Scouts earn merit badges at daylong event


BY DIANE GILES
dgiles@kenoshanews.com
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More than 300 Boy Scouts from Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee counties, earned merit badges during Saturday’s fourth annual Merit Badge Tech Day.

The all-day event gave boys training in seven badges: aviation, truck transportation, crime prevention, fingerprinting, energy, home tepairs and fire safety.

Most of the training was done at Gateway Technical College facilities, though fire safety took place at Kenosha Fire Station 4.

Officials said the event gave Scouts the opportunity to do things they normally couldn't do.

Kathy Anderson, the advancement chairwoman for the Three Harbors Scouting Council, said the badges could be earned without Gateway's partnership, but the event was a tremendous aid.

"More boys are able to earn the merit badges because of Gateway's cooperation," Anderson said.

At the fire station

It was the first time Scouts had come to the fire station, 4810 60th St. for fire safety merit badge training.

More than half of the 20 Scouts in the training room raised their hand when Kenosha apparatus operator Jeff Weidner asked his group how many had their first aid merit badge.

Not everyone knows what a serious injury is, Weidner explained. Some people who are seriously hurt can think they are fine, while those whose injuries are not serious can believe emergency aid is needed.

Kenosha Battalion Chief Matthew N. Haerter told the gathering that 75 percent of all calls are non-emergency issues, which can take time away from the real emergencies.

Using the equipment

In a discussion on ladder trucks, Haerter asked students why a community with no tall buildings would need a ladder truck.

Because the firefighters might need to extend out and over a fire, came the answer.

"We'd rather not take granny down a ladder, but if it's the only way, that's what we'll do. There's some motivation there; she'll cooperate," said Weidner. "Then she'll have one more story to tell."

Instructors passed around tools of their trade: pry bars, picks, nozzles and axes, which the Scouts safely handled as previously trained: with ax heads down.

Some Scouts tried out the self-contained breathing apparatuses, donning masks and air tanks on their back.

Future firefighters?

Later in the afternoon, Scouts had a chance to try on other gear, use fire extinguishers and spray water from a fire hose.

There were five off-duty firefighters and one retired firefighter serving as instructors in the training.

"We're really excited about this because every instructor here was or is a Scout or has a child in Scouting now," Haerter said. "We want future firefighters from this group."


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