CSM Hosts Merit Badge Training for Area Scouts

Scott Sokoloff, 13, of Great Mills, uses a circular saw to cut wood for a box being built by Boy Scouts Troop 413 at CSM's Center for Trade and Energy Training at the Regional Hughesville Campus.
Jason Edward Tackett, 12, of Great Mills, learns how to create electrical and carpentry projects.

“I Learned About Everyday Things … Essential in Everyday Life”

St. Mary’s County Boy Scout Troop 413 and Girl Scout Troop 4998 recently earned Electricity and Carpentry badges with the assistance and guidance of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) faculty at the Regional Hughesville Campus. Their achievement followed a similar opportunity offered by CSM to Girl Scout Troops in Charles and Calvert counties to earn Automotive Maintenance badges.

At the Regional Hughesville Campus, CSM instructors provided materials and hands-on lessons for several projects to assist the Scouts from the Great Mills area as they worked to build a rheostat – which controls a current by varying electrical resistance – like a dimmer switch, and assemble an electromagnet. The Scouts also spent time in CSM’s Carpentry lab to build a wooden box.

“They built everything right here in our shops and then demonstrated them,” said CSM Director of the Center for Trades and Energy Training Bruce Posey, who organized the badge opportunity. “The Scouts seemed to enjoy everything and so did we,” Posey said. “It was very rewarding.”

The Scouts agreed.

“I learned about everyday things that are essential in everyday life,” said Scout Kaitlyn Sokoloff, 15, of Great Mills.

Scout Kaitlyn Sokoloff, 15, of Great Mills, learns how to build a rheostat.

“I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, so learning this and earning my merit badges helps me learn more about my choices,” echoed Kaitlyn’s brother Scott Sokoloff, 13.

CSM has also assisted Girl Scouts from Charles and Calvert counties who pursued their Automotive Maintenance Merit Badge earlier this year. Manager and Master Trainer of CSM’s Driver Education Program Mike Whelan trained more than two dozen Scouts on basics that all drivers (and future drivers) should understand — such as vehicle fluids, identification, their purpose and how to check them; how to check tire pressure; different types of oil and how to change it; control and information symbols and their meaning; and how to change windshield wipers.

In addition, Whelan shared winter driving tips, facts and statistics of teenage drivers and videos to support safe driving, including not texting and driving and seat belt use. His training program takes approximately four hours.

“I enjoy teaching, and I feel it is necessary to get the word out about safe driving as well as teach car maintenance,” Whelan said. “I never like to pass up an opportunity.”

Scouting leaders who would like to learn more about Whelan’s Automotive Maintenance merit badge training or CSM’s driver education program can contact Whelan at 301-539-4722 or mikew@csmd.edu. For information about training and programs available at the Regional Hughesville Campus, contact Posey at 301-539-4733 or bposey@csmd.edu.