Monday, June 17, 2013

Batteries not needed

Yes, you actually need to know how to read a paper map, even in today's digital .pdf world. It may be a road atlas, a topo, or a street map of your hometown.*  Just the bird's-eye view you get from a state highway map can be beneficial before you follow Betty's sultry instruction to "turn left now."  Knowing where the roads go before getting on them is pretty basic  There is plenty of evidence that an over-reliance on digital/GPS tools can actually be dangerous. So, get your basics down:

Tenderfoot
  • #5: Explain the rules of safe hiking, both on the highway and cross country, during the day and at night
  • #9: Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood...
Second Class:
  • #1a - Demonstrate how a compass works and how to orient a map.  Explain what map symbols mean
  • #1b - Using a compass and a map together, take a five-mile hike (or 10 miles by bike) approved by your adult leader and your parent or guardian
First Class;
  • #1 - Demonstrate how to find directions during the day and at night without using a compass
  • #2 - Using a map and compass, complete an orienteering course that covers at least one mile and requires measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.)
By learning these skills, as opposed to checking these boxes, GPS becomes another resource, rather than something that does the thinking for you.

UPDATE:

I had a thought about setting up a course in the neighborhood, leaving instructions at the meeting place, and cooking up a Dutch oven cobbler or something at the Primary President's place (11YOS, after all).  Dessert is dependent on successfully completing the course. And they get some quality time with their President.

Prepared. | For Life.™

1 comment:

Brian Reyman said...

Other than first aid, using maps is maybe the most important skill in going outdoors and building confidence in the scouts.

Using maps is hard when done right (ala actually trying to navigate with one out in the wild and not having someone do it for you). This is one of the best areas to allow scouts to fail, try, succeed, etc. all in the same outing. Failure teaches and feeling success/mastery of it is truly wonderful.

I've personally gotten semi lost (still knew the general area I was in and the direction I needed to go - but was lost on the specifics) on a few individual trips over the last 2-3 years. The experiences taught me more about myself, the importance of navigation skills and how to use a map than 100 lectures ever could.