By Paul Tikalsky
Mar 26, 2017

Walk, Bike, or Ride: Transportation Merit Badges for Mission Travel

My oldest son Bryan was called to the Buenos Aires Argentina South mission. Each day, he walked an average of 12 miles. He needed to be prepared for the physical exertion of walking and hiking. 

Similarly, many missionaries will utilize various transportation methods throughout their missions. They will be required to navigate around a new and unfamiliar area. They’ll deal with repairs and vehicle concerns. These tasks can be daunting. 

The following merit badges can help you establish a good background in transportation for your mission:

  • Automotive Maintenance– Mission fleet coordinators are confident that if each elder (or sister) earned this merit badge, it would save the mission thousands of dollars. Some missions even use this badge to train missionaries in  maintenance. Plus, if you know how to fix vehicles it benefits you far beyond the mission.
  • Cycling– At some point, you may be assigned to a bike area. If you are, you’ll know how to maintain a bike, recognize buying options, incorporate biking safety laws, and have riding skills with the merit badge. 
  • Hiking– With this merit badge, you will know how to pace yourself and follow safety procedures while walking and hiking. You’ll know proper first aid procedures for hiking in case of illness or injury. 
  • Traffic Safety– The number one cause of death and injury in the mission is traffic related accidents. Whether walking, riding a bike, or driving a car, this merit badge teaches crucial safety lessons to protect your life. You’ll also know how to keep your vehicle safe by checking tire pressure, treads, etc. 
  • Orienteering– Knowing where you are and where you want to go is part of everyday life in the mission field. The ability to read a map and understand symbols, distance, and a GPS will help you get around and be timely when meeting with members and investigators. 
  • Backpacking– Some missionaries are sent to remote areas of a mission. Even if you aren’t, you’ll still want to learn principles of the merit badge like how to identify what’s essential to carry with you while traveling and how to maintain “Leave No Trace” principles. 

Some missionaries say a mission is like being at a long-term Scout camp. As in Scouting, you may feel the work can be daunting at times. However, being able to navigate properly to your physical (and spiritual) destination is a great skill to have at camp, on a mission, and in life. 

 

 

Author: Paul Tikalsky | Director of Development, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

 

 

This is part of a series designed to help parents and Scout leaders know what merit badges can help their Scouts as they transition into missionary service. This article focuses on transportation. 

 

 

 

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