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Brookline Scouts earn robotics badge

Friday, March 1, 2013

BROOKLINE – The Boy Scouts of Troop 260 have been active throughout the past several months. In November, they put together a Thanksgiving feast during their monthly campout. Each Scout contributed something to the feast, but what was most likely the best dish served was turkey, prepared by Assistant Scoutmaster Mr. Gath and Committee Chairwoman Ms. Giblin. Their outdoor box oven was built by hand and was truly spectacular. After the food was prepared, family members were invited to the campsite to join in the feasting. It would not be an exaggeration to say that everybody left the feast feeling happy and very full.

Also in November, the members of Troop 260 held a fundraiser in which they sold more than 4,000 pounds of sand delivered in buckets to the residents of Brookline. The sand has many uses. Some purchasers will spread it on their driveway during the winter. Yet others have filled a child’s sandbox with sand. Throughout the month, Scouts sold door-to-door, set up a booth at the Brookline Transfer Station, and spread the word via friends and neighbors. The Scouts managed to sell 119 buckets, raising more than $400 toward a much-anticipated trip to West Point, New York, to take place at the end of June. While winter was knocking at their doorsteps, the Scouts helped residents to prepare for snowstorms.

The Robotics Merit Badge was recently created, in 2011. After months of research and planning, Christian Santoski, who was senior patrol leader at the time, organized an outing to the Microsoft store in the Prudential Center in Boston to take advantage of a Robotics Merit Badge workshop that he discovered was offered to Boy Scouts. On the first of December, 21 Scouts, leaders and parents were greeted at the new store by Tucker, a Microsoft counselor and Life Scout. In a private partitioned area referred to as the theater, the workshop counselor engaged the scouts in learning about robotics.

The following 21 Scouts participated in the workshop; Robert Hultz, Christian Santoski, Andrew Bisbee, Peter Bowers, Ethan King, Jack Samec, Garret Ryherd, Jeremy Quinn, Nick Napior, Josh Napior, Matt Watrous, Mark Johnson, Tyler Haulk, Richie Huppe, Matthew Brock, Patrick Whelan, Devon Coffey, Cameron Grzyb, Matt Spokane, Andrew Shutt and Matt Sedlacek. They learned about career choices in the field of robotics, identified many of the terms and vocabulary involved with robots and proper safety procedures before finally building their own robot. These robots were built from scratch using LEGO Mindstorm products and Troop 260 was the first team to open the box and use the new materials. After they were successfully built, the scouts then turned to technology and created programs that made the robot do various tasks. After a lunch generously donated by Pizzaria Regina and snacks and drinks provided by Microsoft, there was still time to explore the newest video games in the store before turning in the workbooks at the end of the day. After getting a small taste of robotics, the scouts returned home with a Microsoft T-shirt and a completed merit badge. It was an enjoyable and fun-filled event for all involved.

A week later, on Dec. 8, the Scouts gathered in force, this time numbering close to 30. They spent the night at the Hampshire Hills Dome. There was no rest that night. Throughout the night, they played flag football, capture the flag, kickball, and ghost in the graveyard, and they also rode bikes and scooters around the track. Scouts and leaders were to feel their bodies’ painful revenge at a later time. Around 7 a.m., the weary Scouts and a few parents and leaders collapsed into their own respective beds – at least until the wake-up alarm sounded a mere half-hour later. The Scouts can’t wait to do it again.

Every boy aged 11-17 is welcome to join Troop 260’s boy-led Boy Scout Troop. For information, please contact Mrs. Lynn Giblin at, or Mr. Alistair Guthrie, Scoutmaster.

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