Annual event draws 200 participants for hands-on learning activities and plant
Russellville, Ark. – Arkansas Nuclear
One’s annual Boy Scout Merit Badge University set a new attendance record
recently and left little doubt that the annual event has become a favorite for
area youth and adults. Attendance reached 200 – the largest since the university
was launched in 2004.
The Merit Badge University was
attended by Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and visitors from Arkansas and
Oklahoma. Created originally for scouts, the event is now open to all youth in
6th through 12th grades.
“We really enjoy bringing kids and
their parents to ANO to talk about science and technology and give them an
insider’s view of nuclear power,” said Jeff Priore, an ANO system engineer and
local scout master who coordinates the university. “The university has caught on
as a great learning opportunity for young people and adults alike.”
During the event, a number of
technology- and career-based merit badge courses were taught in ANO’s training
center. Courses covered chemistry, space exploration, electronics and
electricity, engineering, nuclear science, architecture and landscape
architecture, aviation, and emergency preparedness and concluded with a group
“The hands-on classes are a great way
for youth to learn about nuclear power and the many career options available,”
said Sharon Giblin, treasurer for Troop 214 in Russellville and parent of a
soon-to-be Eagle Scout. “The instructors are our own hometown adults donating
their time and efforts to teach the leaders of tomorrow.”
Homeschool parent Sharon Garrett
attended the university with her children and other members of the Russellville
Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers.
“As homeschool families, we’re very
excited to have the opportunity to enjoy such quality educational experiences,”
Garrett said. “I stayed at ANO for the entire event and could not have been more
impressed with its organization as well as its content.”
A number of ANO employees volunteered
to teach merit-badge classes and serve as tour guides for university attendees.
One of them was Patrick Williams, manager of system engineering and scout master
for Troop 214 in Russellville. He taught the merit-badge engineering class.
“At the university, kids get to see
things they don’t normally see, like the control room simulator and radiation
protection equipment,” Williams said. “After they watched a demo of a small
steam engine, I heard one scout say, ‘Now that was cool!’”
For future events, ANO hopes to
expand the Merit Badge University to reach an even wider audience from area
schools and offer more educational opportunities for youth and adults.
“We see a great deal of potential in
including science fairs and other hands-on learning activities during the
university that can enhance science and technology curriculums in schools,”
Priore said. “This is an event that appeals to a larger group outside of
scouting and also gets kids thinking about careers paths and the important role
that science can play in their futures. It’s definitely a win-win opportunity
for students and for the educational community.”
Educators, school administrators and
parents who are interested in learning more about the Merit Badge University and
how they can participate in future activities may contact Priore at
479-858-5572, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated
energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail
distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with
approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the
second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers
electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi
and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and
approximately 15,000 employees.