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Imaginations to Soar at Aviation ScoutFest

Young imaginations will soar as 600 Boy Scouts from five counties descend on Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Aviation Center, at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, for an “Aviation ScoutFest” the weekend of Friday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 20.

An activity of the Susquehanna Council, Boy Scouts of America, the gathering will include youngsters from Lycoming, Clinton, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties. Penn College and the Williamsport Regional Airport Authority are co-sponsoring the event.

For the Boy Scouts’ enjoyment, Penn College’s Aviation Center will host a variety of educational opportunities featuring hot air balloons, helicopters, military and home-built aircraft, model rockets, and radio-controlled planes, as well as search and rescue vehicles provided by the airport. Also participating in the event will be the Piper Aviation Museum from Lock Haven.

“Our goal is to tell the story of aviation from its beginnings to the high technology of today,” noted James E. Doebler, associate professor of aviation technology at Penn College. Coordinating the activities along with Doebler is ScoutFest Chairman Earl L. Mowrey Jr., a Susquehanna Council district commissioner, and C. Thomas Ritchey, Scout Executive of the Susquehanna Council.

In addition to the history of aviation, the event also will focus on the principles of flight and the various types of flight applications.

Ritchey says the topic of “aviation” was selected for the ScoutFest because it is among the badges Scouts aim to earn. As well, “we know the subject is fascinating to young people,” Ritchey added. “We felt it would be an opportunity for fun as well as education and an opportunity to blend some unique community resources including the airport, the college, and the council.”

The Boy Scouts will arrive in Montoursville Friday evening and set up camp in an area along the Loyalsock Creek provided by the Borough of Montoursville. The Scouts will camp overnight Friday and Saturday evenings.

On Saturday morning, following breakfast, the Scouts will hike to the airport. Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Penn College’s Aviation Center. College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour will welcome the crowd. The day will be filled with a variety of programming, exhibits and hands-on learning. In the afternoon, from noon to 4 p.m., the older Scouts will be joined in the activity by Cub Scouts.

While the main activity area and its resources will be reserved solely for the educational purposes of the registered Scouts, a special visitor’s area will be available for family members to view the activities from a distance.

Following Saturday’s activities, the Scouts will hike back to their camp site for supper and camp activities. Sunday morning they will return to the College’s Aviation Center for additional programs and closing ceremonies at 11 a.m.

The council’s last ScoutFest was held at Knoebel’s Grove and focused on a Civil War theme.

The Susquehanna Council, Boy Scouts of America, is a member agency of The United Way.

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