My son and I have been looking at the National Outdoor badges and award an it looks like a great worth goal, to strive for and will likely take an entire scouting career to complete. I am concerned about the meaning of "under the auspicies of the BSA". I have looked at the programs of many troops in my area and none have a program that would allow a scout to come close to earning the award. How is a boy to earn this if there is not a significant amount of boys in the troop that want to. The BSA states it is not for every boy, but shouldn't every boy that wants to earn it be allowed the opportunity ? Example riding, the distance requirements for the cycling MB do not require the presence of a patrol or troop or even the MB Counselor. However requirement 3 200 miles, that includes the distance of the MB must be "under the auspices of the BSA". Camping with a silver device is 125 nights in 25 night blocks with only 5 long term allowed. So that is 100 short term nights. Great goal, but again that means 14.29 short term nights per year for 7 years, no cancelations. I can't find any troop that has that kind of program. There are many that are very active, but they include other activities other than camping. (Like bus trips, cabin camping in winter, etc) and outside of summer camp, do not meet in the summer. I have tried searching for a definition of "under auspices of the BSA " and have not been able to nail it down. For cycling it seems reasonable to me that a boy could schedule a distance ride for a Saturday, get scoutmaster approval and invite anyone from the patrol and it would count. But what if no one else wanted to go ? Same with a patrol hike, camping, swim etc. There are not a lot of boys that enjoy distance swimming, how can a boy achieve 100 hours of swimming in a troop setting (required for two gold devices) What if his father, also a registered and trained unit leader, went along on the ride, swim or camping trip. Is that now "under the auspicies of the BSA". Seems like it would be, but what about the boys from units that do not have that advantage ? The award seems like an ambitious and worthy goal and a great exercise in meticulous record keeping. It just seems mathematically impossible to achieve strictly as a group effort. Do I understand the requirements correctly ?
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