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RememberSchiff

Camping OR Backpacking MB as Eagle required?

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I am wondering if today's scouts would prefer a few adventure treks than repeated low adventure car camping.

 

This is not a new idea to allow required merit badge selection in a "group" category.

 

Current selection groups

    Hiking or Cycling or Swimming

    Lifesaving or Emergency Preparedness

    Environmental Science or Sustainability

 

As Camping merit badge encourages attendance at summer camp, Backpacking could encourage trekking at area HA, eg. Maine High Adventure.

 

My $0.02

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I would not object to this idea. However I would rather see more mb's have pre-requisites to differentiate between the introductory mbs and more advanced ones. I would suggest that the more advanced ones NOT be required, except as options.

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I would not object to this idea. However I would rather see more mb's have pre-requisites to differentiate between the introductory mbs and more advanced ones. I would suggest that the more advanced ones NOT be required, except as options.

 

So add to Backpacking

1. Must have the rank of First Class Scout or higher.*

 

* I would add this to Camping, Cooking, Hiking,...

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If it's an "or", is it really required?

 

I honestly i doubt that it will have the intended consequence.

 

Look what requiring inviting one friend to a troop meeting has done for our membership numbers.

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In part, I am drawing this idea from high school outdoor clubs, Outward Bound, AMC. They tend to go on fewer but more adventurous outings. Seems to work for them.

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In part, I am drawing this idea from high school outdoor clubs, Outward Bound, AMC. They tend to go on fewer but more adventurous outings. Seems to work for them.

No different than if I see a QM staring at the frame of a busted trailer ... I might challenge him to take a welding class. Or consider an internship with an auto-body shop.

 

Not every good thing a boy may do has to lead to Eagle rank.

 

Furthermore, as it is, Backpacking MB:

  • Only requires 3x3day treks and 1x5day trek for a total (subtracting bookend days) of 10 camping nights. <Insert protracted debate over interpreting "day".>
  • You don't necessarily have to sleep under canvas or less. <Insert protracted debate of interpreting "carry everything you need" when some campsites have adirondaks.>
  • There is no stipulation to do any trek as part of a recognized scouting activity. <Insert protracted debate over whether those self-serving stipulations have helped or hurt BSA.>

So right now, any SM could just challenge boys to try Outward Bound or AMC, and they could use what they've done there toward this MB.

 

I'm concerned that a rather elegant hobby MB will become marred by specifications once we border the badge with silver.

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Grouping of "required" merit badges was actually much more prevalent in the somewhat-distant past of the BSA.  I believe that in the 1959 handbook there are a number of different groups and you had to get certain MB's from those groups.  I do not think this carried over into the 1965 handbook, which otherwise was pretty similar.  I know that in the 1972 handbook the "structure" of required MB's was much as it is now - most required badges are "absoute" requirements while others were in small groups.  I seem to remember "Swimming or Safety or Sports."  Now it is "Swimming or Cycling or Hiking."  And as we know, Camping was removed from the required list in 1972, to be restored in 1979.  Personally I believe Camping should remain an "absolute" requirement.  The number of nights of camping required is fairly small - one summer camp (6 nights) plus 14 nights, which can be done in seven weekends.  (I know we have another thread in which a 17-year-old Eagle candidate apparently has not met this requirement and may not meet it, but I think that is very unusual.  My son probably had 80 nights in a tent, not counting probably about 20 in cabin camping, and also not counting 7 years of summer camp, and my son was not even the most avid of campers, having turned down chances to go to Philmont as well as "extra" summer camps.  One of his friends probably had (just a guess) more than 200 nights camping, including everything.)  Where was I?  Oh, the point is that because the number of nights needed for Camping MB is relatively low, it does not exclude other types of activities including backpacking.  In fact, most nights spent camping on the trail while backpacking count for Camping MB anyway, it only wouldn't count if you are using a constructed shelter on the trail, which is rare in my experience anyway.   So the bottom line is that I don't see any need to make Backpacking MB required, and definitely not as an alternative to Camping.

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As far as camping night disparity, consider the distance disparity among the group Swimming, Hiking, and Cycling - 250 yards, 50 miles, 150 mile road bike or 52 miles trail.

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As far as camping night disparity, consider the distance disparity among the group Swimming, Hiking, and Cycling - 250 yards, 50 miles, 150 mile road bike or 52 miles trail.

The thing that strikes me about the Hiking MB, and probably the reason that so few Scouts in my troop earn it, is not the total of 50 miles hiking, but the requirement of a 20-mile hike in one day. That's a lot for one day. I don't think I ever did that. My recollection of my Philmont trek is more like 7-10 miles per day. I am certain that my son never hiked 20 miles in one day.  I seem to recall a 15-mile historic trail somewhere but do not recall whether that was one day or two.  But never 20 miles.

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If we were using the historical requirements of 50 nights of camping, we wouldn't even be quibbling over the 20 days, one isn't even half way there yet

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The thing that strikes me about the Hiking MB, and probably the reason that so few Scouts in my troop earn it, is not the total of 50 miles hiking, but the requirement of a 20-mile hike in one day. That's a lot for one day. I don't think I ever did that. My recollection of my Philmont trek is more like 7-10 miles per day. I am certain that my son never hiked 20 miles in one day.  I seem to recall a 15-mile historic trail somewhere but do not recall whether that was one day or two.  But never 20 miles.

 

As a scout, the longest I hiked outside of Hiking merit badge, was the Jockey Hollow Trail in Morristown, NJ, which in the mid 1960's was 17 miles. That trail is shorter now.

 

At Philmont, you want time and energy for afternoon activities at the destination.

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As a scout, the longest I hiked outside of Hiking merit badge, was the Jockey Hollow Trail in Morristown, NJ, which in the mid 1960's was 17 miles. That trail is shorter now.

 

I hiked that trail as a Scout as well.  I thought it was 15 miles.  When my son was a Webelos we did what I think they call the "Inner Loop", probably 3 or 4 miles.  I drive right past there every day.

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downsizing...it's everywhere. :)

 

The first time I backpacked was a Philmont training hike. My troop was strictly car camping with huge patrol boxes. Everything but the kitchen sink.

 

How huge?

 

They were so huge, we needed 4 patrol pallbearers to transport them

Edited by RememberSchiff
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They were so huge, we needed 4 patrol pallbearers to transport them

 

GREAT USE OF TERMS !!!!!    Patrol box pallbearers.  So many people swear by patrol boxes.  I swear at them.  Some people test camping supplies by if they are good for backpacking.  I test them by if they are good for canoeing.  Patrol boxes don't work with canoes. 

Edited by fred johnson
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We had patrol boxes for a long time. We chucked them (pardon the pun) for lighter boxes. Eventually the PLC decided to plan 50% of our trips for "regular" camping, the other 50% was backpacking. Attendance rose for both types of trips. 

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