Boy Scouts benefit from lessons on metal work, welding

An estimated 50 Boy Scouts troops from Cape Girardeau, Kennett, Sikeston and Charleston, Missouri, came together July 21 at the Sikeston Career and Technology Center to learn the specifics of welding and metal work, moving from station to station and earning merit badges.

This is the fourth time in the past five years this training was made available to young people. It's an opportunity for Scouts to meet other Scouts, but it's also an opportunity to whet their appetites for a useful skill.

Scott Crumpecker, troop committee chairman and a former scoutmaster, said, "This gives the boys exposure to a skill set that they would normally not be exposed to. Welding and metal work are kind of unique skills."

Among other things, the experience included oxyacetylene cutting, cutting torches and a blacksmith's station.

Without the assistance of companies lending their time, resources and talents, the Scouts could never have pulled this off. The Miller Travel Trailer and Lincoln Electric were two such companies, bringing personnel to showcase displays and model skills for the amateur welders.

Brent Trankler from the technology center's welding program was appreciative, telling Jill Bock of the Standard Democrat, "A lot of people are donating a lot of time and resources to this." He and other volunteers were glad to be involved and were hopeful for long-term effects. "Maybe this will inspire [the Scouts] to try something new. Maybe they will get into metal fabrication and metal work," he added.

Crumpecker chimed in, also offering praise for the community's generosity: "We have a lot of support from the community, and not just in donations. These guys are dedicating their time away from their families to help these boys out. I appreciate that, and it is important that these boys see these role models in our community," he said.

Well, what about the boys? What did they think of the event, especially all the cutting and welding they did in the fiery weather? Some adjectives they used were "fun," "cool" and even "tricky." But the word heard most often throughout the day was "awesome." And since we know young people are not easy to impress, if they say something was awesome, you better believe it was.