By Chanel S. Weaver, Public Affairs Officer, APHCOctober 7, 2015
Col. Joanna Reagan of the Health Promotion and Wellness Portfolio and Capt. Brian Knott and Kevin Harkins of the Environmental Health Engineering Portfolio, represented the Army Public Health Center at the "Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Scouting" day held Sept. 12, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. More than 500 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts attended the event, which brought together young people from across the Mid-Atlantic region. The APHC was one of 25 presenters at the event.
Reagan, a program manager for Integrated Health Education at APHC, discussed the importance of selecting good nutrition options. Her presentation featured an interactive segment called "Rethink Your Drink" which allowed the Scouts to calculate how many sugar cubes are in some of the most popular beverages.
"The goal is to convince the youth to choose healthier drink options like milk or water," said Reagan.
Reagan's presentation resounded with at least one participant, Star Scout John Urbach, a seventh grader, who upon discovering that some soft drinks contain 84 cubes of sugar, decided that he was not drinking those products anymore.
Another presentation that was popular with the attendees included the entomology demonstration. Knott and Harkins shared their expertise while discussing tick safety, local venomous snakes, proper use of insect repellents, how to identify mosquito larval habitat and use of bed nets during camping. Attendees had an opportunity to identify common bugs and discuss their impact on human health. The scouts also enjoyed seeing a pop-up bed net that protects Soldiers in the field from insects, scorpions, snakes and other vectors.
"The goal of our presentation was to educate the Scouts on protecting themselves by avoiding bug and snake bites," said Harkins.
Knott said he hoped the discussion also exposed the young people to exciting career paths in the Army.
"I just wanted to pass on what I learned throughout my career and hopefully train the next group of Army entomologists," said Knott.
Representatives from the Aberdeen Proving Ground Army Wellness Center were also on hand to discuss the services they provide to Army and civilian personnel.
"It's important that we introduce healthy nutrition and physical activity tips at a young age, so that we give our youth the tools they need to sustain a healthy quality of life," said Chris Sorrells, director of the APG Wellness Center.
Although the event was geared to educate young people on the role of public health in disease prevention, many parents said they, too, were impressed by the presentations.
Assistant Scoutmaster John Urbach, parent of the younger Urbach, said the event was both educational and inspiring.
"This is the fifth year that we've participated, and it is very well organized," said Urbach. "It's great to see Scouts work on Merit Badges in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and discover the variety of career opportunities those fields have to offer."