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A Generic American Adaptation of Baden-Powell's Traditional Scouting Program, Based on Scouting for Boys

The following "Traditional Scouting" model is an example of how 21st century American Scouting would be organized if it were based on the way Baden-Powell played the game of Scouting in 1938.  Note: "Pathfinder" or "Pfadfinder" is a generic term for "Scout" in Europe.

Chapter I: The Story of B-P

Chapter II: The Tenderfoot Requirements 

Chapter III: The Second Class Requirements

Chapter IV: The First Class Requirements

Chapter V: The Pathfinder Cord

Chapter VI: The Bushman's Cord

Chapter VII: The George Washington Award

Chapter VIII: Lone Pathfinders and Rovers


 There are several things you have to do in order to become a  B-P Pathfinder. First you have to be 10 1/2 years of age, and secondly, you have to be willing to learn the rules of Pathfinding and become a Tenderfoot. Just so you know, in traditional Associations the world over, Pathfinders are known as Scouts, Explorers, Outlanders, and other names as well.

One of your first tasks will be to learn and understand the B-P Pathfinder Law and Promise. You must also know the significance of the Motto. Once you have completed this task you can move on to complete the other investiture requirements, and become a Tenderfoot Pathfinder.

B-P Pathfinding is done in small groups called Patrols. The members of your Patrol should become some of your best friends as you continue through the ranks of Pathfinding. As a Patrol member you will help plan hikes and camping trips, you will learn all the necessary outdoor skills to have a safe wilderness experience.

After you have been invested you will be able to wear the full Baden-Powell Pathfinder Uniform. Our uniform has great significance; it shows that you belong to the biggest youth organization in the world. All members wear this uniform regardless of their wealth, ethnic background, or nationality. It is also a constant reminder that you have committed yourself, on your honor, to the Pathfinder ideals.



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To be a Pathfinder you should join a Pathfinder Patrol in your neighborhood, with the permission of your parents.

Before you become a Pathfinder you must pass the Tenderfoot Test. This is a simple test just to show you are worth your salt and mean to stick it out. The requirements for this are not very difficult and you will find all you need to know about them in this handbook.

When you have satisfied your Pathfinder Leader, the person in charge of your Troop, that you can do all the things and do them properly, you will be invested as a Pathfinder and entitled to wear the Tenderfoot Badge.

To earn the Tenderfoot Award, you have to be at least 10 1/2 years old, and complete the following requirements:

Tenderfoot Requirements

1. Know the Law and Promise, and explain their meanings in your own words.


2. Demonstrate the Pathfinder Salute, Sign, and Handshake and explain the meaning and use of each.

Describe the Pathfinder Badge and explain its meaning.  Describe the Pathfinder Uniform.


3. Describe the composition and history of the American Flag and how to hoist, fly, lower, and fold it.  Plan and lead a flag break ceremony at a camp or meeting.



Make the at least eight woodcraft signs (from "Campfire Yarn 4" of Scouting for Boys).


5. Join two ropes of different sizes with a sheet bend. Tie a bowline around your waist with one hand. Demonstrate with rope  how to tie the following: reef knot, clove hitch, round turn and two half hitches, sheepshank, and explain their uses.


6. Whip the end of a natural fiber rope.


7. Take part in an overnight outdoor Patrol or Troop activity.


8. Make your own  hiking stave and tell about or demonstrate at least five possible uses for it.


9. Learn about our Founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell and the history of Scouting. Explain what you have learned through a presentation to your Patrol.


10. Be properly invested as a Pathfinder in your Troop.


After you have finished the Tenderfoot requirements you will stand facing your Pathfinder Leader and the Pathfinders of the Troop. You will lift your right hand in the Sign and solemnly make your Promise.

When you are invested you can move on to the next Award, that of Second Class Pathfinder. For this you will learn the beginnings of many useful subjects.



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When B-P started the Scouting Movement, he felt that any Pathfinder or Scout who took the time and trouble to master skills should be rewarded for their effort. He gave to each who passed certain tests a badge to wear on their uniform. 

Your Badge recognizes the importance of what you have accomplished and it lets others know of your achievement.  Advancement is designed to let you progress at your own speed rather than competing against others.  Challenge yourself to reach goals and then go as far as your ambition will carry you. Your rate of advancement will depend upon your interests, effort, and ability.

To earn the Second Class Award, you have to be at least 11 years old, and complete these requirements:

Second Class Requirements


Camp with your Patrol for a minimum of ten nights outdoors. Explain how you used "Leave No Trace" principles to minimize the impact of your campsites on the local wildlife and environment. Keep a detailed camp logbook and show it to your Patrol Leader.



First Aid: Show first aid for the following common minor injuries:

bulletcuts and scratches
bulletinsect bites and stings
bulletburns and scalds.
bulletsunburns, explain how to avoid them.

Demonstrate the use of the triangular bandage as a sling, and as a bandage for the hand, knee, elbow, and foot.

Explain how to call for help and treat for shock in a medical emergency.

Demonstrate first aid for snake and animal bites, and explain the danger of rabies.

Demonstrate CPR on a training mannequin.


3. Explain the general rules of health. Discuss personal hygiene, good eating habits, the need for water purification, personal fitness, and using a latrine. Describe a good camp dish washing system.  


4. Discuss the safety rules for pedestrians and bicycles. on the road. Explain how and why to keep a bicycle in good working order.



Observation: Describe in writing, 20 out of 24 well assorted articles, following one minute of observation (Kim’s Game).

Follow a half-mile trail of at least 30 woodcraft signs, in 25 minutes.

 Read the meaning of a series of simple tracks made in sandy or other suitable ground covering at least 20 feet. Follow real animal tracks or a trail made for you by someone else.


Be able to recognize and name six common trees in your area, and explain the values of their wood for burning. Identify six local wild birds by appearance and calls.


Demonstrate the use of a trucker's hitch in tying down a load. Tie a bundle of poles together with a timber hitch and drag them at least 20 feet. Set up a fly or tarp using the taut-line hitch on all guy-lines.

Demonstrate square and diagonal lashings  by constructing a simple trestle of Scout Staves or pioneering poles. Demonstrate sheer and tripod lashings using Scout Staves or pioneering poles.

Tie a fisherman’s knot.

8. Demonstrate the safety rules and correct use of an  ax, bow saw, and knife. Show how to sharpen them. Demonstrate how to properly and safely chop firewood.


9. Know the 16 points of the compass and show how to orient a map. Identify 15 map symbols on a topographic quadrangle map or an orienteering map. Find the map's scale and explain its meaning.



Lay and light a fire outdoors using all natural materials, and using not more than two matches. Cook over this fire a meal for yourself and at least one other person, consisting of: fresh meat (or a protein substitute) and potatoes; and a bread twist, flapjack, or other bread.

Also make a hot beverage, soup, or a cooked dessert.

Explain how you used Leave No Trace principles to minimize the impact of your fire on the local environment.

11. Show your ability to use a phone book and make a long distance call. Demonstrate the use of a timetable for two forms of public transportation in your area. On a map of your community, point out the following: local landmarks, main highways to neighboring towns and cities, chief government buildings, emergency services closest to your home, public transportation facilities, points of interest, and public utilities.


12. At your own speed, send and receive the Morse code or semaphore signs for every letter of the alphabet. Demonstrate the following signals: calling up, closing off, and error. You may substitute the American Sign Language (ASL/manual alphabet) or the 40 elementary signs of Native American (Indian) Sign Language.


13. With another Scout, pitch, strike, and pack a tent within a reasonable time (no more than 25 minutes). According to weather conditions, explain how to choose the following items of personal equipment: jacket, boots, clothing, sleeping bag, and backpack. Demonstrate how to keep your sleeping bag and clothing dry in your pack. Explain a layered clothing system, and the advantages of synthetic fibers in helping prevent hypothermia.


14. Go on an eight-mile daytime Journey (minimum) with at least three other Scouts. Your Patrol Leader will set your route, and a specific objective will be given. Make an oral report from notes to your Patrol Leader immediately upon your return. Your Scoutmaster must know your hiking route, and must approve your plan in advance. If additional Scouts are taking the test, each will report independently.


15. Re-pass the Tenderfoot tests. This test will be taken last.


Chapter IV:
The First Class Requirements

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Now that you have completed your Second Class requirements, you will wish to move on and complete your First Class requirements. You may now wear up to six proficiency badges on your uniform.

To earn the First Class Award you have to be at least12 years old and complete these requirements:

First Class Requirements

1. Camp with your Patrol for a total of at least 20 nights, with no more than six nights being spent on long-term camps, and the remaining 14 nights being during weekend or overnight campouts.

Choose a campsite for a Patrol weekend camp, and explain how you used Leave No Trace principles to minimize the impact of your campsite on the local wildlife and environment. 

Plan the program, menu, and duty roster.

Supervise your Patrol members as they pitch, strike, and pack their tents, acting as leader. Where possible, this should tested by practical inspection of a Patrol weekend camp.


2. Using an improvised device such as your hiking stave, estimate three distances of not more than half a mile; three heights of not more than 100 feet; and three widths of not more than 30 feet. In each case the accuracy of your estimates should be within 10%. 


Demonstrate the proper method of dealing with the following emergencies:

bulletgrass fire
bullethouse fire
bulletelectric shock
bullettraffic accident,
bulletbreaking through ice
bulletheat stroke

First Aid: Point out the positions of the main arteries in the cardiovascular system and show how to stop external bleeding from veins and arteries.

Demonstrate first aid for a fracture of the collarbone, and explain the importance of not moving other suspected fractures.

Explain how to recognize and apply  first aid to a fractured upper arm, forearm, upper leg, lower leg, and wrist.

5. Demonstrate how to safely operate and maintain camping stoves and . Explain the advantages and disadvantages of different fuels, including white gas, propane, and/or butane. Cook a simple two-course meal for yourself and one other person entirely on a camping stove.


6. Demonstrate the following: back splice, eye splice, double bowline, and rolling hitch.


7. Explain the precautions necessary before undertaking adventurous activities. This should include weather safety, mountain trekking safety, water safety including safe swimming plans, and the use of the buddy system in all camping, water-related, and outdoor activities.


8. Using Morse,  semaphore, or manual (ASL) alphabet, send and receive a 25-word message at a rate of 16 letters or more per minute. You may substitute 50 signs from Native American (Indian) sign language.



Read and be able to use two differently scaled topographic maps of the same area. Explain spot heights, contours, and bench marks. Using a compass with a base-plate, and a topographical map, bushwhack at least 1/4 mile following a bearing determined from the map. Change course at least three additional times for a total of at least one-half mile.

Point out compass direction by day and night without the aid of a compass. Undertake a short compass bearing journey by night.


Camp out with another Pathfinder in a simple shelter such as a light-weight tarp. While on the campout cook a no-utensils meal consisting of a main course, a vegetable, and a dessert item.  You may substitute a shelter constructed using snow, or a safe existing natural shelter, such as a cave.

Explain how you used Leave No Trace principles to minimize the impact of your campsite on the local wildlife and environment.


Know care and maintenance of personal and Patrol camping equipment. This should include tent and groundsheet storage, guy-line repair, and simple tent patching, and care of common Patrol gear.

12. Swim fifty yards using one or more American Red Cross approved strokes. If a doctor certifies that swimming is dangerous to your health, you must explain the principles of swimming, and demonstrate water rescue techniques that do not require entering the water



 Re-pass the Second Class tests. This test will be taken second to last.



The First Class Journey.  Go on foot, with three other Pathfinders, on a 24-hour journey of at least 15 miles.

bullet Make all the necessary advance preparations, and organize the packing of food and gear.
bullet In the course of the journey, you must cook your own meals, at least one of which must include meat or a protein substitute.
bullet Find a campsite and camp for the night.
bullet You must carry out any instructions given by the examiner as to things to be observed on route.
bullet Make a log of your journey sufficient to show you have carried out those instructions, and submit it within one week of your return.



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Chapter V:
The Pathfinder Cord Requirements

Pathfinder Cord Requirements

1. Hold the First Class Badge.
2. Camp as a Pathfinder no less than 22 nights.
3. Hold 6 proficiency badges, one of which must be selected from Backwoodsman, Explorer, or Pioneer.  One must be selected from Camper, Camp Cook, Stalker, Weatherman, or Woodcraftsman.  You must also hold the First Aid Badge.
4. Be under 15 years of age.

Senior Scout Section

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Chapter VI:
The Bushman's Cord Requirements

Bushman's Cord Requirements

1. Hold the First Class Badge
2. Hold the Venturer Badge and two of the following Senior Badges: Astronomer, Camp Warden, Forester, Hiker, Master Cook, Meteorologist, Naturalist, Senior Pioneer, or Survival.
3. Have camped as a Pathfinder no less than 30 nights.
4. Make your own leather Braid.


Chapter VII:
The George Washington Award Requirements

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George Washington Award Requirements

1. Hold the Bushman’s Braid.  
2. Hold 3 senior public service badges:  Civics, Conservation, Crime Watch, Dispatch Rider, Fireman, Handyman, Interpreter, Leading Signaler, Pathfinder, Pilot, Public Health, Quartermaster, Rescuer, Senior Explorer, or Camp Warden.  
3. Hold the Ambulance Badge.  (To be re-passed annually)  
4. Camp as a Pathfinder no less than 40 nights.
For an overview of Independent Scouting, see the "General Principles" and "Group Organization "at:
Policy, Organization, and Rules (PO&R)

See Also:

Otters (Traditional Scouting for Ages 5-7)

Timber Wolves (Traditional Scouting for Ages 8-10)

Rovers (Traditional Scouting for Ages 18+) No upper age limit.

Adult Outdoor Training (Traditional  Skills Training)

Do-It-Yourself Generic Scout Badges

Traditional Scouting






Additional Information:

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.