The Boy Scouts of America have released four historic merit badges for the 100th BSA anniversary – Carpentry, Pathfinding, Signaling, and Tracking. These can only be earned in 2010. We want to do one of these with the troop as a way of celebrating the centennial. After looking at the different badges, my husband decided that Pathfinding would work into our troop program. He suggested the idea to the youth leadership and they liked it, so he has become a Pathfinding counselor.
Pathfinding is all about finding your way around the local area. Our troop continues to meet weekly during the summer, but attendance is spotty due to sports and vacations. So they are going to plan several bike rides to work in with the requirements of the Pathfinding merit badge. The idea is that they will ride around the neighborhood to familiarize themselves with landmarks. They will plan enough rides so that scouts can still earn the badge, even if they miss one or two meetings.
I like this approach because the bike riding will build a fitness component into the merit badge. And it should be active enough to keep the Scouts interested enough in the requirements.
Pathfinding Merit Badge Requirements
- In the country, know every lane, bypath, and short cut for a distance of at least two miles in every direction around the local scout headquarters; or in a city, have a general knowledge of the district within a three-mile radius of the local scout headquarters, so as to be able to guide people at any time, by day or by night.
- Know the population of the five principal neighboring towns, their general direction from his scout headquarters, and be able to give strangers correct directions how to reach them.
- If in the country, know in a two mile radius, the approximate number of horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs owned on the five neighboring farms; or, in a town, know, in a half-mile radius, the location of livery stables, garages and blacksmith shops.
- Know the location of the nearest meat markets, bakeries, groceries, and drug stores.
- Know the location of the the nearest police station, hospital, doctor, fire alarm, fire hydrant, telegraph and telephone offices, and railroad stations.
- Know something of the history of his place; and know the location of its principal public buildings, such as the town or city hall, post-office, schools and churches.
- Submit a map not necessarily drawn by himself upon which he personally has indicated as much as possible of the above information.