With summer in full swing, there’s no better time for Scouting youth to set fun challenges and expand on their Outdoor Adventure Skills(OAS) requirements. With 10 ideas to kick off your OAS journey or take it to the next level, the possibilities are endless!
1. Neighborhood Woods
One great Scoutcraft OAS activity is to build a natural shelter out of foraged materials like fallen branches, rock or even rope (Camping 5.12). You can also make a stretcher in case of an emergency, using only 2 sticks and a couple of sweaters (Emergency Skills 5.8).
Knots are also a big part of the OAS program and of shelter building, so you will be able to check off some badge requirements for sure (e.g. see Scoutcraft Skills 4.2, Sailing Skills 3.8, and Vertical Skills 5.1). Here are some easy knots to try at home:
- Figure 8
- Truckers hitch
- Sheet ben
- Water knot
- Double fisherman’s knot
- Clove hitch
Don’t know how to start? Try the Scouts Canada Knots Wiki.
To make the best of a nice sunny day with your family, try going to the beach with snorkelling gear and personal flotation devices (PDFs). Try diving underwater 1.5 m to get an object like a rock or a pool toy, then bring it back up and clear your snorkel without lifting your head out of the water (Aquatic Skills 4.2).
Dive deep down, and pay attention to how your ears feel. When you get back home try researching the effects on your ears when you dive deep and learn why ear equalization is important (Aquatic 4.7).
3. Canoeing (Beginner)
If you are a beginner canoer and just want to explore the activity and have fun, plan a simple day at a cottage, provincial park or campground as many offer canoe rentals. Be sure to check the weather ahead of your adventure. As a beginner, it’s always safest to practise canoeing with a group.
Start by learning how to make the canoe move in different directions (Paddling Skills 4.9). Practice paddling until you can paddle 50 m in a straight line (Paddling Skills 4.8), then have a little race for fun. If you want a little challenge, try testing your balance by switching places with your paddling partner (Paddling Skills 4.4).
If you are untrained in canoe rescue, make sure you stay near a populated shore so that people can help if you flip the canoe. Always have a whistle with you so you can signal for help.
4. Canoeing (Intermediate)
People who are more experienced at canoeing and want to try something new might want to go on a full-day canoe trip (Paddling Skills 4.16 and 4.18). Before you leave, be sure to share your plans with someone who will be looking out for your safe return. Check the weather and understand hazards in the area.
Consider spending the first-hour practising canoe rescues (Paddling Skills 5.5 and 5.7). Paddling skills 4.18 also requires you to make your own meal. Always wear your PFD, and don’t forget your hat and sunscreen, and lots of water.
5. Backyard BBQ
Organizing a BBQ at lunchtime is a good way to enjoy a more relaxed day while expanding on your grilling safety and cooking skills. You can use this opportunity to learn more about the safety precautions of operating a backyard BBQ (ER 5.4)and also try out some camping recipes, like this one shared on Scouting Life. A crafty yet useful way to spend the rest of your afternoon is to make a solar still, which is a way to filter water with only the sun (Scoutcraft 6.4). This is also a good time to practise your knots, you can learn the ones I mentioned earlier.
6. Forest Orienteering
If you would like to work on your orienteering OAS stages, try spending a day in nearby woods (ER 5.4). Try doing the following activity: set up some “Checkpoints” with a friend in the forest for each other, then let each other find the Checkpoints you set up for them, the person who found all their checkpoints first wins. In case you don’t know already, find out where the four cardinal points are (North, South, East, and West). Next, learn some ways to identify the four points without a compass or GPS (Scoutcraft 4.6).
7. Forest Hike
When you are planning a day hike (Trail skills 4.19), always tell someone who is staying at home: where you are going, when and who you are with. Always keep an eye out for wild edible plants which can help you in a survival situation (Scoutcraft 4.8). Bird watching is also always fun to do (scoutcraft 4.7). Remember to always bring a whistle with you in case you need help, and a map and GPS if you get lost (map, GPS).
8. Campsite Rental
Another great way to spend the day is by renting a campsite if you don’t mind spending a little bit of money. You don’t have to spend the night there if you don’t want to pack. If your campsite has a beach, try spending an afternoon swimming, canoeing and fishing. You can have a campfire and roast marshmallows too. A fun way to make dinner is to put a precooked assortment of meat, potatoes and veggies in some tin foil and then put it in the hot coals (Scoutcraft 4.3).
People who are interested in trying something new or improving their sailing skills will love to spend a day out on the water! Here are some easy knots that will be helpful when sailing (Sailing 3.8) :
- Reef knot
- Sheet bend
- Figure eight
Always remember to wear a Lifejacket or PFD.
Geocaches consist of a series of caches placed in certain locations and that can be found using a GPS along with a geocaching app. Check out the app on your smartphone to see if there are any caches near you. You will see that most geocaches have little items or trinkets inside them. You are allowed to take them, as long as you leave another object in it. Now have fun finding them! (Scoutcraft 6.5)
Now you can see the array of possibilities for you to enjoy the outdoors while working on your OAS requirements. Now get out there and share some fun and safe adventures with your Scout Group!