Earning Second Class Rank⚜️: A Scout’s Ultimate Guide In 2021


Are you ready to earn your Second-Class rank and take your next major step toward becoming an Eagle Scout? If so, you’ve come to the right place! The skills you’ll learn in becoming a Second-Class scout will set you up for tons of fun troop activities, campouts, and adventures ahead. 🙂

In this guide, I’ll be helping you to learn the knowledge and skills you’ll need to complete your Second Class requirements and rank up. Remember, this information should serve as your starting pointKeep practicing what you learn, do further research, and be sure to ask others for help if you ever need a hand.

Personally, only after earning my Second-Class rank did I really feel prepared to earn Eagle. By completing these requirements one at a time, I eventually built an understanding of the core Scouting skills even went on to become an Eagle ScoutIt’s time for you to do the same!

First, take a minute to thoroughly read through each of the requirements you’ll need to complete before earning Second Class. Then, I’ll be reviewing the answers to each question with you so you can learn the material and advance. Pumped up and ready to go, scout? Then, let’s get started!

What Are The Second Class Rank Requirements?

  1. CAMPING and OUTDOOR ETHICS
    • 1a. Since joining Scouts BSA, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, at least three of which must be held outdoors. Of the outdoor activities, at least two must include overnight camping. These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings. On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee.
    • 1b. Explain the principles of Leave No Trace, and tell how you practiced them on a campout or outing. This outing must be different from the one used for Tenderfoot requirement 1c.
    • 1c. On one of these campouts, select a location for your patrol site and recommend it to your patrol leader, senior patrol leader, or troop guide. Explain what factors you should consider when choosing a patrol site and where to pitch a tent.
  2. COOKING, TOOLS, and KNOT TYING
    • –2a. Explain when it is appropriate to use a fire for cooking or other purposes and when it would not be appropriate to do so.
    • –2b. Use the tools listed in Tenderfoot requirement 3d to prepare tinder, kindling, and fuel wood for a cooking fire.
    • –2c. At an approved outdoor location and time, use the tinder, kindling, and fuel wood from Second Class requirement 2b to demonstrate how to build a fire. Unless prohibited by local fire restrictions, light the fire. After allowing the flames to burn safely for at least two minutes, safely extinguish the flames with minimal impact to the fire site.
    • –2d. Explain when it is appropriate to use a lightweight stove and when it is appropriate to use a propane stove. Set up a lightweight stove or propane stove. Unless prohibited by local fire restrictions, light the stove. Describe the safety procedures for using these types of stoves.
    • –2e. On one campout, plan and cook one hot breakfast or lunch, selecting foods from MyPlate or the current USDA nutritional model. Explain the importance of good nutrition. Demonstrate how to transport, store, and prepare the foods you selected.
    • –2f. Demonstrate tying the sheet bend knot. Describe a situation in which you would use this knot.
    • –2g. Demonstrate tying the bowline knot. Describe a situation in which you would use this knot.
  3. NAVIGATION
    • –3a. Demonstrate how a compass works and how to orient a map. Use a map to point out and tell the meaning of five map symbols.
    • –3b Using a compass and map together, take a five-mile hike (or 10 miles by bike) approved by your adult leader and your parent or guardian.
    • –3c. Describe some hazards or injuries that you might encounter on your hike and what you can do to help prevent them.
    • –3d. Demonstrate how to find directions during the day and at night without using a compass or an electronic device.
  4. NATURE
    • 4. Identify or show evidence of at least ten kinds of wild animals (such as birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, mollusks) found in your local area or camping location. You may show evidence by tracks, signs, or photographs you have taken.
  5. AQUATICS
    • –5a. Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.
    • –5b. Demonstrate your ability to pass the BSA beginner test.  Jump feetfirst into water over your head in depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming, then return to your starting place.
    • –5c. Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects.
    • –5d. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible. Explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.
  6. FIRST AID
    • –6a. Demonstrate first aid for the following:
      • –Object in the eye
      • –Bite of a warm blooded animal
      • –Puncture wounds from a splinter, nail, and fishhook
      • –Serious burns (partial thickness, or second degree)
      • –Heat exhaustion
      • –Shock
      • –Heatstroke, dehydration, hypothermia, and hyperventilation
    • –6b. Show what to do for “hurry” cases of stopped breathing, stroke, severe bleeding, and ingested poisoning.
    • –6c. Tell what you can do while on a campout or hike to prevent or reduce the occurrence of the injuries listed in Second Class requirements 6a and 6b.
    • –6d. Explain what to do in case of accidents that require emergency response in the home and the backcountry. Explain what constitutes an emergency and what information you will need to provide to a responder.
    • –6e. Tell how you should respond if you come upon the scene of a vehicular accident.
  7. FITNESS
    • –7a. After competing Tenderfoot requirement 6c, be physically active at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week for four weeks. Keep track of your activities.
    • –7b. Share your challenges and successes in completing Second Class requirement 7a. Set a goal for continuing to include physical activity as part of your daily life and develop a plan for doing so.
    • –7c. Participate in a school, community, or troop program on the dangers of using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, and other practices that could be harmful to your health. Discuss your participation in the program with your family, and explain the dangers of substance addictions. Report to your Scoutmaster or other adult leader in your troop about which parts of the Scout Oath and Law relate to what you learned.
  8. CITIZENSHIP
    • –8a. Participate in a flag ceremony for your school, religious institution, chartered organization, community, or Scouting activity.
    • –8b. Explain what respect is due the flag of the United States.
    • –8c. With your parents or guardian, decide on an amount of money that you would like to earn, based on the cost of a specific item you would like to purchase. Develop a written plan to earn the amount agreed upon and follow that plan; it is acceptable to make changes to your plan along the way. Discuss any changes made to your original plan and whether you met your goal.
    • –8d. At a minimum of three locations, compare the cost of the item for which you are saving to determine the best place to purchase it. After completing Second Class requirement 8c, decide if you will use the amount that you earned as originally intended, save all or part of it, or use it for another purpose.
    • –8e. Participate in two hours of service through one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. Tell how your service to others relates to the Scout Oath.
  9. LEADERSHIP
    • –9a. Explain the three R’s of personal safety and protection.
    • –9b. Describe bullying; tell what the appropriate response is to someone who is bullying you or another person.
  10. SCOUT SPIRIT
    • 10. Demonstrate scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived four different points of the Scout Law (not to include those used for Tenderfoot requirement 9) in your everyday life.
  11. While working toward the Second Class rank, and after completing Tenderfoot requirement 10, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.
  12. Successfully complete your board of review for the Second Class rank.

Requirement 1: Camping and Outdoor Ethics

A scout is clean. A major part of Scouting isn’t just enjoying nature — we, as scouts, are also tasked with preserving it for future generations! You’ve probably seen plenty of parks and campsites filled with litter. Doesn’t that make you so annoyed?! 🙁

Well, as a soon-to-be Second Class scout, you’re about to learn how to camp ethically! This requirement delves into respect for the outdoors, as well as proper camping techniques. Read closely, you’ll be using these skills throughout Scouting, and hopefully long after you’ve Eagled-out!

1a) Since joining Scouts BSA, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, at least three of which must be held outdoors. Of the outdoor activities, at least two must include overnight camping. These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings. On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee.

Hopefully, you’ve been recording your campouts, service projects, and troop outings in your Scout Handbook. If you haven’t, this is a really good habit to get into. A record of your outings and service hours will be incredibly helpful when applying for your Eagle rank and colleges!

If you haven’t already been tracking your outings and hours, no worries! You’re only a Tenderfoot scout, so you have tons of Scouting adventures ahead! Just make an effort to attend as many activities as possible. In your first year of Scouting, the most important thing is to show up and learn!

1b) Explain the principles of Leave No Trace, and tell how you practiced them on a campout or outing. This outing must be different from the one used for Tenderfoot requirement 1c.

Leave No Trace is an ethic that all scouts are charged with following. By following these principles, scouts learn to reduce their environmental impact and behave responsibly in the outdoors. The seven principles of Leave No Trace are as follows:

The 7 Leave No Trace Principles

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
    • As a scout, this one should be pretty easy! Be prepared with the supplies you need, and have a plan of action upon arriving at your campsite. A good exercise is trying to think of potential challenges and how to mitigate them.
    • Action: This means checking the weather reports beforehand, coordinating with your patrol, and bringing only what you need to minimize waste.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
    • When you go on an outing, you should always minimize your impact on the environment. If this isn’t possible, at the very least, do your best to leave no trace!
    • Action: This means camping on solid ground (not on plants) where vegetation will be disrupted the least, and hiking on paths that have already been made.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
    • Proper waste disposal is a basic rule, even if you’re not camping. You should always dispose of your trash and “human waste” in a way that people or animals won’t come across it.
    • Action: This means ‘packing out’ any trash you might create and disposing of it in a dumpster. “Human waste” should be taken care of in marked outhouses, or buried if that’s not possible.
  4. Leave What You Find
    • While you may have found a cool leaf, flower, or plant, you should always leave it where you found it. Enjoy nature where it is, but don’t disturb it.
    • Action: This is sorta random, but growing up in Hawaii, we had a legend where if you took lava rocks on an outing you’d be cursed. Moral of the story: leave what you find! 😉
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
    • You’ll learn how to do this by earning your Firem’n Chit (link is to my guide if you’d like a hand!), but just remember to always be extra-careful around fires.
    • Action: This means never leaving your campfires unattended, or without filled water buckets nearby (or other extinguishers). You should also only use already-made fire pits, whenever possible.
  6. Respect Wildlife
    • This goes without saying, but you should always leave the wildlife undisturbed. They’re not pets that want to be interacted with. Plantlife should be left alone to the best of your ability as well.
    • Action: This means only taking pictures from far away — if that. Wild animals can be dangerous and unpredictable, so stay on the safe side by respecting their distance.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
    • Finally, be mindful of other campers. The outdoors is meant to be enjoyed, peacefully, by everyone. Make a good name for yourself and your troop when you’re out.
    • Action: This means not being disruptive or destructive on outings. If another scout is being inconsiderate or breaking any of the Leave No Trace rules, encourage them to cut it out. Luckily, there are plenty of helpful ways to Lead Difficult Scouts!

While the Leave No Trace principles might seem simple, they’re a vital part of ethical outdoor use and should be something you always remember. By leaving no trace, you’ll set a great example for your troop and keep nature beautiful for future visitors! 🙂

Now that you know the Leave No Trace principles, it should be easy to discuss how you used them on a campout! Just remember to pick a different outing than the one you discussed the Outdoor Code for in Tenderfoot requirement 1c).

1c) On one of these campouts, select a location for your patrol site and recommend it to your patrol leader, senior patrol leader, or troop guide. Explain what factors you should consider when choosing a patrol site and where to pitch a tent.

Based on what you’ve already learned about Leave No Trace, this requirement should be pretty easy. While picking a spot may seem simple, a bad spot could lead to a horrible camping experience for your troop. Here are 4 things to watch out for when picking a campsite:

  1. Water: Bodies of water could potentially flood your campsite, ruining supplies and possibly leading to drowning. If there is a body of water at your campground, don’t camp too close.
    • Ideally, you should camp at least 200 feet away from trails and bodies of water. Camping away from water also reduces the number of bugs that will bother you!
  2. Used Sites: It’s great to use a predetermined site, whether by the campground’s owners or a slew of previous campers.
    • This minimizes damage to the environment and it’s easy to tell a site is safe if there have been previous campers there.
  3. Trees and Vegetation: You’ll want to minimize your damage to the environment. Camp on bare ground (not in a meadow) so that you can disturb as little vegetation as possible.
    • Also, be careful of large trees near your site. If any trees look like they may fall or lose a branch, don’t pitch a tent nearby. This is actually a huge and common safety hazard!
  4. Slope and Elevation: Try not to pitch your tent in ditches or low-elevation areas, as they collect water if it rains and tend to be colder. Either choose high or gently sloping ground.
    • If you are pitching your tent on a slope, I’d recommend positioning your feet facing downward. It’s a lot more comfortable! 🙂

Keeping these notes in mind, you should be mostly prepared to identify a great campsite! For all of you visual learners out there though, here’s also a quick video (2:27) showing you some other signs to look for when selecting a campsite:

Now you’re ready! At your next campout, make sure to scout the area out right when you arrive. If you notice a good spot, suggest it to your SPL or patrol leader. Also, tell your Scoutmaster during the camp so you can finish this requirement!

Requirement 2: Cooking, Tools, and Knot Tying

Cooking is an invaluable skill that’ll help you to save money and stay healthy for life! Luckily, in Scouting, you’ll learn the basics of food prep and proper nutrition when earning your Cooking merit badge. For now though, you’ll just be learning the basics of fire setup for outdoor cooking!

In this requirement, you’ll be learning how to start and maintain a cooking fire. Then, we’ll be discussing cooking tools and nutrition. Lastly, you’ll just have to tie a couple of knots! This is a pretty packed requirement but will be so useful for any scout’s success. Let’s get started! 🙂

2a) Explain when it is appropriate to use a fire for cooking or other purposes and when it would not be appropriate to do so.

While fires are fun to build and cook with, they’re not always necessary. An important part of being a good fire builder is knowing self-control. While fires are great for a variety of situations, especially for cooking, there are also times when fire building isn’t appropriate.

The main thing to watch out for are burn restrictions. These are in place to prevent forest fires in dry areas. Burn restrictions may completely ban fire building or require you have a permit. Before any outing, check that area’s fire restrictions and acquire a permit if necessary.

I cover this, fire safety, and a whole lot more in my Guide to The Scouts BSA Firem’n Chit. I’d highly recommend you check the article out if you haven’t yet earned your Firem’n Chit, or even if you just want a thorough refresher in fire safety!

In a lot of cases, there are simply just better ways to cook than a fire. A portable stove or burner is often able to do the job of cooking without the effort and environmental harm of building a full fire. If there are less damaging, easier options than building a fire, consider using them!

2b) Use the tools listed in Tenderfoot requirement 3d to prepare tinder, kindling, and fuel wood for a cooking fire.

Take note that this requirement isn’t asking you to build a fire — you only need to gather all of the materials needed to start one. First, let’s reference Tenderfoot requirement 3d) where you learned about tools used for collecting fire-starting resources:

3d) Demonstrate proper care, sharpening, and use of the knife, saw, and ax. Describe when each should be used.

Let’s start with the big one, wood. Wood is pretty easy since we’re all pretty familiar with what firewood looks like. Firewood is usually around 16″ long and should be at least arm thick. It’s often arranged as the structure of the fire, in a tipi or log-cabin formation.

You can use your saw and knife to collect tinder and kindling. Kindling is about the size of sticks and is there to provide a small slow burn to get the logs burning. Tinder is small dry grass or leaves that are used to quickly start the fire and burn the kindling.

If you’re using bladed tools to collect tinder, kindling, and fuel wood, make sure you’ve earned your Totin’ Chip first. This certification will teach you to use knives, saws, and axes in a safe and effective manner!

2c) At an approved outdoor location and time, use the tinder, kindling, and fuel wood from Second Class requirement 2b to demonstrate how to build a fire. Unless prohibited by local fire restrictions, light the fire. After allowing the flames to burn safely for at least two minutes, safely extinguish the flames with minimal impact to the fire site.

This is the requirement where you actually build and light your fire! If you find good fuel, building a great fire is easier than you’d expect! Below, I’ve included a helpful video (11:23) showing you a few easy campfires builds that you can try:

You’ll want to place the logs first to set the foundation of your fire. Then add your tinder and kindling in the middle, just below the logs, before lighting it. The logs will ignite once the tinder and kindling flames stay on it for some time. A huge tip for fire building is to be patient!

Once you’ve let the fire burn for two minutes, it’s time to put it out. Dousing and stirring the fire is the easiest way to extinguish the flames. Once everything seems out, use the cold-out test (touching above the ashes to feel if they’re warm) before leaving your fire pit.

2d) Explain when it is appropriate to use a lightweight stove and when it is appropriate to use a propane stove. Set up a lightweight stove or propane stove. Unless prohibited by local fire restrictions, light the stove. Describe the safety procedures for using these types of stoves.

This requirement is a little confusing, as both lightweight and propane stoves can use propane. 😛 I’ll explain the differences a little more thoroughly below so that you can easily determine what’s what while camping or backpacking with your troop!

Lightweight Stoves

A lightweight stove is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a stove meant for easy transportation when backpacking. These stoves use cartridges for fuel, which can be a variety of compressed gases or liquids. They can be broken down to just the stove and the cartridge.

If you’re simply boiling water or making coffee on a backpacking trip, a lightweight stove should be your go-to. They’re quick and easy to set up, and can help you to boil things fast. To show you an example, here’s a type of Coleman lightweight stove I’ve used in the past (PS-Amazon referral link).

Propane Stoves

Not all larger camping stoves run on propane, but most do (at least in my troop). Propane stoves are the ones often used by troops that are simply camping, not backpacking. Fueling a propane stove is simply a matter of hooking it up to a large, refillable gas tank.

These should be used on single-campsite trips where burn restrictions aren’t in place. One thing to keep in mind is that propane stoves aren’t easily transported, so they should stay in your kitchen area for the duration of most campouts.

Camping Stove Safety

The biggest thing you should consider when using one of these stoves is safety. When using a gas stove, it’s important to remember that gas is constantly being expelled while the valve is open. This means you shouldn’t have the valve open before striking a spark — it could combust violently!

As with anything hot, there is a chance you could burn yourself or start a larger fire. You probably already know this, but never touch a hot stove and never put anything on the stove that doesn’t belong (especially plastic). The stove is for cooking and should be treated that way.

Finally, when you’re done with the stove, turn it off. If you still smell gas after any stove is thought to be off, check the valve. If you’d like more info on camp stove safety, check out the Stove Section of my guide to the Camping merit badge! 🙂

2e) On one campout, plan and cook one hot breakfast or lunch, selecting foods from MyPlate or the current USDA nutritional model. Explain the importance of good nutrition. Demonstrate how to transport, store, and prepare the foods you selected

Cooking a meal for your patrol is something you’ll be doing constantly through your Scouting journey, so this requirement will be great practice. When selecting your meal, there are a couple of things you should consider. First, we’ll start with a video (6:37) explaining the MyPlate portioning model:

You’ll need as much energy as you can get while Scouting, so having nutritious, well-rounded meals is extremely important. This doesn’t mean your meal has to be complicated though, simple spreads like hotdogs, grain bars, and prepackaged veggies can do the trick!

Your meal should also be easy to transport and cook. For your first patrol meal, I’d recommend keeping things simple with main dishes like hotdogs, hamburgers, or spaghetti, along with some healthy sides. To recap, here are the MyPlate food groups to include:

The MyPlate Nutritional Model Food Groups

  • Fruits: Examples of fruits include apples, pears, bananas, strawberries, grapes.
    • For boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18, it’s recommended that you consume 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruits per day. This is usually done in three servings that are each 1/2 cup. A single banana or apple is roughly equal to one cup of fruit.
  • Vegetables: Examples of vegetables include broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, peas, and celery.
    • You should eat as wide a variety of vegetable colors as possible. For boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18, it’s recommended to consume 2 1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. About 12 baby carrots, one ear of corn, or three spears of broccoli will equal a cup of vegetables.
  • Grains: Examples of grains include rice, breads, oatmeal, tortillas, or quinoa.
    • It’s recommended that boys and girls between 14 and 18 years old consume 6 and 8 ounces of grains per day, respectively. An ounce of grains can take the form of a regular slice of bread, five whole wheat crackers, or one packet of oatmeal.
  • Proteins: Examples of proteins include meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, and beans.
    • It’s recommended that girls ages 14-18 consume 5 ounces of proteins per day, whereas boys 14-18 consume 6 1/2 ounces of proteins per day. An ounce of protein can take the form of a small chicken breast, one can of tuna, or one cup of lentil soup.
  • Dairy: Examples of foods containing dairy include milk, yogurt, cheese, soy milk, and creams.
    • It’s recommended that both boys and girls 14-18 years old consume 3 cups of dairy. There’s actually been some recent research done that indicates people shouldn’t be consuming too much dairy. Do your own research, and avoid consuming dairy that’s high in saturated fats and sugars.

With these things in mind, you should be good to go! Remember, pick something easy to cook and transport that will provide your fellow scouts with plenty of energy to enjoy their activities! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for cooking help. You got this, chef! 😉

2f) Demonstrate tying the sheet bend knot. Describe a situation in which you would use this knot.
2g) Demonstrate tying the bowline knot. Describe a situation in which you would use this knot.

First, I’d recommend watching the quick video below that I made, which details how to tie a bowline and sheet bend. To save you some time, skip over to the 2:16 mark and watch from there!

Bowline: 2:16 Sheet Bend: 2:54

The Sheet Bend Knot: Sheet Bends are most commonly used when connecting two pieces of rope together. This joining knot is especially effective at connecting 2 ropes of different thicknesses together and is very unlikely to slip if you leave a long tail.

The Bowline Knot: Commonly known as the most useful knot, the bowline is a fixed-eye knot that doesn’t change loop size under pressure. It’s also quite easy to untie, even after being subjected to heavy loads! Bowlines are helpful for securing objects, or resuing people who’ve fallen down a ridge.

Requirement 3: Navigation

Navigation is a crucial skill that takes some practice to master. In Scouting, hiking and backpacking are activities that you do a lot, but they wouldn’t be so fun if you got lost every time. That’s why navigation is so important — so you know exactly where you are and where you’re headed! 🙂

3a) Demonstrate how a compass works and how to orient a map. Use a map to point out and tell the meaning of five map symbols.

A compass and map are your best friends when hiking or backpacking. These tools help guide you to your destination, warn you about possible roadblocks, and give you confidence in knowing exactly where you are. Navigation is a skill best shown, so check out the informative video (8:49) below:

Watched it? Awesome! You should now have a pretty solid understanding of how to stay oriented with a compass and map. From personal experience, I’ve seen that only hands-on practice can help scouts get this skill right every time. Practice with your own map and compass!

Once you’ve had a bit of practice and are able to properly apply the skills shown in this video, you’re ready to speak with your Scoutmaster! On your next campout or meeting, come prepared with a map of the area and your trusty compass.

Demonstrating your navigation skills will be a simple matter of orienting your direction and pointing out where landmarks should be. For example “I think the stadium should be southwest of us.” Then take a look to see if you’re right!

Finally, you’ll need to point out 5 map symbols and explain what they mean. I’d encourage you to pick up a map of a local hiking trail and look over the symbols there. Use this to familiarize yourself with local trails and explain some hazards that could be common to your area!

3b) Using a compass and map together, take a five-mile hike (or 10 miles by bike) approved by your adult leader and your parent or guardian.

Now it’s time to show your skills! For this requirement, plan a five-mile hike and use your compass and map along the way. While the trail will probably be marked, a compass and map will help you follow the right trail to your destination and back.

A fun practice could also be telling your troop some of the upcoming landmarks. For instance, if you saw a river half a mile away on the map, you could pretend to be psychic and tell people you hear it before it’s in view (lol 😛 ). Maps and compasses are a great way to stay prepared!

3c) Describe some hazards or injuries that you might encounter on your hike and what you can do to help prevent them.

Just like any outdoor activity, hiking can be dangerous if you’re not careful. To be prepared for any hazards or injuries, you should learn wilderness first aid. Below, we’ll cover the basics, but for a more in-depth explanation, see my Guide to the First Aid Merit Badge. Here’s a list of common hiking injuries:

Cuts and Bruises From FallsFalls are the most common injuries that could occur while hiking, and commonly result in some scrapes and bruises. These are both often minor, but any open wounds should be washed out with water, sanitized, and bandaged to prevent infection. To treat bruises and reduce swelling, apply a towel-covered cold compress after the hike.
SprainsAnkle sprains are extremely common injuries, especially while hiking. Sprains can be caused by carelessness, uneven terrain, and poor footwear (here’s How to Choose the Right Scouting Footwear). The best way to prevent this is to stay cautious on uneven terrain, rest when tired, and wear ankle-protecting boots.
Heat StrokeHeatstroke is caused by overheating and overexertion. It can be extremely serious. To prevent heatstroke on hot days, wear light clothes, drink lots of water, take necessary breaks, and regularly apply sunscreen. If you feel yourself becoming weak, take a break in the shade and drink water.
DehydrationDehydration can cause feelings of illness and dizziness. If you’re anything like most Americans, you probably don’t drink enough water. Make it a point to be different! Bring plenty of water on your hikes, and drink from your water bottle often. If your urine is light yellow or clear, you’re hydrated!
StingsStings can be quite painful and must be dealt with immediately. To prevent a sting, wear plenty of bug repellent and stay away from bee or wasp nests. They are more scared of you than you are of them. If someone with a bee allergy is stung, call 911 immediately and administer their EpiPen.

When hiking, you should always be prepared to handle any sort of emergency. This means carrying a Versatile First Aid Kit (Amazon referral link to what I use). This Monoki kit comes with spare survival tools too, so it’s like a one-stop shop for handling emergencies!

Now that you know how to handle common hazards and injuries during your hikes (mainly by resting, being cautions, and drinking enough water), you’re someone that your fellow scouts can rely on! Safety is #1 in Scouting, so think about preventing hazards often. 🙂

3d) Demonstrate how to find directions during the day and at night without using a compass or an electronic device.

If you’ve lost your compass and have no signal on your GPS, don’t worry! Our ancestors used a few tricks to find directions, which can still help us to this day! For this requirement, you’ll have to demonstrate these skills for both night and daytime, so I’ll give a brief overview of each:

Finding Directions During the Day

  • Using the sun’s position: The sun always rises in the East and sets in the West.
    • You can navigate based on these directions if you know what time of day it is.
    • If it’s cloudy, you can determine where the sun is based upon the bright spot in the clouds.
  • Using the flow of water: Water always flows downhill.
    • Knowing the layout of streams and rivers in your area will help you to stay oriented and give you a signal that you might’ve gone too far.
    • Often, infrastructure is built along rivers, so it’s a good place to look for other people.

Finding Directions During the Night

  • The North Star: If you can see the Big Dipper, you should also be able to find the North Star (which is always north).
    • Look from the “bowl” of the big dipper straight outward. It should point straight to the handle of the Little Dipper.
    • The far point of the Little Dipper’s handle is called Polaris, the North Star.
  • The Moon: While the moon rises similarly to the sun, it can be at a tilt-based on what season you’re in.
    • Generally, the moon rises in the east direction and sets in the west.
    • It’s best to use the moon to make sure you aren’t headed in the wrong direction (or in circles), instead of using it as an absolute compass.
  • Sounds and Lights: If you’re trying to find your way back to camp, looking for lights and sounds can be your best bet.
    • You should switch off your lights, sit down, and just listen. While moving or panicking, it’s difficult to pick up on other noises.

Requirement 4: Nature

Nearly every activity you participate in as a scout will take place in nature. That’s why, Scouting’s goal is to teach you how to properly respect the outdoors and learn more about it along the way! Becoming a knowledgeable scout will help you to protect our planet’s ecosystems. 😀

4) Identify or show evidence of at least ten kinds of wild animals (such as birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, mollusks) found in your local area or camping location. You may show evidence by tracks, signs, or photographs you have taken.

Unfortunately, I doubt I can guess where you live and can’t give examples of wild animals in every state. However, there are plenty of resources at your disposal! For instance, this helpful Species Table from the Fish and Wildlife Department lists the species from each state.

You can also ask a knowledgeable Scoutmaster to point out different wild animals on your next hike. There’s nothing like seeing animals in their natural state! Just remember not to disturb them. Take pictures when you can, and you’ll have this requirement done in no time!

Requirement 5: Aquatics

While aquatic activities are extremely fun, they can also be extremely dangerous. Before going on an aquatic outing, the BSA wants to make sure you’re able to participate safely. These tests can be tricky, but I’ll give you lots of help so you’ll be prepared to pass with flying colors!

5a) Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.

The most important thing when swimming is safety. While swimming is really fun, making mistakes while on the water could lead to serious injury or even death. There are 8 main precautions that must be taken before swimming; The BSA calls these points Safe Swim Defense:

  1. Qualified Supervision
    • Every aquatic activity requires the supervision of trained adults over the age of 21. These adults should be certified in CPR, first aid, and Safe Swim Defense.
  2. Personal Health Review
    • Release forms are required for swimming activities so that parents and scouts understand the risks involved. Health history must also be submitted to leaders before scouts can be allowed to enter the water,
  3. Safe Area
    • Before starting any activity in the water, make sure the swimming area is safe. This includes checking for underwater hazards such as debris, currents, and broken glass. You should also be aware of the weather and other water activities taking place in the area.
  4. Response Personnel
    • When swimming, there should always be a lifeguard present. In the event of an emergency, a lifeguard can respond quickly and provide appropriate care to the affected person.
  5. Lookout
    • A lookout can spot potential drownings or other hazards that may not be obvious to swimmers or other adult leaders in or near the water.
  6. Ability Groups
    • Groups should be separated based on their swimming level. The various BSA Swim Tests can help guide you on how these groups should be separated.
    • Non-swimmer areas are for those who haven’t passed the BSA Swimmer’s Test. This area should be designated in shallow water, no deeper than the shortest scout’s chest.
  7. Buddy System
    • Buddy systems are important because they provide a system of accountability that helps scouts keep track of each other. Assigning each scout a buddy will ensure that your troop can more effectively respond to emergencies.
  8. Discipline
    • Rules are only effective when followed. Breaking any one of these rules could lead to an emergency situation. Therefore, you’ll need to not tolerate unsafe behavior, especially during activities on the water.
5b) Demonstrate your ability to pass the BSA beginner test.  Jump feetfirst into water over your head in depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming, then return to your starting place.

Becoming a safe swimmer will unlock so many more fun activities for you to try throughout your Scouting journey! From kayaking, to boating, to even scuba diving, all of these activities require you to level up your swimming skills so that you can be confident in the water (and not drown 😛 ).

That’s where the BSA swim tests come in. To complete this requirement, you’ll need to finish the BSA Beginner swim test. The BSA Beginner test is pretty easy if you know how to swim — you simply need to demonstrate the following:

  • Jump feet-first into water deeper than one’s head, level off, then swim 25 feet on the surface.
  • Turn sharply, resume swimming as before, and return to the starting place.

Therefore, a beginner will need to swim 25 feet in each direction for a total of 50 feet. Below is a great video (0:37) of a scout like yourself completing the BSA Beginner’s swim test!

Now that you know what needs to be done, are you ready to pass your BSA Beginner’s swim test? You should be! Practice a bit before your test so that you’re warmed up and feel comfortable in the water. Then, it’s just a minute of swimming, so I know you got this! 😀

5c) Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects.

Aside from being able to swim confidently and competently, rescues are another crucial skill to learn before taking part in any water-based activity. When saving a drowning person, you should first reach for them with an arm or leg. If that fails, throw something for them to grab onto.

Below is a great video (3:02) demonstrating the order that you should use to rescue a drowning person: reach, throw, row, and go (if you’re trained). Pay careful attention while watching, because later on you’ll need to demonstrate these techniques, yourself!

Remember, when performing a throwing rescue, always throw upstream or upwind of the victim — not directly at them. Also, take your time to make sure your throw is a good, strong one. Now you’re prepared for almost all types of water rescues! Good luck, scout. 🙂

5d) Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible. Explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.

As explained in the video earlier, swimming rescues should always be your last resort. They are extremely dangerous for both the rescuer and the person whom they’re saving. Even the most experienced swimmers can be dragged down by a panicking victim.

If you have to perform a swimming rescue because you cannot reach the victim from shore or a boat, you should not come into contact with them unless they’re fully calm or unconscious. Even reaching out your arm can be dangerous, as they’ll pull that under to keep afloat.

You should grab some sort of buoyant device or towing aid before attempting a swimming rescue, if you spot any nearby. It’s best to either push the victim to shore while they’re resting on a flotation device, or tow them behind you while they hold something.

Flotation devices can help both you and the victim catch your breath and recover before heading back to shore. Anything like a floaty, life-jacket, or surfboard could help you both keep afloat. Otherwise, bring a rope or sturdy towel, as this will allow you to tow the victim to shore as you swim.

Ready to move on to requirement 6 for the Second Class rank? Click here!

Congrats on Finishing The First Half of Your Second-Class Rank Requirements!

Wow, we just covered a ton of info, and now my computer starting to get laggy. Great work! Are you starting to feel more prepared? You should! You definitely deserve a break at this point; give yourself a huuuuge pat on the back. 🙂

Once you’re ready to continue on to part 2 of my Guide to the Second Class Rank click here!

Also, if you’re interested in more Scouting tips, guides, and even giveaways, you definitely need to sign up for my ScoutSmarts Scribe Newsletter! In it, I’ll send you a weekly email to help you take the next steps towards reaching Eagle. It’ll always be free and helpful, so sign up today!

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

Recent Content