Camping Merit Badge Changes 2006

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Camping Merit Badge Changes 2006

Postby MisterChris » Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:37 pm

:? Okay, I can see how Req 3 should have been changed to read 'SHOW' (as in 'DO') rather than 'EXPLAIN' (as in 'talk about') how to use a map and compass to get to your camping spot.

After all, you can talk your way around it without ever really having to DO it.

What I can't understand is why they now have made it a requirement to include a GPS Receiver??

This is an expensive piece of electronic equipment that not every scout troop has. Besides, we normally don't go camping lugging a lot of electronic equipment. Especially backpacking.

Guess i can partially understand the issue of having to first identify where you ARE before you can get a bearing on where you are GOING. But you normally do this via landmarks (or a parking lot, say) rather than through high-tech equipment that used to be only available for the wealthy.

Any old crochety Scouters like me want to 'weigh-in' on this subject? :wink:
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Postby Mrw » Mon Apr 17, 2006 1:08 pm

I would guess they are trying to stay with the times as GPS is becoming more common. They do give the option of just discussing the GPS part if a receiver is not available.

And I do agree, after all the money I spent on my GPS toys, I will show them to the scouts if asked, but they are NOT doing any more than looking!
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Postby WVBeaver05 » Mon Apr 17, 2006 6:27 pm

Sounds to me like trying to keep Scouts familiar with available technology as well.

I don't object to it being included since there is an option to explain the process if you don't have a GPS receiver available. In fact, I think it is good to expose them to it. I usually spend 2-3 minutes on the subject of GPS when I do the Outdoor Leader training.

I did buy a GPS unit for my use. It is quite basic (no maps, etc.) and I got it used. I would let our Scouts use it for this requirement. And, while I don't take much when backpacking, I always take my GPS unit. On the last weekend backpacking trip my son and I took, we turned it on at each stop and set a waypoint. When we returned we were able to plot the trip on a topo map.

Unfortunately, even the simple GPS units remain too expensive (and their batteries don't last long enough) for widespread usage. Still, exposing our Scouts to them is a good thing (IMHO).

Just my thoughts on the subject.

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Postby evmori » Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:28 pm

I don't see a problem with including a GPS. They are the future and will come down in price.
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Postby EagleBoy62204 » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:54 am

Pricy? I found one for $50 at Dicks Sporting Goods. Easy to use, and gets me from point a to point b without any trouble. GPS units arent that much money. The 'higher' tech you go, you are goign to pay alot of money for it. But the cheaper ones work just as well.
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Postby Buffalo Bill » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:14 am

Like it or not, we have to acept the fact that technology advances have changed many things. I'm glad to see BSA has accepted this fact and is offering a venture into the GPS realm by making it a part of Camping MB. We can still emphasize map & compass, but we can't deny the fact that GPS has made certain things easier. Teach the basics to be prepared, but prepare our youth for the eventuality of change.

And I do think pairing my PDA smartphone with a bluetooth GPS is just way too cool!
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Postby Mrw » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:19 am

My toy is pretty pricey, but it goes on our bike to develop route traces for mapping a cross-state bike ride. I can use the street atlas program for the roads, but none of those have rail-trail and bike paths drawn in.

I use it for tracking and routing, drawing the topo route profiles, and can upload and downlod lots of information from our computer so it all stays consistent.

And it tells me how far and fast we were walking when we couldn't ride our bike in the snow. It can also tell me what is coming up at the next freeway exits when we are looking for someplace decent for dinner or to stop for the night.

More than the scouts would need for the badge for sure, but the cheapo ones don't suit all needs.
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Postby wagionvigil » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:30 am

Everyone should have realized this was about to happen when each sub camp was given GPS units at the Jamboree to do some on site caching. If we do not keep up with the times and technology we will be left far behind. WHn teaching GPS I stress over and over that if you do not know how to use a compass you should not be using a GPS for navigation. It will fail or will not get a signal then you will be up the creek.
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Postby Lynda J » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:56 am

I think it is great to expose kids to the use of GPS, but again lets not get so dependant on high tech toys that we stop teaching the basics. I still want boys to learn how to read a map and compass and how to look at the stars at night and find their way. Because like so many toys. Batteries don't last for ever and if it gets dropped in the water you are out of luck.
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Batteries Not Included

Postby MisterChris » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:36 am

"Batteries don't last for ever and if it gets dropped in the water you are out of luck."

I couldn't have said it better. I guess that's what I was trying to stress, not necessarily that technology is BAD (It pays my bills, I'm a programmer/analyst) but that Scouting is teaching kids to use the mind and mental preparedness, to use the tools at hand to survive and function. (like the old MacGyver series) In a disaster, a scout must be prepared. Sometimes, that means carrying stuff with him everywhere he goes (I'm not dressed anymore without a Leatherman, Maglite, cellphone, and a PDA)

...but it also means being able to use materials at hand (Stars, sun, sticks, etc.) when you are caught without the high-tech gadget, the batteries run out, you are OUT of matches (they really DON'T 'Strike Anywhere') to survive.

There was even a time when a satellite went dead that 75% of all pager usage and I think cell-phone usage too (If I remember right) routed through. While half our nation was without remote communication, there was a huge scramble to re-route the traffic through a new satellite while several attempts failed to bring a response from the satellite. Eventually the billion-dollar piece of equipment was given up for lost, and the other satellites had to shoulder the new load. Think it's still up there orbiting the planet, a memoir to some failed circuit or switch.

Yes, it's not every day that you are caught in a situation where you are lost in the wilderness without the cellphone to phone for help. But if that day comes, better to be taught how to 'make do with watcha got' than to sit and pine for your lost batteries.
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Postby EagleBoy62204 » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:32 pm

Lynda J wrote:Batteries don't last for ever and if it gets dropped in the water you are out of luck.


Batteries may not last forever, but rechargeables do. (heh)

Some GPS are now water and even shock proof, for the biggest of butter hands not to fail while going out on a expedition.


I dont think that BSA will ever fall to sticking with teaching the basics, its all up to the parents and leaders in the troops who were previous boy scouts to keep teaching the basics the way they were ment to be taught. Yes we ar ebecoming more reliable on technology, whom is advancing at a very high rate. But without knowing the basics you wont understand the advance techniques.
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Postby Lynda J » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:17 pm

Batteries may very well be rechargable. I have them that are and use things every day that use chargable batteries. But I haven't been to a camp in the past 6 years that had electrical outlets at my camp sites. I am not saying that GPS's are bad just that we need to teach boys how to find their way without them.

Like I said in another thread. Just because there are defibulators available doesn't mean we should stop teaching CPR. Lets give the boys the basics and the rest is icing on the cake.
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Postby Buffalo Bill » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:19 am

Not to add fuel to the fire but...I have a nicely portable solar charger that will not only recharge batteries, but also run electronics outright.

I do strongly advocate that we teach the basics extensively, but we also need to teach the new stuff too. Long live isogonic lines! Long live pseudo random noise!
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Postby hisdad » Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:26 pm

Hi,
I am going to give a short presentation to Leaders NEXT week 5/6/2006 with the focus on preparing for Camping MB.
I own a GPS. But, If anyone has _ANY_ sort of presentation I would aprechiate the help. I wish to present what features are available and cost vs. features etc....

Whatever I endup with I will post here for any one else to use. I will be repeating this several times this year and at a Leader Outdoor trainging next spring.

Thanks in advance.
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Postby wagionvigil » Mon May 01, 2006 8:23 am

to to backpacker.com they have a big section on gps
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Postby Chiefsttryker » Tue May 02, 2006 11:26 pm

I have mixed feelings about this change in requirements.
I think it is a good idea to teach the boys about GPS, but have problems with it. My main reason for not liking GPS is because I have seen units get so hooked on it that they dont really teach the map and compass like they should.
I have seen the ramifications of this out on the trail, when MR. MURPHY strikes and nobody can use a map and compass correctely because nobody knows how to.
Now I dont think this will be a problem for those of us in this forum I think are what I refer to as oldschool scouts and leaders but I am concerned about the new school that are coming up where the leaders are teaching the new stuff and leavingout the basics.
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