Boy Scouts are most commonly known for their distinctive uniforms and motto of “Be Prepared”. Having worked for a regional Boy Scout Service Center for more than 12 years, I have witnessed the valuable skills that youth who participate in the Scouting program are taught. I have seen the results of lives saved and communities transformed by these young people’s knowledge. Here are 30 Scout Skills that are so vital for everyone to know.
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1. Basic First Aid-Treating blisters, minor burns, nosebleeds, small cuts and abrasions, sprains and strains, and removing ticks and insect stingers.
2. Being Able to Identify the Five Most Common Signs of a Heart Attack
3. Caring for Injured While Seeking Professional Medical Attention-Frostbite, Hypothermia, Serious Burns, Shock, Protection of Neck and Spine, Rescue Breathing, Splinting and Slings for Broken Bones
4. Caring for Someone Who is Choking
5. Clear Teaching of Survival Skills to Others
6. Determining Your Body Mass Index (BMI)-Also, understanding proper BMI range by individual stats.
7. Handling National Flag-How to properly raise, lower, fold and display flag.
8. How to Leave No Trace When Camping
9. How to Properly Handle and Cook on an Outdoor Stove
10. How to Purify Water
11. How to Safely Start a Fire-Often in less than ideal conditions. Also, just as importantly, knowing how to properly extinguish a fire.
12. Identifying Poisonous Plants-Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac
13. Knowing How to Prevent and/or Recognize Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion
14. Knowing How to Swim-Swimming strokes and survival swimming
15. Orienting and Reading a Map-For when GPS devices are not available or will not work.
16. Performing a Water Rescue-How to rescue someone who is in danger of drowning without putting yourself in harm’s way.
17. Preparation and Tracking of a Budget
18. Proper Care, Sharpening, and Use of Knife, Ax, and Saw-That ax and saw could really come in handy for gathering wood for a fire.
19. Proper Layering of Clothes for Outdoor Activities in Changing Weather
20. Putting Together a Makeshift Shelter for Protection in an Emergency Situation
21. Safe Food Handling
22. Saving and Investing Fundamentals and Differences-Including knowledge of simple and compound interest, return on investment, and risk tolerance. Also, learning about financial instruments such as certificates of deposit, loans, savings accounts, stocks, mutual funds, and insurance.
23. Sustainable Use of Resources-Water conservation, growing your own food, and reducing household waste
24. Tying a Variety of Knots-From being able to keep your shoe laces tied (I need to keep practicing that one) to knotting a rope for rescue.
25. Understanding Preventative Health Care and Its Importance
26. Understanding Your Rights and Duties as a Citizen
27. Use of a Compass-Also, how to navigate during day or night without the use of a compass.
28. What Good Nutrition Entails and the Importance of Physical Activity
29. What to Do If Caught Outdoors in a Thunderstorm
30. What To Do If Lost in the Woods
MeritBadge.org offers great links to information on Scout merit badges and the fundamental Scout skills listed above. Also, the Boy Scouts of America is now offering a variety of merit badge books at ScoutStuff.org. These books provide great instruction and resources for learning a variety of skills.
For more valuable life tips: