Sunday, 8 June 2014

merit badges

For the best holidays I am in the habit of making a memento, usually in the American scrapbook style. Unless done quickly I tend to go off the boil and get distracted (hence the 'Skye Trail' scrapbook has been on pause for a year).

We have just finished a 6 day backpacking camping trip in our backyard, the Lakes. It was a made-up route with no eponymous title but it was brilliant and deserved a memento. This year instead of scrapbooks it is the year of the merit badge.
Girl guides new self esteem badge
What got me thinking about merit badges was that the Girl Guides have recently launched a 'Free being me' corporately sponsored self-esteem body image badge. Who'd have thunk it. Back in the day, I was of course a cub (guides were sissies) and I really enjoyed collecting merit badges. I can't remember all the ones I had but vaguely recall a badge with a dustpan and brush on, another with entertainers masks and a third with an artist's palette. I also remember making a scrapbook of the royal family but can't remember which that counted for.
Thimble on the left with Bad Hair Day Lady on right - merit badge sleeve pretty empty
6 days of hiking gives a person quite a bit of thinking time. Clearly we needed an overall commemorative merit badge for the trip, but there were a number of opportunities for earning achievement merit badges along the way.

Some badges I would find quite easy to achieve:

  • The water fetching badge
  • The suncream vigilance badge
  • The first aid badge.
  • These badges could have a green edge.

Other intermediate badges (orange edge) might include:

  • The rucksack badge (more complex than it sounds)
  • The cook a meal without help from a friend badge (I might be too lazy for this one or possibly too busy with the water fetching badge)

Difficult (red edged) badges are:

  • Putting the tent up (includes choosing a good camp site with level ground out of the wind away from midges).
  • Map and compass badge

To get us started here we have the bush toilet craft or shitting outdoors badge. Anyone familiar with long distance hiking will understand this one. Burning the toilet paper should be considered only if the risk of setting fire to the countryside is deemed negligible. I recommend laxatives before the trip to ensure minimal defecation urge. In fact this first badge was rightly awarded to my travelling companion who has much more skill and experience in bush toilet craft techniques.

In case you are wondering the symbol if of a pile of steaming remains with burning toilet paper:
Small embroidery hoop for making merit badges
Bush toilet craft merit badge

Moving swiftly on, the commemorative trip badge depicts key features of the trip: date and distance travelled; the red fox and green lizard spotted en route (red fox too fast to photograph); lakes and campsites with elevations...and an ambiguous boot which I am told looks like a monkey:
May '14 Lakes backpacking trip commemorative badge

The green lizard
thinking about merit badges

1 comment:

Catherine McArdle said...

I like that badge. Rohan and his friend Lewi were in BIG trouble last year for weeing in a corner outside the scout hut, which they hadn't realised was on an incline into the next door neighbour's back yard. She was alarmed to see a stream of urine trickling down the path into the garden. I think Rohan and Lewi should really have got a "Finding an unusual spot to have a wee' badge.