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Cub Scouts Enjoy Technology-fest at Berkeley Heights

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The Wolf Den of Pack 368 test drive a hydrogen fuel-cell car Credits: M Lee
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Webelos Scouts Johnny Pullara, Andrew Vanacore, Sean Pelcher and Sam Lee engage in a little ham radio Credits: M Lee
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Cub Scouts from Pack 368 watch the Union County Vocational Technical Schools robotics team put their competition robot through its paces. Credits: M Lee
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Cub Scouts from Pack 368 experiment with thermal imaging Credits: M Lee
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"It was like someone switched on a Scout magnet," said Cubmaster Howard Lee describing the arrival of the Union County Vo-Tech schools' competition robot at Pack 368's latest Pack Meeting at Mountain Park School. Dubbed "feeling a little tech-ish," the October 14th Pack meeting showed the Scouts a variety of technologies from thermal imaging to radio communications to steam power and hydrogen fuel cells, and of course the Vo-Tech robots. The elementary-school-age boys and their families gasped as the robot picked up its target and lifted it high above their heads. In addition, the robotics team, led by Jackie Gerstein, demonstrated a robot that could find its own way around a course made by black tape. Jackie teaches Freshman Technology at Union County Vo-Tech's Magnet High School and runs the Union County Vocational Technical Schools robotics team.

The magic of thermal imaging was unveiled by Captain Riki Burks of RSB Imaging in Edison, who showed the Scouts how thermal infrared could "see through" a black screen to reveal the antics of their friends on the other side. They got to see what hand-warmers and ice packs looked like in infrared and they got to see what their silly faces looked like in infrared enlarged on the projector screen. "I was a Scout, so I get it," commented Captain Burks. "These demos will make connections that the Scouts will benefit from as they go through school".

Another favorite was the radio communications station where they boys got to talk with amateur radio enthusiasts across the country under the guidance of Dr. Barry Cohen. Scouts had conversations with a man fishing at the Jersey Shore, among others. The past and future of transport were also on display. Cubmaster Lee demonstrated a working model steam engine and also a hydrogen fuel-cell powered car, showing how water was crucial for powering engines in the past and could do so again in the future. The Cub Scouts were more impressed with the whistles and frantic energy of the steam train than the sedate crawl of the hydrogen-powered car.

Cub Scouts offers an enrichment program for boys in grades 1 to 5 focusing on character development, citizenship, mental and physical fitness. For more information visit www.bhpack368.org or to find out about other Cub Scout Packs in your area visit beAscout.org.

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