Canoeing Merit Badge
Presentation Guide for Scout Leaders
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    Canoeing Merit Badge One of the most popular adventures for younger scouts is working on the Canoeing Merit Badge at summer scout camp with your buddies. Have fun! Be Safe!


    A) Program Teaser
    Special audio visual presentation for the start of program or even one week in advance.

    For several centuries, the canoe was a primary method of travel for explorers and settlers. Today, it remains an important part of the wilderness experience and an enjoyable leisure activity that teaches communication, teamwork, and physical fitness.
    Canoeing Merit Badge
    Canoeing Merit Badge

    3 Golden Rules of Paddling Canoes by expert Andrew Westwood!
    Show on Laptop or portable TV & crank up the sound!

    Grand Avenue by Steven Breen - 14-Jul-2015


    Canoeing Merit Badge B) Prerequisites - Leaders
    Work to be done prior to program start:

      Review Official Requirements
      Easy Printable Version

      10 Tips for Merit Badge Counselors
      Get the most from your Merit Badge Adventure.

      Aquatics Center Field Trip
      This merit badge should be done at a location where your group has full access to the canoes and water. Note: Most BSA Scout Camp Aquatic Centers have the full range of required equipment available for use by scout groups and scouting families for a small fee.
      File Tour Plan - required for all BSA Field Trips.
      Field Trip Group RSVP -

      Aquatics Center Equipment

      Your group will need the following:

      • Canoes and paddles(1 or more)
      • Large body of water
      • Personal Flotation Device (PFDs)
      • Rope
      • Canoe transport or storage rack


    Scout Camp Swim Tags C) Prerequisites - Scouts
    Work to be done prior to program start:

      Req #1: BSA Safety Afloat
      Review BSA Safety Afloat Rules - Pg 194-195 in your Scout Handbook.

      Req #2: BSA Swim Test
      This is an Aquatics Merit Badge. Each Scout MUST Complete the Swim Test to do this activity.

      Bring Swim Trunks & Towel
      This is an Aquatics Merit Badge. Prepare to get wet!


    CanoeingMerit Badge D) Study Hall

    The purpose of this section is to facilitate an opportunity for scouts to research and learn about key concepts relevant to this subject. They need to be prepared to explain these to the counselor.

    While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles intruduced here would be relevant.

      Req #1: BSA Aquatics Safety


        a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in canoeing activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
        b. Review prevention, symptoms, and first-aid treatment for the following injuries or illnesses that could occur while canoeing: blisters, cold-water shock and hypothermia, dehydration, heat-related illnesses, sunburn, sprains, and strains.
        c. Discuss the BSA Safety Afloat policy. Tell how it applies to canoeing activities. Safety Afloat Rules

      Req #3: Canoe Basics
      Do the following:


        a. Name and point out the major parts of a canoe.
        b. Describe how the length and shape of a canoe affect its performance.
        c. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different materials used to make canoes.

      Canoeing Merit Badge Req #4: Paddle Basics
      Do the following:


        a. Name and point out the parts of a paddle. Explain the difference between a straight and bent-shaft paddle and when each is best used.
        b. Demonstrate how to correctly size a paddle for a paddler in a sitting position and a kneeling position.

      Req #5: PFD Orientation
      Do the following:


        a. Discuss with your counselor the characteristics of life jackets most appropriate for canoeing and tell why a life jacket must always be worn while paddling.
        b. Demonstrate how to select and properly fit the correct size life jacket.

      Req #6: Canoe Care
      Discuss with your counselor the general care and maintenance of canoes, paddles, and other canoeing equipment.

      Req #7: Canoeing Knots
      Do the following:


        a. Discuss what personal and group equipment would be appropriate for a canoe camping trip. Describe how personal and group equipment can be packed and protected from water.
        b. Using the containers and packs from requirement 7a, demonstrate how to load and secure the containers and other equipment in the canoe.
        c. Using appropriate knots, including a trucker’s hitch, tautline hitch, and bowline, demonstrate how to secure a canoe to a vehicle or a trailer, or if these are not available, a rack on land.

      Req #13: Canoeing Specialties
      Discuss the following types of canoeing:


        a. Olympic canoe sprint
        b. Flatwater and river touring
        c. Outrigger
        d. Marathon
        e. Freestyle
        f. Whitewater
        g. Canoe poling


    Canoeing Merit Badge E) Canoeing Activities

    Since you now know your way around a canoe, you're ready to hit the water and have fun. Here are the requirements to do in the water. Don't be afraid to get a little bit wet!

    Req #8: Canoe Launch
    With a companion, use a properly equipped canoe to demonstrate the following:


      a. Safely carry and launch the canoe from a dock or shore (both, if possible).
      b. Safely land the canoe on a dock or shore (both, if possible) and return it to its proper storage location.
      c. Demonstrate kneeling and sitting positions in a canoe and explain the proper use for each position.
      d. Change places while afloat in the canoe.

    Req #9: Canoe Swamping
    With a companion, use a properly equipped canoe to demonstrate the following:


      a. In deep water, exit the canoe and get back in without capsizing.
      b. Safely perform a controlled capsize of the canoe and demonstrate how staying with a capsized canoe will support both paddlers.
      c. Swim, tow, or push a swamped canoe 50 feet to shallow water. In the shallow water, empty the swamped canoe and reenter it.
      d. In deep water, rescue a swamped canoe and its paddlers by emptying the swamped canoe and helping the paddlers safely reenter their boat without capsizing.

    Req #10: Paddle Techniques
    With a companion, use a properly equipped canoe to demonstrate the following paddling strokes as both a bow and stern paddler:


      a. Forward stroke
      b. Backstroke
      c. Draw
      d. Pushaway
      e. Forward sweep
      f. Reverse sweep
      g. J-stroke
      h. Rudder stroke

    Req #11: Tandem Paddleing
    Using the strokes in requirement 10, and in an order determined by your counselor, use a properly equipped canoe to demonstrate the following tandem maneuvers while paddling on opposite sides and without changing sides. Each paddler must demonstrate these maneuvers in both the bow and stern and on opposite paddling sides:


      a. Pivot or spin the canoe in either direction.
      b. Move the canoe sideways or abeam in either direction.
      c. Stop the canoe.
      d. Move the canoe in a straight line for 50 yards.

    Req #12: Canoe Solo
    Use a properly equipped canoe to demonstrate solo canoe handling:


      a. Launch from shore or a pier (both, if possible).
      b. Using a single-blade paddle and paddling only on one side, demonstrate proper form and use of the forward stroke, backstroke, draw stroke, pushaway stroke, forward sweep, reverse sweep, and J-stroke. Repeat while paddling on the other side.
      c. While paddling on one side only, paddle a 50-yard course making at least one turn underway and one reverse of direction Repeat while paddling on the other side.
      d. Make a proper landing at a dock or shore (both, if possible). Store canoe properly (with assistance, if needed).


    Canoeing Merit Badge H) Extra Credit

    Canoes, even at Scout Camp, come in different shapes and sizes. BSA Camp Fiesta Island has an 18-man polynesian dragon canoe, pictured here.

    Canoeing merit badge is an option for the National Outdoor Badge for Aquatics

    Camping Merit Badge

    One of the challenges for the Camping Merit Badge, which is required for Eagle Rank, is #9.b.4: Camp while taking a nonmotorized trip on the water of at least four hours or 5 miles. Seafront, lakefront and riverfront scout camps may have special arrangements to facilitate this adventure.


    J) Canoeing Famous Quotes:

      Alan Alda (His whitewater movie, White Mile was excellent!)
      ORIGINALITY is unexplored territory. You get there by carrying a canoe...you can't take a taxi.
      Pierre Elliott Trudeau - What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other travel. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature. --

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