By John Gailey
May 11, 2016

New Merit Badge Adventure Tracks and High Adventure in 2016

Green tracks, also known as Merit Badge Adventure Tracks, are geared toward younger Scouts and are designed to provide plenty of merit badge experience,

Last year we introduced our camp Adventure Tracks—an exciting program for teaching skills, working on merit badges and experiencing challenges in a fun, experiential learning environment instead of in a traditional classroom setting—at Tifie Scout CampScofield Scout Camp and Thunder Ridge Scout Camp and saw exciting results.

Troop 974 5Experiential learning allows participants to gain firsthand experience with the concepts they learn and then have those concepts reinforced as they reflect on the experiences they’ve had. The Scouts who participated in these programs last year had fun, retained what they learned and progressed rapidly toward Eagle if that was their goal.

Due to the success and popularity of these programs, we’ve decided to introduce new Adventure Tracks and have added Maple Dell Scout Camp and our High Adventure Bases to the list of locations offering these unique opportunities.

Background

Adventure Tracks are rated similar to ski runs—Green, Blue and Black Diamond—with each rating representing a different level of adventure and challenge. Each track lasts for two days (unless otherwise specified) and provides an immersive, fun, activity-based experience.

AdventureTracks1Green tracks, also known as Merit Badge Adventure Tracks, are geared toward younger Scouts and are designed to provide plenty of merit badge experience, allowing the young man to work on three merit badges (for most tracks) over the two-day period. There is also a ‘Scouting Basics’ Adventure Track designed for youth who are working toward their First Class Rank.

adventuretracks2Blue tracks are unit-based activities where the entire Scouting unit experiences an exciting adventure together (adults and youth). These are intended for more experienced Scouting units, including Varsity Teams and Venturing Crews, and may include one or more out-of-camp outpost campouts. These tracks may also include some merit badge work, but the focus is on the high adventure experience.

adventuretracks3Black diamond tracks are also unit-based activities where the entire Scouting unit (adults and youth) engage in a multi-day, sometimes week-long, high adventure. These tracks are for the highly experienced Scouting units and will provide significant challenges.

Updates for 2016

Many of our most popular tracks are returning from last year, including Sharpshooter, Search and Rescue, Above & Below, Sailing Academy, Ultimate Survivor and others. We have also added some new ones based on your suggestions and ideas. These include:

Games With a Purpose: (Green Merit Badge Adventure Track at Scofield Scout Camp) Come learn the ‘how-to,’ history, and design of games with Chess and Game Design.

Handy-crafts: (Green Merit Badge Adventure Track at Scofield Scout Camp) If you like hands-on activities, you will love this track focused on Leatherwork, Indian Lore, and Basketry.

Hands On: (Green Merit Badge Adventure Track at Tifie Scout Camp) This track not only features work with Basketry, Leatherwork, and Wood Carving but also the chance to spend time with a master of each of these disciplines.

Earth Wind and Fire: (Green Merit Badge Adventure Track at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp) Environmental Science is the focus of this track which also includes Soil and Water Conservation and Nature. Scouts will get a great outdoor experience while fulfilling requirements in these areas.

Mission Possible: (Green Merit Badge Adventure Track at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp) A lot of fun and adventure await Scouts who participate in this track. First Aid, Search and Rescue and the new Signs Signals and Codes Merit Badges will be the focus of this Track. Lots of work on the trails and hill sides of camp will excite all who join this adventure.

Boots Beware: (Green Merit Badge Adventure Track at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp) Get your hiking boots warmed up for this exciting track. Backpacking, Hiking and Orienteering will challenge everyone who participates in this event. Due to the extent of these badges, not all requirements will be available to be completed, but you’ll get a good jump on many of them.

Thunder Ridge Biker

Hike and Bike: (Blue Adventure Track at Thunder Ridge Scout Camp) Go mountain biking on the extensive trail system of Brian Head and surrounding areas and hiking through the spectacular back country of Thunder Ridge. This will be a great adventure and can be customized to the abilities of the boys participating.

Adventure Activities: (Blue and Black Diamond Adventure Activities at Maple Dell Scout Camp) Maple Dell Scout Camp now offers a wide variety of activities for older youth that include Challenge Courses and Zip Lines, Hunter Education, and Payson Temple Night. Build your own tracks with these activities.

River Kayaking/Rafting: (Blue Adventure Track at Maple Dell Scout Camp) Raft the Provo River on this fun adventure!

Frontiersman: (Black Diamond Adventure Track at Maple Dell Scout Camp) Use mountain man themes while emphasizing ones duty to prepare for missions and life! Three-day track.

Rock Canyon: (Black Diamond Adventure Track at Maple Dell Scout Camp) Full day activity in Rock Canyon in Provo climbing and rappelling with 12 Finger Outdoor Adventures.

Service: (Black Diamond Adventure Track at Maple Dell Scout Camp) Get involved in a major service activity by building and extending program areas at camp.

Canyoneering: (Black Diamond Adventure Track at Entrada High Adventure Base) Challenge your group using canyoneering within Negro Bill Canyon outside of Moab, led by camp staff and 12 Finger Outdoor Adventures.

Build Your Own Black Diamond: (Black Diamond Adventure Track at Tifie Scout Camp, Scofield Scout Camp, Thunder Ridge Scout Camp, and Beaver High Adventure Base) Tailor your own experience as either a two-day adventure or week-long experience leveraging expertise and gear from camp. Include activities such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing, backpacking, outpost camping and sailing, designing a unique experience your Scouting unit will never forget. The camp has suggested itineraries for you to adopt or customize.

Sample Itinerary 1:

  • Day 1: Check-in at Scofield Scout Camp, orientation & gear check, travel to Dry Valley, mountain bike around Scofield Reservoir and up to Pondtown Creek. Set-up camp, more mountain biking on Pondtown Road and Bear Ridge. Enjoy fishing on Pondtown Creek.
  • Day 2: Spend a second day and night on Pondtown Creek fishing. Mountain bike on Pondtown Road and Bear Ridge up into Aspen and Oak groves.
  • Day 3 & 4: Hike up and spend two days and nights at Commissary Spring fishing and exploring Little Bear Creek.
  • Day 5: Break camp and mountain bike either to historic mining town Scofield and explore the Scofield cemetery and mining memorial, or mountain bike up to Skyline Trail, cycling through beautiful Aspen and Fir groves and taking in the breathtaking sights of the Wasatch Front finishing over at Highway 6. Travel back by car from both destinations to Scofield Scout camp. Participate in camp-wide games and camp program venues (climbing/rappelling wall, shooting sports, water-front).

Sample Itinerary 2:

  • Day 1: Check-in at Tifie Scout Camp, orientation and gear check, travel to Maple Canyon. Set-up camp. Mountain bike, hike, explore up in Maple Canyon and surrounding Sanpete Valley mountains.
  • Day 2: Pack up and travel up to Skyline Drive overlooking Sanpete Valley. Mountain bike down to Potter’s Pond, set-up camp and spend the night.
  • Day 3: Hike, bike, fish, explore at Potter’s Pond; spend second night.
  • Day 4: Bike to Huntington Reservoir, fish, hike, explore, setup camp and spend the night at Huntington Canyon.
  • Day 5: Travel back to Tifie Scout Camp. Participate in camp-wide games, and open program areas: shooting, COPE, swimming.

Are You Ready?

As you can see, the Utah National Parks Council has greatly expanded our summer camp offerings with adventure tracks to challenge Scouts of all ages—whether working on merit badges or ready to be challenged by high adventure activities.

If you are not yet signed up for the 2016 camp season, there are still openings! Go to www.utahscouts.org/camps to see details.

Don’t miss out! Let our trained camp staff do the hard work while you guide and mentor your youth to create lifelong memories and to prepare them for the future!

John Gailey

 

Author: John Gailey | Director of Support Services, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.

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3 thoughts on “New Merit Badge Adventure Tracks and High Adventure in 2016

  1. Matt Curtis

    Adventure tracks have been a disaster at the camps where they’ve been implemented. I have heard of so many unhappy scoutmasters. If Maple Dell is switching to adventure tracks, our troop will end our 20-year tradition at Maple Dell and go elsewhere.

    Reply
    1. John GaileyJohn Gailey

      We survey units every week to collect feedback and suggestions regarding Adventure Tracks. The vast majority of units (both Scoutmasters and youth) who come and participate in Adventure Tracks are loving it! We continue to adjust and improve based on feedback and believe they will only get better!

      As for Maple Dell Scout Camp, they are adding Adventure Tracks (non-merit badge focused) for older youth, but will continue the traditional merit badge class format for the foreseeable future.

      Reply

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