Announcement Module
No announcement yet.

BSA Outdoor Challenge Award for Units

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
Conversation Detail Module
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • BSA Outdoor Challenge Award for Units

    Last week at round table we had a "fireside chat" with the program director, field director and district commissioner. I asked them if they had ever heard of the BSA outdoor challenge award for Troops/Crews and they said that they had. However, when I quizzed the volunteers present at round table I only got blank stares. My suggestion to the council/district folks was that they advertize this award a little more. Do you all know about this unit advancement item?

    My unit completed these requirements and I presented the form to our local council service center. No one there had every heard of it...

  • #2
    I'm working on getting individual scouts the outdoor awards. My next goal is to do the unit level.


    • #3
      Just one more piece of paperwork that nobody cares about. It's not even a challenge.
      Why should we bother to tell national or council that we are doing what a troop should be doing anyway?

      Now a challenge, IMHO, would be:
      - Troop provides opportunities for 20 camping nights a year (whether this is part of an annual calendar or not makes no difference to me)
      - At least four of those are independent patrol hikes and campouts. (4 nights per patrol, on average.)
      - At 1/3 the cost of a national high adventure base or summer camp, troop hosts its own week-long activity that may include any of the following:
      -- Intensive training in 3 merit badges of the PLC's choosing, counseled by qualified members of your community
      -- A 50 mile hike
      -- A 150 mile canoe river trip
      -- A 200 mile bike ride
      -- A day-long conservation project (this may be led by a scout as part of his Eagle or Hornaday award projects).
      -- With the assistance of the CO scouts host a religious service in a community park.

      Note that I have ZERO interest in counting bodies. Sure 50% is a fine target, but if you have 3 or more patrols in a troop, then patrol outings by definition constitute only 33% (or less) of the troop.


      • LeCastor
        LeCastor commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi, qwase. While your suggestions do prove more challenging than the official BSA outdoor challenge award's requirements, I believe this was a significant achievement by our small Troop. Each Scout worked hard to earn outdoor-related merit badges, go on outings (we increased our number of outings over the previous year) and help teach Webelos about Scout skills on one of our camping trips.

        The PLC doesn't need to hear that what they accomplished wasn't even challenging or "just one more piece of paperwork that nobody cares about". You should have seen the senior patrol leader's face when he signed the form. Like anything in life, it's what you make of it. These 11 to 17 year-old Scouts worked hard to make this happen and they had a good time.

        Sure, it's what we're supposed to be doing for JTE, or even as a Troop in general. But the Scouts don't need to know that. They can and should take pride in the fact that they've achieved something--even if it's just a streamer for their Troop flag...

    • #4
      I do have a question about it. How do we score it? Is the merit badge challenge a one to one thing for the scouts--i.e. that every single scout earned an outdoor merit badge, or is it that if you have 29 scouts that 29 outdoor merit badges have been earned (but that maybe Scout A earned 3, and two other scouts earned none). Also, we have new scouts--came in in October. Do they count into that?


      • qwazse
        qwazse commented
        Editing a comment
        Looks like it's an "on average" sort of thing. Every troop deserves to have a scout or two with zero interest in MBs and scouts who earn 2+ outdoor MBs each year to offset them!

        Personally, I would count new scouts in the number somehow. At the very least, I would count them as 1/4 each since they had a quarter of the time to participate. If you did have a fall MB challenge, and they had reasonable access to the councilor, I would count them as 1.

        If you do use these things, do them in a way that motivates boys to amp up program and provide opportunities, but does not discourage them from bringing their friends in at any time of the year.
        Last edited by qwazse; 12-09-2013, 11:16 AM.

      • LeCastor
        LeCastor commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, we took it to mean the Troop had to show as many outdoor-related merit badges are there are Scouts. As qwase says, not all registered Scouts are going to be active and some others are going to have to take up the slack.

        Don't know about the new Scout question...I'd ask the Unit Commissioner.

    • #5
      I understand the pooh - pooh of the troops that are already there or beyond.. But think it is a fine idea for a help guide for troops that are faultering.. Like JTE a great unit kind of looks at it and says "d*amed paperwork" but a struggling unit can use it for a guideline..

      Son & I just did the JTE paperwork for the Pack we are resurrecting.. Barely made Bronze & was surprised we even did that, considering the majority of the questions asked didn't even register at the lowest denomination.. Some of it was our fault in that we are concentrating on keeping the pack going and pulling teeth to get the adult parents to volunteer to take on some duties.. Others were just not met because the Pack had folded and really wasn't restarted until late March, and now since we only have Tigers & wolves we can't do any Webelos transition.. etc..

      Well anyway, when you are far down on the rungs, and need to give your parents (who some are clueless (though the great ones make up for them), and maybe not so motivated, and definitely not moving in the same direction, with a common purpose).. Well this icky paperwork as some black and white official direction to point them in the right direction.. Once they can make it over the first hill, one would hope they can get some self-motivation and ideas and we can slowly move away from the paperwork..


      • qwazse
        qwazse commented
        Editing a comment
        Not disagreeing with you, MT. I make my crew work through the JTE even though we've come up short of bronze every year so far.

        But there is such a thing as overkill. How is this any different than JTE gold?

    • #6
      We submitted for this two years ago and got it. It takes the place of another similar award. I didn't turn us in for it last year. The requirement to earn one merit badge relating to outdoors per scout is a hurdle when you have 1/3 16 and 17 year olds. I spoke to our UC about this, and he confirmed with National that that requirement is a cumulative count. We camp ten times per year. It's pretty hard to camp more than we do. I don't think this award means anything to our scouts. It didn't take long to fill out the form, so why not.