Canoeing Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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    Canoeing Merit Badge

    Aids for the Boy-Led Scout Troop

    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! Get Wet! Be Safe!

    Sample Activity Plan

    Equipment Pre-requisites


    This is an Aquatics Merit Badge. Prepare to get wet! Your Scoutmaster can assist you in collecting this equipment

      Swim Trunks & Towel
      Canoes and Paddles
      Personal Flotation Device (PFDs)
      Canoe Transport
      Rope

    Aquatics Basecamp


    This activity is commonly available at most Boy Scout Summar Camps. However, it is also a great merit badge activity for Spring Break on the river or a troop's own lakeshore encampment.


    Canoeing Merit Badge A) Make Your Plan
    The Trail to Adventure Fun!

      1. Merit Badge Activity Preview

      2. Sample Plan Outline
      Note: This Plan is a Draft - Some dates, events and activities may change after reviewing it with your leaders.

      • Make draft of Event Flyer (See Example Here).
      • Each Participant to be notified that he needs:
      • Event Dates / Places / Dress Code / Supplies / Etc.
      • Extra Credit)

      3. Meet the Merit Badge Counselor
      Review your plan with the merit badge counselor. Some activities require his advance approval. The Scoutmaster should be able to recommend a counselor to you.

      4. Patrol Leader Council
      Present Activity Proposal to your fellow patrol leaders and scoutmaster. Make assignments as needed.

      5. Field Trip Plan

      • Contact the destination venue. Confirm that they can assist with the Field Trip Requirements. Reserve your Event Dates.
      • Troop Historian should be ready to take pictures on this activity to report back on the next troop blog, newsletter or court of honor.

      6. Announce & Start Activity

      • Get final approval from your scoutmaster.
      • Update event flyer (#2) above.
      • Distribute event flyer / Begin Introduction


    B) Introduction
    Present the plan to your patrol or troop (Either at your first activity meeting or sometime earlier.)

    Here are some ideas to show why this activity will be both fun and important.

    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.

    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


    Genealogy Merit Badge C) Study Hall

    Purpose: Help each Patrol Member learn key concepts on this subject. Include the following resources:

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


        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.

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

    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.

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    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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