Thanks to their hard work at scout camp this summer, we don’t have a single active scout in Troop 125 with a rank below First Class. That’s an exciting position to be in.
The next step, obviously, is to work on the next rank – and for all of our scouts that means two things: Merit badges and service hours.
For both the Star and Life ranks, Scouts must complete six hours of service. Our next service opportunity will come this Saturday when we’ll go through the neighborhood collecting food for the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership as part of Scouting for Food. Scouts will meet at the Tiebreaker Church at 9 am. We should get in about an hour’s worth of service.
Two of our scouts have earned their Eagle or are close to it. My challenge to them will be to continue working on merit badges -- independently. You've shown the drive to earn your Eagle award, you don't need my foot in your back to continue.
As far as merit badges go, we’re working on them as well. Scouts in our troop need to earn between 1 and 4 Eagle-required merit badges to earn their next rank advancement. Here’s what we’re working on:
Cycling. We’ll go on our first 25-mile bike ride on October 25, leaving for most Scouts in the troop another 25-miler and a 50-miler to complete. Given the lateness of the year, it’s not likely we’ll be able to finish those rides before the foul weather comes. That being the case, we’ll pick up on that merit badge again in the spring.
Communication. Our troop goal is to see every Scout earn the Communication merit badge before the year is out.
Camping and Cooking. The troop is already working on the Camping merit badge, and we’ll throw the Cooking merit badge into the mix as well. While the Cooking merit badge is heavy on camp cookery, there is one requirement that is to be completed at home:
7. Plan a menu for three full days of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to be cooked at home.
a. When preparing your menu, follow the nutritional guidelines set by the food pyramid. All meals are to be cooked or properly prepared.
b. Using the menu planned for requirement 7, make a food list showing cost and amount needed to feed yourself and at least one adult (parent, family member, guardian, or other responsible adult).
c. Tell what utensils were needed to cook and serve these meals.
d. Prepare and serve a breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the menu you planned for requirement 7. Time your cooking to have each course ready to serve at the proper time. Have an adult verify the preparation of the meal to your counselor.
Once your Scout has completed this requirement, let me know, either by email (email@example.com) or by sending a note to Scouts with your Scout.
Personal Fitness. The biggest challenge for this merit badge comes in tracking Scouts’ progress through three months of a physical fitness program, as outlined in requirements 7 and 8:
7.Outline a comprehensive 12-week physical fitness program using the results of your fitness tests. Be sure your program incorporates the endurance, intensity, and warm-up guidelines discussed in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor and parents.
8.Complete the physical fitness program you outlined in requirement 7. Keep a log of your fitness program activity (how long you exercised; how far you ran, swam, or biked; how many exercise repetitions you completed; your exercise heart rate; etc.). Repeat the aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility tests every two weeks and record your results. After the 12th week, repeat all of the required activities in each of the three test categories, record your results, and show improvement in each one. For the body composition evaluation, compare and analyze your preprogram and postprogram body composition measurements. Discuss the meaning and benefit of your experience, and describe your long-term plans regarding your personal fitness.
Fortunately for us, Sand Creek Middle School makes this an easy proposition. Any Scout taking a physical education course at the middle school is already having their progress tracked on the Presidential Youth Fitness Program for three months. I’ve discussed the program with Mrs. Patterson, the physical education teacher at Sand Creek, and agree the program and tracking works perfectly for these two requirements. At the end of the semester, please get a note or email from Mrs. Patterson for your Scout letting me know they’ve completed their tracking.
The good news is all five of these merit badges are Eagle-required, meaning we should be able to get Scouts to their next rank advancement and beyond before they move on to Varsity Scouts. It’s our goal to have scouts earn their Life ranks (one step below Eagle) before they turn 14.
Having parental help on the cooking requirements will be essential in completing this portion of our Scouting program.
Additionally, I’ve challenged the Scouts to come up with at least two additional merit badges they’d like to work on. We have talked about completing the Game Design and Automotive Maintenance merit badges, but I’d like to hear additional suggestions from the Scouts. An excellent resource for current merit badges offered by the BSA and their requirements can be found at www.meritbadge.org.
Because my Scouts requested it, I’ve put together a short list of “easy” merit badges they can work on. I call them easy because generally these are things they’re doing already:
Another merit badge I encourage the Scouts to work on is Home Repairs – but that requires that the work be done at home. Helping your Scout through this merit badge is my challenge to parents.
If there are requirements on this merit badge that are outside your handyman or handywoman skills, let me know and we’ll work with the Scouts on those requirements.