Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Vanguard Scouts: Mormon Boys in Their Mid-Teens: part 5

Vanguard Scouts: Mormon Boys in Their Mid-Teens: part 5

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 23, 2012

This concluding part of the Vanguard handbook of 1929-30 provides sample outlines for merit badges.  As with so many other documents from an earlier age, this one contains dated language and ideas that we have, hopefully, outgrown.


Suggestions by C. Fletcher, Logan, Utah

1st Meeting, say in April.

8:30. Opening ceremony – oath, pledges, roll, etc.

8:40. Brisk exercises.

8:45. Talk on the ideals of angling and its joys – by member fish and game association.

8:55. Demonstration by fisherman or scout on hooks, crooks and knots in the fishing game; how to tie leaders, attach dry flies, minnows, mud cats, leaders, bait hooks, etc. How to wrap rings and wrappings to rods. (the boys should provide loose catgut, joint of old rod, hooks, dry fly, etc. If possible obtain one or two mud cats and minnows to show attachments for “nigger fishing,” trolling, and casting.)

9:15. Vanguard circle (about the sacred campfire), song of the outdoors.

9:20. Fishing story.

9:25. Scoutmaster’s minute, assignments, etc.

Closing ceremony – song.

Wa Konda Thee Thu
Wah pah The na ton he.
Wa Konda Thee Thu
Wah pah The na Ton he.

Scout benediction.

2nd Meeting – Angling.

8:30. Opening ceremony.

8:40. Casting contest practice with line (at stones placed at various distances.) this can be done in the gym or outdoors in any clearing or not too busy street. Leaders with barbless flies attached will be better than the bare line. Scores may be kept and each boy encouraged to outdo his own score.

9:00 p.m. Demonstration repairing broken joint by fisherman or scout “who knows.” This includes splicing and refitting ferrule, varnishing, etc. all boys sh9ould make splices on old rods, re-wrapping, fitting ferrule, and varnishing.

9:20. Van guard circle. Fishing story.

9:25. Scoutmaster minute, assignments.

Song: “By the Golden Sun,” etc.

Scout hand clasp.

Prayer – by individual Vanguard.

3rd Meeting – Angling.

8:30. Opening – Scout Law, Pledge, etc., roll.

8:40. Setting up exercises or brisk activity game.

8:45. Making flies. demonstration by scouts previously prepared or by expert from the community. All join in making the required flies for the merit badge. (See merit badge pamphlet.) Fly making may be supplemented by making snelled hooks, spinners, plugs, leaders, etc., according to the individual needs of the boys for the kind of fishing available.

9:15. Scout circle. Sing as assemble.

Fish story round, or fishing stories.

9:25. Scoutmaster’s minute. Plans for fishing excursion.

9:28. Closing ceremony.

4th Meeting.

Excursion to fishing ground.

Generally best to start with bait for common fish.

Cook and prepare food without ordinary utensils.

5th Meeting.

Use of bait, spinner, etc., for bass, trout, etc. Group the inexperienced with the experienced and try to get all to study the art and not give up if they don’t catch the most fish.

6th Meeting.

Fly fishing excursion of at least one day. Work as patrols seeing which patrol can excel, counting not only the fish caught but best hand made equipment displayed.


By S.D. Young, Ogden, Utah

Preparations for first meeting: Practice with patrol leaders and have them act as instructors.

First Meeting: (Held in front of church. Have two cars present, and four jacks.)

1. While four groups of two boys each are taking the tires off one car and replacing them, another group of six are taking turns starting and stopping the second car. The group starting and stopping formulate five rules for safely starting and three for stopping. (Time, twenty minutes.)

2. Reverse the groups and have the starting group handle the tires, and the tire group handle the starting. (Time, twenty minutes.)

3. Demonstrate putting out a fire of gasoline. Pour a little gas into a shallow pan. Light it. Demonstrate to the boys that dirt is the most effective means of extinguishing the fire without the use of a patent extinguisher. The other alternative is to smother the flames with a heavy blanket or quilt. (Not nearly so good.)

Preparations for second meeting: Have patrol leaders meet a good auto mechanic; obtain four of each article mentioned in the merit badge pamphlet, carburetors, valves, magnetos, spark plugs. Be sure that the leaders can handle each of these parts, clean and put them together again.

Second Meeting: By patrols, progressively with the patrol leaders acting as instructors, have each patrol learn the function of each part and explain it.

(Note.– Enough of each part must be on hand so that each boy may have one in his hands. Auto salvage companies will loan some parts.)

Stunt: The Ford. (Four boys act as wheels, one as driver, one as spare tire. Blankets covering wheels. Paper sacks popped make good fake punctures.)

Third meeting: Good mechanic brings a transmission and differential to the meeting, and, by a demonstrated lecture, shows the function of these parts.

He also tells the difference between a two and a four cycle motor. (thirty minutes.)

Boys fill out short questionnaire, based on above lecture, to ascertain what they have grasped. (Ten minutes.)

Good auto story by Scoutleader, or Boy. (Ten minutes.)

Fourth Meeting: Merit Badge examination and passing of tests.

Every ward has books that need repairing, especially is this true of song books. A splendid project for Vanguards is to repair these books. This can be used as a troop good turn as well as applying it toward the merit badge of “bookbinding.” Much of this work can be done outside of regular troop meetings if the meeting place is not suitable.

In our vanguard troop a study of the merit badge on bookbinding was carried out first and some of the equipment was made and materials to mend the books were gathered together.

The final work on the books was done at the scoutmaster’s home in small groups of three and four scouts meeting one hour once a week. One or two scouts who had been working the previous week came the next week and acted as instructors to the new boys, thus each meeting there was always one at least who had had some experience and could teach it to others.

Materials Used

Dennison’s transparent mending tape for mending torn pages. A strong wrapping paper to paste on fly leaves to bind the book to the cover. A small awl. A large eyed needle and twine. Our glue was home made. Gum arabic 1 part, starch 1 part, sugar 4 parts, water sufficient to give the desired consistency. The gum arabic is first dissolved in some water, the sugar is added, then the starch after which the mixture is boiled for a few minutes in order to dissolve the starch after which it is thinned down to the desired consistency. Add a little boric acid to preserve and stiffen it.

When the project is finished the boys are then ready to do some bookbinding for themselves and earn the merit badge as outlined by the national Council.


By Wm. B. Hawkins, Salt Lake City

At the Patrol Leaders’ meeting, at least one week preceding the meeting at which this subject is to be presented, assignments should be made to each patrol. These assignments would then make up the total substance of the meeting.

Password (for entrance to the meeting). Give the number of representatives a state may send to the national House of Representatives.

Model flag ceremony – By the Moose patrol.

Patriotic song fest – Led by the Flying Eagles.

Brief story of the American flag – From the Wildcat patrol.

Demonstration of flag courtesy – Beaver patrol.

Talk on Civics Merit badge – man from the community secured and instructed by members of the Crow patrol.

Scoutmaster’s minute – A patriotic thought.

Benediction – Special benediction prepared by the Wolf patrol.

Boys make special appointments with the Civics examiner for their tests in this subject.


By Wm. B. Hawkins

By the Project Method

The project – A three-day pack trip.

Objectives of the trip:

1. To make the trip so enjoyable that the boys will want to repeat it.

2. To create the greatest possible comfort, improvised from native materials and natural surroundings.

3. For each Vanguard to demonstrate in actual practice requirements 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and, if the site is by a lake or large stream, 6. (See requirements for Camping Merit Badge.)

Things to do incidental to the trip:

1. Sell the idea to the boys and their parents.

2. Determine the time of the hike and the destination.

3. Discover the camping conditions (water, wood, campsite) at destination, by inquiry from someone who knows, or by personal observation well in advance of the hike.

4. arrange ample leadership and transportation.

5. Plan details of camp program, route of travel, etc.

6. Prepare:

a – Menu and food lists,
b – Equipment list,
c – First aid supplies,
d – Sanitation plans,
e – Rating plan as a stimulant for the hikers,
f – Kinds of packs to be used.

7. Train the hikers in the arts of campcraft to be used on the hike before the trip is undertaken.

8. Secure a physician’s examination of each boy to assure physical fitness of all fellows taking the hike.

Execution of the Project:

1. At a Patrol Leaders’ council meeting at least five weeks in advance, the Vanguard Leader should present the question of a three day pack trip. Upon approval of the idea by this group he should then assign to the members of each patrol the job of getting the consent of their parents and of investigating possible places to go for such a hike. Reports will be called for at the next Patrol Leaders’ meeting, to be held the following week.

2. At the next Patrol Leaders’ Council the leader will receive reports on the assignments of the preceding week, and in addition make the following assignments:

First Patrol – Make up an equipment list for the trip.

Second Patrol – Prepare suggestive menu and food list for the trip, food that can be carried upon one’s back without an excess of weight.

Third patrol – List adequate first aid supplies and the uses of each article listed.

Fourth patrol – Prepare camp sanitation plans to include precautions concerning latrine, flies and mosquitoes, drinking water and refrigeration.

Fifth Patrol – Study various packs to be used on the hike, and learn the diamond hitch to be used on the pack.

The full patrol shall participate in the report on these assignments at the next Troop meeting, which will be held three weeks preceding the hike.

3. At the meeting held three weeks in advance each patrol will present its report in the regular troop meeting, each Scout taking notes on the material presented. The reports will likely need to be modified slightly for actual use on the hike, and these corrections should be made at this meeting. An afternoon and evening hike is then planned one week hence at which time each of these patrols will prepare a demonstration in keeping with the assignment they have just reported on.

4. On this afternoon and overnight hike held two weeks in advance of the pack hike the following demonstrations will be made:

First Patrol – Bring model set of equipment sufficient for one man on the hike.

Second Patrol – Prepare the evening meal for the troop, using one of the suggestive meals of the hike menu. Each boy should share in the expense of the meal.

Third Patrol – Bring a dummy first aid cabinet for troop inspection.

Fourth patrol – Building a latrine and a refrigerator.

Fifth patrol – Demonstrate the use of the various packs to be used on the trip. Demonstrate especially the official Vanguard pack board and its uses.

Assignment for the next meeting is for every boy to bring his intended equipment for the hike for inspection and correction.

5. At the meeting one week in advance all personal equipment is inspected and corrected. Equipment for the troop should also be displayed and carefully checked. The next assignment is for each fellow to report at a given place the night before the hike where a final checking is made upon all equipment, supplies, program, transportation (arranged previously by the troop committee), and the hour set for the start next day.

6. The hike now becomes merely a problem of keeping good morale in the group and following the plans laid in advance.

7. the program should by all means include some intellectual study such as nature study, plant collections, kodaking, geological study and the like. If possible someone conversant with these fields should be invited to accompany the party so that these features may be included.

The following information may form a basis for planning equipment and menu for the hike. These items and quantities have been used and proved to be adequate:

Equipment for 3 Day Pack Trip:

Individual Equipment.

3 blankets.
1 bed sack or tarp.
1 haversack.
1 pocket knife.
1 container matches.
1 shelter half.
1 flash light.
1 towel.
1 soap.
1 tooth brush and paste.
1 mirror.
2 extra pairs sox.
Needle and thread.
Toilet Paper.
1 cup.
1 plate.
1 bowl.
1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon.
1 knife.
1 fork.
1 stew kettle.

Two Together.
1 ax.
1 friction top can for butter.
Provisions together.
1 dishcloth.

Hike Director (Extra).

1 pair binoculars.
1 first aid kit.
1 package bunion plasters.
1 scout rope.
1 extra container matches.
1 compass.
1 snake bite treatment.

Note:Fire arms are prohibited.

Pack Hike Menu

First morning: Eat at Home.
First noon: Vienna sausages, rye crisp, nut meats, raisins, chocolate bar.
First evening: corned beef with macaroni and cheese or tomato sauce, bread and butter, cakes, pineapple, cocoa.
Second morning: Stewed peaches, grapenuts with cream and sugar, bread and butter.
Second noon: Rye crisp and butter, cheese, raisins, chocolate bar.
Second evening: Vegetable soup, corned beef with tomato sauce, bread and butter, jam.
Third morning: Stewed apples, shredded wheat with cream and sugar, rye crisp with butter, cocoa.
Third noon: At home, or lunch enroute.

Food Lists Per Boy

1/2 Vienna sausage (small.)
1/2 Rye crisp (medium.)
1/2 cup Nut Meats.
1/2 cup Raisins.
1 Chocolate Bar.
1/2 Corned Beef.
1/4 Macaroni.
6 Cakes.
1/4 Pineapple.
3 teaspoons Cocoa.
5 halves stewed peaches.
1/5 package Grapenuts.
1 small Milk.
12 teaspoons Sugar.
1/2 Vegetable Soup.
1/3 small Jam.
6 halves stewed Apples.
2 biscuits Shredded Wheat.
1/4 Butter.
1/2 Tomato sauce.

Add sufficient to these lists for noon lunch of third day, unless the troop breaks camp on the morning of the third day.

6. Troop Registration

Part of the thrill of Scouting, or Vanguard membership is the knowledge that one belongs to a big National organization and because of that membership belongs to a world brotherhood of boys. No boy is proud to belong to a troop that claims to be in full standing, yet has not officially registered with the National Headquarters. To the boy such a troop is cheap and his attitude toward it will be cheap. No boy may wear the insignia or uniform unless his troop is duly registered; and to be deprived of these privileges is as serious a handicap as to be deprived of the Oath and Law of scouting or the Traditions of the Vanguard. The General Board of the Y.M.M.I.A. has adopted the slogan “NO MORE DROPPED MORMON TROOPS,” in an effort to maintain the high rating given Mormon scouting by the National organization. Every loyal leader should accept this as a new challenge for effective leadership.

The troop Budget system is the most unique system for the assurance of re-registration on time. The plan in brief provides that each member of the troop shall pay regular dues of five cents per week for the year. At the end of the year, which contains about fifty meeting nights, the scout will have deposited as a savings with the troop $2.50. No other member may draw on this amount and it may not be used for other purposes than for his own personal expenses with the troop. A suggestive budget statement of the use of this money may appear as follows:

Re-registration $ .50
Boys’ Life Subscription. (Provided fifty percent of the troop subscribes at time of re-registration) 1.00
New Handbook (each two years) .25
Badges for the year. (Must pay extra for badges received above this amount) .50
Charity .25

Total $2.50

It is understood that any member who fails to keep up his dues must make up the deficiency at the time he gets badges or re-registers, as seems necessary.

All money used for hikes, parties, or other general purposes should be raised by means in which each fellow can work out his portion, but where no scout is required to match equal amounts of cash with other fellows who have more cash to draw from.


In stating the Scouting program it is sufficient to give sources of information, because the field is large enough to require volumes, and it is clearly discussed in books and pamphlets already in print. The following list will prove invaluable to every scout leader, and Vanguard leader as well. Every troop should own a set of these books as troop property:

Scoutmasters Handbook – A manual of leadership – Pub. by Boy Scouts of America $1.00
Boy Scout Handbook – The bo9y’s book of ‘stuff’ – Pub. by Boy Scouts of America .50
Merit Badge Library – (87 merit badge pamphlets) Covering the whole merit badge field – Pub. by Boy Scouts of America .20
Scouting Magazine – The Scout leaders’ magazine containing suggestive programs and helpful hints – Pub. by Boy scouts of America year, .50
Boy’s Life – Boy’;s Magazine – Pub. by Boy Scouts of America year, 2.00

The How Book of Scouting – A book of Scouting projects – Pub. by Boy scouts of America1.00
Swimming and Water Safety – How to teach swimming and the latest methods of life saving – By Fred C. Mills – Pub. by Boy Scouts of America 1.00
The Little Service Library – A series of booklets dealing with many Scouting problems – Pub. by Boy Scouts of America 14.00
Winter Camping – Thea rt of camping – By W.S. Carpenter – Published by McMillan Co.1.50
Games and Recreational Methods – The play way of teaching with ample projects illustrated – By Chas. F. Smith – Pub. by Dodd, Mead & Co. 2.00

These books can be ordered from any scout Headquarters, or from the Boy Scouts of America, 2 Park Ave. Bldg., New York, N.Y.

Every leader should read the chapter on “Patrol Methods” in the appendix of the Scoutmaster’s handbook, study it and then re-read it, following this study with careful application of the principles stated therein. The training courses conducted by the Local Council are sources of information that must not be neglected. Every Leader should be a TRAINED LEADER.



  1. “N-word fishing?” I know, product of the times. But I like the part about how to put out a gasoline fire. Good thing to know. Probably not such a great idea to practice. What could go wrong?

    Thanks for this series.

    Comment by Grant — August 23, 2012 @ 11:26 am

  2. That’s the thing, Grant. I know all regular Keepa readers understand that these documents are presented unaltered, and that they are voices (attitudes, words) from the past. I don’t like drawing attention to something like this, but I worry about the stranger who stumbles on it, if none of us says anything, who might assume because I’ve posted it that I endorse it — or worse, that the modern Church and its members endorse it.

    Glad you enjoyed the series. It seems familiar, with a quarter-turn of strangeness from the past. I like that about old writings.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 23, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  3. I like the idea of having someone show up at the church with a transmission! Of course, like Johnny Cash, he could bring it in his lunch box.

    And, that long series about fishing leaves out the thing that seems for a lot of people to be its foremost appeal–the beer.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 23, 2012 @ 12:33 pm