Tag Archives: Pioneering Merit Badge

What Pioneering Merit Badge SHOULD Be!

“Pioneering is practical and character building: the two essential ingredients of any program material for Scouts.” (Lord Baden-Powell)

Mew Top Montage

Pioneering Merit Badge, which as we all know used to be required for Eagle, should give Scouts a taste of pioneering! Of course they should be taught about safety and gain some general knowledge, but much more importantly, they should be introduced to the Scouting traditions and the fun that this activity embodies. They should DO pioneering!

SIngle Trestle Montage

Taking part in building pioneering projects contributes to the development of self-esteem and provides a sense of accomplishment. It necessitates working hard and working together towards a common goal. Besides being really cool and impressing people in and out of Scouting, building a real pioneering structure requires 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.

A-Frame Bridge 5

Pioneering Merit Badge should be presented as a series of planned challenges and opportunities leading up to memorable experiences that are rewarding and unique. The recipients of this merit badge should be inspired to share their acquired skills and the fun they had with other Scouts in their unit.

Bridge Building

As Gilwell Park Camp Chief, John Thurmann  stated, “To me, the over-riding reason for presenting Pioneering is that boys like it. There are few activities which, properly presented, have a greater appeal to the Scout than Pioneering and ever since the introduction of Wood Badge training, Pioneering has been given a full share in the program of Scouters’ training. In the summer months when Scouters at Gilwell are building bridges, towers, and rafts, and boys are in camp, it has been all too common to hear from the boys such remarks as, ‘I wish we did that in our Troop’ or ‘We never do anything like that’.”

Tower Montage

But there are reasons for Pioneering other than the fact that Scouts like doing it. B.-P. wrote: “I am inclined to suggest to Scouters that in addition to the technical details of knotting, lashing, and anchorages, there is an educative value in Pioneering since it gives elementary training in stresses, mensuration, etc., and it also develops initiative and resourcefulness to use local material. Additionally, it gives practice in team work and discipline.” In other words, (“Pioneering is practical and character building: the two essential ingredients of any program material for Scouts.”)

CHippewa Montage

Pioneering Legend: Adolph Peschke

Soon after the 1993 edition of the Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet was published, I ventured to contact its author with some questions. Happily, I was able to reach him at his home, and was treated to enthusiastic explanations regarding the projects our troop wanted to build. Mr. Peschke was always very generous with his time and had so much information to share, it always felt I was being given dollar answers for my little 10¢ questions.

Pioneering Legend, Adolph Peschke
Pioneering Legend, Adolph Peschke

The following text has been extracted from the Acknowledgments page of the Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet he authored: “Mr. Peschke has more than sixty years’ tenure in the St. Louis Area Council, and is a Wood Badge course director for more than 20 course staff experiences. He has designed thirty original “boy-size” pioneering projects. As a design engineer for five national Scout jamborees, he was responsible for the theme development, site layout, and staff training for the Action Center’s pioneering areas. He also developed the pioneering kit with its color-coded system to identify rope and spar lengths for building pioneering projects, and he has contributed to the BSA Fieldbook, Program Helps, and Boys’ Life and Scouting Magazines.”

Adolph Peschke, a most worthy recipient of the Boy Scouts of America’s Silver Antelope Award, passed away on November 23, 2012. He was 98. I had just spoken with him about two weeks before, during which time he was, as always, enthusiastic and emphatically informative. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on. Thank you Adolph! You have served, and continue to serve, as a most-helpful resource of valuable insight and information.

Adolph Peschke’s Pioneering Guidelines

Adolph Peschke’s Introduction to Pioneering

Pioneering With Laminated Spars by Adolph E. Peschke: How to Build a Pioneering Starter Kit with Laminated Spars for a Scout Troop to Build “Boy-Sized” Projects.

Adolph Peschke in Wikipedia