Traditional Outdoor Skills

At the same time, the contribution that our heritage of outdoor skills makes to the richness of the Scouting experience is also unchangeable. Over the years, as evidenced in the contents of various Scouting publications, some “old School” Scouters might have observed there’s been something of a gradual shift away from the emphasis on many traditional campcraft skills that for a hundred years have attracted boys to our movement. However, even though modern Scouts are understandably attracted to the new developments and technological advances obtaining in today’s world, when they are exposed to the many timeless skills practiced by resourceful frontiersmen and passed down through the ages, they are eagerly receptive and captivated by the undeniable mystique. Many experienced Scouters find it regrettable that as a matter of course today’s Scouts are not granted the same opportunities to experience what is too often mistakenly construed as “old-fashioned.” The outdoor skills that in the past inspired many ideas, activities, and Scouting fun, are still most relevant and most useful, even in the midst of this fast-paced digital age.

What is the Concern? Outdoors and camping are still at the heart of Scouting, but the concern revolves around the de-emphasis and absence of many skill sets that don’t depend upon the use of high-tech substitutions. As an example, take the advent of the widely-used, prefabricated, metal-framed dining flies. In conjunction with using this kind of camping shelter, shouldn’t today’s Scouts also be adept at putting up a dining fly using a tarp, Scout staves, guylines and stakes? In addition to other advantages, think of the useful skills they’d incorporate:

  • Two Half Hitches (or Bowline) up at the tarp
  • Taut-line Hitch at the stake
  • proper angles of both the guylines and the stakes
  • Round Lashing two staves together to form taller uprights
  • open end Clove Hitches where the ridge line meets the uprights
  • a whole lot of teamwork


There are only positive reasons to include Pioneering as an integral part of the Scouting program, and when presented properly, there are only positive outcomes. A creative curriculum, serving as an effective framework for a successful pioneering program, can be implemented and modified as necessary.

In the Scout Movement, pioneering is the art of using ropes and wooden spars joined by lashings and knots to create a structure. Pioneering can be used for constructing small items such as camp gadgets up to larger structures such as bridges and towers. Pioneering is used to teach practical skills, teamwork and problem solving. It is widely used in Scouting and Girl Guiding. Many Scout and Guide groups train their members in pioneering skills and construct projects, both small and large. In camp, Scouts may construct functional items like tables, camp dressers and gadgets, as well as decorative camp gateways. Pioneering is a common merit badge in many countries. These may be recreational, decorative, or functional. Pioneering-based troop meeting challenges ultimately pave the the way towards larger outdoor activities—the successful building of real pioneering structures e.g. learning Square Lashing and Tripod Lashing, leading up to an Indoor Ladder Race and an Everyone on the Tripod activity, leading up to building a Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen. The basic and easy-to-build Double A-frame Monkey Bridge depends upon 10 to 14 tight square lashings.  A simple Single Lock Bridge with planks on the walkways needs 48.

Technology Scouting

Technology scouting is an element of technology management in which

(1) emerging technologies are identified,
(2) technology related information is channeled into an organization, and
(3) supports the acquisition of technologies.

It is a starting point of a long term and interactive matching process between external technologies and internal requirements of an existing organization for strategic purposes. This matching may also be aided by technology roadmapping. Technology scouting is also known to be part of competitive intelligence, which firms apply as a tool of competitive strategy. It can also be regarded as a method of technology forecasting or in the broader context also an element of corporate foresight. Technology scouting may also be applied as an element of an open innovation approach. Technology scouting is seen as an essential element of a modern technology management system.

‘Reproduced by permission of The Sri lanka – Scouting Magazine Trustees’

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