Archive for the ‘Advancement’ Category


The First Aid Skill Award was required for the Second Class Rank back in the 1970′s through the 1980′s, which meant that most Boy Scouts earned this belt loop. It covered basic first aid skills. Many of these requirements ended up somewhere in the new rank requirements of 1989. The First Aid Skill Award requirements were:

1) a. Explain what first aid is. Tell how to act in case of an accident.
b. The dangers of moving a badly injured person.
c. Tell the best way to get medical help quickly. Show that you keep the names, addresses, and phone numbers for mediacl help were you can find them quickly.

2) a. Show how to treat shock.
b. Show what to do for “hurry cases” of serious bleeding, stopped breathing, interna; poisoning, heart attack.

3) Show first aid for the following cases: burns and scalds, blisters on feet, bites or stings of insects, chiggers, ticks,  bites of snakes and mammals, skin poisoning, sprained ankle, object in eye, nosebleed.

4) Explain first aid for puncture wounds from splinter, nails, or fishhook.

5) Use a bandage to hold a dressing in place on the head, hand, knee, and foot.

6) Make an arm sling.

7) Tell the five most common signs of a heart attack. Tell what action you should take.

By the way, depending on when you earned the skill award, you may have gotten a belt loop with a red cross or a green cross.

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    Before there was a Family Life merit badge there was the Family Living Skill Award. This skill award was not required for any of the ranks but could be used as an optional for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class in the 1970′s through the 1980′s. Here are the requirements.

    1) Tell what is meant by family, duty to family, and family council.

    2) a. Make a chart listing the jobs you and family members have at home.
    b. Talk with your family about other jobs you may take on for the next two months.

    3) Show that you can look after yourself your family, and home. Do four of these:
    a. Inspect your home and grounds. List any danger or lack of security seen. Tell how you corrected one.
    b. Explain why garbage and trash must be disposed of properly.
    c. Look after younger children for three hours. Use good health and safety practices.
    d. List some things for which your family spends money. Tell how you can help your family in money matters.
    e. Tell about what your family does for fun. Make a list of fun things your family might do at little cost. Do one of these with a member of your family.
    f. Carry out a family energy saving fun.

    4) Explain how you can get help quickly for these problems: medical, police, fire, utility, housing, serious family problem. Post a list of these directions in your home.

    I find it interesting that even back in 1972, the year the skill awards where introduced to the Boy Scout advancement program, that energy conservation was a part of the program. Requirement number 4 would be pretty easy now. Just call 911 for most of those problems listed.

    Only four skill awards are left First Aid, Hiking, Physical Fitness, and Swimming). Are you enjoying this review of the belt loops, or would you rather I move on to other things?

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      Merit BadgesDuring the last seven months we have seen three new merit badges introduced to the Boy Scout merit badge program (Scuba Diving, Geocaching, and Scouting Heritage). We have also seen the return of four merit badges for this year only (Signaling, Tracking, Pathfinding, and Carpentry). But did you know that the BSA is not done yet? Two more merit badges should be introduced this year, the Inventing and the Robotics merit badges. Yes, that is right, two merit badges for the tech savvy Boy Scout.

      According to the Lake Huron Area Council’s Website:

      These badges are being introduced because they received positive feedback in a youth interest survey.  If five new merit badges seems like a lot, it is. By comparison, the BSA introduced just six new merit badges between 1992 (Collections) and 2006 (Composite Materials).  But the new badges aren’t the only innovation. In the past it took three years to create a merit badge. Now, that time has been cut to just less than a year, helping to keep the badge topics and content fresher than ever.

      Sounds the like BSA has stepped up their game a bit, don’t you agree? What do you think about all these new merit badges in such a short time period?

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        The Environmental Skill AwardAfter six skill awards that began with the letter C (which is half of them, by the way) we arrive at the Environment Skill Award. Some of these requirements made it to the new rank requirements in the late 1980′s. Some of them almost seemed like they were preparing the Boy Scout for some of the environmental themed merit badges. Here are the requirements:

        1) a. Tell what is meant by environment.
        b. Describe how plant life, animal life, and environment relate to each other.
        c. Explain the oxygen cycle.
        d. Explain the water cycle.

        2) Tell how sun, air, water, soil, minerals, plants, and animals produce food used by man.

        3) a. Make a three hour exploration of a forest, field, park, wetland, lake shore, ocean shore, or desert. Make a list of plant and animal life you recognize.
        b. In the outdoors, spot and name ten wild animals by site or sign (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, mollusks).
        c. In the outdoors, spot and name ten wild plants.
        d. Know how to identify poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

        4) Do one:
        a. Study a plot of ground, ten square feet. Report on the plants and animals you find.
        b. Make a closed terrarium that includes animals, OR make an aquarium that includes both plants and animals.
        c. Keep a daily weather record for at least two weeks. Tell how weather affects the environment.

        5) Display at least six newspaper or magazine clippings on environment problems.

        I can not help but think how easy it would be to compete that last requirement with all the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico at the moment, and all the talk about global warming.

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          Learning to cook is an important part of the Boy Scout program. After all, a hot meal on a cool damp camping weekend helps to brighten the day. Besides, I do not know many teenage boys who do not like to eat. Learning to prepare the food is a skill that will serve a Scout well as he grows older and leaves home and his mother’s home cooked meals. Boy Scouting can help him learn how to cook more than a frozen pizza or canned soup.

          The Cooking Skill Award was a popular belt loop for Boy Scouts to earn during the 1970′s through the 1980′s. I am sure that part of that popularity was due to the fact that the skill award was required to earn the First Class Rank. The award not only taught a boy how to cook, but also fire building skills and safety skills using tools like pocket knives, axes, and saws. The requirements for the Cooking Sill Award were:

          1) Show you know how to buy food by doing the following:
          a. Plan a balanced menu for three meals – breakfast, lunch, and supper.
          b. Make a food list based on your plan for a patrol of eight Scouts.
          c. Visit a grocery store and price your food list.
          d. Figure out what the cost for each Scout would be.

          2) Sharpen a knife and an ax properly and gives rules for their safe use.

          3) Use a knife, ax, and saw correctly to prepare tinder, kindling, and firewood.

          4) a. Locate and prepare a suitable fire site.
          b. Build and light a cooking fire using not more than two matches.

          5) a. In the outdoors, cook, without utensils, a simple meal. Use raw meat (or fish or poultry) and at least one raw vegetable, and bread (twist or ashbread).
          b. In the outdoors, prepare, from raw, dried, or dehydrated food, for yourself and two others: (1) A complete breakfast of fruit, hot cooked cereal, hot beverage, and meat and eggs (or pancakes), and (2) A complete dinner or supper of meat (or fish or poultry), at least one vegetable, dessert, and bread (biscuit or bannock).

          6) After each cooking, properly dispose of garbage, clean utensils, and leave a clean cooking area.

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            Does conservation come to mind when you think about Boy Scouting? It probably does to most people. Conservation has been a part of the Boy Scout program since its beginning in 1910, one hundred years ago. What we think about conservation has changed somewhat as a society and Scouting has been right there to lead the way among our youth.

            The Conservation Skill Award of the 1970-1980′s was a great example of the Boy Scouting program teaching these principles. Unfortunately, many of these requirements were not kept in the newer rank program. The requirements for this skill award were:

            1) Show by what you do that you follow the Outdoor Code when you are in the outdoors.

            2) a. Explain the main causes and effects of water pollution. Tell how we can have clean water.
            b. Explain the main causes and effects of air pollution. Tell how we can have clean air.

            3) a. Make a list of present major sources of energy and the major alternate sources.
            b. Make a list of ten ways in which you and your family can save energy.

            4) a. Take a walk around where you live for two hours and make two lists related to conservation. List things that please you. List things that you feel should be improved.
            b. Plan and carry out your own conservation project. Get it approved by your patrol leader before you start.

            5) Take part in one or more of these projects with you patrol or another Scout:
            a. Clean up a roadside, picnic ground, vacant lot, stream, lake shore, or ocean beach.
            b. Work on erosion control of a stream bank, gully, or trail.
            c. Plant trees, do forest improvement, or insect control.
            d. Improve backyard or other wildlife habitat.
            e. Help with energy conservation.

            This was a great skill for teaching conservation. It would have been nice to see more of it kept when the advancement program changed.

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              When the skill award program existed during the 1970-1980′s there was one skill award that was not very popular with the Boy Scouts of Troop 68. The Community Living Skill Award was not the most earned belt loop of the twelve. I know that I did not earn it as a Scout, but then advancement was not a big part of my troop’s program when I was a youth. Here are the requirements of the Community Living Skill Award:

              1) Explain what is meant by the terms: public utility, public service, government, community problems, community organization, volunteer or private agency, government agency, ethnic group, tradition, resources, crime resistance.

              2) Do three of the following:

              a. Make a list of five organizations working in your community. Visit one. Tell what it does.
              b. List five activities that take place in your community during a month. Explain the reason for each. Take part in one. Tell what you did.
              c. Make a list of five community problems. Explain how each affects you, your family, and the community.
              d. Tell some of the history, traditions, contributions, and ways of living of two ethnic groups in your community.
              e. Visit your police department. Find out what you can do to reduce the likelihood of crime in your home and neighborhood. Tell about your visit.
              f. Take part in a service project that will help a volunteer or private agency in your community. Tell what you did.

              3) Describe two public services. Visit a place that provides one of those services. Tell about your visit.

              4) Show that you know how to get around using a map or transportation schedule.

              At the bottom of the page is a short footnote that explains that “community” is the place where you live.

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                The third of the skill awards (alphabetically) is the Communications Skill award. As I was looking over the requirements I remembered the Scouts completing one requirement during a court of honor opening in the early 1980′s by introducing themselves to the parents and family members by using sign language. The 911 emergency phone number was not widely used yet so requirement #1b was an important one. The requirements for the Communications merit badge were:

                1) Do the following:
                a. Make a phone call correctly and answer properly.
                b. Show how to make an emergency phone call. Put these emergency phone numbers near your home phone.
                c. Do two of these: 1) Introduce a guest. 2) Make an announcement. 3) Tell of some special past event.

                2) Teach a Scout skill to two or more Scouts.

                3) Get a message to others without speaking or writing using two of these: silent Scout signals, manual alphabet, sign language for the deaf, Indian sign language, sports signals, morse code, semaphore code, or Scout trail signs.

                4) Tell how to get to a place selected by your Scout leader. (it must be 1 km away and not in a straight line.) Use speaking, writing, and sketches.

                5) Take part in or plan an emergency mobilization for your patrol or troop.

                6) Know five emergency distress signals.

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