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JosephMD

Hiking Merit Badge - New Requirements

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New Requirements (relevant to the discussion)

 

4 - Take the five following hikes, each on a different day, and each of continuous miles. These hikes MUST be taken in the following order

  • One 5-mile hike
  • Three 10-mile hikes
  • One 15-mile hike

You may stop for as many short rest periods as needed, as well as one meal, during each hike, but not for an extended period (example: overnight). Prepare a written hike plan before each hike and share it with your Scoutmaster or a designee. Include map routes, a clothing and equipment list, and a list of items for a trail lunch. *

 

Old Requirements

4 - Make a written plan for a 10-mile hike, including map routes, a clothing and equipment list, and a list of items for a trail lunch.

5 - Take five hikes, each on a different day, and each of at least ten continuous miles. You may stop for as many short rest periods as needed, as well as one meal, during each hike, but not for an extended period (example: overnight). Prepare a hike plan for each hike.*

 

I've been a hiking merit badge counselor for a while now.  Not being one to organize merit badge classes, I tended to just let a couple of scouts hike 10 miles here and there and get a hike plan out of them.  Usually, one scout would plan the hike, and any others that wanted to come along I'd give them some basic info and tell them to write a hike plan.

 

I think this in order thing is probably going to keep some scouts away from the badge.  If some scouts have done their 5 mile, and someone joins the group late, they won't get credit for a 10 mile hike.  For me, you get to hike 10 miles, so what, you'll get credit for only 5, but scouts, especially younger scouts will probably feel a little cheated, so, they will be less likely to even bother joining in. 

 

Maybe, I'm just used to the way I've done it.  Not that I've signed hundreds, not even tens of completed blue cards, but I had a system that could be driven by the scouts and they could do it however they wanted. 

 

Went on a nice 5 mile hike on Saturday though.  One bonus, is that scouts can double dip that hike for their second class requirement if they use a map and compass.  Maybe that was really the plan, but they could have accomplished that without forcing them to be done "in order"  BTW, I didn't copy and paste it, but there is still the 20 mile hike requirement, you can do that first if you want.

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New Requirements (relevant to the discussion)

 

4 - Take the five following hikes, each on a different day, and each of continuous miles. These hikes MUST be taken in the following order

  • One 5-mile hike
  • Three 10-mile hikes
  • One 15-mile hike

You may stop for as many short rest periods as needed, as well as one meal, during each hike, but not for an extended period (example: overnight). Prepare a written hike plan before each hike and share it with your Scoutmaster or a designee. Include map routes, a clothing and equipment list, and a list of items for a trail lunch. *

 

I think this in order thing is probably going to keep some scouts away from the badge.  If some scouts have done their 5 mile, and someone joins the group late, they won't get credit for a 10 mile hike.  For me, you get to hike 10 miles, so what, you'll get credit for only 5, but scouts, especially younger scouts will probably feel a little cheated, so, they will be less likely to even bother joining in. 

 

 

They did it specifically to teach progression training for the 20-miler, that's all.

 

I've seen far too many guys drop this MB because they could barely do the ten miles, let alone the 20 miles. Despite my advice, guys would plan the 20 miler to "get it out of the way" rather than do the 10 milers first.

 

This new set of requirements now shows them the wisdom of interval training for the 20 miler.

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If they can actually do the 10 miles without a 5 mile first then they have some hiking experience. I don't see any scouts having a problem with only getting credit for 5 especially if it is explained to them that they are joining the group late. Beats waiting for another group to form.

 

A five mile hike is about 2 hours right? Can't they get that in after school some day around town?

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If you're counseling a seasoned hiker, or a very athletic kid (say cross-country, not football), all of this is moot. They'll hike 5 miles for the requirement then run another eight to get ready for whatever tournament they'll be playing in. :confused:

 

But, for the average scout, staging is a good practice to learn. So, even though it's not explicit, encourage your scouts to do the shorter hikes first.

 

If he has hiked a lot seems to understand compass and map, but never done land navigation before, encourage him to double down and plan something with his patrol leader where he has to demonstrate those skills. But, if he hasn't mastered map and compass, make sure he goes on well marked paths or with a buddy who is solid in those skills and doesn't worry about navigation. That five miler, as KDD points out, should get knocked out in a couple of hours to build the kids confidence.

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If they can actually do the 10 miles without a 5 mile first then they have some hiking experience. I don't see any scouts having a problem with only getting credit for 5 especially if it is explained to them that they are joining the group late. Beats waiting for another group to form.

 

A five mile hike is about 2 hours right? Can't they get that in after school some day around town?

 

Scouts that were hiking this weekend took about 2 hours 45.  In a perfect world, sure, they'd get it in after school, but, they don't.  Not confident enough, don't live in a place that is good for walking, parent won't let them, or whatever.  That's kind of why I've been doing it the way I've been doing it as it tends to be just enough to satisfy everybody by looking like an organized activity, but I didn't do any organizing.  Maybe it was just my way of helping the scouts get around their lack of confidence, mom's anxiety, etc. 

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If you're counseling a seasoned hiker, or a very athletic kid (say cross-country, not football), all of this is moot. They'll hike 5 miles for the requirement then run another eight to get ready for whatever tournament they'll be playing in. :confused:

 

But, for the average scout, staging is a good practice to learn. So, even though it's not explicit, encourage your scouts to do the shorter hikes first.

 

If he has hiked a lot seems to understand compass and map, but never done land navigation before, encourage him to double down and plan something with his patrol leader where he has to demonstrate those skills. But, if he hasn't mastered map and compass, make sure he goes on well marked paths or with a buddy who is solid in those skills and doesn't worry about navigation. That five miler, as KDD points out, should get knocked out in a couple of hours to build the kids confidence.

 

I used to suggest that scouts have a couple of 5 mile hikes under their belt, especially the scouts who were a little more round, but I really haven't seen very many of them.  Although I'd still recommend they do a 5 miler or two, the less round scouts generally had no problem going 10 miles cold.  More power, after a long winter indoors, I can have a hard time doing 10 miles these days!

 

Staging can be helpful, but if that was the mission, wouldn't they require the 20 mile hike be done last?

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Worst case 20 laps around the Middle School track should do the trick.

 

Personally I'd limit that unless you are in an urban setting.

 

I live in the 'burbs with plenty of walking trails, but I encourage they guys to get out -- even if with mom and dad -- and really hit a dirt trail. We are lucky to have both pavement and several woodland trails in our area that would allow 10 miles to get knocked out no problem.

 

But I guess you have to manage with what you have in your region. We try to have at least 3 of the 5 hikes be on honest to goodness trails in state parks or private land. The 20 miler is usually a through hike alone a lake to the north.

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I used to suggest that scouts have a couple of 5 mile hikes under their belt, especially the scouts who were a little more round, but I really haven't seen very many of them.  Although I'd still recommend they do a 5 miler or two, the less round scouts generally had no problem going 10 miles cold.  More power, after a long winter indoors, I can have a hard time doing 10 miles these days!

 

Staging can be helpful, but if that was the mission, wouldn't they require the 20 mile hike be done last?

 

Well, you would think they would have required that it be done last, but remember, this is BSA. They never fully and completely say what they are really thinking. ;)

 

I suspect by putting the 20-miler after the tiered hiking that was their intent. I guess they don't have enough experience with youth to know that they NEVER do things in order. ;)

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This is a good change.  I know it breaks the "no more no less" rule, but when I did hiking MB, we started with hikes less than 10 miles and then did progressively longer hikes before doing our 20.  So it was more like 7,9,11,13,15 then 20.

 

Also a little off topic, but one other thing to note is that if scouts started the merit badge under the old requirements, they are allowed to finish it with the old requirements (meaning no 15-miler).

Edited by Tatung42

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This is a good change.  I know it breaks the "no more no less" rule, but when I did hiking MB, we started with hikes less than 10 miles and then did progressively longer hikes before doing our 20.  So it was more like 7,9,11,13,15 then 20.

 

Also a little off topic, but one other thing to note is that if scouts started the merit badge under the old requirements, they are allowed to finish it with the old requirements (meaning no 15-miler).

 

Isn't there a time frame under which you can complete the badge using the old requirements? I know when they make Cooking required and then changed the requirements a few years later, you had a certain amount of time to complete the badge before you had to switch to the new requirements.

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Interesting.  The progression really isn't a big deal.  Most of our guys do a 5 miler the first year at camp.  The ones who would go for the badge have done 10 miles a day with packs on.  The 20 miler is a little more difficult.  It's hard to find a 20 mile stretch of trail around here that doesn't have a lot of PUDS (pointless ups and downs).  That makes the 20 miles feel more like 30 miles.  But then again. how about doing 42.9 miles across 4 states on the AT in one day:

 

http://www.backpacker.com/trips/maryland/appalachian-trail-four-state-challenge-pa-va/

 

Maybe two days. :eek:

Edited by Hedgehog

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Isn't there a time frame under which you can complete the badge using the old requirements? I know when they make Cooking required and then changed the requirements a few years later, you had a certain amount of time to complete the badge before you had to switch to the new requirements.

 

I guess I'm not sure.  I am just going by what was told to me at district roundtable.

 

 

Edit:

 

I looked up the official rules:

 

"Unless it is otherwise stated in the merit badge pamphlet, Boy Scout Requirements, or official communications from the National Council, if a Scout chooses to use the old merit badge requirements and pamphlet, he may continue using them until he has completed the badge."

 

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/GuideToAdvancement/TheMeritBadgeProgram.aspx

7.0.4.3 What to Do When Requirements Change

Edited by Tatung42

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Isn't there a time frame under which you can complete the badge using the old requirements? I know when they make Cooking required and then changed the requirements a few years later, you had a certain amount of time to complete the badge before you had to switch to the new requirements.

 

Scouts that started it in 2015 can continue to use the old requirements until the end of 2016 he has completed the badge.

 

Edit: I must have been thinking ranks

Edited by JosephMD
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 But then again. how about doing 42.9 miles across 4 states on the AT in one day:

 

 

 

Only one problem with that Backpacker challenge - it's impossible to do 42.9 miles across 4 states on the AT.  The proposal starts in PA, goes through Maryland, West Virginia then Virginia.  Only one problem.  The AT in Maryland is 40.9 miles long.  In West Virginia, a section of the tral is along the border of West Virginia and Virginia but there is 4 miles of unshared trali in West Virginia.  If I've added them up together correctly, that's 44.9 miles through Maryland and West Virginia alone - which is 2 miles longer than called for in the "4-state challenge".

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