Clarity in Communicating Intent


The Leader, April 1977
From: Don Swanson, Director – Scout Program and Camping & Outdoor Activities
To: Scout Leaders
Subject: Conservation Achievement Badge – Gold Stage

An inquiry was received regarding the gold stage Conservation Achievement Badge requirements 4(a) and 4(h). The inquiry raised the question as to how a Scout can complete the stated requirements while participating in one or more hikes or weekend camps.

I thought perhaps the reply to that inquiry might well be of some assistance to other Scouters.

First, the rational for hikes and camping in the Conservation Badge: when the Scout subcommittee adjusted the Badge system and updated some of the badges in 1972, the decision was made that participation in hiking and/or camping must be a prerequisite to earn an Achievement Award. Thus, all badges in the outdoor category were adjusted to ensure some involvement in hiking or camping. Badge requirements are not viewed as “tests” to be passed, but as activities within which to participate.

Secondly, there’s the perspective of what constitutes a “hike”. The common view likely includes woods, trails and a pack. Scouting defines hiking as “walking with a purpose” (Canadian Scout Handbook, page 56).

I can see your point. At first glance, how can a Scout plan and carry out an anti-litter campaign of keep a record of rainfall as part of a hike or camp? If viewed as tests, the requirements are difficult if not impossible. When viewed as activities, I think they take on a different meaning.

Let’s start with the requirement for the litter campaign.

At a patrol meeting, the patrol decides to conduct an anti-litter campaign in their own community. In the course of discussion (with appropriate Scouter questions and input) the Scouts decide that it would be useful to identify glaring examples of litter that could be corrected. A “hike” through the community with pad and pencil and a camera is planned for Saturday morning.
On the appointed day, the patrol assembles and hikes through their community. With the help of a street map, notepad and pencil and the camera, “litter examples” are identified, recorded and locations pinpointed. The patrol stop at a community park for lunch.

A decision is made at this point to hold a “campaign camp” in the park if permission can be obtained. The camp will demonstrate “good camping (recreational) practices”. A display will be set up to demonstrate the results of a six-person picnic where the participants didn’t care about littering.

Permission to hold the camp is obtained by the Scouter from park officials. The Thursday prior to the camp, the patrol delivers a flyer to each home within the community. The flyer asks “what can we do about these?” and itemizes the “litter examples” the Scouts have identified. Citizens are asked to come to the patrol’s campsite in the park and sign up to assist in a community litter-cleanup morning one week from the date of the patrol’s camp.

The day of the camp, the patrol sets up: the display demonstrating six sloppy picnickers; a large board with the street map and pictures of the community litter identified; and their model campsite (special attention paid to neatness). A table with a pledge form is set up under a fly.

The close of the campaign takes place on the Saturday following the camp when the patrol and citizens who have signed up load the “litter eye soar” into pre-arranged trucks for hauling to the dump or wherever appropriate.

A similar approach can be taken to Conservation Badge (gold stage) requirement d(h). A hike to locate and set up the rain recording apparatus or a weekend camp with recording weather as a key program activity (see Canadian Scout Handbook, pages 154 through 160).

Hope this is of some help.
Take care and good Scouting.

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