500 Scouts come to Coronado as ‘college’ more than doubles in size in second year

       Last year's first-ever Boy Scout College at Coronado High School was pretty big, with about 220 Scouts, 23 classes and a chance to earn about 15 merit badges.

In the Boy Scout merit badge college Nov. 13 at Coronado High School, Collin Sanders (left), Dominic Ambuul and Billy Thompson check out a pine snake during the reptile handling class, taught by volunteer instructor Mike Baker.
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Inside Coronado High School classrooms at the Boy Scout merit-badge college... Boy Scout Walter Potter displays a "rubbing" he made in his graphic arts class, taught by Mark Rodriguez.
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       This year's second annual college Nov. 13 was more than twice that size.
       “It was a lot of work,” said Gregg Graham, event coordinator and assistant scoutmaster for the Coronado-based Troop 53, still weary two days later. “It was a lot more than I probably envisioned. My family and I came home and pretty much collapsed.”
       However, he let it be known that he is already thinking about what could be done better for a third annual affair a year from now (including a reminder to himself to delegate more of the work). One problem was kids running through the halls. “Kids will be kids, but we should have had more adult supervision,” he said.
       But overall, Graham believes “it was very good. We had a lot of Scouts and parents thank us. Some parents said it was one of the best merit badge colleges they'd been to.”
       In all, about 500 Scouts, mostly from the region and various parts of Colorado, were in attendance. The average ages were 11 to 14. About 100 adults helped out with teaching or different aspects of volunteering in about 70 classes offered in three sessions between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
       Subjects included reptile handling, morse code and telegraph, rocketry, fly fishing, swimming, repair of farm equipment, mapping and geocaching.

Inside Coronado High School classrooms at the Boy Scout merit-badge college... Scouts and Scout leaders make telegraph devices. They also learned to transmit morse code from Air Force Col. Lou Burton.
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Inside Coronado High School classrooms at the Boy Scout merit-badge college... Charlie Johnson of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) instructs students in circuits and pipe-bending.
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       Graham estimated that up to 1,200 merit badges were either earned or started on. For example, he said, the kids learned how to fly fish at the class but for the badge they will have to catch a fish and eat it. For golf, they will have play a round. And for the reptile badge, “they have to look at lizards for three months and watch their behavior,” Graham said.
       The most popular classes were those special merit badges that are only being offered for the Scouting centennial this year, he said, especially tracking and signalling.
       The college used two floors of classrooms in the main building at Coronado. The Scouts cleaned up afterward with the help of a school custodian who had been assigned to make sure that high school teachers, when they came in on Monday, would not see any signs of the Scout activities in their rooms, Graham explained.
       The Scouts plan to pay back the school by painting curbs in the Coronado parking areas.
       Two key lessons learned from the inaugural Scout college in 2009 had been insufficient food for the kids and coffee for the volunteers. Graham noted that both were corrected this year. “We ordered 210 large pizzas and had 15 left over,” he said. “We gave the leftovers to the Marian House.” And, “we had the coffee going all day.”

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