When you were young and got back to school after the summer, you likely rode on the bus with other students or sat with them at lunch and talked about what you did over the vacation. Weren’t there always a few kids that didn’t do much other than going to summer Boy Scout camp? While many of the experiences that Boy Scouts get to go through are cool, and many of the skills they pick up are valuable in life, they’re rarely thought of as the cool kids during the teenage years.
Do you remember any of the kids in your school getting picked on for getting their Underwater Basket Weaving Merit Badge over the summer while other families traveled or you stayed in the air conditioning playing video games? That bullying was, of course, wrong on its own merits, but also because this particular merit badge is astoundingly useful.
What Are Merit Badges?
If you ever see a Boy Scout in uniform with a sash that has a bunch of round patches in rows and columns on it, then they’re displaying their merit badges. These are awarded after they learn and demonstrate mastery in various disciplines, such as first aid, map skills, and even sports like golfing. These sashes might be worn over one shoulder or draped from their belt. Some badges are mandatory to advance in rank, and others are more like elective classes.
What Is The Underwater Basket Weaving Merit Badge?
A common misconception about this particular merit badge is that Boy Scouts have to actually go underwater to do it, leaving civilians to wonder why this is necessary. This isn’t quite the case though. It’s only the reeds that the baskets are made from that need to go underwater. The reeds used are straight, solid, and breakable when solid and dry, but when submerged into water, they’re pliable and bendable. So, a Boy Scout holding his reeds in a creek or tub of water can manipulate them into curved shapes to structure the basket together. Air-drying overnight solidifies the basket through each phase of its construction.
Why Do Boys Get This Badge?
It’s a common badge at summer camps. Younger boys might pursue it because it’s easy and within their skill range, especially if they’re not able yet to join more advanced merit badge classes like archery, rock climbing, or lifeguarding. Even older boys sometimes like getting it because the class is simple enough to do and often in the shade under a canopy, tarp, or shelter. Any boys also love making something with their hands that they can take home and give as a gift to a mother or grandparents.
Girls Are Joining Now
The Boy Scouts have certainly changed over the years. After dealing with years of controversy regarding potential child abuse and the inclusion of gays, the organization is now letting girls in. It’s thought that this might mean interest and participation in merit badges like basketweaving are going to grow in popularity.
Changes To Eagle Scout Requirements
The highest rank any Boy Scout can attain is the rank of Eagle Scout, which carries with it requirements for mandatory merit badges, enough elective ones, demonstration of personal leadership, and community service. The list of required merit badges is now being adjusted to include underwater basket weaving, as the best of the Boy Scouts should understandably be able to make physical structures out of what nature provides them in the wild as part of their learned survival skills.
Now that you have read this article about the underwater basket weaving merit badge, you understand what it is and why boys would take it. Hopefully, you understand that it’s not as silly as it sounds to those who don’t know about it.