Follow the Badge Lady

Badge Requirements

1. Help your patrol, troop, or camp unit plan and go on two all-day hikes. Plan where to go, what to wear and take. Get necessary permissions.

2. Know how to walk and rest correctly, how to walk in a group on street, highway, or country road.

3. Use good outdoor manners: On the way. At hike site. On trails. Do an outdoor good turn on each hike.

4. Plan and carry your lunch for one hike and cook part of it yourself. On the other hike cook something for a group.

5. Help make and use: Fireplace. Woodpile. Fire.

6. Dress for expected weather and activities. Have rope, eating utensils, and bandana.

7. Learn one new campcraft skill: How to tie knots, handle a knife, use a compass, or lay and follow a trail.

8. Be able to teach a game to play on the way. Know a hiking song.

9. Help keep troop first aid kit ready to use. Know what to do if you cut or burn yourself.

10. Watch a sunset, look wide around a hilltop, or discover something interesting in nature. Find a poem or story about the out-of-doors or about the way it makes you feel to share with your patrol.

11. After each hike, talk over the hike and what you need to learn or practice before your next outing.

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 Purpose: To be able to plan and go on an all-day hike.


According to the Solo School of Wilderness Medicine, I’m officially certified in wilderness first aid, which, in theory, means I’m qualified, for the next two years, to treat people injured in the backcountry. But I have to say that in practical terms I think all it means is that I now have this nifty card to put in my wallet and take out at parties when I run out of things to talk about.

The two-day course covered such a vast amount of material, it was hard enough just to follow along let alone commit all of it to memory. The plethora of emergency first aid was taught through a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on experience in the field, where we took turns portraying injured hikers and their rescuers, like an odd, medical version of charades.

When it was my turn at patient, I impersonated a clumsy mountaineer who’d slipped on a loose rock and sprained a wrist while trying to break my fall. Ultimately, playing patient was the most illuminating part of the course. When the instructor checked my rescuers’ handiwork by bending my wrist back and forth, I could feel how easily it moved underneath all the padding they’d packed it in; they’d forgotten to splint the wrapping with a stick or collapsed hiking pole. Additionally, the sling they’d fashioned to immobilize my arm was digging into my neck uncomfortably. I wouldn’t have lasted more than a couple of minutes in the contraption. The instructor suggested they could have put some padding under the material to cushion my neck.

At the very least, if I ever have to treat a sprained wrist, I probably won’t forget to put on the splint, and I’m also likely to think about neck comfort when tying a sling, so perhaps the course wasn’t a complete wash. And if I review my 98-page take-home booklet, I may qualify to carry my card after all.