COPPERAS COVE — The sweet aroma of brownies and warm chocolate chip cookies mixed with a whiff of fresh blueberry muffins and oven cakes as they baked in Dutch ovens, good old-fashioned propane stoves, and solar ovens Saturday at the Cove City Park.
The Boy Scouts were on their way to earning cooking merit badges at the Scout meet and court of honor award ceremony for Troop 258.
“A lot of parents don’t get to sample what their boys eat while camping,” said Trudy Perry, a volunteer. “(The whole point of today’s ceremony) is so they can see what their boys can do, and know that yes, they can cook and do more than just use the microwave to heat up pizza.”
The nine Scouts present at the cookout had to demonstrate just that to receive their new ranks.
“The boys will receive Scout, second class, first class, tender foot, star and life ranks today,” said James Leight, the scoutmaster. “This is a great skill for them to learn. It’s more about conventional cooking than survival skills at this point. We spend at least one weekend a month camping and we want to eat good, so knowing how to prepare these meals are essential.”
Brothers Alan Howe, 10, and Bryant Howe, 12, anxiously hovered over their favorite dish — brownies.
“It’s so much fun being in the Scouts,” Bryant said. “We get to eat great snacks, play chess, earn badges and learn life-saving stuff.”
His younger brother Alan, who is a Cub Scout, said they also love camping with their dad.
“The Cubs are the easy version of the Boy Scouts,” he said. “So I’m getting to see what comes next.”
For John Schulz, 13, the Boy Scouts helped him come out of his shell.
“I enjoy the Scouts because I’m helping in the community and I get to do good deeds,” he said.
His best friend, Steele Straley, 13, said he encouraged Schulz to join.
“The Boy Scouts helps with making life decisions,” he said. “We learn to make good decisions because we’re around good people.”