Public Affairs Office
THURMONT, Md. -- Each summer, Boy Scout troops in the Tri-State Area Council of the Boys Scouts converge on a camp site in Thurmont, Md. The event is specifically held to provide a vehicle for Boy Scouts to earn one or more of 133 merit badges, which can eventually lead to a Scout attaining the highest level in Scouting – Eagle Scout.
This year, 13 Scouts received instruction in weather and climate from ERDC-TEC Meteorologist John Neander in order to earn the Weather Merit Badge in the Science Application Category of Scouting.
Neander has conducted the Weather and Climate Badge classes for the Boy Scouts for more than 20 years. He is a former Air Force and Navy weather officer and meteorologist. He has more than 45 years of experience in the field of weather forecasting.
“This year’s Scout class was very accomplished. In past years, the Scouts were hesitant to give the required five-minute final oral presentation to earn their weather and climate badge at the end of the course. This year, they were eager to give their presentations,” said Neander.
Their eagerness was so much so, that one Scout gave his presentation using an iPad rather than using pen and paper notes. “I certainly didn’t expect a Scout to bring an iPad to class. The Scout’s father attended class with him and brought the iPad for him to use,” Neander said.
Scouting officials at the camp encourage parents to sit in on classes during the five-and-a-half day event. Most parents attend various classes for a short time. According to Neander, the parents of Scouts working toward earning their Weather and Climate Badge stay for the entire period and occasionally return for the next day’s class.
After the Scout using the iPad completed his presentation, Neander noted that the Scout gave the best presentation. “This Scout’s presentation was better organized using modern technology versus pen and paper notes.”
But, Neander hesitates to give using an iPad for a presentation a grade of 100. “The one thing wrong with using today’s modern electronics is that the Scouts are so used to typing, their handwriting is horrible. There should be a merit badge in handwriting.”