Society & Culture

UGA to host Boy Scout Advance-a-Rama

Biannual event will draw hundreds of Boy Scouts to Athens.

Athens, Ga. – Hundreds of Boy Scouts will descend upon the University of Georgia on Saturday, Sept. 24 with one goal in mind-earning badges during the Fall 2011 Advance-a-Rama.

Held in Athens for more than 30 years, the biannual event is a daylong opportunity for Boy Scouts from multiple states to earn one of more than 15 merit badges as part of their program. UGA professors and students as well as practicing professionals from the Athens community will teach classes designed specifically for the Boy Scouts.

Hosting the event is a good way to expose UGA to many potential future students while getting Scouts one-on-one with experts in fields related to their merit badges, said Dale Greene, a professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and an Advance-a-Rama organizer.

The Advance-a-Rama is hosted by the Boy Scouts Cherokee District and the Warnell School. This is the 10th time the Advance-a-Rama has been held at the Warnell School. The merit badge event was previously held at the U.S. Navy Supply Corps School.

Classes for merit badges will include topics on dentistry, law, forestry, medicine, metalwork and space exploration. Athens community volunteers include dentist Brent Nail, family practice physician Dennis Bullock, attorney Donald Hansford and Lt. Terry Yarbrough of the Athens-Clarke County Fire Department.

UGA faculty Jim Hilliard and Jim Carson in risk management and insurance, Ronnie Silcox in animal science and Mary Pearse in art are volunteering their time along with UGA students in forestry, wildlife, fisheries and landscape architecture.

The Boy Scouts of America stress citizenship, personal fitness and character. Boy Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges on their way to earning the rank of Eagle Scout. Events such as Advance-a-Rama help Scouts get started successfully on badges, especially those requiring contact with experts in a given field. Only about 5 percent of all boys who begin Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, according to the group’s website.

The Spring 2012 Advance-a-Rama, scheduled for March 3, will also be hosted at the Warnell School.