Coronado back as Scout ‘college’ site

       For the second year, Coronado High classrooms, cafeteria and outer grounds will be used for a Boy Scout “college” Saturday, Nov. 13.

Scouts in the Scout college's rocketry class last year enjoy lift-off for one of the rockets they'd built.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The all-day event will be noticeably bigger than last year's, with at least 500 Scouts expected (compared with 220 in 2009), according to Gregg Graham, assistant scoutmaster for the Coronado-based Troop 53.
       The main attraction is the chance to earn merit badges. Out of the total of 130 badges that can be earned by a Scout, 50 will be offered at the college (compared with about 15 last year), Graham said. One of them - inventing - is so new that a Scout from Virginia who is trying to obtain all 130 this year is coming to the college specifically for that reason, he pointed out. (As a side “note,” the boy's parents, both musicians, have volunteered to help instruct a bugling class.)
       Otherwise, more than a third of the registered Scouts are from the Pikes Peak region, another third from the Denver suburbs, Graham estimated, and the remainder from scattered areas around the state.
       Three sessions of classes - 72 in all compared with 23 last year - will be offered between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The plan is to have at least two teachers per classroom, even more in those that are especially “hands-on.”
       Specialists in different categories have been sought for instructors - for instance, inventing will be taught by an engineer from Spectranetics, and rocketry by officers from Peterson Air Force Base.
       Last year part of the first floor of the school's main building was used; this year a second floor will be needed as well, Graham said.
       Signups are still being taken, with 470 Scouts currently having paid the $20 tuition fee. As many as 75 more could still be added to the list. “We might still hit 500,” he said. For expediency, the signup process is exclusvely online this year at meritbadge.info.
       The arrangement with Coronado High School will be similar to last year's, in which Troop 53 repaid the school by painting the campus' street curbs as needed to help with traffic safety. “Last year I was told we painted half a mile of curbs,” Graham said. “This year it will be about a mile. We'll have to go to a sprayer instead of a roller.”
       In addition, the Scouts plan to take great lengths, including “before” photos of Coronado classrooms, to be sure they are restored exactly the way they were. Toward that end, Graham said he and other volunteers will be sweeping, mopping and generally tidying all the rooms afterward. The growth of the event in its second year has made it “one of the largest merit badge colleges in the country,” Graham said. A side effect has been “logistical challenges” that will require “many more people” to keep things going smoothly. But he thinks all will go well, and despite the many demands he pledged to correct two problems that were heard from last year's event: not enough coffee for volunteers and not enough lunchtime pizza for the kids.

Westside Pioneer article