Boy Scout Archives: Pioneering Merit Badge
Pioneering – the knowledge of ropes, knots, and splices along with the ability to build rustic structures by lashing together poles and spars – is among the oldest of Scouting’s skills. Practicing rope use and completing projects with lashings also allow Scouts to connect with past generations, ancestors who used many of these skills as they sailed the open seas and lived in America’s forests and prairies..
Pioneering Merit Badge Requirements
- Show that you know first aid for injuries or illness that could occur while working on pioneering projects, including minor cuts and abrasions, bruises, rope burns, blisters, splinters, sprains, heat and cold reactions, dehydration, and insect bites or stings.
- Do the following:
- Successfully complete Tenderfoot requirements 4a and 4b and First Class requirements 7a, 7b, and 7c. (These are the rope-related requirements.)
- Tie the following: square knot, bowline, sheepshank, sheet bend, and roundturn with two half hitches.
- Demonstrate the following: tripod and round lashings.
- Explain why it is useful to be able to throw a rope, then demonstrate how to coil and throw a 40-foot length of 1/4- or 3/8-inch rope. Explain how to improve your throwing distance by adding weight to the end of your rope.
- Explain the differences between synthetic ropes and natural-fiber ropes. Discuss which types of rope are suitable for pioneering work and why. Include the following in your discussion: breaking strength, safe working loads, and the care and storage of rope.
- Explain the uses for the back splice, eye splice, and short splice. Using 1/4- or 3/8-inch threestranded rope, demonstrate how to form each splice.
- Using a rope-making device or machine, make a rope at least 6 feet long consisting of three strands, each having three yarns.
- Build a scale model of a signal tower or a monkey bridge. Correctly anchor the model using either the 1-1-1 anchoring system or the log and stake anchoring method. Describe the design of your project and explain how the anchoring system works.
- Demonstrate the use of a rope tackle by lifting a weight of 25 pounds and pulling a log at least 6 inches in diameter and 6 feet long with the tackle. Use the tackle to put tension on a line. Explain the advantages and limitations of using a rope tackle. In your explanation, describe the potential damage that friction can do to a rope.
- By yourself, build an A-trestle OR X-trestle OR H-trestle using square and diagonal lashings. Explain the application of the trestle you build. Demonstrate how to tie two spars together using a shear lashing.
- With a group of Scouts OR on your own, select a pioneering project and get your counselor’s approval before you begin building. With your counselor’s guidance, create a rough sketch of the project. Make a list of the ropes and spars needed, then build the project. (Note: This requirement may be done at summer camp, at district or council events, or on a troop camp outing.)
The Outdoor Knots Book (Mountaineers Outdoor Basics) Many outdoor activities require extensive knowledge of knots: camping, climbing, rappelling, spelunking, and more.
Klutz Book of Knots I have to admit that knots are not my strong suit. This book has really helped me learn the various knots I needed to teach to my Cub Scouts.
Camping Troop Program Feature for Boy Scouts The Boy Scout Roundtable Planning Guide suggests a Camping troop program feature for Boy Scouts. The focus of this program feature is on outdoor skills.
Crossing the Alligator Pit Game This is a very challenging game which combines lashing skills and teamwork. It would work well for an interpatrol activity at a meeting focused on pioneering skills.
Boot Scraper Camp Gadget Here is a really simple camp gadget I saw at a camporee a few years back. It was a simple gadget for scraping the mud off of the bottom of the boots.
Hand Washing Station Gadget This is a gadget which was shown to us at a recent Roundtable. It uses lashings to make a handwashing station from straight sticks and an empty gallon milk jug.
National Outdoor Badges - Camping If you have some enthusiastic campers in your troop, they might have completed the requirements already.
My Favorite Knot Book This book was recommended a few years ago when I went to Cub Scout BALOO training. I am not a "knot person". I can watch someone do a knot and repeat it, but an hour later it is forgotten.
Pot and Towel Rack Camp Gadget These instructions are for a pot and towel drying rack. There is a small picture of a similar gadget in the Boy Scout handbook.
Requirements and Helps for Boy Scout Merit Badges You can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers as you earn merit badges. There are more than 100 merit badges.