This is a continuing feature of your Los Padres Council website in which each week this summer we outline one activity that a Scout can do over the summer vacation months. Of course, there is always Rank Advancement requirements, particularly those prerequisites that come prior to any summer camp week.
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 9 (August 12 - August 18)
Let's go cycling! That's always a fun summer activity. In addition, it is a great way to learn about your community.
Cycling has always been a great Scouting actiivity whether it is getting to a friend's house or a Troop meeting or going into the back country on our mountain bike. Besides it is a great builder of strength, balance, and coordination.
There are obvious activities for the different age groups of Scouting.
Cub Scouts: I remember as a Tiger Cub partner going with the rest of the Tiger Cubs on a bicycle trip to the Fire Station to learn about a big activity. Now you can complete Electives 37 and 38. The Webelos Athlete Activity Pin has a biking requirement to do one mile as fast as you can and then see if you can do it any faster over a month period.
Boy Scouts: The obvious one is the Eagle Required Merit Badge for Cycling. But who says that you have to take every overnight camping trip by car. Some Troops like to do one activity annually in which they bike to the campsite even if it is an overnighter to a state beach. Many troops are doing their annual meeting in which they plan activities, how about scheduling an overnighter with cycling?
Venturers: The Ranger elective for Cycling/Mountain Biking is an exciting and challenging outdoor experience. Within the Quest Fitness and Sports Awards there is even a Cycling option.
High Adventure Awards: A number of the High Adventure Awards can be done with cycling as option to hiking. The San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Historic Trail Awards can easily be done by cycling as well as on foot.
Other Options: Some near-by Councils (Ventura, Los Angeles, and San Gabriel) do a Ten Commandment hike or bike ride annually to promote A Scout Is Reverent. This is a great day activity in which you participate with other Scouts in a bike ride and learning about different religions. And be sure to check out the Cycling program coming to BSA's new High Adventure Camp at The Summit.
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 8 (August 5 - August 11)
Three incidents recently brought to mind the topic of this week's Scout opportunity: Pets .First, there was the Eagle Scout in my own unit who brought his new puppy to a Scout meeting; he was unaware that there are merit badges for raising a dog. Second, there was our very own Los Padres Council Executive Rebecca Fields who took her brand new puppy to the closing campfire of Scout Camp and how all the Scouts gathered around the dog. Finally, there was the camp staff member who was picked up by his father on the last day of camp and one of his first questions was how did his little sister do with showing her pig at the Mid-State Fair. Animals of all types have a fascination with young people, and Scouts are no exception.
Fortunately, Scouting offers several opportunities to earn recognition for the care and raising of animals.
Cub Scouts: Cubs can earn the belt loop and activity pin for Pet Care.
Boy Scouts: Boy Scouts can earn merit badges for Animal Science, Dog Care, Horsemanship, and Pets. Let us not forget relatedmerit badges such as Veterinary Medicine and all the exotic studies of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and fish under the nature umbrella.
Venturing: For our Venturers there is the Equestrian Award under the Ranger Electives.
Here are some opportunities to earn awards for the care and feeding of our faithful companions
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 7 (July 29 - August 4)
One of the great strengths of Scouting is its diversity and this week gives us several opportunities to celebrate that diversity. The big event will be occurring in Santa Barbara with its Old Spanish Days or Fiesta as it is better known. Several Scout units have fund-raising booths at the different marketplaces. So be sure to stop by and purchase from them.
Within Scouting there are several advancement awards that incorporate diversity into the requirements.
Cub Scouts: Within the Belt Loop and Activity Pin three areas have elements of diversity: Citizenship, Family Travel and Geography.
Webelos: Both the Citizen and Traveller have elements of diversity and foreign travel.
Boy Scouts: Two merit badges come immediately to mind that celebrate diversity of all of America's citizens. Several requirements in Citizenship in the World involve festivals and interviews of events and people of different ethnic backgrounds. Another merit badge that expands on this is the American Cultures Merit Badge.
Venturers: Older Scouts and Venturers can earn the International Youth Exchange Emblem and the International Activity Badge. There are also elements in the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards as well as the Trust Award that incorporate segments of diversity of all the people in America.
All: Another opportunity for all Scouts and Scouters is to earn the Interpreter Strip for another language.
Finally a suggestion that goes beyond summer, but it is worthwhile pursuing is to make your holiday parties this December demonstrations of different cultures by having food and celebratory practices from different lands.
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 6 (July 22 -29)
Several weeks ago we covered aquatics in general. This week we are going to focus on boating in honor of the 100th anniversary of Sea Scouting within the BSA. Whether it is for rank advancement or just plain pleasure, there is very little that can beat a day on a boat. And BSA has plenty of ways that one can go boating. There are merit badges for canoeing, rowing, kayaking, small boat sailing, water sports, white water, and motor boating. But before anyone attempts doing anyone of these merit badges it is strongly recommended that they take the BSA's Safe Swim Defense Class and Safety Afloat Class. Observe all Coast Guard safety rules and have the appropriate life jackets (PFD's) and other life saving equipment available.
You might also check out the two Sea Ships (part of the Venturing program) in the Council. One is located in Morro Bay; the second in Arroyo Grande. If there isn't one near you, just contact your District Executive and assist him in starting one.
Besides Boating there are several allied merit Badges such as Fishing, Fly Fishing, and Fish and Wildlife Management.
Within BSA there are plenty of interests to educate and keep amused all Scouts and Scouters.
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 5 (July 15 - 21)
This week we are going outdoors to look at the beauty of the world around us. Scouting has so many Nature activity patches that transcends all levels of Scouting from Cub Scout through Venturer. There are so many activities that one can work on and learn about.
Cub Scouts: Belt Loops and Pins can be earned for Forester, Geologist, Naturalist, and Outdoorsman.
Webelos: Activity Patches include Geology, Science, Weather, and Wildlife.
Boy Scouts: Merit Badges can be earned for Bird Study, Environmental Science (Eagle Required), Fish and Wildlife Management, Gardening, Geology, Insect Study, Mammal Study, Nature, Plant Science, Reptile and Amphibian Study, and Soil and Water Conservation.
Venturer: In earning ytour Outdoor Bronze Award or Ranger Award you can study Conservation, Ecology, and Plant & Wildlife.
For all there are Leave No Trace Awards (including adults) and the World Conservation Award.
Scouts are stewards of the land. We enjoy the land with our hikes and camping. As Scouts we are obligated to leave the land better than we found it. These activites will help us achieve that and it might open up exciting career opportunities or life-long avocations.
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 4 (July 8-14)
We're heading off to the pool or lake for some swimming. It's a great thing to do during summer months, particularly when it is hot. But before we go we need to know some basic safety rules that Scouting has developed known as Safe Swim Defense.
Once we're there with our trained adult swimmer we can do some recreational swimming or we can work on some rank advancement. In addition, each age group of Scouting has different advancement awards that rewards these projects. During summer camp we offer opportunities for Scouts to try out these different activities.
- Did you know that there are Bear electives for swimming as well as the Aquanaut activity patch for Webelos? BSA has gone so far as to mandate that all Scout camps must know offer Learn to Swim classes during Cub Scout Resident Camp. If you come to Rancho Alegre this week for Cub Resident Camp you will be able to do all these requirements. Just bring your book and have one of the friendly life guards sign you off.
- For Boy Scouts all the aquatics merit badges begin with swimming. You really need to know how to swim, but before you can even get the badge you need to pass the Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class swimming requirements. But after you earn the Swimming Merit Badge, you can work on on Rowing, Canoeing, Life Saving, White Water, Scuba, Motorboating, White Water, and the brand new Kayaking Merit Badge. Beyond that there are some special activity patches you can earn such as the Mile Swim, Broadsailing BSA, Snorkeling BSA, and Scuba BSA. Scouts who are 15 can even become Lifeguards by attending our intensive Lifeguard Academy each June at Rancho Alegre.
- For adults BSA has the traditional Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat classes that are required for any activity that requires swimming. The National Office has just come out with a new Aquatics Supervisor course. It's not a life guard class, but it is a great 8 hour class to introduce adults to the basic rules of aquatic supervision of unit outings. Los Padres Aquatics Team hopes to offer this course in mid August. Notices should be going out soon.
Swimming is a great skill to know and practice. Learn to swim this summer. And if you already know how to swim, develop different skills such as new strokes or improved time on lap swimming. You'll feel good when you do!
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 3 (July 1-7)
There are all types of handicraft projects and awards in Scouting, and most of them fairly easy to make and relatively inexpensive . Each of our Scout stores has different kits for making handicraft items such as mocassins, key chains, bird houses, etc. Most communities have a craft store such as Michael's that has plenty of different ideas, classes, and supplies to make these fun items. How about a bird house made out of popsicle sticks? Or clay figurines?
In addition, each age group of Scouting has different advancement awards that rewards these projects. During summer camp we offer opportunities for Scouts to try out these different activities.
- For Cub Scouts, check out the different belt loops and activity badges and pins for art, showman, or photography. Each of the Cub Scout Award levels have requirements involving handicrafts.
- Boy Scouts can earn merit badges in Art, Basketry, Leatherwork, Metal Working, Pottery, Sculpture, and Wood Carving. In the Indian Lore Merit Badge there is even a handicraft requirement for making something as simple as a mocassin. There are even more advanced badges for photography and cinematography.
This summer experience can open lifetime hobbies and avocations. This is a time to test and learn about our talents!
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 2 (June 24-30)
Last week we got our Ten Weeks of Summer series started with some Reading - Merit Badges for Boy Scouts and Belt Loops for Cub Scouts. This week we are going to get out into our local community with two of the High Adventure award patches offered by the Los Padres Council High Adventure Team. We will be looking at the Santa Barbara Trail Patch and San Luis Obispo Trail Patch.
These are great summer activities for a den or a patrol to do and learn something about the community. To learn more about the Santa Barbara Historical Trails patch, click here (the answer key for the questions asked along the trail can be found here). For the San Luis Obispo Historic Trails patch, click here for Cub Scout requirements and here for Boy Scout requirements. Following completion of the requirements, your patches can be ordered from the Los Padres Council Office, 4000 Modoc Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110.
To learn about other patches offered by the Los Padres Council High Adventure Team, click here.
The Ten Weeks of Summer - Week No. 1 (June 17-23)
Boy Scouts: Our first week's recommendation is to begin working on the Reading Merit Badge. This is a wonderful merit badge that is not that difficult to earn and has lasting benefit to improve academic performance once school begins. The requirements for this badge require the Scout to read four different books from different genres. There are also activities that involve learning more about using library card or electronic catalogs and using reading skills to read to others. To download the worksheet for a record of this badge, click here.
Cub Scouts: For our Cub Scouts we have the Reading and Writing Belt Loop and Activity Pin. It stresses the same values of learning that the Boy Scout Merit Badge does. To download the accompanying worksheet, click here.