Young Cultivators Merit Badge: I Am a Survivor, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,962 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,905 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Out There Kids/I Am A Survivor Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I gathered my hiking supplies and my courage and volunteered to take Piper, Nora, and Andy, and all their respective siblings out on a hike in the wilderness.

photo by Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

Well, ‘wilderness’ sounds more life-threatening than our hiking trail actually is, but still. Ever take a bunch of kids hiking? It’s pretty life-threatening. And sanity-threatening. I wasn’t sure we’d all make it down alive, to tell the truth.

Since Nora was my Beginner Level Badge earner from her handy dandy, super cool, Survivor Packs she made with me earlier, I let her be the Guide Assistant.

Unfortunately, the power went to her head.

Ever been on a nice, calm, afternoon hike with a tiny dictator? No? Let me introduce you to Nora.

First things first, we had to do a head count. I didn’t want to come down with the mountain with less kiddos than we went up with. I mean, their parents would probably notice, right? I’m not a parent, but ‘You win some, you lose some,’ doesn’t really apply to children. So I counted pigtails and sunhats and bouncy heads three times over, just to be sure. Then Nora piped up with her list of terrorist demands safety rules:

  • Where to meet up if someone gets lost. She suggested “the lone pine tree, by the pirate crossroads, at the fork in the mysterious lane,” but we settled on the picnic bench at the trailhead.
  • How closely you’re allowed to walk along the edge. She said two inches. I hurriedly amended that to two feet.
  • Which kid to sacrifice should we be starving. She suggested Andy. I suggested she stop scaring the children, no one was going to be eating anybody.
  • Which kid to toss to a hungry mountain lion, should we meet one. She suggested Andy. I sighed and told her we wouldn’t be feeding anyone to the wild animals. She pouted and said she didn’t want to be Guide Assistant if I was going to keep undermining her authority.

Once we had all our safety precautions underway, I handed out a fun little nature guide to the whippersnappers and we were off!

photo by Virginia State Parks via Wikimedia Commons

Like a herd of turtles!

Like a herd of turtles who had just had a turkey dinner!

Someone had to go potty (already??) and that was a pickle, because the older kids were already racing up the trail. I could sense this was going to be difficult, as we had some go-getters and some … dawdlers.

I used my whistle to call everyone back to the trailhead, we waited for Youngster #1 to go potty, and we tried it once more. At this point, I had to do another headcount and seemed to be missing a set of pigtails.

“Probably a lion got her,” said Nora, calmly. “Oh well, you win some, you lose some.”

It turned out, the pigtail owner was rustling around in the bushes because she’d seen a lizard. Once again, we were on our way.

Halfway to the top, we stopped for photos and snacks (no, we didn’t eat Andy). The Littles had a hard time keeping up at times, but I’d say it was a success.

Except for the poison oak I tripped and fell into.

And Piper twisted her ankle.

And Nora got too close to the edge and I hollered that I was revoking her Guide Assistant Card.

And six more Littles needed to go potty. Without a bathroom in sight.

But, other than that, success!

photo by Virginia State Parks via Wikimedia Commons

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    These photos remind me of summer Girl Scout Camp at Sugar Hollow, Virginia which was about 45 minutes outside of Charlottesville where I lived. Working on some simple badges, we would hike and explore the thick woods and steep hills for two weeks pursuing requirements for wildflowers, trees, safety and the rest. And those potty stops? Well, we got pretty good a digging little holes with the heels of our shoes and not getting our clothes wet! There is something very exciting and fascinating about learning to be outdoors and working your way to being able to do primitive overnight camping as older girls. I got the badges to prove it!! grin!!

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