Since 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has been introducing young men of all ages to the wonders of nature, and using that time to instill important values and ideals that can be brought forward into adulthood. This institution is responsible for expanding the minds of millions of kids in its over hundred years, and it all began with just one scout.
The Unknown Boy Scout
The tale of the Unknown Scout dates back to 1909, when Chicago publisher William D. Boyce was visiting London on business. Out and about in the famed London, Boyce was in search of an office building when he stopped a young man to ask for directions. Not only was the young man able to tell Boyce where the office was, he volunteered to take him there himself.
Upon arriving, Boyce offered the boy a tip for the service, but the youngster refused. When asked why, the boy told Boyce that he was a scout and that if he accepted money in return for his good deed, it would negate its worth. This, he said, was a violation of the rules of scouting.
This encounter impressed Boyce, who then made it a point to meet with the English founder of the scouts. This visit made an impact on him, and upon arriving back in the states, he met with other men who had a genuine interest in youth development and betterment. On February 8th of 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was born in Washington, D.C., and has continued that dedication first instilled by an unknown brother from across the big pond.
The Pioneering Spirit
One of the original founders was a 60 year old woodsman – Daniel Carter Beard – who already had a similar program started called the Sons of Daniel Boone. He merged the two and is responsible for the original scout uniform and the elements of the First Class Scout Badge. Known as “Uncle Dan” to the kids and other leaders, Beard is one of the most colorful scout members in its long history. Known for dressing in buckskin and sporting a casual beard, the woodsman epitomizes the scout spirit. If still around today it is likely that he would be proud of the progress the organization has made, even if he would be bewildered by the amazingly high-tech beard trimmers and beard balms that his followers now get to use to keep up their scout-like appearance.
Many of todays leaders got their first taste of responsibility by the ideals set forward by the Boy Scouts of America. This is an incredible organization that has adapted over its 100 years in order to be able to still provide valuable lessons to America’s youth.
In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America introduced a new Sustainability merit badge. This badge is in line with the new focus on being green and protecting the environment. In order for a Boy Scout to become an Eagle Scout – the highest ranking level achievable – they must earn this badge or the Environmental Science badge.
Having a nationally recognized and respected organization like the Boy Scouts address the needs of our crippled planet is a huge coup for environmentalists. Especially when you are talking about an organization that focuses on our young people, and is instilling practices and beliefs that they will carry into adulthood. How the badge is earned forces a scout to look at the immediate world in which he resides, and come up with workable solutions to making it more environmentally friendly.
The Requirements for Earning the Sustainability Badge
- Write down the meaning of sustainability in your own words, explaining how conservation and stewardship relate to the concept. Conduct a meeting with your family and have them write their own definitions of sustainability. Scouts need to take notes as this information will be needed later on.
- Focused attention on water conservation and ways in which the scouts household can save on their monthly consumption.
- Food waste and establishing a baseline that helps to reduce the amount in the home. Results will need to be tracked over a period of two weeks.
- A rough sketch drawing and explanation of a sustainable community. This would include housing, work areas, schools, stores and transportation.
- Study the sustainability of different sources of energy, including wind, sun, nuclear, hydropower and fossil fuels. Understand and be able to explain the term carbon footprint to your counselor.
- Log the family purchases for two weeks and identify which ones are essential and which ones are not supporting a sustainable environment.
- Be able to correctly explain the significance of ecosystems on the environment.
- Explore the topic of waste with your family, honing in on two areas such as electronic and food, where they could make a more positive impact.
- Have a family member detail what they have learned by the scouts attention to sustainability.
- Study career opportunities in the sustainability field.
Achieving this badge is no easy task, and involves a lot of work not only for the scout, but for his family. If you are having trouble with coming up with unique ideas, consider talking about the discovery of natural products which don’t harm the environment, and are sustainable simply by replanting. Essential oils from plants are a good topic to add to the sustainability report. Not only do these replace harmful perfumes when used with an essential oil diffuser necklace, they are a good natural replacement for many manufactured drugs. A scout could study the various benefits and create a report that is in line with what is expected to earn the badge.
It is very promising to see that organizations are encouraging young people to explore ways of saving our planet now. Just imagine what our world would be like today had the Boy Scouts added this merit badge 20 years ago.
Camping is not all singing songs and smoking s’mores around the campfire. Stuff happens, and you need to think quick on your feet in order to take care of business without the usual comforts of home. We have culled some of the best camping hacks learned over decades of NY boy scout fun in order to help you and your troops have a better chance at a successful trip.
Keep the TP Clean and Dry – Take a large round coffee can, drop the roll inside and cut a slit in the side to act as the dispenser. You can even tie a rope on it so that it can be hung next to your favorite bush.
Tent Lantern – If you are in charge of little scouts who are a little afraid of the dark, you can strap a head lamp to a clear gallon jug to make an ambient light inside of the tent.
Burn Sage to Kill Mosquitoes – True story. If you throw sage into your campfire it will naturally keep away those pesky bloodsuckers.
Tic Tac Containers for Spice – Those little plastic doo dads are actually great for carrying small amounts of salt, pepper and any other spices you may want to keep your camp food from tasting like… well camp food.
Bungees are King – If you are a beardy woodsman, you can use bungees cords to attach a mirror to a tree when it’s time to trim down the beard. Don’t expect a perfect beard after 5 days of camping with scouts, but a few dabs of a beard oil and you won’t notice a thing. If you’ve never used beard balm before, check out some review sites for beard trimming tips to find out what makes it so great and which one you should buy.
Pack Plenty of Doritos – Not exactly the ideal snack food for kids, but Doritos actually work great as kindling if you can’t find any dry wood to get a fire started.
Peel Bars of Soap – Moms are great at packing a nice bar of soap for their little campers, and the scouts are great at losing them in the lake. Buy a couple of bars of soap and peel off layers with a potato layer. One layer – one bath for each kid that let the fish have his soap.
Anywhere Matches – Glue a piece of sandpaper to the top of a small tin or plastic container and then fill it with strike anywhere matches. This will keep them safe and dry for the whole trip.
Do you have any camping hacks that have solved some of your camping dilemmas? We’d love to hear about them in comments!
There are now over 120 different types of merit badges a boy scout can earn, all of which allow him the chance to obtain new knowledge and skills. This is an important part of the scouting advancement program, with participation starting as soon they register with your troop. There are a number of merit badges that you can help your scouts earn while out on your frequent camping trips.
- Camping – The most basic of merit badges in this category, this shows a scouts understanding of the basic concepts of pitching a tent, building a fire and survival skills.
- Astronomy – What better way to learn about the stars then in the middle of the woods with no light pollution around. Put a focus on astronomy during your next trip and your scouts will be well on their way to their next badge.
- Archery – Scouts have been astute at shooting arrows with a recurve bow for generations. Archery is growing in popularity and provides a great way for the scouts to learn focus and precision. Bring recurve bows and arrows for beginners on your next camping trip for some added fun along with badge earning.
- Backpacking – Another camping basic, scouts need to have the knowledge of the supplies needed to fill a backpack as well as tips on how to survive in the wilderness without any creature comforts.
- First Aid – It is highly recommended that you make first aid training a part of every experience with your scouts. They can never learn too much about how to stay safe and help others when hurt, even after the badge has been awarded.
- Hiking – Seeking this merit badge allows you to spend a lot of time with your scouts learning about the different signs found in the forest and how they can teach you about your surroundings.
- Insect study – This may not sound overly exciting, but for some scouts the insect world is fascinating, and love to explore the different insect habitats found around a campsite. If you have scouts who seem overly interested in the bug world, invest in some books and let them enhance their studies.
- Kayaking – Like with canoeing, there is a merit badge for kayaking, but you will need to go to campsites which are equipped with ample water sources.
- Wood carving – There are still plenty of scouts who enjoy searching for perfect pieces of wood to make wonderful craft projects and earn a badge at the same time.
Boy scout merit badges are a time honored tradition of rewarding scouts for taking on and excelling at new skills. Help maintain this program by encouraging your scouts when out on camping trips.
Everyone loves to eat while camping, but few want to get stuck with the work of cooking and then cleaning up. This is especially true when you have a troop of boy scouts anxious to get out and start enjoying the wilderness. Experts from the around the country have weighed in what they believe are the best foods to bring along for the troops.
Boy scouts are so excited about exploring the terrain, jumping into rivers and testing the boundaries that they typically prefer a lunch on the run. This is easily accomplished with bread and crackers, and the condiments to spread on them.
Go with pita bread and bagels as they will pack better and stay fresh longer. Also pack Ritz crackers, saltines and rice cakes. Now all you need is some peanut butter, cream cheese, and sliced hard cheeses to top the breads and crackers off with. If you want to add more protein, think about canned tuna or hard boiled eggs. These are easily spread onto any type of bread or cracker.
Another quick tip is to make macaroni salad or coleslaw ahead of time, leaving out the mayo. When you are ready to serve lunch, you just need to mix the dressing with the pasta or veggies and still have a fresh salad.
The last thing to add is a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables raw. These are great for chomping on and can easily just be grabbed on the go.
Make sure you bring along a small camping stove to help heat up dinner dishes. The idea is to try and cook as much as you can beforehand (or have the moms do it) so that you just need to serve the food. Fried chicken is one of the best foods, as it is filling, tastes great cold, and carries well. It’s even better if you cook it without oil in one of these. These cook the fried chicken just like a deep fryer does, except it won’t be greasy when you serve it. Check some review sites like CrispyandGolden.com for this product if you have never tried fried cooking this way. You’ll be amazed at the positive response they get.
You can also bring potatoes wrapped in foil and just drop them into the campfire to cook quickly. Pre-cook spaghetti and then just drop it inside of hot water before serving with a mixture of red sauce and chopped meat. Plus of course don’t forget the ease of the traditional burger and dogs cooked over the campfire, using the same salad ideas from lunch as a side.
You can keep the meals nutritious and filling without having to make a big mess at each meal. With careful planning and help from the parents, each time the kids sit down to eat, they are going to be pleasantly surprised.
After pondering on the fun-filled reasons for you to go on a camping, you finally decided to settle on a date. In camping, you get to have some fun and learn new things while simultaneously bringing discomfort and nasty experiences with you. Good thing we already listed down the things that you need to remember, especially when camping for the first time.
For beginners, camp nearby home
It is always easier if you camp first where it’s familiar. If you’re just nearby, you will already know what the campground is like and how consistent the weather will be, so you’ll come out prepared.
Research more of the campground’s reviews
Try to review first the campground to see if it suits your camping plans. It is always better if you are already familiar with some reviews of your site. Also, uncover its map and know which spot should you set your tents.
Pack lightly only the necessary things
You do not really need to pack very light, you just need to know which ones are necessary to bring and if they make you comfortable. Don’t forget that on camping, comfort is very important so your pleasant experience will not be disrupted. Create a checklist first so you can look back to see if you are ready and you are carrying the complete essentials. Make sure you have the cooking tools, first aid kits, extra clothes, water bottles, flashlights, and many more things.
Never forget the water
After a day of physical activities, the body will become dehydrated and you will need lots of water to replenish that. Make sure to drink a minimum of 16 ounces of water every hour to ensure that your body is well dehydrated under the sun.
Bring a mosquito repellent
These little creatures can be pretty nasty at night, so be sure to bring a mosquito repellent to avoid getting distracted on your activities and acquiring mosquito bites. You may purchase a ThermaCELL Lantern at Amazon.
Make Your Meals at Home
We know that cooking over the campfire is a really fun activity during camping, but when you’re tired and extremely hungry you wouldn’t think of that as an enjoyable activity anymore. Prepare your meals at home so you can reduce time-consuming tasks by having the ingredients ready and stored in Ziplock bags. You can also try bringing foods that will just need to be reheated on the campsite.
Don’t bring your pets
Your pets may act on its worst behavior during camping, and you don’t want that. Just have them safely tucked in your homes because bringing one may cause catastrophes and you wouldn’t like that.
Invest on a comfortable camping chair
Sitting in front of the campfire can get pretty straining, so invest in something to bring you comfort. A camping chair is very ideal especially if you will be staying there for a longer time. It’s just very worth it having to sit there at the end of the day with only full of comfort.
Camping is definitely fun and one of the most engaging activities you could ever do with friends or family. Nothing beats spending time outdoors, trying to know Mother Nature, and having a la Survival of the Fittest experiences. We listed some of the reasons why you should explore outdoors and do some camping now!
You learn something new.
Going on a camping requires you to do some tedious things, but definitely enjoyable! You will learn how to cook without using a stove but on an open fire, set up your own tent, kayak or swim! There are endless possibilities to make your camping much memorable by stocking in some new knowledge and skills.
You improve your physical health.
You get to use some exercise on your journey, which lets you burn some calories! Once you engage yourself in different activities like swimming, hiking, rowing, playing, walking, you reap a lot of benefits to keep you physically alert and happy. You also get a boost of Vitamin D as you are exposed to the sunlight while outdoors. Most of all, you feel happiness and excitement – which is definitely not a bad thing at all!
You detach from your life for a while to take a deep breath.
It’s so easy to get caught up in life that every day you’re just burdened with more and more stress. Once you’re in camping mode, you forget everything for a while, and take a deep breath and experience the outdoors and appreciate nature. You forget all about using your gadgets but instead you catch up some time with friends or family.
You create more memories with people.
Maybe one of the best things you could get out of camping is creating more memories with people around you. On the way, you will experience some disasters, some major bloopers, and it may seem terrifying at that moment, but you will always look back at it laughing. Never forget the real essence of camping which is to bond together with the people close to you and experience something new together.
You get to cook your own meal.
Cooking your own meal has never been this fun when done in front of a camp fire or your own grill. After a long day of walking and all those tiresome activities, you are now ready to settle your tummies in. Aside from the traditional s’mores or roasted pig, you may also try a different food by looking through the recipes here!
Gathering around the campfire.
At midnight, when everything is done for the day, you can settle around the campfire and enjoy quality time with people there. This is one of our most favorite activities as we always share stories, experiences, and past mistakes that are truly inspirational. Here is where we gather wisdom from others. You get to bond deeper. You can sing along with camping songs, laugh all the night away, and gaze at the stars shining brightly above you.