Hundreds of youths visit Champaign for a day of learning

Hundreds of youths visit Champaign for a day of learning

CHAMPAIGN — Registered nurse Mary Butzow is teaching the boys in uniform about CPR.

"Don't choke the patient," she advises one intense Boy Scout.

A couple of feet away, Kaleb Leininger is doing it just right. The Scout is a fifth-grader at Holy Cross School, whose Troop 9 hosted almost 500 Scouts from all over the state and two troops from out of state. Saturday was a daylong merit badge seminar.

Kaleb explains that he's performing 30 compressions 2 inches deep, followed by two resuscitation breaths within 10 seconds on the plastic CPR dummy. Repeat until saved.

Kaleb said he hopes to save someone's life one day, but he doesn't want to become a doctor. Maybe it's the weather; he'd like to be a meteorologist.

First aid is taught in another corner of this Holy Cross hall, and elsewhere Scouts are learning about engineering, entrepreneurship, chess, farming and police work — especially two sons of Urbana police Lt. Bryant Seraphin.

Fifth-grader Jake Seraphin learned about fingerprinting. He's also seriously into first aid.

Snake bites: He says to look for two puncture holes, don't put ice on them, but do draw circles around the swelling to indicate how fast the venom is progressing.

His twin, Nick Seraphin, has learned how to stabilize a broken arm.

His partner in Scouting, Jefferson Middle School sixth-grader Malcolm Whiteside, has another broken arm tip. For best results, you'll need to subscribe to your local daily newspaper, because its pages are a critical part of a splint.

Elsewhere in first aid, Highland sixth-grader Vinny Courtois has learned a lot: In case of frostbite, your underarms are a warm home. In poison ivy, be careful you don't spread the oils from the person you're helping to the next person you touch; in shock, elevate the legs. 

"Dry socks prevent blisters," he adds.

In the engineering badge seminar, Table 5 has moved on from the sublime, 3-D printing, to the pedestrian, the lowly toaster.

Jan Ondrejcek, a subfreshman at University Laboratory High School in Urbana, guessed tungsten was a toaster component, which prompted the seminar leader to called him a future metallurgist.

Tablemate Robbie Mercer, a seventh-grader at Edison Middle School in Champaign, preferred the 3-D printer to the toaster.

But he said he learned a lot about how many components go into an inexpensive table appliance, including a circuit board.

Charles Walters, the Scoutmaster for host Troop 9, said the seminar has been going on for 25 years, eight of which he has been Scoutmaster.

He wasn't teaching a seminar, but he was keeping busy.

"I'm command and control, and that includes everything from plunging toilets to fixing the hand towel machine," he said.

An organizer, Gabe Jackson, said volunteers in hosting the 68 class sessions included Champaign's police and fire departments, the county courthouse, the University of Illinois, the U.S. Postal Service and other professionals in law enforcement, medicine and business.

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