• Seth Kraft (left), 11, Nathan Halsey, 11, and Grant Prior (right), 10, work on a BattleBot at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. The group was working toward their Robotics merit badge.

  • Quentin Bickham, 13, describes the imaginary planet he designed and the spacecraft he would use to get there while at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. Bickham was working toward his Space Exploration merit badge.

  • Boy Scouts attend the aviation merit badge class at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College.

  • Alex Dempsey, 11, works on his BattleBot at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. The group was working toward their Robotics merit badge.

  • Boy Scouts (from left) Christopher Clear, 14, Cooper Goodnight, 13, and Samuel Spiker, 13, work building a Battlebot at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. The group was working toward their Robotics merit badge.

  • Chuck McClary, space science education outreach coordinator, talks to Boy Scouts at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. McClary was leading the aviation merit badge section.

  • Michael Schroeder, 13, draws an imaginary planet and the spacecraft he would use to get there while at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. Schroeder was working toward his Space Exploration merit badge.

  • Jesse Eastwood, 12, raises his hand to describe the imaginary planet he created and the spacecraft he would use to get there while at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. Eastwood was working toward his Space Exploration merit badge.

  • From left, Ben Krumm, 13, Jayden Drinnen, 12, and Jaydon Hensley, 11, work on their BattleBot at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. The group was working toward their Robotics merit badge.

  • Seth Kraft (left), 11, and Nathan Halsey, 11, work on their BattleBot at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. The group was working toward their Robotics merit badge.

  • John Linder, 14, designs an imaginary planet and the spacecraft he would use to get there while at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. Linder was working toward his Space Exploration merit badge.

  • Nolan Graupmann (left), 12, and Ryan Addis, 13, work on their BattleBot at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, March 4, 2017, as part of the 2017 Quivira Council Merit Badge College. The group was working toward their Robotics merit badge.

Hundreds of Boy Scouts descend on Cosmosphere, HCC for merit badge event

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Boy Scouts from across Kansas had opportunities to earn 24 different merit badges, particularly ones related to science and technology, Saturday during a special event in Hutchinson.

Hutchinson Community College and the Cosmosphere presented the Quivira Boy Scouts Council Merit Badge College, and the event attracted about 420 scouts, said Tracey Tomme, vice president of education at the Cosmosphere.

She said it was the first time for the event to be in Hutchinson, after moving from Wichita Area Technical College. The Merit Badge College has been an annual event for about 14 years, scout leader Jan Quincy said.

Tricia Paramore, HCC science and math department chairwoman, said HCC faculty shared a lot of their expertise to help with the event. Twenty faculty members taught merit badge classes for the event.

"When I started going through the list (of merit badges Boy Scouts of America offers), 'Oh, we could do that one and that one and that one,' "Paramore recalled thinking.

The day began with an opening ceremony at 7 a.m. in the Hutchinson Sports Arena before splitting into classes. Scouts could take one merit badge class in the morning and one in the afternoon. Many of the badges had requirements that needed to be completed in advance, Tomme said.

Paramore said she would tlike to make the event even bigger in 2018, with classes in bigger rooms and expanded offerings.

Tomme added that sponsorship from Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System helped make the event possible.