terrorism security guards with full gear. These active duty personnel patrolled the grounds day and night ensuring the plant's safety and our own!

The sunset over the lake on Friday was spectacular, adding color to our evening cracker barrel. Anyone who wants to be in scouting should know we eat well. The boys all brought snacks to share, and one of our mom scoutmasters had made a cake and cupcakes as well. A skilled baker, she also brought some fresh bread for sandwiches and more. Spirits were high all evening. Two boy scout bands played live music under the pavilion late in the evening. One a brass ensemble, and the other a rock band. Boy Scouts are not just about camping! Our scouts then bedded down to a quiet night along Lake Norman.

On Saturday morning, bright and early, everyone put on their Class A uniforms and conducted the morning flag ceremony. We recited the Boy Scout oath and law, and said the pledge of allegiance. Each scout takes turns as the caller and practices folding and unfolding the flag for raisings at other events. It is an honor to be chosen as a color guard member.

All the scouts headed to their full day classes after breakfast and a group photograph with the nuclear plant in the background. We had a scout in Truck Transportation, one in Wood Carving (nice job on the hand carved ax clasp), one in Crime Prevention, and two in Electronics where they learned about circuitry, the math and science of electronics and other interesting items from an electrical engineer. In fact, all merit badge counselors are registered and trained by the Boy Scouts of America® so that there is uniformity among how the merit badge process is handled. Each badge has an accompanying book of requirements which must be fulfilled by the scout, no more, no less. The counselor must be someone who either has a professional background in the badge or a related hobby and serious interest in the details of the badge. For Crime Prevention we had an active duty police officer.

Troop 333 has merit counselors among our adults qualified in over 35 of the nearly 120 merit badges available.

After a filling lunch, the scouts marched off to their afternoon sessions, then returned to play with their friends and strike the campsite. By 5:00 pm all equipment and gear was packed into the waiting vehicles and the troop was ready for dismissal. Our troop is very grateful to the parents and other volunteers in Boy Scouts who make these events possible.

Thanks to all the Duke personnel for a great weekend!

Special Thank You to Duke Energy Encampment Director Mark Houseman of Troop 97 for being the Boy Scouts Leader this past weekend. We know it takes months of planning and our troop just wants to say THANKS!

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