Cave Spring Scoutmaster Mike Burton, chairman for the Rome event, said 70 youngsters had the opportunity to earn as many as three merit badges each during the six-hour session.

"That's a lot of merit badges," Burton said. A second program is scheduled for Jan. 19.

Youngsters had the opportunity to pick up badges in 22 different categories ranging from astronomy to animal sciences and automotive maintenance to inventing.

Burton said Eagle badges, required for youngsters to earn Eagle Scout designation, were very popular. Among those classes were emergency preparedness and citizenship in the nation, each of which had 30 youngsters registered to earn, along with citizenship in the community.

Robert Young brought a portable planetarium to teach the astronomy course, which is a new badge for the Scouts.

"We had a couple of classes we had to cancel because we didn't have enough sign up, like dentistry," Burton said. "We only had one sign up this year, last year there were six, so you just never know."

Carolyn Smyth, 16, of Cave Spring, and Kara Long 15, of Rome, were among the Adventure Scouts who registered for a CPR class. Smyth said she got into Scouting because she grew up with Pack 20 and loved camping, but it got to a point where she couldn't go anymore. Long, said she got involved through Smyth.

"I grew up in Girl Scouts and I wasn't entirely loving it, but she told me all the things they (Adventure Scouts) do and I said I had to try this," Long said. She said CPR was important because everyone should know how to cope with an emergency situation should it come up.

"You never know when it will be useful," Long said.

Burton said he was grateful to the college for making its facilities available because instructors were able to connect their laptop computers to overhead projectors so that a large number of youngsters could attend any given session. Access to a dining hall for the lunch break was also important, according to Burton.

In addition to the youngsters, potential Scout leaders also got a chance to learn some leadership skills from veteran Scout leaders across the region.