Orienteering and BSA
Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET)
Wed, 19 Apr 1995 17:14:47 -0700
There has been a tremendously interesting discussion on rec.sport.orienteering
recently. There was one particular posting that I wanted to share with this
list, with the permission of the author:
> All in all, I think the critical issue that the Boy Scouts is trying
>to get across is the ability to get yourself out of the woods in one piece.
>Granted, what they teach currently is the most rudimentary set of skills in
>order to accomplish this, but keep in mind that the BSA is also attempting
>to teach camping, community citizenship, leadership, scholarship, and about
>100 other "-ships" -- consequently leaving very little time for any one
>subject to be examined to the extent that it really deserves. Most scouting
>topics get one evening's worth of coverage each year, and maybe an afternoon
>on a weekend trip. Orienteering gets thrown into this cluttered picture.
> I have worked with the Boy Scouts in the past, and found it most
>effective to take the basic orienteering skills and cross-pollenate them
>with other BSA topics. I taught Wilderness Survival to Boy Scouts for many
>years, and found that the #1 thing to teach my students was to not get lost
>in the first place, and the basic Orienteering skills fell into place there.
>In order to get deeper details for O into place, I crossed them with
>survival skills. Teaching a kid how to determine where water will pool on a
>topographic map (especially where I'm from, the mountains of Central PA)
>goes a long way towards getting him to understand the fundamental
>connections between the map and the terrain it describes. Once the scout
>learns to visualize terrain by looking at maps, the real O learning can begin.
> Someone mentioned Wood Badge earlier. My first comment is "Go to
>Wood Badge!" If you're a scout leader, you need it. My second comment is
>this: Provide the same situation for your scouts that they did for you, but
>instead of a compass and bearings, hand them just a map, and tell them, "You
>are somewhere on this map. Our dinner is at the bottom of this gully shown
>here on the map. I'll start the fire, you guys go get dinner. We eat when
>you get back" My Wilderness Survival guys very quickly figured out how to
>read a map, how to orient a map, and how to take the fast (and easy) route
>to dinner. I ate late some nights, but I always ate.
> Again, being in the mountains helps a little bit due to the nice fat
>John L. Edwards
>Annapolis, MD, USA
Alan R. Houser ** Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24 ** email@example.com
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City