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swilliams

Hiking for Merit Badge and Hiking Record

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A group of scouts from our troop have been working on the hiking merit badge, and one of the moms had a question I don’t know the answer to. I tried a search, but wasn’t pulling up quite what I was looking for. 

Our troop uses Troopmaster for advancement as well as keeping records of activities.  One of the activity types that we keep a record of is hiking. Do the miles hiked for the merit badge get recorded as a hiking activity?  Is it up to each troop to decide?  Could use something me guidance here. 

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OK, the things that come to mind to me off the top of my head are:

Second Class #1a.
"Since joining Scouts BSA, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, at least three of which must be held outdoors. Of the outdoor activities, at least two must include overnight camping. These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings. On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee."

First Class #1a. (very similar to SC #1a.)
"Since joining Scouts BSA, participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities, at least six of which must be held outdoors. Of the outdoor activities, at least three must include overnight camping. These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings. On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee."

If these are considered troop or patrol hikes, then I think that they could count as "activities" towards SC and FC 1a.  This would be at the discretion of the Scoutmaster or Scoutmaster's designee (person authorized to sign off on these requirements).

National Outdoor Badge for Hiking #4
"Complete 100 miles of hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America, including miles hiked as part of requirements 2 and 3."

And Bryan on Scouting has an article on:  Interpreting ‘under the auspices’ in National Outdoor Awards requirements which says:
"If it’s part of a Scout’s work on merit badges like Hiking, Camping, Swimming, Cycling, Wilderness Survival, etc., it counts."

Hope this helps some!

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I would say yes on these as a hiking activity.  If the scout doesn't complete the MB, they were still conducted under the auspices of the BSA.  After the first couple of hikes some scouts may drop out, but the experience remains.  Record it. 

This made me think about wheel-chair bound scouts and how they would earn the hiking MB.  I would say if they "rolled" (not under electric power) the entire hikes, they meet the intent of the badge.  I would challenge any "nay-sayer" to try a wheel-chair hike the normal distance for the MB.   

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Okay, I just love it....

Here's the discussion from several years back.  I won't look for the reference.

Scout has a yard that he mows (a Scout is Helpful) for the family, part of his chores.  It's about an acre.   Walking/pushing the mower (yes, it is a power mower, but not self propelled)  it takes him about an hour and a half.  Good aerobic exercise.  The US military says a soldier with full kit in good shape should be able to cover about 4 miles an hour.   Let's say a Scout can do 3 miles an hour with a light daypack (water, snacks,  binoculars, bird book, poncho, first aid kit, etc. ) . Is it fair to say our lawnmowing Scout has covered 4, maybe even 5 miles in his hour and a half?   If he carries a day pack while he tours his family lot, can he count that  toward any Hiking Mileage Score ? 

And while we're at it,  what is the Metric translation for "mileage"?   Kilometerage? 

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-- Insert rant about increasingly verbose requirements here --

These guys are earning Hiking and they haven't got past 2nd class? Bully for them! Log the miles, because they may count for the National Outdoor Award.  But, the letter of the 2nd and 1st class requirements dictate "troop/patrol activities" for no apparent reason. So only those hikes where they brought along at least their patrol would count for those ranks.

And to @SSScout's scenario, if a patrol wants to come mow my lawn for an hour, the PL's may indeed have their scouts count that as one of their 10 activities. He can then walk over to the Hiking MBCs house (about three miles away) with his blue card, and mow that guy's lawn!

Nothing says you have to log any of that detail anywhere. Back when I was a scout, the SM would note such things in his shoe-box of scout files just in case you made Eagle, then head read off the miles that you've covered by foot, boat, or bike. No patch. Just bragging rights!

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9 minutes ago, SSScout said:

And while we're at it,  what is the Metric translation for "mileage"?   Kilometerage? 

Distance.

Actually, google translate suggests french have Kilométrage, and the Spanish kilometraje, so you're right I think, kilometerage. 

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4 minutes ago, qwazse said:

-- Insert rant about increasingly verbose requirements here --

These guys are earning Hiking and they haven't got past 2nd class? Bully for them! Log the miles, because they may count for the National Outdoor Award.  But, the letter of the 2nd and 1st class requirements dictate "troop/patrol activities" for no apparent reason. So only those hikes where they brought along at least their patrol would count for those ranks.

And to @SSScout's scenario, if a patrol wants to come mow my lawn for an hour, the PL's may indeed have their scouts count that as one of their 10 activities. He can then walk over to the Hiking MBCs house (about three miles away) with his blue card, and mow that guy's lawn!

Nothing says you have to log any of that detail anywhere. Back when I was a scout, the SM would note such things in his shoe-box of scout files just in case you made Eagle, then head read off the miles that you've covered by foot, boat, or bike. No patch. Just bragging rights!

My own son is First Class, and there are two others the same rank, one Star, and 2 Tenderfoot. (The Tenderfoot scouts joined late, so they’re in 9th grade already.)These scouts all wanted to work on this together, so only the two Tenderfoot need any of the hikes as part of rank advancement. 

Our Troop keeps track of hiking miles. So if we do a camping trip out on the Appalachian Trail, we count the camping nights, but also keep a log of how many miles hiked. 

In any case, it sounds like it can be added to their hiking totals, since it’s ‘under the auspices’.  I have to say, though, I have GOT to find a couple of our younger ASMs to do the 20 mile with the boys. My poor ancient knees don’t like hiking much anymore, no matter how much my brain wants to do it. 

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59 minutes ago, Double Eagle said:

This made me think about wheel-chair bound scouts and how they would earn the hiking MB.  I would say if they "rolled" (not under electric power) the entire hikes, they meet the intent of the badge.  I would challenge any "nay-sayer" to try a wheel-chair hike the normal distance for the MB.   

Maybe, but there is a reason wheel-chair athletes start first in local running races. Since I only run in those races, I don't have experience to compare advantages of Nikes vs Wheels. But as an engineer, I know gravity is a powerful force.

As for the OPs question; if the scouts intentions are honorable, we tend to respond to their advantage.

Barry

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11 minutes ago, swilliams said:

... In any case, it sounds like it can be added to their hiking totals, since it’s ‘under the auspices’.  I have to say, though, I have GOT to find a couple of our younger ASMs to do the 20 mile with the boys. My poor ancient knees don’t like hiking much anymore, no matter how much my brain wants to do it. 

Depending on the location of the 20 mile hike, I would argue that adults don't have to be walking with them the whole time. Drop them off on one side of town, pick them up on the other. Or set up your hammock or camp chair at the nexus of a couple of loop trails ... maybe near your favorite fishing hole. (We are quickly approaching opening day in most states.) They can check-in from time to time.

If they are aiming for an extended hike in a wilderness area, then you might need to consider continuous adult supervision. But, it is very hard to cover 20 wilderness miles in a day ... even over existing trails.

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14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Depending on the location of the 20 mile hike, I would argue that adults don't have to be walking with them the whole time. Drop them off on one side of town, pick them up on the other. Or set up your hammock or camp chair at the nexus of a couple of loop trails ... maybe near your favorite fishing hole. (We are quickly approaching opening day in most states.) They can check-in from time to time.

If they are aiming for an extended hike in a wilderness area, then you might need to consider continuous adult supervision. But, it is very hard to cover 20 wilderness miles in a day ... even over existing trails.

I'm glad to hear you say this because I've been thinking about letting my son and some of his buddies do a 20-mile hike without adults going along. I was thinking of doing this on an established trail within a National Forest. Adults would drop off, be at a "check-in point" mid-day where the trail crossed a road, and then wait at the trail end for the hikers to return.  I've been hesitant to bring it up with other adults in the troop for fear of being criticized for not helicoptering.  Sometimes it's tough to know what the prudent course is. I don't see a hike in a forest as being particularly risky, but the non-outdoorsy parents might...

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43 minutes ago, swilliams said:

I have to say, though, I have GOT to find a couple of our younger ASMs to do the 20 mile with the boys. My poor ancient knees don’t like hiking much anymore, no matter how much my brain wants to do it. 

We had three scouts do the 20 miler for hiking MB last year at this time (can still get pretty warm in FL at this time of year).  Due to several unforeseen circumstances, we were faced with either cancelling the hike, or one other ASM and I (65 years old at the time) doing the whole 20 with them.  They still bring up the fact (jokingly of course) that they almost killed me that day!🤣

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25 minutes ago, qwazse said:

But, it is very hard to cover 20 wilderness miles in a day ... even over existing trails.

Pretty much all of our hiking is on the Florida Trail, some sections of which are pretty simple, others are challenging.  While we are rarely faced with changes in elevation, hitting sections of sugar sand or trekking through water can be tough.  We dealt with both several times on that particular 20 mile stretch.

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13 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

I don't see a hike in a forest as being particularly risky, but the non-outdoorsy parents might...

My only hesitation with letting our scouts do that on their own is the fact that we seem to be snake magnets.  We have not had a trek in the past few years without at least one or two on the trail, usually of the rattlesnake variety.  When the trail gets a little muddy, the pygmy rattlers we have in our area can be tough to spot before you are right on top of them.

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11 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

My only hesitation with letting our scouts do that on their own is the fact that we seem to be snake magnets.  We have not had a trek in the past few years without at least one or two on the trail, usually of the rattlesnake variety.  When the trail gets a little muddy, the pygmy rattlers we have in our area can be tough to spot before you are right on top of them.

Snakes. Right.  That's why we teach scouts to "Be Prepared".  

We know snakes live in the woods, so we take common sense steps to prevent bites from ever happening:
* stay on trails
* stay away from the snake if you see it
* wear leather boots
* wear long pants

We know that snake bites do happen (some 8,000 per year in the U.S., but only about 12 per year that prove fatal) --- it's not a huge risk, but it exists.  So we do first aid training, and we teach scouts how to call 911, and how to transport an injured buddy.

Like most every "risk" that people fret about, educating ourselves, taking prudent preventative steps, and being aware of what to do "just in case" makes hiking (and any other scout activity) far safer than the "Adventure" ads might imply.

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