Why Pioneering?

Pioneering Merit Badge Class on their Single Trestle Bridge
Pioneering Merit Badge Class on their Single Trestle Bridge

Why pioneering? Well, as Gilwell Park Camp Chief, John Thurmann casually states, “To me, the over-riding reason for presenting Pioneering is that boys like it.” But, there’s a whole lot more to this question’s answer. CLICK HERE!

Many of the national jamboree pioneering area staff were students of the late, greatly-loved and widely admired Adolph Peschke, author of the (previous) Pioneering Merit Badge pamphlet, and the acknowledged designer of thirty original “boy-sized” pioneering projects.

Pioneering Legend: Adolph Peschke

Adolph’s way of presenting pioneering principles and projects is not only informative, but also serves to motivate and inspire. He clearly lays out what is needed, so Scouts can experience success and enjoy the fruits inherent in carrying out well-prepared plans, while putting into action the special skills required. (Not to infer that, when accomplishing an objective, Pioneering isn’t all about using one’s creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness!)

Many agree that our Scout youth should be given repeated opportunities to engineer and orchestrate the construction of pioneering structures that are useful or just plain fun. Taking part in these projects contribute to the development of self-esteem and nurture a broad sense of accomplishment. They necessitate working hard and working together towards a common goal. Besides being really cool and impressing people in and out of Scouting, they require the mastery of a set of useful Scout skills that can be applied over a lifetime of outdoor activities—activities for both work and recreation.

Teaching the conventional Diagonal Lashing to Boy Scouts at a troop meeting.
Timber Hitch demonstration during Skills Instruction. (OK. Next: How’s it used and when do we use it?!)
Pioneering Team Building Activity at a Camporee

Devoting time and attention to the proliferation of pioneering skills and the building of projects throughout the Scouting community is a worthwhile endeavor. By helping develop council pioneering kits for use by interested units, and establishing trained teams of council-level instructors to share the necessary skills and approaches, more Scouts will be in the position to experience the richness and timeless fun associated with Scout Pioneering.

—> Click HERE for further ELUCIDATION!

Please feel free to contact me: 843-421-5403

8 thoughts on “Why Pioneering?”

  1. Kia ora from New Zealand Larry. We are a Sea Scout group newish to pioneering, and wondering where to find information on how many poles of each size would be a ‘minimum’ set up for a troop of 5 patrols, or about 30 youth, to be able to work on projects at the same time. Thanks heaps! Liz

    1. It’s our experience that the size and kind of poles you need simply hinges on what you want to do with them. We are huge proponents of including fun challenges during regular troop meetings featuring various pioneering skills. The materials for these Scout meeting activities often very nicely parallel the materials required for Scout-sized projects patrols might choose to erect during an outing. Hence, the troop’s supply of lashing ropes and poles can come into play during skills instruction, meeting activities, AND project building. For example: an eight-foot double tripod Chippewa kitchen requires eight 8-foot spars (4-inch butts) and and six 6-foot spars (3-inch butts). These 8-foot and 6-foot spars are the same sizes called for for a variety of fun, lashing activities. The materials for one Chippewa kitchen easily provide the materials for two patrols to compete in an “Everyone on the Tripod” event, or four patrols to enter into a ladder building event or “Lift Chair Procession.” These same materials can be used when building a Double A-frame Monkey Bridge and various walkway bridges. Check out the material lists connected to the the activities you want to feature and the projects you want to build, and base your acquisition on those you choose. Your focus could well be to assure you have enough poles for each patrol to simultaneously accept a challenge. During outings, the intent might be for crews from various patrols to erect a larger troop project, and individual patrols to build their own camp gadgets. (The materials for most gadgets are regularly made up of Scout stave and broom stick-sized poles.) —> Start with enough 8-foot and 6-foot spars and 3 to 4-foot x 2-inch “ladder rungs” for each parol to enjoy the Scout meeting activities your planning team chooses, and enough Scout staves so each Scout has one and there is a nice supply for skills instruction, camp gadgets, and the host of other Scout meeting opportunities requiring these kinds of smaller poles. To be more specific, you’d have to base your numbers of each kind and size on exactly what you want to do. Start more or less simple and then expand according to your plans.

  2. Thank you for putting your efforts into this site. I have shared this site with my son (SPL for our new troop) who plans to share with the boys of our troop. I cannot wait to see the excitement on their faces as we construct our first mini-tower and / or monkey bridge. Again, thank you!

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