Earn a Merit Badge in Location

20 Mar

I was a cub scout in 1969.  We had compasses back then, but I was deprived.  The floppy disk, the word processer and video games were not yet invented.  How times have changed.  Scouts today can earn so many new cool badges, including a geocaching merit badge.

That’s right, the Boys Scouts have gone location, and it is taking the troops by storm.  You thought the location buzz at SXSW was at a fevered pitch?  Check into your local Boy Scout jamboree and “be prepared,” geolocation is the campfire rage.

Merit Badge

Perhaps too many scouts were bringing smartphones on their orienteering trips. Or too many scout leaders were checking into FourSquare during campouts.  Or perhaps the Boys Scouts is continuing its long tradition of preparing our youth for the future.  Whatever the reason, Chief Location Officer “likes” this merit badge.

What does the geocaching patch signify?  It means a scout has “acquired the skills necessary to safely take part in the world of geocaching.”  (Chief Location Officer didn’t realize geocaching was so dangerous.)  Of course, you still have to learn how to use a map and compass.  But doesn’t that patch look cool?  Like a Nintendo DS video game.  Location can be fun.

When I was in the scouts, earning a badge was no picnic.  The geocaching merit badge is no slouch either.  What do you need to learn to earn a geocaching badge?

  • Precautions necessary to have a safe time while searching for geocaches
  • Geocaching etiquette and how the principles of Leave No Trace apply
  • Geocaching terms
  • How GPS technology works
  • Steps for finding and logging a cache
  • How to use geocaching.com, the official online home of geocaching.
  • Click here for the PDF of the final, official requirements.

Chief Location Officer applauds the Boy Scouts of America for recognizing that our youth are growing up in a world where mobile location plays an important role, whether it be in the woods, in school, in business or in our daily lives.

The merit badge includes one of the best taglines in the location industry: “Leadership with Direction.”

We could all use some of that.

Thanks to Bryan Wendell and John Churchill of the Boy Scouts of America and Simon Salt for the heads-up on this location badge.

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