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Proposal : Pioneering Certification

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I understand there are risk management issues involved with many of the rules surrounding pioneering, but in my youth pioneering was one of biggest draws for scouts and we were able to build some fantastic permanent and semi-permanent structures; towers, gateways, rope bridges etc. that we actually used. I would love to see scouts being able to do pioneering the way we used to do it in my youth.

 

I am going with the assumption that the rules for pioneering will not be loosened, so I am looking for the next best solution.

 

With approval from the council risk management committee you can still build structures over the 5ft standard. (I believe that is the current standard). Getting the right people out to approve such structures is difficult or impossible to accomplish for smaller events or unit outings. For some councils it is even difficult for larger events. As a result you do not see the amount or level of pioneering I remember from my youth.

 

If there was an opportunity that would allow scouters to be trained and certified in building and assessing risk of larger pioneering structures I think we could get back to the glory days of pioneering and maintain the safety/risk mitigation that BSA desires.

 

I would like to get some feedback from Scouters in this forum on that concept.

 

TIA for you help.

HelpfulTracks

Edited by HelpfulTracks

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You know, I wished I had thought of that. There is training for rappelling, swimming and boating. Why not Pioneering! I like it.

 

Barry

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Agreed...... guessing, but I'd imagine my son would have been woo'd by some really cool structures in his first year or two of scouts....

Seeing the older scouts build some really cool towers and useful structures I'd imagine would seem really cool...especially when coupled with discovering a good scout lead freedom to come up with their own ideas and make it happen without too much too much adult influence and interference....

Who knows, that might have been just that one more thing it would have taken to trip his interest level over that threshold that is currently holding him back!

so you idea to make pioneering more "accessible" could be golden!

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You're asking to hoe a long row. But, I agree that it's worthwhile.

 

BSA would need to get input from proper industry experts (e.g. OSHA, Iron Workers Union, ... is there a timber lobby?)

 

We have to make it about the balance between job security and safety.

 

My observation is that my oldest brother and I are more confident with roof-work than my boys or my brothers who weren't scouts. I attribute that to summer camp working on monkey bridges and three-story towers (by the time our troop's week rolled around, we were usually on the 2nd level lashing up the third). My Victorian house is hardly any different when it comes to cleaning gutters and checking shingles. That said, son #1 is a useful partner when I (nowadays, we) prop up the 24' ladder. He is thorough with the safety check and catches things that I would otherwise ignore.

 

It would behoove our country to have more boys entering apprenticeship with experience working at height with an understanding of safety apparatus.

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Back when I was a COPE Director, we could certify pioneering structures.  So I see the usefulness of a pioneering certification.

 

But who would it be for Scouts or adults?

 

If only for adults, why not for Scouts?

 

And if for Scouts, will we put in stupid age restrictions?

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Please push for it. Not only would it make it more fun it would likely make things safer. When the rules are so stifling people tend to ignore them. I did.

 

It isn't just height that should trigger a check. There were some people in my troop that made a monkey bridge without me around and they nearly killed a kid because they didn't make good anchors. Nobody was even scratched but it was close to a disaster. Anyway, this had nothing to do with height, that part was legal. It was about construction and just a mindset that safety is important.

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Not a fan. Allow me to explain. While giant structures, arches, gates etc... are "fun" I think too often these become the focus take away from the main purpose of pioneering. Rarely are the giant towers and trebuchets the product of boys ideas and work, and for the most part are not useful. IMO the main purpose and focus of pioneering is to make camp life easier by having the ability to make gadgets, and useful (small) structures so one dorsn't have to transport everything from the trailer. I use lashings on almost every trip, even if just to make a tripod to hang the pot over the fire. I often make a quick camp chair, and sometimes a small table. I suppose when one takes the trailer and never is more than 100 yds from it the need for pioneering skills on a campout are diminished. So, I am not in favor of this proposal as I see it as encouraging the giant structures at the expense of focusing on what I see as the real purpose of pioneering when there is already a dimished focus on that purpose.

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I kind of see @@DuctTape's point, but I think there's a "both-and."

If I've learned how to pick and anchor material suitable for a floor ... I've learned how to make a suitable chair or table.

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When I took my kids to the local Scoutorama, the first place they ran to was the Pioneering area with the 3 story tower and 2 story rope bridge. Boys can build that!

 

Pioneering was a lot easier in the days without self supporting tents, tarps and elaborate camp cook boxes. Even tripods struggle with wash basins near latrines and stoves replacing campfires. Technology has replace the need for knowing the proper knots for more comfortable camping. Pioneering towers and bridges help romanticize the skills that boys in general find boring. A clever SM then uses imagination to push the scouts a little further with visions of gadgets and camp aids.

 

Barry

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Thank you all for you feedback.

 

Pioneering has always been something, in my opinion, that scouts loved. Anything we can do to make it more accessible is indeed "golden."

 

Thank you John-in-KC, I will ping RichardB

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Not a fan. Allow me to explain. While giant structures, arches, gates etc... are "fun" I think too often these become the focus take away from the main purpose of pioneering. Rarely are the giant towers and trebuchets the product of boys ideas and work, and for the most part are not useful. IMO the main purpose and focus of pioneering is to make camp life easier by having the ability to make gadgets, and useful (small) structures so one dorsn't have to transport everything from the trailer. I use lashings on almost every trip, even if just to make a tripod to hang the pot over the fire. I often make a quick camp chair, and sometimes a small table. I suppose when one takes the trailer and never is more than 100 yds from it the need for pioneering skills on a campout are diminished. So, I am not in favor of this proposal as I see it as encouraging the giant structures at the expense of focusing on what I see as the real purpose of pioneering when there is already a dimished focus on that purpose.

 

DuctTape, I would agree that fundamentals of pioneering must be first and prominent in any pioneering training.

 

However, I would argue the FUN is absolutely one of the real purpose for pioneering and huge reason Scouts keep scouting.

 

Character building, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving and building are also important and real purpose for pioneering. Something larger project make easier.

 

A completely useless project that my troops scouts came up with one a rafting trip last year is still the "stuff of troop legend" and regularly talked about. After a day of rafting the adults settled down in their camp and the scouts in their camp some distance away. With a an hour or so of daylight left one of the scouts scurried into camp and told the adults the scouts needed them down at the river bank. Upon arrival the adults saw a homemade raft the scouts had put together using wood, bamboo and rope. They managed to get 4 scouts on the raft and pushed off, floating downstream to the cheers of the adults, their fellow scouts, and most importantly to them, strangers/rafters who where camped just down stream. They did this all on their own, with wood they found and the skills of a couple of scouts who are pioneering nuts. The story is still told in the troop to new crossovers each year, as if they had conquered Mount Everest. The scouts routinely want to do pioneering project and bemoan the fact they can't do more bigger and better project. Even more true now that several of them went to Jamboree and saw what CAN be accomplished.

 

Personally, if the scout want to do more and bigger and better projects because they are fun, that is reason enough for me to find a way to make it happen.

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I am not against the idea to limit boys fun. Quite the contrary. I see it as a likely increase in adult interference when too much already exists.

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Not sure what the issue is.   Pioneering is primarily a merit badge, designed for a scout (most are targeted at a 12 year old) to experience.   Not sure how setting up a training program is going to drive a need to go higher, bigger, etc.   High COPE elements by design need to meet ACCT standards for design, installation and operations.  Asking laymen to do something like this is actively discouraged.    Please see the COPE section of the GTSS.  

 

And if you would like to review the risk assessment documentation (found in 680-009 http://scouting.org/filestore/pdf/680-009.pdfor 680-026 http://www.scouting.org/filestore/healthsafety/pdf/680-026.pdf) on your own you will also find out that relying on training and procedures is low on the hierachy of controls.   Wouldn't really be applicable to the OP vision of success that would be training.           

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Not sure what the issue is.   Pioneering is primarily a merit badge, designed for a scout (most are targeted at a 12 year old) to experience.   Not sure how setting up a training program is going to drive a need to go higher, bigger, etc.  

 

Please tell me you are joking.

 

The issue is that under current GTSS policies, pioneering projects are extremely limited.

Note: Pioneering projects, such as monkey bridges, have a maximum height of 6 feet. Close supervision should be followed when Scouts are building or using pioneering projects.

 

 

Unless NCAP has been changed, the only way to go higher than 6 feet is at a council summer camp program with the council's risk management's approval.

 

What's going to happen when we host the WSJ in 2019? will we ban structures over 6 feet? Or will Summit staff go around and approve everything? let's face it, pioneering is a traditional Scoutcraft, and some countries think the BSA is silly for the restrictions.

 

 

Gone are the days where Boy Scouts in the US could build cool stuff like towers, Bosun Chair Rides, Ferris Wheels ad nauseum. I remember when my troop growing up use to build 2 towers 15-20 feet and 25-30 tall, connect steel rope between them, and connect a Bosun's Chair so that folks could ride between the two towers. We use to have a 30 minute wait to have people on the ride. When national put those height limits in effect, my troop stopped going to Scout Shows because they were BORING. We went to only 1 after the ban, and that was because William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt was there.

 

 

As for pioneering being a MB targeted to 12 year olds,  Then how do you explain these:

 

http://www.scoutresources.org.uk/SR/pioneering/index.html

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8c/8a/51/8c8a514796cb2cd6d70de72f1307415b.jpg

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/7f/78/21/7f7821be92984d0c66513dbfb2fb2a1f.jpg

 

http://the.earth.li/~db/photos/World%20Scout%20Jamboree/World%20Scout%20Jamboree%20-%20photo054.html

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/1f/11/81/1f118151ffdafe8facd28d6696d4830e.jpg

Edited by Eagle94-A1

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