Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: First Aid MB at Camp (long)
First Aid MB at Camp (long)
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 10:21:11 EST
A Scouter mom asked about her new Scout taking MB's at camp. A few people
recommended he take First Aid because of the list given it was the only Eagle-
req'd badge on the theory that you should always take one of these when
I'd like to respond to this by saying a few things:
1) If this camp doesn't offer Swimming, try another camp<G>! Every kid should
take at least one waterfront badge at camp, because that's next to impossible
for many kids/troops in many parts of the country during the rest of the year.
Take 'em at camp. The kids'll be cleaner <G> and more comfortable after a hot
day. Besides, water is just plain fun for most kids, the recent thread re fear
of water notwithstanding <G>.
2) As a First Aid MB counselor of many yrs, I have to say that it is generally
inappropriate to have a new Scout attempt this badge. Before you go ballistic
on this, hear me out.
The First Aid MB signifies that the Scout has a number of pretty important
skills, and I have met exactly one new Scout who had the maturity, basic
general knowledge, and confidence to complete them. If someone is hurt and
sees a BSA First Aid MB recipient there, s/he is entitled to expect that the
boy has some long-practiced and effective skills. (I know, once you're signed
off there's no arguing. But I want to be SURE a kid has those skills well in
hand, and head befire I sign that blue card.) Of course, one also has to
complete the First Aid sections of the Tfoot, 2nd Cl, and 1st Cl ranks for the
I am not talking about adding extra reqs. But seriously, folks, First Aid is a
biggie. New Scouts would be better off postponing this one for at least a
year, and two might be better. The older kids who take this are far better at
it. In addition, one req is to teach another Scout a skill. Young Scouts with
little leadership experience often have a hard time with this; older ones do
much better and feel less pressure. Their learners learn better too, which is
a real consideration if you're planning on using your First Aid MB class for
helping sign off your younger kids' advancement.
Next: I am firmly convinced that summer camp cannot successfully offer the
full First Aid MB. I can hear it now, "Heresy! We have ALWAYS...." "Our Troops
expect it!" etc. Again, please consider the following carefully.
Unless you have one helluva trading post, the kid cannot make the home first
aid kit with compnents listed and discuss its contents w/ you. I am firmly
against the concept of "Well, we talked about it," as a substitute for
"Demonstrate," "Do the following," "Perform," "Show," and the like. The
purpose of this req is not only to have the kid make up a kit. It's to have
one more family in town have a good kit, which teaches and benefits the entire
Second, the CPR component takes 4 hrs (according to the AHA). This is a huge
chunk of time in the week.
Third, the MB in general takes more time than you can do at camp. For example,
I have seen it take at least three hours for a group of boys to really learn,
demonstrate and repeat proper splinting of an extremity (arm or leg). I'm not
talking about the wrap-it-up-with-a rolled-newpaper-and-call-it-a-day splint.
I mean one that is really going to be useful in real first aid. I am NOT
talking about a higher, ED-room standard. If you look in the MB book, you'll
see what I mean. I mean a splint which is properly padded, immobilizes the
joints above and below the 'fracture," and which does not cut off circulation.
Next time you do this, have each "victim" try to move the affected limb in the
splint when his rescuer is finished applying it. Unless you have EMT's in your
class, I'll bet you dollars to donuts the first time they do it your victims
will be wiggling like eels. This is an eye-opener for all. Take 'em off and do
it right. Then leave the "victims" splinted for a half an hour while you talk
about something else. Whose arm is getting painful because the padding is not
right? Why? Whose fingers are going to sleep? More practice.
Read the MB req's and ask yourself if *you* could learn all this, with
application skills, in a two-hour-per-day, for four or five days. Plus CPR.
Plus planning, teaching, and evaluating your other Scout you have to teach.
Sure, you can get a partial at camp. I've given those. But for a new Scout,
far better for him to complete a bunch of things he will not likely be able to
get during the year, like mammals, basketry, astronomy (maybe-- and it's so
cool to go out to the ballfield at night after supper), swimming, rowboat,
nature, weather.... and should be easy enough to be reinforcing. He'll have
years to hit the more challenging ones, like First Aid, later.
SA T47 Sandwich MA
Cape Cod & Islands Council
Abake MiSaNaKi Lodge #393
NSJ 1997 Nat'l Health & Safety
I useta be an Eagle...
'The staff is old and feeble, and we can sing no more,
So we're getting out of Gilwell while we can!'
Considering that this is just ONE skill in First Aid,