Homepage Forums Scouts BSA Camping Merit badge requirement #3 interpretation

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    • #80962
      Jeff Gramza

      How is the camping merit badge #3 interpreted? Specifically “Make a written plan and SHOW how to get to your camping spot using a topographical map or GPS”. Me and another leader are reading it differently. He says all the scout has to do is plan an overnight trek and use a topographical map to just show how you would get to your camping spot without actual doing the hiking. I say the scout is to use the topo map and physically hike to the camping spot. Which method is correct or preferred. My take is it does a scout no good to run his finger across a map to tell where they are camping.

    • #80976
      Steve Savoie

      The requirement specifically says show using a map. There is nothing that says they have to hike. Since as scout leaders we cannot change the requirements then the scout need only show his counselor on a map how they would get there using a compass or gps device.

    • #81044

      There are some things you don’t want to do here:

      1. Don’t read “hiking” into “trek”. It could involve cycling, canoeing, whitewater, sailing, even driving a motor, or any other means one might use to get to a campsite.
      2. Don’t treat #3 as if it’s in a vacuum. All of the requirements should be envisioned development cycle. A scout prepares, plans, implements, reflects, and repeats. With that in mind, requirement #3 should be done with a desirable campsite — one that he actually wants to go to with his buddies — in mind.

      That said, a good counselor will want to meet with the boy before he goes on his hike, see what the boy’s plan is, suggest modifications, if needed, and approve the plan. (This is why many SMs make good camping MBCs … they do this routinely.) Obviously, all of that requirement would be done before the boy goes out the door!

    • #81066

      OK. Eliminate the word ‘hike’/ Replace with ‘get to’ the camping spot. “Q” above on January 9th says it should be done with a desirable campsite—one that the scout wants to go to with his buddies. That’s not what I’m asking in my question. “Q” also says the counselor will want to meet with the scout before he goes on his ‘hike’ (or boating trip or cycling trip…whatever the mode) and discuss it prior to doing it. So that’s what I’m asking: Do they have to go on their actual ‘trek’ or can they use a topo map/gps and just point to where they want to go? That would be easy to do with a topo map but not too easy to just point something out using a GPS. I may be making a bigger deal of this than it should be, but if all they have to do is pull out a map and run their finger across it saying “this is where I want to camp”, then what have they learned? Nothing.

    • #81163

      I think this requirement is intended to show that the scout has learned how to plan a camp out (make a written plan) and read/orient a map (show how to get to your camping spot). Isn’t reading a topographical map (and compass) or operating a GPS a skill? Nothing in that requirement about actually going to the campsite. I think what Q is trying to point out if you look at all the requirements for that merit badge as a whole, they are set in a specific order. In the later requirements, the scouts should be doing the actual ‘getting to’ the campsite.

    • #81275

      if all they have to do is pull out a map and run their finger across it saying “this is where I want to camp”, then what have they learned? Nothing.

      Well, if all they do is requirement #3, they don’t get the badge! 🙂

      I’m just laying out page 24 of the pamphlet (the section titled “Trip Plan”). Have a boy read it and do what it says.

      A good counselor will ask the scout more than just the point on the map. This requirement is about the trip plan. Where will you meet? How will you get there? What if the path is blocked, water is high/low, etc ..? How will you know you’re at your waypoint if you can’t get a satellite signal?

      You need a pretty thorough dialogue for the boy to “show” you that he knows how to arrive at his campsite. This is a dialogue I regularly have with our scouts. They pick the trail head and their waypoints. We plan a rendezvous later in the day (or the next day if they have two-deep adult leadership for overnight). Basically, I consider that plan to have shown me how they will get to campsite. I my dog can saunter to the rendezvous point and meet them there.

      Following along as a boy navigates to his campsite on the desired weekend wont get you any of that. Especially on a light day in good weather. That said, if he invites me along, and the menu is better than anything the Mrs. Q will be cooking that day, I’ll gladly let the scout “show” me how he implements his trip plan with his patrol!

    • #95130

      My issue with this requirement is a little different. It is that topo maps are not designed for anything less than miles basically, so if it’s a short trip, almost pointless to work on.

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