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First Class Rank for Scouts BSA for 2024

The First Class rank is a significant achievement for Scouts in the Scouts BSA program. It helps middle and high school students develop practical skills and build strong character. Scouts who work towards the First Class rank learn how to camp, cook, and navigate the outdoors responsibly. This rank encourages Scouts to become independent and confident in their abilities to manage various outdoor activities.

First Class Rank Badge

Earning the First Class rank involves learning how to minimize the impact on nature while camping and hiking. Scouts learn why it’s important to follow the Outdoor Code and Leave No Trace principles. This helps them protect the environment and ensures that nature will be preserved for others to enjoy. Understanding these principles is a big part of what Scouts learn at this level.

Cooking is another key skill taught at the First Class rank. Scouts must plan and cook meals that are nutritious and suitable for outdoor activities. This not only teaches them about food safety and preparation but also about budgeting and the importance of nutrition. These skills are useful both in and outside of scouting activities.

Finally, the First Class rank prepares Scouts to be responsible members of their communities. They engage in service projects and learn about leadership and citizenship. These experiences teach Scouts to contribute positively to society and take on leadership roles confidently. Through these activities, Scouts gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in their achievements.

First Class Rank Requirements and Workbook

First Class Rank Answers and Resources

Help with Answers for First Class Rank Requirements

Find specific helps for some of the First Class rank requirements listed below. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.

Help with Answers for First Class Rank Requirements

Find specific helps for some of the First Class rank requirements listed below. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.

First Class Rank Requirement 1: Camping and Outdoor Ethics

  1. Since joining Scouts BSA, participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities, at least six of which must be held outdoors. Of the outdoor activities, at least three must include overnight camping. These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings. On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee.
  2. Explain the potential impacts of camping, both on the environment and on other outdoor users. Explain why the Outdoor Code and Leave No Trace principles are important for protecting the outdoors.

First Class Rank Requirement 1 Helps and Answers

Outdoor Adventures

To earn the First Class rank, Scouts must participate in 10 separate troop or patrol activities. Six of these activities need to be held outdoors, and at least three should include overnight camping. This requirement is designed to get Scouts involved and active within their troop, helping them gain practical outdoor skills and teamwork experience.

During these activities, Scouts will not just be participants but also contributors. For the overnight camping trips, Scouts are required to either pitch a tent or help build another type of outdoor sleeping structure like a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee. This teaches planning, teamwork, and the basics of outdoor shelter construction, which are essential survival skills.

It’s important for Scouts to keep track of these activities. A camping log can be a helpful tool to record each outing’s details, such as the date, location, and what skills were practiced or learned. You can find a useful camping log template on my website to help keep your adventures organized: Camping Log for Scouts BSA.

These experiences contribute significantly to a Scout’s growth and enjoyment of the outdoors, instilling a sense of adventure and appreciation for nature as they progress toward the First Class rank.

Protecting Nature While Camping

For the First Class rank, Scouts must understand the impact of their camping activities on both the environment and other people enjoying the outdoors. This requirement teaches Scouts to be mindful of their surroundings and promotes responsible behavior.

Camping can affect the environment in various ways. For example, it can damage plants and wildlife habitats, pollute water sources, and leave behind waste that disrupts ecosystems. The presence of campers can also affect other people’s outdoor experiences by causing noise, overcrowding, and altering the natural setting.

To minimize these impacts, the Outdoor Code and Leave No Trace principles are essential. The Outdoor Code serves as a guide for Scouts to be considerate in the outdoors, to conserve wildlife, and to respect others. Leave No Trace principles further outline specific actions to reduce damage, such as planning ahead to minimize waste, leaving what you find, and being considerate of other visitors.

Read more about the Outdoor Code.

Understanding and applying these principles helps protect the natural beauty and maintain the integrity of the outdoors for everyone to enjoy. By learning these concepts for the First Class rank, Scouts commit to being responsible stewards of nature whenever they venture outside.

Links Resources

Best Backpack for Short Term Camping: See some recommendations from Scouts and Scouters for a good backpack to take on a one or two night outing.

How Many Count as a Patrol? A reader asks about how many patrol members need to be present to count an activity as a patrol activity. See some answers and add your own to the comments.

First Class Rank Requirement 2: Cooking

  1. Help plan a menu for one of the above campouts that includes at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner, and that requires cooking at least two of the meals. Tell how the menu includes the foods from MyPlate or the current USDA nutritional model and how it meets nutritional needs for the planned activity or campout.
  2. Using the menu planned in First Class requirement 2a, make a list showing a budget and the food amounts needed to feed three or more youth. Secure the ingredients.
  3. Show which pans, utensils, and other gear will be needed to cook and serve these meals.
  4. Demonstrate the procedures to follow in the safe handling and storage of fresh meats, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, and other perishable food products. Show how to properly dispose of camp garbage, cans, plastic containers, waste water, and other rubbish.
  5. On one campout, serve as cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in First Class requirement 2a. Supervise the cleanup.

First Class Rank Requirement 2 Helps and Answers

Camp Cooking for the First Class Rank

Earning the First Class rank requires Scouts to gain hands-on experience in planning and preparing meals during a campout. This requirement is designed to teach essential skills in nutrition, budgeting, food safety, and environmental responsibility.

Planning a Nutritious Menu

Scouts must help plan a menu that includes one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner, cooking at least two of these meals. The menu should follow current guidelines, which emphasize including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy in each meal to meet the energy needs of active Scouts.

For example, breakfast might consist of oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts, lunch could be sandwiches with lean meats and salads, and dinner might include grilled chicken, vegetables, and a simple rice dish.

See lots of camping recipes here.

Budgeting and Procurement

After planning the menu, Scouts need to create a budget and a shopping list detailing the amounts of food needed to feed at least three people. This teaches budget management and helps Scouts understand portion control and cost-effectiveness. They then purchase or gather these ingredients, ensuring they have everything needed for the campout.

Cooking and Equipment

Scouts must identify and prepare the cooking gear required for the meals. This might include pans, pots, utensils, and cleaning supplies. Knowing what equipment is needed for each cooking task is crucial for efficient meal preparation.

Cooking and Leadership Experience

Finally, during an actual campout, Scouts take on the role of cook. They use a stove or build a fire, prepare the planned meals, and lead the cleanup afterward. This responsibility reinforces leadership skills, teamwork, and the practical application of cooking knowledge.

This comprehensive approach not only prepares Scouts for the First Class rank but also instills lifelong skills in nutrition, planning, leadership, and environmental stewardship.

Ensuring Safety and Cleanliness in Camp Cooking

For Scouts aiming for the First Class rank, understanding how to handle and store perishable food safely, as well as how to manage camp waste properly, is crucial. These practices not only prevent illness but also protect the environment, ensuring that camping areas remain pristine for future visitors.

Safe Handling and Storage of Perishable Foods

Here are essential guidelines for handling and storing perishables on campouts:

  1. Keep Cold Foods Cold: Use coolers with ice packs to store meats, dairy products, eggs, and vegetables. Keep the cooler in a shaded area and open it as infrequently as possible to maintain a low temperature.
  2. Separate Raw and Cooked Foods: Avoid cross-contamination by using separate containers for raw and cooked foods. Always use separate utensils for handling these items.
  3. Cook Foods to Proper Temperatures: Use a food thermometer to ensure that meats are cooked to the temperatures required to kill harmful bacteria. For example, poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  4. Store Foods Quickly After Cooking: Perishable foods should not sit out for more than two hours (one hour in hot weather). Store leftovers promptly in the cooler.
  5. Keep Everything Clean: Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with soap and water before and after handling food. If water is scarce, use hand sanitizer.
Proper Disposal of Camp Garbage and Wastewater

Proper waste disposal is just as important as food safety. Here’s how Scouts can manage waste during campouts:

  • Sort and Recycle: Separate recyclables such as cans and plastic containers. If the campsite has recycling facilities, use them. Otherwise, pack recyclables to dispose of at home.
  • Dispose of Garbage Properly: Keep all garbage in tightly sealed bags and dispose of it in designated trash bins at the campsite. If there are no bins, pack the trash out to dispose of it properly later.
  • Manage Wastewater: Dispose of wastewater in designated utility sinks or latrines if available. If not, strain out solids and scatter the water over a wide area, well away from any water sources, to minimize its impact.
  • Minimize Waste: Plan meals to reduce leftovers and avoid disposable items. Opt for reusable water bottles and utensils.
  • Leave No Trace: Follow the Leave No Trace principles to ensure that the campsite looks untouched when you leave. This includes naturalizing the area if anything was altered.

By following these recommendations, Scouts working toward their First Class rank will not only protect their health and safety but also contribute positively to conserving the outdoor environments where they adventure.

Links Resources

Help for Grubmasters: The Scout who is responsible for purchasing the food, packing it, and getting it to camp is often called a grubmaster. See some tips here.

Dutch Oven Cooking: See some fool proof Dutch oven tips and recipes.

Foil Pack Dinners: Go beyond burgers and potatoes. See some new foil pack combinations and tips for cooking these easy meals.

Disposing of Dishwater at Camp: See an easy method to dispose of your dishwater at camp.

First Class Rank Requirement 3: Tools

  1. Discuss when you should and should not use lashings.
  2. Demonstrate tying the timber hitch and clove hitch.
  3. Demonstrate tying the square, shear, and diagonal lashings by joining two or more poles or staves together.
  4. Use lashings to make a useful camp gadget or structure.

First Class Rank Requirement 3 Helps and Answers

Learning Lashings

Lashings are a fundamental skill in Scouts BSA, particularly for the First Class rank. They are used to securely tie sticks or poles together to create structures and tools, enhancing a Scout’s ability to construct useful items in the outdoors.

When to Use and When Not to Use Lashings
  • When to Use Lashings:
  • Constructing camp gadgets like flagpoles, dining fly supports, or washstands.
  • Building temporary shelters or tripods for cooking over a fire.
  • Creating pioneering projects like bridges or towers during scout activities.
  • When Not to Use Lashings:
  • When the structure could be assembled more safely or effectively with tools or other hardware.
  • If the materials being used are too brittle or weak, which could break under the strain of the lashings.
  • In situations where permanent structures are needed; lashings are generally for temporary use.
Uses for Timber Hitch and Clove Hitch
  • Timber Hitch: This knot is used to start and finish many lashings, especially when dragging logs or hoisting the flagpole. It wraps around a log or pole and tightens under tension but is easy to untie once the tension is released.
  • Clove Hitch: This knot is versatile and can be used to begin and end lashings. It’s also useful for securing lines to posts, rings, or other objects briefly and quickly during camp setup.
Uses for Square, Shear, and Diagonal Lashings
  • Square Lashing: Used to bind poles that cross each other at a 90-degree angle. It’s ideal for making a frame, shelf, or table.
  • Shear Lashing: Often used to bind two poles that are in alignment, forming the start of a tripod or other support structure.
  • Diagonal Lashing: Useful when poles cross each other at an angle other than 90 degrees, often used for strengthening frameworks or making a-frame supports.
Easy Camp Gadgets to Make with Lashings
  1. Tripod – A simple structure with three legs lashed together at one end. It can be used to hang a cooking pot or as a support for a small table.
  2. Washstand – Using lashings to construct a stand for holding a washbasin or utensils near the cooking area.
  3. Tool Rack – Create a horizontal pole supported by two upright poles lashed at either end, useful for hanging cooking tools or utensils.
  4. Flagpole – Lash several poles together end-to-end to make a tall flagpole. Be sure to secure it properly for safety.

Mastering these lashing techniques and understanding when and how to apply them are crucial for Scouts working towards their First Class rank. These skills not only promote creativity and resourcefulness but also enhance a Scout’s ability to adapt and solve problems in outdoor settings.

Links Resources

Pot and Towel Rack Camp Gadget: These instructions are for a pot and towel drying rack for camp

Hand Washing Station Gadget: This uses lashings to make a handwashing station from straight sticks and an empty gallon milk jug.

Boot Scraper Camp Gadget: A very simple boot scraper camp gadget for scraping the mud off of the bottom of the boots.

Crossing the Alligator Pit Game: This is a challenging game which combines lashing skills and teamwork.

Snapper Fishing Game: This is a traditional Scout lashings game which might date back to Baden-Powell himself. It practices Scoutcraft (lashings) as well as cooperation and problem solving.

Knot Terminology: It is helpful to go over the terminology with Scouts before working on learning a knot.

Animated Knots: This site uses animations to show how to tie lots of different knots:

First Class Rank Requirement 4: Navigation

  1. Using a map and compass, complete an orienteering course that covers at least one mile and requires measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.).
  2. Demonstrate how to use a handheld GPS unit, GPS app on a smartphone, or other electronic navigation system. Use GPS to find your current location, a destination of your choice, and the route you will take to get there. Follow that route to arrive at your destination.

First Class Rank Requirement 4 Helps and Answers

Navigating the Great Outdoors

For the First Class rank, Scouts must demonstrate their ability to navigate both traditionally with a map and compass, and using modern technology like GPS. This requirement enhances their skills in orientation, which is crucial for safe and effective outdoor adventures.

Completing an Orienteering Course

Scouts are required to complete an orienteering course that spans at least one mile. This teaches Scouts how to accurately use these traditional tools and understand their environment better. It’s important for Scouts to learn how to read a map’s legend and symbols, and how to orient a map to match the environment.

Using a GPS Device

Scouts also need to demonstrate their ability to use a GPS device. This can be a handheld unit, a GPS app on a smartphone, or any other electronic navigation system.

This part of the requirement helps Scouts become familiar with digital tools that can aid in navigation. Understanding how to use GPS technology is not only beneficial for scouting but is also a valuable skill in daily life, especially when traveling to new places.

Why These Skills Matter

Learning both traditional and modern navigation techniques ensures Scouts are well-prepared for any situation they might encounter in the wild. These skills are essential for hiking, camping, and emergency situations where orientation is crucial. They empower Scouts to lead, make informed decisions, and encourage a deeper appreciation and understanding of the natural world.

These navigation tasks for the First Class rank not only boost a Scout’s confidence in their navigation skills but also ensure they can safely enjoy and explore the outdoors.

Links Resources

Personal Measurement Log for Orienteering: Some methods of navigation and measurement used in First Class requirement 4 require you to have something of known length for comparison. A personal measurement log will help you with this.

Orienteering Scavenger Hunt: This activity helps Scouts learn navigation skills.

First Class Rank Requirement 5: Nature

  1. Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of native plants found in your local area or campsite location. You may show evidence by identifying fallen leaves or fallen fruit that you find in the field, or as part of a collection you have made, or by photographs you have taken.
  2. Identify two ways to obtain a weather forecast for an upcoming activity. Explain why weather forecasts are important when planning for an event.
  3. Describe at least three natural indicators of impending hazardous weather, the potential dangerous events that might result from such weather conditions, and the appropriate actions to take.
  4. Describe extreme weather conditions you might encounter in the outdoors in your local geographic area. Discuss how you would determine ahead of time the potential risk of these types of weather dangers, alternative planning considerations to avoid such risks, and how you would prepare for and respond to those weather conditions.

First Class Rank Requirement 5 Helps and Answers

Exploring Botany

One of the exciting requirements for the First Class rank involves learning about the natural environment, specifically the native plants in your local area or campsite. This task helps Scouts develop an appreciation for nature and fosters a deeper understanding of the ecosystem around them.

Scouts are required to identify at least ten types of native plants. This can be done through various methods:

  • Collecting Leaves or Fruit: During hikes or camping trips, Scouts can collect fallen leaves or fruit. It’s a hands-on way to learn and remember the characteristics of different plants.
  • Taking Photographs: Scouts can use a camera or smartphone to take pictures of plants. This method is especially useful for keeping a visual record of what they find, and it’s environmentally friendly as it does not involve picking or disturbing the plants.
  • Creating a Collection: For those who are especially interested in botany, creating a personal herbarium (a collection of preserved plant specimens) can be a fulfilling project. This collection can be used as a reference and shared with others in the troop.

Understanding native plants is about recognizing different species and recognizing the role these plants play in their habitats. Scouts learn which plants are crucial for local wildlife, which are edible, and which might be poisonous. This knowledge is practical for camping and hiking, and it encourages responsible interaction with the environment.

This requirement for the First Class rank not only enriches a Scout’s camping experience but also builds a foundation for environmental stewardship. It equips Scouts with the knowledge to appreciate and protect the natural world around them.

Staying Prepared with Weather Forecasts

For Scouts working towards their First Class rank, understanding how to obtain and use weather forecasts is essential. This knowledge ensures that they can plan their outdoor activities more safely and effectively.

Scouts have several methods available to check the weather before an event:

  • Weather Apps: Many smartphones have built-in weather apps, and additional apps can be downloaded. These provide current weather conditions and forecasts.
  • Websites: Visiting websites of local meteorological services or national weather agencies offers detailed forecasts. Sites like the National Weather Service provide updates and alerts on severe weather.
  • TV and Radio: Local news stations frequently provide weather updates. Tuning in to morning or evening news can give Scouts the latest forecasts.
  • Newspapers: Although more traditional, many newspapers still include a weather section with forecasts for several days ahead.

Understanding the weather forecast is crucial for several reasons:

  • Safety: Knowing the weather conditions helps in preparing for potential dangers like storms, high winds, or extreme temperatures, which could impact the safety of outdoor activities.
  • Planning: Weather forecasts influence decisions about what gear to bring, whether extra precautions are necessary, and sometimes even whether the event should go ahead.
  • Learning and Adaptability: Regularly checking the weather teaches Scouts to be adaptable and make informed decisions based on changing conditions.

For Scouts aiming for the First Class rank, the ability to effectively use weather forecasts is a valuable part of their development. It teaches them to be proactive and responsible, ensuring that their adventures are not only fun but also safe.

Recognizing Nature’s Warnings

For the First Class rank, Scouts are taught to observe nature’s signs that indicate changes in the weather. Understanding these natural indicators can be vital for ensuring safety during outdoor activities.

Natural Indicators of Hazardous Weather

  • Cloud Patterns: Fast-moving or unusually shaped clouds can indicate an approaching storm. Cumulonimbus clouds, often towering and anvil-shaped, suggest thunderstorms which can bring lightning, heavy rain, and strong winds.
  • Wind Changes: Sudden changes in wind direction or speed can signal an approaching weather front. Increasing wind strength can mean a storm is near, requiring Scouts to seek shelter.
  • Drop in Temperature: A rapid drop in temperature can precede snow, frost, or a cold weather front. This can lead to hypothermia if Scouts are not prepared with adequate clothing and shelter.

Potential Dangerous Events and Actions to Take

  • Thunderstorms: These can lead to lightning strikes, flash flooding, and severe winds. Scouts should avoid open fields, tall trees, and water bodies. Seeking shelter in a low area or in a forest of small trees can provide safety.
  • High Winds: These can cause falling branches or overturn lightweight shelters. It’s essential to secure all camp gear and move to a sheltered area away from potential falling debris.
  • Extreme Cold: This brings risks of frostbite and hypothermia. Scouts should wear multiple layers of clothing, stay dry, and keep active to generate body heat.

Being observant and recognizing these signs allows Scouts to respond appropriately:

  • Inform the Leader: Always report weather changes to a Scout leader or adult.
  • Modify Plans: Depending on the severity, it might be necessary to change the day’s activities or move to a safer location.
  • Use Survival Skills: Apply learned survival techniques, like building an appropriate shelter or starting a fire safely if conditions permit.

By teaching Scouts how to read natural indicators for the First Class rank, they become more adept at managing and adapting to environmental changes, ensuring safer and more enjoyable outdoor experiences.

Preparing for Extreme Weather

Scouts working towards their First Class rank need to be prepared for extreme weather conditions. Understanding these conditions and knowing how to prepare and respond is crucial for safety during outdoor activities.

Types of Extreme Weather Conditions

  1. Heatwaves: Extremely high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Scouts should wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, stay hydrated, and avoid strenuous activities during peak heat hours.
  2. Severe Thunderstorms: These can include heavy rain, lightning, hail, and strong winds. Lightning poses a significant risk, especially in open areas or under tall trees.
  3. Blizzards and Heavy Snow: Heavy snowfall can lead to hypothermia, reduce visibility, and make travel dangerous. Keeping warm and dry is essential.
  4. Floods: Heavy rains can cause rivers to overflow, leading to flooding. It’s important to know the terrain and avoid camping near waterways during rainy conditions.

Assessing Risks and Planning Ahead

  • Weather Forecasts: Always check the weather forecast before an activity. Look for any warnings about extreme weather conditions.
  • Know the Area: Understanding the typical weather patterns and potential risks of the area can guide what to prepare for.
  • Plan Alternatives: Have a backup plan if extreme weather is forecast. This might mean changing locations, adjusting the schedule, or even postponing the activity.

Preparation and Response

  • Appropriate Gear: Pack clothing and equipment suitable for the worst expected weather. This includes waterproof gear for rain, warm layers for cold, and sun protection for heat.
  • Emergency Kit: Always have a first aid kit and emergency supplies like extra water, food, and a way to communicate (like a charged mobile phone or a radio).
  • Immediate Actions: If extreme weather strikes, know what to do. For thunderstorms, seek shelter in a low area away from trees. In a blizzard, stay dry and insulate yourself from the cold. If flooding is imminent, move to higher ground.

By teaching Scouts these preparedness and response strategies for the First Class rank, they learn to handle outdoor activities more safely and effectively, no matter what the weather may bring. This not only enhances their scouting experience but also instills lifelong safety habits.

Links Resources

Native Plants in Your Area: Enter your zip code to find out about plants near you for First Class requirement 5.

Weather Hazards Online Course: This online course from BSA will help you know how to be prepared for all sorts of weather. Adult leaders who are taking Scouts on outdoor adventures need to take this course.

First Class Rank Requirement 6: Aquatics

  1. Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.
  2. Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe trip afloat.
  3. Identify the basic parts of a canoe, kayak, or other boat. Identify the parts of a paddle or an oar.
  4. Describe proper body positioning in a watercraft, depending on the type and size of the vessel. Explain the importance of proper body position in the boat.
  5. With a helper and a practice victim, show a line rescue both as tender and as rescuer. (The practice victim should be approximately 30 feet from shore in deep water.)

First Class Rank Requirement 6 Helps and Answers

BSA Swimmer Test

Earning the First Class rank requires Scouts to demonstrate their swimming skills by successfully completing the BSA swimmer test. This test assesses a Scout’s ability to swim confidently and safely, which is essential for participating in many water-based activities in Scouting.

The BSA swimmer test consists of:

  1. Jumping into water over the head in depth, then leveling off and swimming 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: front crawl, breaststroke, elementary backstroke, or sidestroke. Then, the Scout must swim an additional 25 yards using an easy resting backstroke.
  2. Floating: After completing the swim, the Scout must float on their back for one minute.

The swimmer test not only evaluates a Scout’s swimming ability but also their endurance and comfort in the water.

Importance of the Swimmer Test

  • Safety: Swimming skills are crucial for safety in and around water. Knowing how to swim reduces the risk of water-related accidents.
  • Access to Activities: Passing the swimmer test allows Scouts to participate in more advanced water activities, such as boating, water skiing, and lifesaving merit badge classes.
  • Confidence Building: Successfully completing the test builds confidence and demonstrates a Scout’s ability to handle physical challenges.

Preparation for the Test

  • Practice: Regular swimming practice helps improve endurance and technique in the strokes required for the test.
  • Instruction: Swimming lessons can be beneficial. Many local pools and community centers offer instruction that can help Scouts prepare for the test.
  • Physical Fitness: General physical fitness, including strength and stamina, will make the swimming test easier to complete.

For more detailed information on preparing and what to expect during the BSA swimmer test, visit my guide to the BSA Swim Test.

Completing the swimmer test for the First Class rank is not just about passing a requirement; it’s about ensuring that Scouts are prepared and safe in water-based environments, enhancing their overall Scouting experience.

Ensuring Safety on Water Trips

Achieving the First Class rank involves learning and understanding how to stay safe during activities on the water. Scouts must be aware of the necessary precautions outlined by the Boy Scouts of America’s Safety Afloat guidelines to ensure that every water outing is both fun and safe.

Key Precautions for a Safe Trip Afloat

  1. Qualified Supervision: Every boating activity must be supervised by an adult who is trained in BSA Safety Afloat and CPR. This ensures that there is someone capable of handling any emergencies that may arise.
  2. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs): All participants must wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets at all times on the water.
  3. Skill Proficiency: Before going afloat, participants must demonstrate their ability to handle the watercraft appropriately, which includes passing the BSA swimmer test for activities beyond calm, shallow water.
  4. Planning: The activity must be planned to suit the skill level and fitness of the participants. Leaders should ensure that the chosen water route and the conditions of the day are appropriate.
  5. Equipment: All equipment must be suitable for the specific water activity, in good repair, and meet all applicable regulations.
  6. Safety Procedures: Emergency procedures should be understood by all participants. This includes knowing how to respond in case of capsizing, dealing with a person overboard, and handling other potential emergencies.
  7. Communication: Devices for communicating with land-based contacts, such as cell phones or marine radios, should be available and protected from water.
  8. Discipline: Everyone participating in the activity must agree to follow the Safety Afloat rules and other instructions given by the supervisors.

For more detailed information about each of these precautions and how to apply them, Scouts and leaders can read more about Safety Afloat guidelines.

Understanding and implementing these precautions are vital for Scouts working towards the First Class rank. They not only help prevent accidents and emergencies on water trips but also instill a sense of responsibility and preparedness in young Scouts, which will serve them in all their scouting activities and beyond.

Watercraft Basics

For Scouts aiming for the First Class rank, understanding the different parts of canoes and kayaks, as well as the correct way to position oneself while paddling, is essential for safety and efficiency in water activities.

Basic Parts of a Canoe and Kayak


  • Hull: The body of the canoe, which touches the water.
  • Gunwales: The upper edges of the canoe’s sides.
  • Bow: The front end of the canoe.
  • Stern: The rear end of the canoe.
  • Thwart: Horizontal braces across the canoe that provide stability.
  • Yoke: The crossbar near the middle of the canoe used for carrying it.


  • Hull: The body of the kayak, designed to be sleek for easy movement through water.
  • Deck: The top part of the kayak, which covers the interior.
  • Cockpit: The opening in the deck where the paddler sits.
  • Bow: The front of the kayak.
  • Stern: The back of the kayak.
  • Bulkheads: Internal walls within a kayak that add buoyancy and storage compartments.
Canoe vs. Kayak Paddles

Canoe Paddle:

  • Blade: The flat part of the paddle that moves through the water.
  • Shaft: The long part of the paddle that the paddler holds.
  • Grip: The part at the end of the shaft that the paddler holds with one hand.

Kayak Paddle:

  • Blades: Kayak paddles have a blade on each end.
  • Shaft: The long part that connects the blades, typically held with both hands.
  • Ferrule: The joint in the middle of the shaft that can often be adjusted to change the angle of the blades.
Proper Body Positioning in Watercraft

The correct body positioning in a canoe or kayak is crucial for controlling the boat and reducing the risk of capsizing:

  • Canoe: Sit or kneel on the bottom of the canoe. Keep your center of gravity low and your body centered along the canoe’s length to maintain stability.
  • Kayak: Sit with your back straight and your legs slightly bent at the knees, spreading them slightly to press against the kayak for balance. Feet should rest firmly against the footpegs.
Importance of Proper Body Position
  • Control and Stability: Proper positioning helps maintain balance and control of the watercraft, especially in choppy water or when turning.
  • Comfort: Correct posture helps avoid fatigue and discomfort on longer trips.
  • Safety: Maintaining proper position reduces the risk of capsizing and makes it easier to react to changes in water conditions or unexpected movements.

Understanding these components and techniques is vital for Scouts working towards the First Class rank, as they not only enhance safety but also increase enjoyment and efficiency while participating in paddling activities.

Learning Line Rescue Techniques for the First Class Rank

As part of earning the First Class rank, Scouts must demonstrate the ability to perform a line rescue in water. This skill is crucial for ensuring safety during water activities, allowing Scouts to help others while maintaining their own safety.

Steps to Perform a Line Rescue

  1. Prepare the Equipment: Ensure you have a strong, floating line long enough to reach the victim. This line should be securely coiled to avoid tangles during the throw.
  2. Assign Roles:
    • Tender: The person who manages the line from shore or a stable position in the water.
    • Rescuer: The person who throws the line to the victim.
  3. Positioning the Tender: The tender must stand in a stable and safe spot where they can manage the line effectively. They should anchor themselves if possible to prevent being pulled into the water by the weight of the victim.
  4. Swimming to the Victim: The rescuer carries a line to the victim.
  5. Instructing the Victim: Once the victim grabs the line, instruct them to hold it securely with both hands, and if possible, wrap it around their body under the arms. If the victim can’t grasp the line, the rescuer should do a safe hold on the victim.
  6. Pulling the Victim to Safety: The tender then carefully pulls the line, guiding the victim back to shore or the rescue boat. The rescuer assists as needed, keeping their own safety in mind.
  7. Reaching Safety: Once the victim reaches the shore or boat, provide immediate assistance. Check if they require medical attention and help them out of the water.

Safety Tips

  • Communication: Clear communication between the tender, rescuer, and victim is essential throughout the rescue.
  • Practice: Regular practice of these techniques in a controlled environment helps improve efficiency and confidence.
  • Safety First: Always ensure the safety of the rescuer and tender.

For more detailed guidance on water rescue techniques, including line rescues, visit Water Rescue Techniques on Scouter Mom.

Mastering the line rescue is not only a requirement for the First Class rank but also a vital skill that enhances safety awareness and preparedness among Scouts during any water-related activities.

First Class Rank Requirement 7: First Aid and Emergency Preparedness

  1. Demonstrate bandages for a sprained ankle and for injuries on the head, the upper arm, and the collarbone.
  2. By yourself and with a partner, show how to:
    • Transport a person from a smoke-filled room.
    • Transport for at least 25 yards a person with a sprained ankle.
  3. Tell the five most common signals of a heart attack. Explain the steps (procedures) in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  4. Tell what utility services exist in your home or meeting place. Describe potential hazards associated with these utilities and tell how to respond in emergency situations.
  5. Develop an emergency action plan for your home that includes what to do in case of fire, storm, power outage, and water outage.
  6. Explain how to obtain potable water in an emergency.

First Class Rank Requirement 7 Helps and Answers

First Aid

Achieving the First Class rank involves learning essential first aid skills, including how to properly apply bandages for different injuries. Understanding these techniques is crucial for providing immediate care in the outdoors or during activities, enhancing safety and preparedness.

Bandaging a Sprained Ankle

  1. Rest and Elevate: Have the injured person sit down and elevate the ankle.
  2. Apply a Cold Pack: Wrap a cold pack or ice in a cloth and apply it to the ankle to reduce swelling.
  3. Compression: Use an elastic bandage to wrap the ankle. Start from the toes and move upward, making sure not to wrap too tightly. The bandage should cover the foot and extend up past the ankle.
  4. Check Circulation: After bandaging, ensure that the toes are warm and the same color as the other toes, indicating good blood flow. If they are pale or blue, loosen the bandage.

Bandaging Head Injuries

  1. Control Bleeding: Use a sterile gauze pad or clean cloth and apply direct pressure to the wound.
  2. Protect the Area: Once bleeding is controlled, wrap a bandage around the head to hold the dressing in place. Ensure the bandage is snug but not too tight, as excessive pressure can worsen the injury.

Bandaging the Upper Arm

  1. Immobilize the Arm: Ask the person to hold their arm in a comfortable position. Place a folded cloth or pad in the armpit if needed for support.
  2. Wrap the Bandage: Use an elastic bandage to wrap around the upper arm to secure the cloth and provide support. Do not restrict circulation; the fingers should remain their normal color.

Bandaging a Collarbone Injury

  1. Sling: Place the arm on the injured side in a sling to keep the collarbone area immobilized.
  2. Swathe: Wrap a bandage around the chest and the sling to secure the arm against the body. This helps to prevent movement of the shoulder and reduces strain on the collarbone.

Importance of Proper Technique

  • Prevents Further Injury: Proper bandaging stabilizes the injured area and prevents further harm.
  • Reduces Pain and Swelling: Effective bandaging can reduce pain and swelling, promoting faster healing.
  • Enables Safe Transport: Secure bandaging allows the injured person to be transported more safely to seek medical attention if necessary.

Learning these first aid techniques is not only a requirement for the First Class rank but also a vital component of being a responsible Scout. It ensures that Scouts are prepared to handle common injuries safely and effectively during their adventures.

Effective Transport Techniques

For Scouts working toward the First Class rank, learning how to safely transport an injured person is critical. This skill is essential in emergency situations where moving someone to safety can prevent further harm. Here’s how to handle two specific scenarios: transporting someone from a smoke-filled room and moving someone with a sprained ankle.

Transporting from a Smoke-Filled Room

One Rescuer:

  1. Stay Low: Smoke rises, so stay as low as possible to avoid inhaling smoke.
  2. Check the Person: Quickly assess the person’s consciousness and ability to move.
  3. Drag Method: If they cannot walk, use the drag method. Grip the person by their arms just under the armpits, wrap their arms across your shoulders, and drag them to safety while keeping both of you low to the ground.

Two Rescuers:

  1. Coordinate: One rescuer should take the shoulders and the other the legs.
  2. Lift and Carry: Use a coordinated effort to lift and carry the person. Keep low and move swiftly to an exit, avoiding deep breaths to minimize smoke inhalation.
Transporting a Person with a Sprained Ankle

One Rescuer:

  1. Support: Help the injured person to stand on one leg (the uninjured leg).
  2. Human Crutch: Position yourself on the injured side. Have the person place their arm over your shoulder and hold them around the waist, balancing their weight on their uninjured leg.
  3. Hop or Shuffle: Carefully help them hop or shuffle forward to move the required distance.

Two Rescuers:

  1. Prepare: Each rescuer should stand on either side of the injured person.
  2. Arm Support: Both rescuers offer their shoulders for support. The injured person places an arm over each rescuer’s shoulder.
  3. Lift and Walk: Gently lift by supporting the person’s weight at the waist, allowing them to keep the injured leg raised, and walk steadily to cover the distance.
Safety Tips for Both Scenarios
  • Stay Calm: Keeping calm helps the injured person remain calm, too.
  • Assess the Situation: Quickly determine the safest route and method before moving anyone.
  • Avoid Further Injury: Move gently to avoid causing more pain or worsening the injury.

These transport techniques are not just about fulfilling a requirement for the First Class rank; they are crucial life skills that empower Scouts to act effectively and safely in emergencies, potentially saving lives.

Recognizing Heart Attack Signs and Performing CPR

For Scouts pursuing the First Class rank, it’s essential to recognize the signs of a heart attack and know how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This knowledge can be crucial in a life-threatening situation.

Five Common Signals of a Heart Attack
  1. Chest Discomfort: Often the most noticeable symptom. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  2. Discomfort in Other Areas of the Upper Body: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  3. Shortness of Breath: This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other Signs: May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
  5. Fatigue: Unusual tiredness or feeling unusually weak without a clear reason can be a precursor to heart attack symptoms.
Steps to Perform CPR
  • Step 1: Ensure Safety: Before performing CPR, ensure the scene is safe for you and the victim.
  • Step 2: Check Responsiveness: Gently tap the person and shout, “Are you okay?” to see if they respond. If there is no response, call for emergency help immediately or instruct someone else to do so.
  • Step 3: Open the Airway: Tilt the head back slightly to lift the chin and open the airway.
  • Step 4: Check for Breathing: Look, listen, and feel for no more than 10 seconds. If there is no breathing or only gasping, start CPR.
  • Step 5: Chest Compressions: Kneel beside the victim. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest and your other hand on top. Press down hard and fast, allowing the chest to rise fully between compressions. Aim for a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
  • Step 6: Rescue Breaths (if trained): After 30 compressions, give 2 rescue breaths by pinching the nose shut, making a complete seal over the person’s mouth with yours, and blowing in to make the chest rise.
  • Step 7: Continue CPR: Keep performing cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until medical help arrives or the person shows signs of life.

CPR certification through a formal training that includes practical application is highly recommended. This training ensures that rescuers are prepared to perform CPR correctly and confidently in emergency situations.

Understanding the signs of a heart attack and knowing how to perform CPR are vital components of the First Class rank requirements, empowering Scouts to potentially save lives and handle critical situations effectively.

Understanding Utility Services and Safety

For Scouts aiming for the First Class rank, understanding the different types of utility services and recognizing potential hazards associated with them is essential for ensuring safety at home and during Scout meetings.

Common Utility Services
  1. Electricity: Powers lighting, appliances, and electronic devices.
  2. Water: Provides drinking water, as well as water for bathing, cleaning, and sewage systems.
  3. Natural Gas: Often used for heating and cooking.
  4. Sewage System: Removes wastewater from homes and buildings.
  5. Telecommunication Services: Includes telephone lines and internet connections.
Potential Hazards and How to Respond


  • Hazard: Electrical fires or shocks, particularly from overloaded circuits or damaged wires.
  • Response: Turn off the main power switch if there is an electrical fire and do not attempt to extinguish water-based extinguishers. Call emergency services. For electric shocks, do not touch the person being shocked; disconnect the power source first.


  • Hazard: Flooding from broken pipes or heavy rain can lead to water damage and electrical risks.
  • Response: Shut off the main water valve to prevent further flooding. Avoid using electrical appliances or outlets near water.

Natural Gas

  • Hazard: Gas leaks, which can cause explosions or fires.
  • Response: If you smell gas (rotten egg smell), do not use open flames or electrical switches. Evacuate the area and call the gas company from a safe distance.

Sewage System

  • Hazard: Backups or overflows, leading to health risks from exposure to contaminants.
  • Response: Avoid contact with any overflowing or backed-up waste. Call a professional plumber and report the issue to local health authorities if necessary.

Telecommunication Services

  • Hazard: Disruption of communication during emergencies, making it hard to contact help.
  • Response: Have alternative communication methods available, such as cell phones or access to internet-based communication platforms.

Scouts should know where utility controls like electrical breakers, water shut-off valves, and gas meters are located in their homes and meeting places. Being able to quickly and safely manage these utilities during emergencies can prevent accidents and facilitate timely responses to potential hazards.

For Scouts working towards their First Class rank, understanding these utilities and their associated risks is not only about personal safety but also about taking proactive steps to protect others in their community. This knowledge is crucial for responsible and prepared Scouts.

Securing Safe Drinking Water

For Scouts working toward the First Class rank, knowing how to obtain potable (safe to drink) water during an emergency is a vital survival skill. Whether on a camping trip or in a disaster situation, ensuring access to clean water is crucial for health and safety.

Methods to Obtain Potable Water in an Emergency
  • Boiling: Boiling is one of the most reliable methods to make water safe. Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute (or three minutes at higher altitudes) to kill most pathogens and microbes.
  • Water Purification Tablets: These tablets contain chemicals like iodine or chlorine that kill bacteria and viruses in contaminated water. Follow the instructions on the package for correct usage.
  • Water Filters: Various types of water filters are available that can remove bacteria, protozoa, and sometimes viruses. Ensure the filter meets EPA standards for water purification.
  • UV Light Treatment: Portable UV light purifiers can kill bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. This method requires batteries or another power source and clear water (pre-filter to remove debris).
  • Distillation: In cases where chemical contamination is a concern (such as saltwater or heavy metals), distillation is effective. This involves boiling water and then condensing the steam back into water, leaving many of the contaminants behind.

Collecting Water

  • Rainwater: Collect rainwater in clean containers. Avoid collecting rainwater from surfaces treated with chemicals (like painted roofs).
  • Natural Sources: Streams, rivers, and lakes can be sources of water but require purification before drinking.
  • Dew: Using cloth like a towel, you can collect dew in the morning and then squeeze it into a container.

Safety Precautions

  • Always Purify: Always purify any collected water from natural sources, no matter how clean it appears.
  • Avoid Contaminants: Steer clear of water with an unusual color, smell, or floating debris. When in doubt, find another source or ensure rigorous purification.
  • Regular Testing: If using a filter or a chemical treatment, regularly check if the equipment or supplies are in good condition and used correctly.

Knowing how to obtain potable water is essential not only for achieving the First Class rank but also for ensuring that Scouts are prepared to handle emergencies effectively. This skill is fundamental to outdoor safety and critical in unexpected survival scenarios.

Links Resources

First Aid Baseball Game: First aid baseball is a fun way to review first aid skills with Scouts.

First Class Rank Requirement 8: Fitness

  1. After completing Second Class requirement 7a, be physically active at least 30 minutes each day for five days a week for four weeks. Keep track of your activities.
  2. Share your challenges and successes in completing First Class requirement 8a. Set a goal for continuing to include physical activity as part of your daily life.

First Class Rank Requirement 8 Helps and Answers

Staying Active for the First Class Rank

Achieving the First Class rank in Scouts BSA includes a commitment to physical fitness. This requirement encourages Scouts to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, which is essential for both physical and mental well-being.

Regular Physical Activity

Scouts are required to be physically active for at least 30 minutes each day, five days a week, for four weeks. This activity should be continuous and can include any type of exercise that increases heart rate and challenges the body’s physical capabilities.

Tracking Activities

  • Journaling: Keeping a daily log in a journal or digital app to record each activity, its duration, and how the Scout felt before and after the exercise.
  • Calendar: Marking off days on a calendar when physical activity was completed can visually show progress and help maintain motivation.
Reflecting on Physical Activity

After completing the four weeks of activity, Scouts are asked to reflect on their experience:

  • Challenges: Identifying any difficulties faced during this period, such as scheduling conflicts, lack of motivation, or physical obstacles, and how they were overcome.
  • Successes: Noting achievements such as increased stamina, completing all planned activities, or discovering new favorite exercises.
  • Goal Setting: Scouts should set a personal goal to continue being physically active. This could be specific, like aiming to join a sports team, participating in a fitness challenge, or simply committing to regular walks or bike rides.
Importance of Continued Physical Activity
  • Health Benefits: Regular physical activity improves overall health, increases energy levels, and reduces the risk of many diseases.
  • Skill Improvement: Staying active can enhance physical skills, coordination, and balance.
  • Mental Health: Exercise is also beneficial for mental health, helping to reduce stress and improve mood.

For Scouts working towards their First Class rank, this requirement not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also teaches the importance of self-discipline and setting personal goals. It’s a practical step towards developing lifelong habits that support physical and mental health.

First Class Rank Requirement 9: Citizenship

  1. Visit and discuss with a selected individual approved by your leader (for example, an elected official, judge, attorney, civil servant, principal, or teacher) the constitutional rights and obligations of a U.S. citizen.
  2. Investigate an environmental issue affecting your community. Share what you learned about that issue with your patrol or troop. Tell what, if anything, could be done by you or your community to address the concern.
  3. On a Scouting or family outing, take note of the trash and garbage you produce. Before your next similar outing, decide how you can reduce, recycle, or repurpose what you take on that outing, and then put those plans into action. Compare your results.
  4. Participate in three hours of service through one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. The project(s) must not be the same service project(s) used for Tenderfoot requirement 7b and Second Class requirement 8e. Explain how your service to others relates to the Scout Law.

First Class Rank Requirement 9 Helps and Answers

Exploring Citizenship

For Scouts working towards their First Class rank, learning about the constitutional rights and obligations of U.S. citizens is crucial. This requirement involves engaging with a community leader or educator to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be an active and responsible citizen.

Scouts are must visit and have a discussion with an individual such as an elected official, judge, attorney, civil servant, principal, or teacher.

List of Rights

  • Freedom of Speech: The right to express your opinions publicly without government interference.
  • Freedom of Religion: The right to practice whatever religion one chooses, or no religion at all, without government interference.
  • Right to a Fair Trial: The right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury.
  • Right to Vote: The right to vote in elections for public officials.
  • Right to Privacy: The right to a private personal life free from government intrusion.
  • Freedom of the Press: The right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government.

List of Duties

  • Obeying Laws: An obligation to follow the laws set by the government.
  • Paying Taxes: An obligation to fund the government through taxation.
  • Jury Duty: When called upon, a citizen must serve on a jury to help determine the guilt or innocence of a fellow citizen.
  • Voting: While voting is a right, it is also a civic duty to participate in elections to ensure a democratic process.
  • Defending the Country: If required, a citizen must defend the country in times of need.
  • Participating in the Community: Engaging in civic duties like volunteering, helping neighbors, or participating in local government.

This requirement for the First Class rank not only deepens a Scout’s understanding of their country’s foundational principles but also instills a sense of civic responsibility that can guide their actions as contributing members of society.

Environmental Issues

For Scouts working towards the First Class rank, becoming aware of environmental issues in their community is key. This requirement challenges Scouts to explore local environmental problems, understand their impacts, and think about solutions.

Some Environmental Issues and Actions

  • Recycling and Waste Reduction: Investigate how waste is managed in your community. Propose or participate in recycling drives or community clean-up events.
  • Water Conservation: Explore local water usage and conservation efforts. Scouts can lead by example by promoting water-saving practices at home and school.
  • Air Quality: Look into sources of air pollution in your area. Scouts can help by raising awareness about the benefits of reducing car travel and increasing green spaces.
  • Wildlife Conservation: Learn about local endangered species and habitat destruction. Participate in or organize habitat restoration projects, such as planting native species or building birdhouses.

Community Actions

  • Education and Awareness Campaigns: Host workshops or create informational brochures to educate others about the environmental issue.
  • Advocacy: Work with local leaders to advocate for policies that protect the environment.
  • Volunteerism: Engage in or organize volunteer activities that directly address the issue, such as tree planting, park clean-ups, or water testing.

This requirement not only helps Scouts earn their First Class rank but also empowers them to take active roles in their communities by addressing environmental challenges. Understanding these issues and participating in solutions promotes a lifelong commitment to stewardship of the natural world.

Reducing Waste on Outings

For Scouts pursuing the First Class rank, learning about waste management is crucial. This requirement focuses on observing the waste produced during a scouting or family outing and then planning and implementing strategies to reduce, recycle, or repurpose waste for future outings.

Strategies for Waste Reduction


  • Use Reusable Items: Opt for reusable water bottles, cutlery, and plates instead of disposable ones.
  • Pack Mindfully: Bring only what you need to minimize leftovers and packaging waste.


  • Food Scraps for Composting: Collect organic waste like fruit peels and veggie scraps for composting.
  • Repurpose Containers: Clean and save containers from snacks or meals for future use in storing other items or packing food.


  • Separate Recyclables: Have designated bags or containers for recyclables such as plastics, paper, and metals.
  • Educate Group Members: Ensure everyone knows what can be recycled and encourage them to participate.

This exercise teaches Scouts about the importance of responsible waste management and its positive impact on the environment. It also instills habits of mindfulness regarding resource use and waste production.

For Scouts working towards their First Class rank, this requirement not only promotes environmental stewardship but also enhances their planning and organizational skills, preparing them for responsible leadership in their communities and beyond.

Serving the Community

Achieving the First Class rank in Scouts BSA involves not only developing personal skills but also contributing positively to the community through service projects. This requirement emphasizes the value of service and helps Scouts apply the principles of the Scout Law in real-world contexts.

Here are some service project ideas that Scouts can consider, with more here: Service Project Idea:

  • Community Cleanup: Organize or participate in a cleanup day at a local park, river, beach, or community area.
  • Food Drive: Run a food collection drive to support a local food bank or shelter.
  • Elder Assistance: Offer to do yard work or other helpful tasks for elderly neighbors who might struggle with these chores themselves.
  • School Supplies Drive: Collect and donate supplies to schools that lack adequate resources for their students.
  • Animal Shelter Support: Assist in local animal shelters by helping clean, feed, or play with the animals, or organize a donation drive for pet food and toys.

Service projects provide a practical way to embody the qualities enumerated in the Scout Law. For example:

  • Helpful and Kind: Engaging in community service shows direct helpfulness and kindness to those in need.
  • Courteous and Friendly: Working with community members and showing respect and friendliness in interactions.
  • Obedient and Reverent: Following the guidance of leaders and respecting the rules and needs of the places where service is provided.

This service requirement not only helps Scouts advance in their Scouting journey to achieve the First Class rank but also instills a lifelong habit of community involvement and service, reinforcing the values central to Scouting.

First Class Rank Requirement 10: Leadership

Tell someone who is eligible to join Scouts BSA, or an inactive Scout, about your Scouting activities. Invite this person to an outing, activity, service project, or meeting. Provide information on how to join, or encourage the inactive Scout to become active. Share your efforts with your Scoutmaster or other adult leader.

First Class Rank Requirement 10 Helps and Answers

Encouraging Participation and Growth in Scouting

Achieving the First Class rank involves not just personal development but also expanding the community of Scouts by reaching out to potential new members or re-engaging those who have become inactive. This requirement emphasizes the importance of sharing the benefits of Scouting with others and actively participating in the growth of the troop.

  1. Identify Potential Scouts: Look for peers who are eligible to join Scouts BSA or those who have been inactive in your troop. Consider friends, classmates, or younger siblings of current Scouts.
  2. Share Your Experiences: Talk about your own positive experiences in Scouting, focusing on the adventures, skills learned, friendships made, and fun activities. Be enthusiastic and genuine in your storytelling.
  3. Extend an Invitation: Invite them to a specific upcoming event, such as a campout, service project, or regular troop meeting. Make sure the event is engaging and suitable for newcomers.
  4. Provide Joining Information: Explain the process of joining Scouts BSA. Share any materials or links that can help them understand more about Scouting, including the benefits and commitments. You can find useful resources and ideas for recruiting new Scouts here: Recruiting New Scouts.
  5. Follow Up: After the initial invitation, follow up with them or their parents to address any questions they might have and to remind them of the event.
  6. Report Your Efforts: Share your recruitment efforts with your Scoutmaster or another adult leader. Discuss what worked, what challenges you faced, and how you might improve future recruitment efforts.

This requirement for the First Class rank not only helps Scouts develop their ability to engage with and contribute to their communities but also strengthens their leadership skills and commitment to the principles of Scouting.

First Class Rank Requirement 11: Scout Spirit

Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived four different points of the Scout Law (different from those points used for previous ranks) in your everyday life.

First Class Rank Requirement 11 Helps and Answers

Demonstrating Scout Spirit for the First Class Rank

Achieving the First Class rank involves more than completing tasks and attending meetings; it requires embodying the core values of Scouting through everyday actions and interactions. This requirement focuses on demonstrating “Scout spirit,” a fundamental concept in Scouting that reflects adherence to the Scout Oath and Scout Law in all aspects of life.

Scout spirit involves consistently showing behavior that reflects the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. It’s about making these principles part of your daily life, not just during Scout activities.

More information on what encompasses Scout spirit can be found here: What is Scout Spirit?.

The requirement to demonstrate Scout spirit for the First Class rank is a crucial step in a Scout’s development, reinforcing the values that Scouting aims to instill and showing that these principles are not just ideals but practical guides for everyday life.

First Class Rank Requirement 12: Scoutmaster Conference

While working toward the First Class rank, and after completing Second Class requirement 11, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

First Class Rank Requirement 12 Helps and Answers

Engaging in a Scoutmaster Conference for the First Class Rank

A key step in advancing to the First Class rank in Scouts BSA involves participating in a Scoutmaster conference. This conference is a valuable opportunity for Scouts to reflect on their growth, discuss their experiences, and set goals for future achievements.

The Scoutmaster conference allows the Scout to:

  1. Review their progress towards the current rank and discuss any challenges they’ve encountered.
  2. Reflect on their understanding and application of the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their daily life.
  3. Receive feedback from the Scoutmaster, which helps in personal development and improvement.
  4. Discuss future goals and opportunities in Scouting, such as leadership roles, advanced ranks, and merit badges.
  5. Ensure readiness for the next steps in Scouting, including the board of review.

For more detailed information on what to expect and how to get the most out of your Scoutmaster conference, visit What is a Scoutmaster Conference?.

The Scoutmaster conference is a fundamental part of the Scouting journey. It reinforces the personal connection between the Scout and the Scoutmaster, ensuring that the Scout is actively engaged in their development and committed to the ideals of Scouting.

Successfully completing this conference is a testament to a Scout’s readiness to move forward towards the First Class rank, equipped with the guidance and encouragement needed to continue progressing in Scouts BSA.

Links Resources

Scoutmaster Conference – Adding Requirements: A Scoutmaster may not add or take away requirements for advancement.

First Class Rank Requirement 13: Board of Review

Successfully complete your board of review for the First Class rank.

First Class Rank Requirement 13 Helps and Answers

Succeeding in the First Class Rank Board of Review

Progressing to the First Class rank in Scouts BSA culminates in successfully completing the board of review. This review is a critical step where Scouts demonstrate their growth, understanding, and readiness to embrace the responsibilities and privileges of the rank.

The board of review is an opportunity for Scouts to interact with a panel of troop committee members who are not their Scoutmasters. The purpose of this review is to ensure that the Scout has met all the requirements for the First Class rank and to help them internalize the values of Scouting. It also serves as a way to discuss the Scout’s experiences and aspirations in Scouting, and to receive valuable feedback and encouragement.

For a detailed overview of what a board of review entails and tips on how to prepare, see What is a Board of Review?.

The board of review is a basic part of the advancement process in Scouts BSA. It reinforces the principles of Scouting and ensures that each Scout is ready to move forward and take on more responsibilities. Successfully completing this review marks a significant achievement in a Scout’s journey, showcasing their commitment to and understanding of their Scouting path.

Links Resources

Board of Review Questions: Sometimes committee members struggle to come up with good Board of Review questions. Here are some ideas for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About the First Class Rank

What is the First Class rank?

The First Class rank is a level in Scouts BSA that Scouts can achieve after completing specific skills and knowledge requirements. It focuses on outdoor skills, citizenship, and personal fitness.

How do I earn the First Class rank?

To earn the First Class rank, you must complete a series of requirements that include camping, first aid, swimming, navigation, and participating in service projects. You also need to demonstrate Scout spirit and leadership.

What are some skills I need for the First Class rank?

A few skills for the First Class rank include setting up a tent, cooking a meal outdoors, performing basic first aid, navigating with a map and compass, and swimming.

Why is the First Class rank important?

The First Class rank is important because it helps Scouts build skills for outdoor activities, strengthens character by learning the Scout Oath and Law, and prepares Scouts for more advanced challenges.

How long does it usually take to achieve the First Class rank?

The time it takes to achieve the First Class rank can vary. It typically takes several months to a year, depending on how often a Scout participates in activities and works on requirements.

Can I work on requirements for the First Class rank and other ranks at the same time?

Yes, Scouts can work on requirements for the First Class rank while completing those for the Tenderfoot and Second Class ranks. This can help Scouts progress more efficiently through the ranks.

What happens after I complete all the requirements for the First Class rank?

After completing all the requirements, you must participate in a Scoutmaster conference and successfully complete a board of review. After these are done, you will officially earn the First Class rank.

What are some good service project ideas for the First Class rank?

Good service projects for the First Class rank include community clean-ups, helping at a local food bank, organizing a recycling drive, or assisting at an animal shelter.

How do I prepare for the board of review for the First Class rank?

Prepare for the board of review by reviewing all the skills you learned for the First Class rank, reflecting on your experiences in Scouting, and thinking about your goals in Scouts.

Navigating the Path to Scouting Success

The First Class rank is a significant milestone in the Scouts BSA program. It represents a level of proficiency in core scouting skills, especially those related to outdoor activities. Scouts working towards this rank learn a variety of skills that are essential for safe and enjoyable outdoor adventures. These include camping, cooking outdoors, swimming, using a map and compass, and performing first aid.

Achieving the First Class rank involves completing a series of requirements that encourage personal growth and community involvement. Scouts must participate in service projects, demonstrate leadership skills, and show a commitment to the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The process helps Scouts develop a sense of responsibility and improves their ability to work as part of a team.

Preparation for the First Class rank also involves physical fitness activities, environmental conservation efforts, and learning how to respond in emergency situations. These activities are designed to challenge Scouts and provide them with the experiences necessary to become competent outdoorsmen and thoughtful citizens.

The journey to the First Class rank is designed to equip Scouts with skills and experiences that form the foundation of their scouting career and personal development. It’s not just about enjoying the great outdoors, but also about preparing to be a helpful, responsible, and active participant in the community.


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