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Discussion: US Boy Scout 1st Class Orienteering Req

in: Orienteering; General

Jun 24, 2016 6:33 AM # 
I was just contacted by the mother of a Boy Scout who needs to fulfill his First Class orienteering requirement. Since it's been years since I was a Scout, I looked up the requirement. It says "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.)" Of course the measuring part is no part of an orienteering course as we do it. How is this requirement met, is it simply ignored, or what? I think I can have him pace count a length of trail, which is a skill that makes sense.
Jun 24, 2016 12:26 PM # 
That looks like an outdated document. I believe the revised requirements include taking part in three (3) orienteering events, and helping setup and run an event.
Jun 24, 2016 12:31 PM # 
@haywoodkb - I believe that is the merit badge requirement, not the 1st class requirement.
Jun 24, 2016 1:43 PM # 
I have scouts do a one-mile yellow/white difficulty course. Before they go out, I have them learn the "stick" method for measuring heights and measure their pace count on a 100 meter measured area. In the middle of the course at the 3rd control, I have them pace count a bridge length and estimate the height of a nearby cliff.
Jun 24, 2016 5:11 PM # 
Which comes first? The merit badge or the first class orienteering requuirement? The merit badge requirements are quite relevant to the sport of orienteereing but not easy to achieve if the scout does not live in an area where orienteering events are happening..
The First Class requirement is archaic but easier to achieve.
Also the Scout videos meant to act as a guide to meeting the requirements, particularly the ones on distance measurement are just plain unhelpful. Really? Walk 100 known feet, count the steps and that will give you an accurate measure of any distance? Too slow, too much counting and too much room for error.
Better they measure 100 meters than 100 feet and that they do it at the run as well as the walk and that they count paces instead of steps.
Jun 24, 2016 6:31 PM # 
"First Class" is a rank earned in the first year or two of scouting.

The "O" merit badge is an elective, many scouts will never do it.
Jun 24, 2016 6:39 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Iroincally, I earned the orienteering merit badge without ever knowing about the sport, or actually doing any of the requirements.

During my first trip to Philmont (wilderness backpacking camp in New Mexico), I volunteered to be the navigator on the first day of the trek. Nobody else wanted to do it, and I really enjoyed it, so I remained navigator for all 10 days.

Afterward, the leaders gave me orienteering merit badge because they said it was the first time we'd ever gone without ever getting lost.
Jun 24, 2016 10:24 PM # 
Orienteering Merit Badge is based on sport orienteering and modern requirements were developed along those lines.

The First Class Rank 'orienteering' requirement is a basic map skills requirement that includes distance & size reconning skills and to which the orienteering label has been (mis)applied, causing confusion. Those of us who know what O is realize that this isn't it, but it's the term they use.

Rank advancement is a steady progression of skills development, First Class being the third rank (of six) on the path to Eagle Scout.

The merit badge is an optional badge to explore special interests/topics and although you need to acquire a certain number of badges to achieve each rank, the scout can select which ones to pursue and when. There are a small set of required badges if the scout is to attain the top rank of Eagle.

Many scouts acquire the merit badge without ever seeing real O (a shame) but that's because leaders don't know what O is and fudge requirements accordingly because they don't know any better. Scouts that I've counseled and approved do real courses at club meets and help out with results or control pickup and learn the lingo...
Jun 24, 2016 10:29 PM # 
Caveat - you do have to modify things a little bit since BSA rules require scouts to go out in pairs to comply with Youth Protection rules. I usually have them do multiple courses with the second scout basically shadowing for safety, but one scout effectively navigating on their own. If scouts complete the requirements with family, then the buddy rules aren't required, but if the go to a meet as a scout function, then they have to buddy up...
Jun 25, 2016 5:09 PM # 
cmorse: thank you for the explanation. During the winter snowbird season I put on orienteering events in the Tampa Bay and southward part of Florida. Based on the e-mails I get there seems to be an increasing interest in orienteering by scouts and their leaders. I am hopeful that we can get to a stage of having a regular competition for the local Council orienteering championships but it will take getting the right person who isn't already too busy with a dozen other scout activities to get it off the ground.
I have no problem with them competing in pairs. It is usually slower than navigating on one's own but if it works for them.....

This discussion thread is closed.