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scout with broken leg/ankle needs 5 mile hike

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"It has been stated in pieces by several people but the full answer regarding alternate requirements can be found at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/earlyalt.aspx "


if you read that link,

you would see that it's a checklist of things to do if a disabled scout cannot complete the requirements as spelled out for ranks in their scout book and they want to substitute their own requirements as approved by their doctor that are similar but meet with their specific disability.



The change to trip from hike is spelled out in the scout book a substitute requirement for "scouts who use crutches, wheelchairs or have difficulty getting around"-- it doesn't specify that it only applies to scouts who would meet the definition of permanently disabled.


The Advancement policy and procedures statement for DISABLED scouts seems to only apply for permanently disabled scouts who need special accomodation and alternatives to rank requirements above and beyond anything listed in the scout book. In that situation you'd complete the steps to use in the link and the doctor must approve any alternative requirements.




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I'm not saying anybody should push the scout into walking the 5 miles.


But if the scout wanted to, I would have a few leaders as wel as a parent accompany him and offer encouragement.


I said that I'd allow a whole day because he may want to take many breaks.

I also mentioned that the pace would be affected by arm and armpit sorenes.


But I never ever said a the troop should push or dictate.


Of course, I hope everybody understood that this would be something that was up to the scout....not anybody else.



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When I was in his shoes I opted to wait until I could do it for real or not at all. (shattered my left hip at the Klondike Derby back in 1980.) 4 years as a tenderfoot scout and 28 as a Scouter since and I still don't know if I made the right choice but I wanted my advancement 100% by the book.

(I needed 5 miles w/ pack for hiking Skill award.)

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There are different categories of growth plate fractures depending on how the break runs. While the cast may come off in a month or two, physical therapy may last a year. Going down the hall on crutches is a lot different than the pounding of a five miler.

In my mind, this is one time alternate requirements should be used. Hiking too soon, to win one for the Gipper, may result in a permanent deformity (bone stops growing, bone grows too long, bone curves).

If the lad feels guilty about getting a pass, he can earn the hiking mb in a couple of years

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I agree with boomerscout. Doing the hike requirement as a hike isn't worth the risk. The boy's physician should determine when the scout should hike, and it could be quite a while before that happens. My middle son broke his leg a few years ago in a similar location, we didn't know if the growth plate was involved or would be an issue because it was just on the edge. Even so, he was in a cast or a brace for 6 months and PT for another two months. The original estimate was 6 weeks in a cast, so quite different.

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I'm in agreement with 5yearscouter.


In the Scout handbook, there is the asterisk for this specific requirement at the bottom of the first page of requirements.


There is also a separate note on the second page of the requirements about Alternate Requirements for physical or mentally disabled that meet the disabled criteria.


The Tenderfoot and First Class ranks have the same Note about alternate requirements, but no asterisks pointing out alternatives to any specific requirments.


I think it stands to reason that the asterisk can be applied to any scout who needs crutches or is wheelchair bound at the time they are attempting to undertake the requirment, not just for those permanently disabled.


Besides, it seems to me the purpose of the requirement is the use of map and compass. If you look at the handbook pages referenced with the requirement, there's nothing about hiking. It's all map and compass use.

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I thin nolesrule nailed the true intent of the requirement.


Finding a level route for the boy to ambulate under his own power would not give him the experience he needs as a PL to qualify to take his patrol hiking and camping.


Having him determine the route that keeps your car's engine (or your heart) from seizing after a morning of geocaching over hill and dale, is more in line with the spirit of the requirements.


As to how important it is to push the boy in getting this requirement done (besides doing what the doctor says), 5yr, you might want to consider your program over the next six months. If your troop is going to be planning a lot of trips and you're having the boys mapping out routes, it's more important that he gets real-world experience navigating, and maybe your boy should swallow his pride and do the "footnote requirement"!


School of hard knocks has taught me the more trained eyes (even young ones) on a problem like hike/float plans, the more likely you are to find the right solution with minimum delay.


So in my calculus, items with zero weight:

- Expediting the trail to Eagle.

- A bogus need to balance positions of responsibility.

- Unwritten permanent vs. long term disability stipulations.

Items that hold weight (in increasing order):

- The boy's enthusiasm vs. his pride.

- How other troops in your council have handled it.

- The doctors' recommendation.

- The skills needed in the near term for successful program. (To steal a quote from jblake, what will this young PL need to "take care of his boys?")


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le Voyageur - the downhill option is interesting, but really? I recall a scout who did the 50 miler requirement for the Cycling merit badge in an hour and a half....all downhill.


That Scout cyclist would be averaging over 33 mph for 90 minutes. I've ridden a bike at over 33mph downhill, and it can easily be done, but it's normally a pretty steep grade. You'd need 50 miles of steep grade and still be keeping up a pretty serious pedaling effort for the hour and a half. Color me skeptical...


Here's a 17 mile ride that is labelled the Longest and Fastest Downhill in America - averaging a 5.9% grade.



The Maui Downhill Bike Ride is about 28 miles in length and drops 6700 feet. It seems to come up frequently as the longest in the U.S. http://adventuremaui.com/biking_the_volcano.htm


So where, outside of Tibet, did the Scout do this 50 mile downhill run in 90 minutes?

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Since the main point of the requirement is to learn how to use a compass and map together. I would say that taking a trip would be appropriate in this situation. Have the boy map out a route and then take the trip. The mode of transportation could be by car, or ATV, and I would say if it could be done in the woods that would be best.



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I've been searching and seraching and I just haven't found anything in any of the literature that states that a Scout that breaks a leg or ankle or is otherwise temporarily disabled has to put his advancement on hold until he gets better.


If the lad wants to keep on the advancement path, the BSA has provided the means to allow it. Go ahead and utilize it - you aren't cheating the Boy or the BSA.


Keep in mind that though the lad may no longer be using crutches in a month or so, the nature of his injury may mean he could still have trouble getting around for a year or so - do you really want to hold up advancement?

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the scout has prior experience with maps and compass, so his skill in this area isn't a question.

He goes hunting where they are sometimes blazing trails to find game and then find their way back to the campsite with maps of the area and a compass. He just hasn't demonstrated that skill on a 5 mile hike since joining boy scouts. he will have to sit out most of this falls hunting I think.


Right now the plan is for a couple other boys to go on a 5 mile hike and his job is to navigate a forest service road with trails criss crossing it that can be navigated by truck to reach the place they are headed for meet up with them, and then get back to the starting point. it may end up being a wash if it's just "too easy" according to parent and scoutmaster. but it will give him more experience and keep him engaged even if his book doesn't get signed.


so we'll see....


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Sounds like a great idea. To ramp it up (make it more fun, not more strenuous, for the boy) ...

Pre-arrange a "dead-drop" at some point (maybe two miles into the hike).


Have him find a good spot slightly off the trail for a snack, bear-bag the snack, and mark the location (the "drop zone") on the on a copy of the map. (If your hikers are Jr. Military types, you could put the lat/long in code or puzzle.) Hussle back and put the map in the dead-drop. Include a note indicating that the "enemy" is closing in on the drop, and if they do not arrive at the primary zone by __:__ hours, the package will be intercepted.


If the boy's as good as you say he is, he should have time to arrange a "secondary drop," ride back and intercept the package, and leave a note with coords and a time frame to reach the new location.


Or, you can simply have him bet on how long it will take his patrol to cover a section of trail. Difference in time could determine snack distribution.


Anyway, you get the picture. Make it fun. It may cost you a little more fuel, but it will keep the boy engaged in the hike and have him thinking through the map regarding what the boys may be up against.

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5yearscouter's original objective:

So what would you do to keep a scout interested, excited and chugging along, when he has a broken leg at the ankle,...


A different perspective: I assume that this is a relatively new scout, given that he has one more requirement for 2nd & 1st class.

I have yet to meet a new scout that joined a troop because he was interested and excited about advancement. He joined for fun, adventure, being with friends, camping, playing in the creek, lighting a campfire, exploring the woods, ...

Somewhere along the line, adults think that scouts will lose their interest and excitement, and will stop chugging along if we somehow don't shepherd them along the advancement trail. That being outdoors doing fun stuff and learning new skills somehow is no longer enough to keep them interested.


Adults may even convince the scouts that activities are not worth doing if there is not some advancement or award associated with it. Perhaps not overtly, but unconsiously by focusing on advancement activities instead of activities for their sheer fun and enjoyment.


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