Archive for February, 2008

SILVER 4. – Outdoor Scouting
* Demonstrate five trail signs

GOLD 4. – Outdoor Scouting
* Using at least five different trail signs, make a track for the rest of the Pack to follow

Scout trail signs are made on the ground, close to the right-hand side of the road. They should never be made where they will damage or disconfigure private property. — Baden-Powell


Woodcraft Trail Signs

Scout trail signs are scratched in the ground with the point of a stick or shaped from twigs or pebbles. A small arrow means “This is the trail”. An X is a waning, “This isn’t the trail – don’t go this way”. A sqare with a number in it and an arrow means “I’ve hidden a message in this direction, as many steps as the number says”. A circle with a dot in the middle tells you “This is the end of the trail”, or “I have gone home”.

“The Cub Book for Australian Cubs” [4] has some good advice for following a trail;

Then ground signs. “That’s easy,” you think. But not always, for if you get too excited you will lose the trail and waste a lot of time. Some Cubs – mostly those who have not had much practice, are in too much of a hurry. If you happen to lose the trail, go back to the last clue. It may have been an arrow made with sticks on the ground, or a piece of wool tied to a branch, but make sure you are on the right track by going carefully.

When you follow a trail made up of trail signs, use your eyes and take it easy. Be sure that each sign is actually a sign and not one that you are just imagining. If you think that you have missed a sign, go back to the spot where you brushed out or undid the last one and start off again.
— From the Australian Scout Handbook [5]


From the old Second Class test No.4 [3] we pickup

As is true of most of the tests in this book, following a trail cannot be learnt by reading about it. You will need to get out with other Scouts from your Patrol and PRACTICE.

* The trail should be one which an observant scout can follow easily, but which an ordinary person would not even see!
* Make the signs on the right hand side of any track you may be following.
* The signs should be close to the ground or at least no higher than the knee.
* They should be regularly spaced.
* If more than one person is to follow a trail, the earlier ones must not spoil the trail for the others. The last person should destroy the signs when he has finished.
* The signs need not be large – about as big as your hand
* Make sure your signs can be recognised as man made. It is surprising how often twigs lying naturally on the ground look like an arrow.



[1] Baden-Powell, R. (1963) Woodcraft Trail Signs
Yarn 4 in Scouting For Boys, Scout’s Edition
The Boy Scouts Association, Great Britain
Yarn4 [PDF]

[2] Australian Boy Scouts Association (1963) Tenderfoot Test No.5
in First Steps in Scouting (15th Edn)
Australian Tenderfoot and Second Class Tests
Australian Boy Scouts Association

[3] Australian Boy Scouts Association (1963) Second Class Test No.4
in First Steps in Scouting (15th Edn)
Australian Tenderfoot and Second Class Tests
Australian Boy Scouts Association

[4] Boy Scouts’ Association (1956) Observer
in The Cub Book for Australian Cubs (5th Edn)
Boy Scouts’ Association

[5] The Scout Association of Australia (1973) Campcraft
in Australian Scout Handbook
The Scout Association of Australia


Read Full Post »

BRONZE 4 – Outdoor Scouting
* Discuss how a compass works and show you know the the four principal points.
* Make a simple compass.

A compass rose is a figure displaying the orientation of the cardinal directions, north, south, east and west on a map or nautical chart. It is also the term for the graduated markings found on the traditional magnetic compass.Wikipedia

A compass, (or mariner compass) is a navigational instrument for finding directions on the Earth. It consists of a magnetized pointer free to align itself accurately with Earth’s magnetic field, which is of great assistance in navigation. The face of the compass generally highlights the cardinal points of north, south, east and west. A compass can be used in conjunction with a marine chronometer to calculate longitude and a sextant to calculate latitude, providing a very accurate navigation capability. This device greatly improved maritime trade by making travel safer and more efficient.Wikipedia

Make a compass with a cork and a needle using the instructions over at How Stuff Works. (http://science.howstuffworks.com/compass1.htm)

SILVER 4 – Outdoor Scouting
* Demonstrate an understanding of how many degrees there are in a compass and the eight principal points.
* Use a compass to follow a trail, which includes at least six compass points.

In geography, the four principal directional indicators are marked as points or arrowheads on a traditional compass rose. Called cardinal directions, they are north, east, south and west. There are simple specific means to establish each direction which should work anywhere on Earth where there is a view of the sky. North and south are oriented toward their respective poles near each end of the Earth’s axis. The Earth’s rotation upon that axis can define the orientation of east and west.Wikipedia

The four equal divisions – Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest – are called Primary InterCardinal directions.

The Secondary InterCardinal directions, but they are hardly ever used. Example: North-Northeast.

GOLD 4 – Outdoor Scouting
* Use a compass to plan a bushwalk route on a map.
* Use a compass to set a simple trail, including six compass points, for the rest of your pack to follow.
* Discuss the eight principle points and the associated degrees.


CompassRose16 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


[1] Scout Skills: Compass
Scout Skills – Compass (PDF) [ScoutBase.org.uk]

[2] How Stuff Works – Compass

[3] Connected: Compass

[4] Kjetil Kjernsmo’s illustrated guide on How to use a compass

Read Full Post »

1. Leader’s email list for Pack 405
Leader’s email list for Pack 405. Let me know if you wish to update your email address.
—list sent in email—


Read Full Post »

Some Nillumbik District dates for the diary in 2008 are …

  • 29th Feb/22nd Mar, Pre-Cuboree Camp
  • 10th May, SAT, Jamboree of The Trail (Bike Ride)
  • 31 May/1st Jun – Sixer/Seconder training course
  • 26th Jun, THU, Rollerskating
  • 25th Jul, FRI, Joey + Cub Disco
  • 22nd AUG, FRI, Joey + Cub Disco
  • 24th Aug, Billy Carts – Flintstones theme – Organised by Lower Plenty – Plan to hold it at Hurstbridge
  • 21st Nov, FRI, City Rail Trip – Train to city then go to one or more of the following: Fed square/Birrarung Mar/Southbank/Dockside. Then train home and a sleep over

Nillumbik Seeonee Dates 2008

  • Fri 15th Feb – Dinner at RSL plus Seeonee
  • Fri 7th March cancelled
  • Fri 2nd May
  • Fri 1th June (may move to the 6th?)
  • Fri 1st Aug
  • Fri 5 September
  • Fri 10 October
  • Thu 21st Nov (Combined Leaders)

Read Full Post »

Boy Scouts America (BSA) use monthly program themes for Cub Scouting, and currently have the themes listed from SEP 2007 to AUG 2011!

Having these set themes it means that you can get quite a few different resources based on that months theme – newsletters, ideas, games, podcasts, badges, …

December is marked by days of celebration and observance for many cultures and faiths around the world. Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, Rohatsu, Yule and Kwanzaa all occur this month. Find out how the celebrations in another country are similar and different than those in the USA. Compare your own family’s customs and traditions with others in your community. Invite an adult from another nation to come to your pack meeting to tell how their family celebrates. Why not start a new tradition of service in your pack as a way to honor the holidays this month? Work on the Heritages belt loop and pin.

Cars have fascinated every generation since their invention in 1769. They’ve been featured in many movies and on television. Discover the different kinds of cars and trucks such as limousines, taxis, van’s, pickups, SUV’s and racecars. Learn how these vehicles are built, repaired, modified and sold. Visit a car dealership, auto mechanic or auto parts dealer. Boys can build car or truck models or create a model of a showroom or a garage with miniature die cast cars. Participate in a slot car race or pinewood derby race with your den or pack.

Happy Chinese New Year! Or more appropriately, Gung Hay Fat Choy! (The traditional Chinese New Year greeting). This month we welcome the year 4705. Let’s celebrate and welcome the New Year with dragon dances, paper lanterns, fortune cookies and oranges for abundant joy. Decorate your blue and gold banquet with banners inscribed with Chinese characters for luck and lots of red, the symbol of a bright and sunny future. Why not earn the Language and Culture belt loop and pin as we learn about and enjoy the culture of China.

This month Cub Scouts will turn recycled items into treasure and learn about conservation at the same time. Using items that would normally go in the trash or recycling bin, build artistic masterpieces of your own design. It’s amazing what some recycled bottles and paper can do when combined with glue and a little imagination. Have a gallery opening at your pack meeting with all your art displayed. Don’t forget the Art belt loop and pin.

Cub Scouts love to amaze and be amazed! Boys discover secrets of the magician’s art this month as they demonstrate magical illusions and learn new tricks with cards, coins and other everyday objects. The Cub Scout Magic Book is a great resource for age-appropriate tricks and puzzles. Visit a magic shop or have a magician come to your den or pack meeting to teach the boys a few tricks of the trade. Prepare to watch in wonder at the pack meeting as your Cub Scouts entertain their audience with skits, stunts and sparklers that they have practiced at den meetings. The Cubmaster uses the magic of ceremonies to pull awards from his hat at the mystifying pack meeting magic show. This would be a good month to hold your pack space derby.

From an Australian perspective I’m not really into a ‘you will all do this activity on this month’ idea, I like the idea that different packs are doing different thing and focus on the interest in their pack. That said, this does make a killer set of resources for a whole lot of themes from which you can pick and choose.

To get started investigating what is available have a look at the following;

  • Cub Scout Program Helps: These program helps provide a detailed, easy-to-follow program to assist leaders in planning meetings.
  • Cubcast is an audio podcast featuring a variety of how-to and information topics for Cub Scout leaders and parents.
  • Baloo’s Bugle is a monthly collection of program helps for Cub Scout leaders. Each month a new edition is published with ideas for the following month’s Cub Scouting theme near the beginning of each month.
  • Den Meeting in a Box is a new resource available to den leaders for use with each monthly pack theme. The kits are available for Tiger Cub Scout, Wolf Cub Scout, or Bear Cub Scout meetings. They contain materials (such as craft kits for making decorative hat visors) related to each monthly theme and to the den activities suggested in the meeting plans found in the single-volume Cub Scout Program Helps.

This is going to grow into a pretty awesome resource set. I am certainly going to be importing the books from the Den Meeting in a Box kits 🙂

Read Full Post »

Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do
Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, talks about our new wave of overprotected kids — and spells out 5 (and really, he’s got 6) dangerous things you should let your kids do. Allowing kids the freedom to explore, he says, will make them stronger and smarter and actually safer.
TED | Talks

Now, how many of these are you still allowed to do in Scouting?
The answer to that concerns me 😦

Read Full Post »

Using TagCrowd to view the Jungle book story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi as a Tag Cloud of the top 50 words … a good way of seeing if you have the main drift of a story?


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »