Saturday, August 19, 2017
November.13.11

Duke Energy Merit Badge Catawba Camp 2011

Troop 333 Attended The Catawba Nuclear Station Science Merit Badge Campout!

On November 11th through the 13th this year, even though the temperatures dipped below freezing each night, the scouts were in good spirits while we camped alongside Lake Wylie at Duke's Catawba Nuclear Power Plant. All of the scouts took very intense merit badges over the two day schedule, including Electricity, Electronics, Engineering, Nuclear Science and Robotics.

The Robotics badge has been described as one of the most difficult to obtain as it is highly complex. All of the instructors in the science badges are professional engineers who lend their talents to the scouting program to motivate young men to pursue those careers.

Pitching out tents on a bluff over the main pavilion, the Pirate patrol had a bird's eye view of the other campsites and fires. The first night the scouts participated in pickup games of football and met scouts from other troops. Later they had some snacks and prepared for their 6am wakeup call. By 7am Saturday we were all on our way into the main plant to get to classes. We shared a pizza lunch at midday and separated for our classes again until late afternoon.

The scout troop set about making dinner as the sun set early in the wintertime cold. One of our newest scouts was tasked with creating dinner for his rank advancement and succeeded brilliantly. He planned a one pan menu of thin sliced beef fried rice with mixed vegetables including carrots, broccoli, baby corn and others. The entire dinner was perfectly prepared and a welcome hot meal. Our troop met up with a provisional dad and son who were camping alone and the scouts spent the evening together. We all shared a great dessert of sponge cake with fruit and whipped topping - a sort of trifle.

Saturday evening some of the boys hiked and met others, while a few watched a movie being screened in the pavilion - The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Snacks were available late into the evening as the scouts played around the grounds. Some shared time around a small bonfire and stayed warm. We bedded down early that night for another early wakeup.

Sunday came with a warmer day and an uplifting service held in the main training room at the plant. The scouts left for their classes, but three were done by lunchtime. They were treated to a special tour of the nuclear training facility including a hands-on mock drill in the replica training site used by employees for learning how to run a nuclear plant. The whole thing looked like a Star Trek movie set!

The scouts learned about the shortage we face for trained nuclear operators, the job requirements and salary available.

After the tour we met up with the remaining scouts and got ready for packing up and leaving.

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

Thanks to Eric Pace and all the Duke personnel for a great weekend!

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