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Camping OR Backpacking MB as Eagle required?


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#1 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 05:49 AM

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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#2 DuctTape

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 05:56 AM

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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#3 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:07 AM

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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#4 qwazse

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:12 AM

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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#5 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:45 AM

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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#6 qwazse

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 08:49 AM

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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#7 NJCubScouter

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 08:54 AM

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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#8 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 09:10 AM

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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#9 NJCubScouter

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 10:23 AM

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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#10 Stosh

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 10:23 AM

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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#11 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 10:49 AM

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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#12 NJCubScouter

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 12:54 PM

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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#13 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:06 PM

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, 10 May 2017 - 01:14 PM.

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#14 fred johnson

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:51 PM

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, 10 May 2017 - 01:52 PM.

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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 02:18 PM

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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#16 qwazse

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 03:13 PM

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.

Finding it too much trouble (five summers in a row) to go down to aquatics -- or the community pool, or the Great Lake by my in-laws one cottage or ocean by their winter home -- to wrap up that Swimming MB partial, Son #2 earned hiking instead. His 20-miler passed four pools and two rivers.

 

He recently failed a life guard qualifying exam. (Taken mainly to keep his girlfriend company, as she does this seasonally for her summer job.) In after action review he criticized me and Mrs. Q for never adequately teaching him to swim efficiently.

:mad:

I have half a mind to excavate that partial and give it to his girlfriend.


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#17 Stosh

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 04:42 PM

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. 

 

Unfortunately that's not true.  I had a local engineer in my troop that designed a patrol box that took two people to carry that fit nicely between the thwarts and gunnels of the canoe.  Once I took it to BWCA but didn't go very far in.  It was nice, but it was a real pain to double portage the stupid thing.


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Stosh

 

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#18 TAHAWK

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:35 PM

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.

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 would not think walking fifteen miles in a day with a day pack would be testing for a fit Scout unless the trail had a lot of severe up and down or it was particularly hot and humid.  As to that, planning.  It's five hours walking for me at 73, even with the never-sufficiently-cursed blood pressure meds.


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#19 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 07:57 PM


I would not think walking fifteen miles in a day with a day pack would be testing for a fit Scout unless the trail had a lot of severe up and down or it was particularly hot and humid.  As to that, planning.  It's five hours walking for me at 73, even with the never-sufficiently-cursed blood pressure meds.

 

Can't take Hydrochlorothiazide ( a diuretic) with the dehydration risks and the frequent pit stops. Lisinopril and its side effects, as in 5 hours, I may need two naps. :mad:  Together they lower BP, if I don't exercise! :mad:


Edited by RememberSchiff, 10 May 2017 - 07:59 PM.

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#20 Stosh

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 08:12 PM

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 would not think walking fifteen miles in a day with a day pack would be testing for a fit Scout unless the trail had a lot of severe up and down or it was particularly hot and humid.  As to that, planning.  It's five hours walking for me at 73, even with the never-sufficiently-cursed blood pressure meds.

 

One earns their 50-miler with that setup.  Broken down into 5 days?  One would think that even a couch potato could pull that off.  At 3 miles an hour (average walking speed)  That means the 

 

Walk 1) 5 miles = 1 hour 40 minutes.  Seriously?  One could pull this off in the time most troops have a meeting activity.  2) 10 miles = 3 hours 20 minutes.  a stretch, but if one left after breakfast they would be done by lunch.  Three hikes like this should build up a bit of stamina for the... 3) 15 miles = 5 hours.  Okay, if one were to leave at noon, they might be a little late for dinner.

 

Okay let's translate that into Philmont.

 

Day one: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 8:40 am.

Day two: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 10:20 am.

Day three: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 10:20 am.

Day four: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 10:20 am.

Day five: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 12:00 noon

 

That should leave a little time for evening activities.

 

Okay, let's take it back home.

 

Leave at 5:00 pm, Friday, done by 6:40 pm.  Make camp.  Leave at 12:00 noon Saturday, done by 3:20 pm, go home  Come back after church, leave again at 12:00 noon, done by 3:20 pm.  Next Friday camp the evening, leave at noon on Saturday, done by 3:20 pm.  Home again for church on Sunday, back on the trail by noon, done at 5:00 pm.  2 nights of camping, made it to church, and still got it done in 2 weekends.  Of course if one were to have a Chaplain's Aide along one could stretch the nights of camping out to four.  Nothing wrong with circular hikes that take one back to camp each night.  A day-pack and water bottle should suffice.


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Stosh

 

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