1st First Class Hike
How-to Guide for Leaders
In Traditional Scouting, the purpose of the Tenderfoot through First Class skills is not to get them "signed off," or to be tested in a Scoutmaster Conference or Board of Review, but to train for the First Class Journey. This Journey (the final First Class requirement) is taken by a Second Class Scout and his buddy (without the supervision of older Scouts or adults).
"Go on foot, with three other Scouts, on a 24-hour journey of at least 14 miles.
|Nature Lore, etc.|
|Trails and Roads|
|Village and Town Surveying|
|Folk Lore & Crafts|
|Indian Burial Grounds|
In the early stages of training only part of one of the above should be selected; later others may be added. A lot depends on the age and education of the Scouts.
Always have a brief written account of what has been done and seen in note form en route. Make this part of Patrol Competitions and assemble the reports for Patrol or Troop logs.
The First Class Hike Report should be the culmination of much previous training. Remember that in the course of a 14 mile hike, with camping, plus reporting, sketching and projects detailed observation is impossible.
The Report should show the spirit of adventure which is much more important than formality. Education and maturity of your Scouts should be taken consideration in reviewing the results.
There is no official form of report but the following suggestions do make for clearness and simplicity:
Use a good grade paper, bound in a hard-back loose leaf cover. Set up your first page showing:
|To whom the report is being made.|
|From the person making the report.|
|Subject of the Report.|
|Dates commenced and completed.|
|Location-of start, camping spot and finish|
|Weather-General description at start and progress throughout. Temperature, barometer reading, cloud cover, visibility, humidity may be added.|
|Map Used-Giving sheet number and scale.|
Rule off, in advance, the left hand pages to show date, times of observations and other activities. Leave the largest space for notes and then a column for miles covered. The right hand page can be used for sketches and maps.
|Train the Scouts to be concise and exact in their Reports.|
|All names should be printed in capitals for accuracy.|
|Leave extra space on the paper for additions.|
|Re-read upon completion to check for any omissions.|
|Select only facts.|
What kind of things may be expected in the report column? This is the general report apart from an, special bias that the writer may have.
1. A clear account of the route travelled with references to the map used may be expected. Where there is likely to be any confusion in following the route, awkward cross-roads, or paths not too clearly marked, care should be taken to get the directions clear; a sketch of a land mark or a small map will help.
2. Some idea of the type of country travelled through should be given; the natural features should be mentioned, kinds of crops, nature of woods, open spaces, streams, lakes, canals, bridges, roads.
3. An interest in the human and natural life of the district should be shown whether it is largely industrial or agricultural; what kinds of houses there are to give an idea of the well-being of the people; whether there are any local crafts carried on; animal and bird life.
4. The writer should show his interest in man's structures, his churches, ruins, country houses, mills, and any other historical features of interest.
An intelligent Scout should, after his training up to the time when he is fit to take his First Class Hike, be able to note such matters as are mentioned above.
This all implies previous training; this has been constantly mentioned, but it is worth underlining the need for preparing the Scout by short hikes with the Scouter, by short journeys on his own or with a pal, and by practice in reporting. We have been too apt to expect a Scout to write intuitively a good journey report, and when he has naturally failed, except in a few cases, we have blamed the requirement!
Here, as in all Scout requirements, effort made should count before all else, bearing in mind that this requirement is the final one for First Class grade. However as B-P once wrote: "A Scout is not a Scout until he is a First Class Scout."
Thus real and adventurous Scouting starts at this point where the Scout has received sufficient training to undertake adventures further afield, to get to know all he can about his surrounding district from his own observations, from talks with people he meets, and from maps, museums, books, papers and all the innumerable sources of information that are open to him.
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Last modified: August 20, 2012.