Jun 25th, 2020 — All Subjects

We Have Lift-Off! Dan Burns Brings Space Exploration to the Scouts

Training and PD Specialist, Dan Burns discusses his work with the Boy Scouts of America

I have been an adult volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America since 2007. After my son earned the Eagle Scout rank and aged out of Scouting, I stayed involved to teach the Space Exploration merit badge class, which is part of the annual STEM Merit Badge Midway run by the Pacific Skyline Council. As a former aerospace engineer, the Space Exploration merit badge class is my favorite to teach. As a kindergartener, I remember watching launches for the Gemini program in awe, and I've been fascinated by everything about the space program ever since. Teaching the Space Exploration merit badge class gives me the opportunity to share that sense of wonder and fascination with the Scouts.

Scouts look up in excitement as their rockets launch into the sky.

Over the last decade, I have helped hundreds of Scouts earn their Space Exploration merit badge. Call me biased, but it is the coolest looking badge. 

The Space Exploration merit badge Scouts earn after they finish the course.

Recently, I became the counselor for the Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Award for the Golden Gate Council. I am looking forward to helping my first Scout earn the prestigious award. The Scout is researching methods for improving ion and plasma propulsion devices for spacecraft. I don't recall Scouts doing anything like this when I was Scouting back in the 1970's! Despite a recent move that turned my 45 minute drive into a 3 hour commute, I have no plans of leaving the Scouts anytime soon. Seeing their excitement about space exploration continue, generation after generation, makes every mile worth it.


— Dan Burns, Training and Professional Development Specialist at PASCO

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