ACE West Virginia Boy Scout Merit Badge Programs

Whitewater Merit Badge

Boy Scout Whitewater Merit Badge

Boy Scout TripsThis is the best Whitewater Merit Badge around! Combine two different learning experiences on two very different stretches of whitewater.

Day 1: We'll challenge the Upper New River (easier whitewater) in our high-performance inflatable kayaks. River reading, scouting rapids, whitewater paddling techniques and self-rescue will be the topics of the day.

Day 2: The grand finale will be spent rafting the big water of the Lower New River (moderate to challenging whitewater). The group must apply the skills acquired from day one to be a finely tuned whitewater rafting team on day two. There is a guide in every raft.

  • Prerequisites include: Canoe or Kayak Merit Badge, CPR and First Aid.
  • We cover the entire whitewater skills requirements listed on from #4 on (1-3 are covered with CPR, First Aid and Canoe or Kayak Merit Badge).
  • Instructors, equipment and two lunches are included.

Whitewater Merit Badge Requirements:

Canoeing or kayaking through whitewater rapids can be a thrilling experience. Safe whitewater fun requires each participant to understand the the equipment and techniques and to have a firm respect for the power of nature's waterways.


  1. Do the following:
    1. Review with your counselor the first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while working on the Whitewater merit badge, including hypothermia, heat reactions, dehydration, insect stings, blisters, bruises, cuts, and shoulder dislocation.
    2. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a person. Explain how such conditions are recognized.
    3. Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Review and compare BSA Safety Afloat and the American Whitewater safety guidelines and demonstrate your understanding of these principles by answering questions from your counselor.
    2. Identify and explain the use and importance of safety equipment on moving water. Include in your explanation a discussion about throw ropes, whistles, and how to choose and properly fit PFDs (personal flotation devices) and helmets.
  3. Before doing requirements 4 through 13, earn the Canoeing merit badge if you will be using a canoe to earn this merit badge. If you will be using a kayak, earn the Kayaking BSA Award.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    1. If you are completing these requirements as a tandem canoeist, demonstrate basic canoe-handling skills by completing the Scout gate test within 160 seconds while paddling tandem with a buddy. Then demonstrate the following strokes: cross forward, cross draw, bow pry, Duffek, high brace, and low brace.
    2. If you are completing these requirements as a solo canoeist, demonstrate basic solo canoe-handling skills by completing the Scout gate test within 160 seconds. Then demonstrate the following strokes: cross forward, cross draw, stern pry, Duffek, high brace, and low brace.
    3. If you are using a kayak to complete these requirements, demonstrate basic kayak-handling skills by completing the Scout gate test within 160 seconds. Demonstrate the following strokes: Duffek, high brace, low brace, and sculling draw. Then do the following:
      1. Move the kayak forward in a reasonably straight line for 10 yards.
      2. Move the kayak sideways to the right and to the left.
      3. Pivot 360 degrees to the right and left.
      4. Stop the kayak.
  5. Do the following:
    1. Explain the importance of scouting before committing to running a rapid, and discuss good judgment when evaluating a stretch of river or a particular rapid.
    2. Explain the terms downstream V, riffle, strainer, eddy, eddy line, pillow, ledge, bend, shallows, falls, low-head dam, current, rock, drop, horizon line, wave, standing wave, hydraulic, and sleeper.
    3. Explain how to scout and read a river while ashore and while afloat, and discuss the importance of hazard recognition.
    4. Demonstrate your ability to read the river where you are practicing and demonstrating your whitewater skills.
  6. Explain the International Scale of River Difficulty and apply the scale to the stretch of river where you are practicing and demonstrating your whitewater skills. Identify the specific characteristics of the river that are factors in your classification according to the International Scale.
  7. Explain the importance of communication during every whitewater outing. Explain and then demonstrate using the following river signals: "Run right," "Run left," "Run down the center," "Stop," "Are you OK?" and "Help!"
  8. Do the following:
    1. Explain the differences between flatwater and whitewater canoes. Identify the different materials used in modern whitewater canoe construction and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
    2. Describe the various types of kayaks and how they differ in design, materials, and purpose.
    3. Identify the advantages and special uses for kayaks and decked canoes in moving water.
    4. Discuss the construction, safety, and functional features of paddles used in whitewater activities.
  9. Discuss the personal and group equipment necessary for a safe whitewater outing and how and why it is used. Explain how to pack and protect these items.
  10. Wearing the proper personal flotation device (PFD) and being appropriately dressed for the weather and water conditions, perform the following skills in moving water in a properly equipped whitewater craft of your choice (tandem canoe, solo canoe, or solo kayak). If a tandem canoe is used, the skills must be demonstrated from both the bow and stern positions.
    1. Launch and land.
    2. Paddle forward in a straight line.
    3. Backpaddle.
    4. Sideslip, both sides.
    5. Ferry upstream and downstream.
    6. Eddy turn.
    7. Peel out.
  11. Explain and demonstrate:
    1. Self-rescue and procedures when capsized in moving water, including a wet exit if necessary
    2. Safe rescue of others in various whitewater situations using a throw rope
    3. Portaging—when and how to do it
    4. The whitewater buddy system using at least three persons and three craft
  12. Discuss the use of inflatable rafts on moving water. In your discussion, explain the special safety precautions that should be taken when using an inflatable raft and the risks of "tubing" on moving water.
  13. Participate in a whitewater trip using either a canoe or kayak on a Class I or Class II river. Help to prepare a written plan, specifying the route, schedule, equipment, safety precautions, and emergency procedures. Determine local rules and obtain permission from landowners and land managers in advance. Explain what steps you have taken to comply with BSA Safety Afloat and the American Whitewater safety guidelines. Execute the plan with others.


Climbing Merit Badge

Boy Scout Climbing Merit Badge

Rock ClimbingOur comprehensive "ground school" emphasizes the techniques required to be a safe, trustworthy top rope climber and belayer. Over the course of two days, the class covers: equipment, knots, anchor systems, belay techniques, climbing movement, and most importantly, safety. This intensive curriculum requires attention and an eagerness to learn. Upon completion, you should understand and have demonstrated the requirements for the Climbing Merit Badge. Working knowledge of knots and ropes is required.

  • Prerequisites include: CPR and First Aid.
  • We cover all climbing requirement skills listed on from #4 on (1-3 are covered with CPR and First Aid).
  • Instructors, equipment and two lunches are included.

Climbing Merit Badge Requirements:

Climbing is not a sport that requires tremendous muscular strength; it demands mental toughness and the willingness to practice hard to master a set of skills. The adventure of climbing can also provide a new way to enjoy the outdoors.


    1. Do the following:

        a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in climbing and rappelling activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
        b. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur during climbing activities, including heat and cold reactions, dehydration, stopped breathing, sprains, abrasions, fractures, rope burns, blisters, snakebite, and insect bites or stings.
        c. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person.

    2.) Learn the Leave No Trace principles and Outdoor Code, and explain what they mean.

    3.) Present yourself properly dressed for belaying, climbing, and rappelling (i.e., appropriate clothing, footwear, and a helmet; rappellers can also wear gloves).

    4.) Location. Do the following:

        a.) Explain how the difficulty of climbs is classified, and apply classifications to the rock faces or walls where you will demonstrate your climbing skills.
        b.) Explain the following: top-rope climbing, lead climbing, and bouldering.
        c.) Evaluate the safety of a particular climbing area. Consider weather, visibility, the condition of the climbing surface, and any other environmental hazards.
        d.) Determine how to summon aid to the climbing area in case of an emergency.

    5.) Verbal signals. Explain the importance of using verbal signals during every climb and rappel, and while bouldering. With the help of the merit badge counselor or another Scout, demonstrate the verbal signals used by each of the following:

        a.) Climbers
        b.) Rappellers
        c.) Belayers
        d.) Boulderers and their spotters

    6.) Rope. Do the following:

        a.) Describe the kinds of rope acceptable for use in climbing and rappelling.
        b.) Show how to examine a rope for signs of wear or damage.
        c.) Discuss ways to prevent a rope from being damaged.
        d.) Explain when and how a rope should be retired.
        e.) Properly coil a rope.

    7.) Knots. Demonstrate the ability to tie each of the following knots. Give at least one example of how each knot is used in belaying, climbing, or rappelling.

        a.) Figure eight on a bight
        b.) Figure eight follow-through
        c.) Water knot
        d.) Double fisherman's knot (grapevine knot)
        e.) Safety knot

    8.) Harnesses. Correctly put on at least ONE of the following:

        a.) Commercially made climbing harness
        b.) Tied harness

    9.) Belaying. Do the following:

        a.) Explain the importance of belaying climbers and rappellers and when it is necessary.
        b.) Belay three different climbers ascending a rock face or climbing wall.
        c.) Belay three different rappellers descending a rock face or climbing wall using a top rope.

    10.) Climbing. Do the following:

        a.) Show the correct way to directly tie into a belay rope.
        b.) Climb at least three different routes on a rock face or climbing wall, demonstrating good technique and using verbal signals with a belayer.

    11.) Rappelling. Do the following:

        a.) Using a carabiner and a rappel device, secure your climbing harness to a rappel rope.
        b.) Tie in to a belay rope set up to protect rappellers.
        c.) Rappel down three different rock faces or three rappel routes on a climbing wall. Use verbal signals to communicate with a belayer, and demonstrate good rappelling technique.

    12.) Demonstrate ways to store rope, hardware, and other gear used for climbing, rappelling, and belaying.

Horsemanship Merit Badge

Boy Scout Horsemanship Merit Badge

In addition to learning how to safely ride and care for horses, Scouts who earn this merit badge will gain an understanding of the instincts and behaviors of horses and humane and effective methods for training horses.

Boy Scout Horsemanship Merit Badge Requirements   

1.) Do the following:

        a.) Describe the safety precautions you should take when handling and caring for a horse.
        b.) Describe the fire safety precautions you should take in a barn and around horses.

2.) Name the 15 main parts of a horse.

3.) Name four breeds of horses. Explain the special features for which each breed is known.   

4.) Describe the symptoms of colic. Name and describe four other horse health problems.
5.) Explain what conformation is and why it is important. Explain the difference between lameness and unsoundness.
6.) Explain the importance of hoof care and why a horse might need to wear shoes.   

7.)Demonstrate how to groom a horse, including picking hooves and caring for a horse after a ride.
8.)Explain how to determine what and how much to feed a horse and why the amount and kind of feed are changed according to the activity level and the breed of horse.
9.) Do the following:
        a.) Name 10 parts of the saddle and bridle that you will use, and explain how to care for this equipment.
        b.) Show how to properly saddle and bridle a horse.
        c.) Demonstrate how to safely mount and dismount a horse.
10.) Explain and demonstrate how to approach and lead a horse safely from a stall, corral, or field and how to tie the horse securely.
11.) On level ground, continuously do the following movements after safely mounting the horse. Do them correctly, at ease, and in harmony with the horse.
        a.) Walk the horse in a straight line for 60 feet.
        b.) Walk the horse in a half-circle of not more than 16 feet in radius.
        c.) Trot or jog the horse in a straight line for 60 feet.
        d.) Trot or jog the horse in a half-circle of not more than 30 feet in radius.
        e.) Halt straight.
        f.) Back up straight four paces.
        g.) Halt and dismount.

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