IN THE SAME BOAT: a blog for Scouts BSA parents (subscribe)
Grab a popsicle or iced tea, a hammock or spot by the fan, and read on!
The “dog days of summer” refers to the oppressive period of summer when it is very hot and humid outside, and staying cool is a worthy challenge. It coincides with the time that the sun occupies the same region of the sky as the star Sirius. The brightest star visible from Earth, Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star, because it is part of the constellation Canis Major (or Greater Dog). The Romans thought that because Sirius is so bright, it gave off extra heat when it was in the sky with the sun. They called those days, generally July 3d to August 11th, the “dog days.”
Although the dog days may have just ended according to the calendar, no doubt sweltering days are still a reality for most of us. Here, then, are some “cool” dog-related ideas for Scouts to help get you through the heat.
Eagle Scout Projects That are “Going to the Dogs”
A lot of Eagle Scout projects involve building something. If your Scout has a warm spot for our furry friends and is beginning to brainstorm ideas for an Eagle project, here are some great projects that benefit dogs that were completed by an Eagle Scout:
- Off-leash dog park
- Dog agility course
- Police dog memorial
- K-9 training facility
- Dog houses
- Search and rescue dog scent wall
Dog Sledding Anyone?
Yes, it’s still too early for dog sledding in most parts of the country, but it’s not too early to start planning. If your Scout loves dogs and loves winter, this is the perfect activity for him or her. Check out the following dog sledding programs.
Boy Scouts of America
- Snow Base Winter Camping Program, Tomahawk Scout Reservation, Northern Star Council, Wisconsin. See also Dog Sledding Program.
- Dog Sledding Program, Northern Tier High Adventure, Great North Woods of northern Minnesota and Canada. Camp options: Musher Camp, Introductory Dog Sled Trek (basic or advanced options).
- Maryland Sled Dog Adventures, Scouts Sledding Program. Educational programs on dog sledding, dry land dog sledding, mushing, and other dog powered sports; earn a dog sledding patch.
- White Wilderness Sled Dog Adventures, Minnesota. Offers non-profit group trips (including Scouts).
If you are looking for dog sledding opportunities in your neck of the woods, check out Sled Dog Central, with its list of rides and tours categorized by state.
Does dog sledding help a Scout meet any requirements of a BSA award or merit badge? This was a question that appeared on “Ask Andy” (US Scouting Service Project): could dog sledding count towards “riding” mileage for the National Outdoors Award, or be part of the Winter Sports merit badge? Andy’s response was “no,” since dog sledding isn’t specifically mentioned. However, this was asked in 2016, so you might revisit the question with someone in Scouts BSA if your Scout is interested in this activity.
Dog Care Merit Badge
Your Scout is probably already helping to take care of the family dog, so why not put those efforts towards earning a badge? The requirements, pamphlet and workbook are online at:
Many animal humane societies offer merit badge clinics or other programming related to earning these badges. Here are some examples to look at, and then you can check with a humane society near you:
- Wisconsin Humane Society
- Nebraska Humane Society
- Humane Society of Broward County, Florida
- Humane Society of Greater Rochester, New York
- Humane Society of Missouri
- Kansas Humane Society
Finally, who can resist the idea of Dog Scouts of America? It’s true. Your dog can join a troop, earn merit badges (nearly 100 of them), and go to camp, just like the other Scouts in his or her family. There is even a Sledding merit badge, if your dog is inclined towards this sport. The mission of this organization is to “improve the lives of dogs, their owners, and society through humane education, positive training, and community involvement.”
A worthy mission!
If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll share it with a friend!
P.S. Do you wish being a Scouts BSA parent was a breeze? It is with the Smooth Sailing eGuide, Planner and Organizer for new and continuing Scout parents! Updated January 2020.