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» Pioneering - Bridges
Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:51 pm by Warloque

» Pioneering - Fun Structures
Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:19 am by Warloque

» Pioneering - Camp Gadgets and Miscellaneous
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» Pioneering - Tables and Benches
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» Pioneering - Tenting
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Introduction to Pioneering

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Introduction to Pioneering

Post  Warloque on Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:18 am

What is Pioneering?

Pioneering is the word used to describe the work done by 18th and 19th century military engineers who went ahead of an army to build bridges and towers with rope and timber. In Scouting, it refers to building structures using wooden spars and rope.
The picture on the left is a good example of a pioneering project. Pioneering projects can range from a dining table to a see-saw that is all done using wooden spars or bamboo. Pioneering skills are important as it is one of the requirements for camping standards for a Scout. Besides, you earn a badge from producing good and sound pioneering projects.
We take a closer look into pioneering skills, considered one of Scouting's most prestigious art.


Examples of Pioneering Projects (Tower & Bridge)


The Brynbach Tower



The Hourglass Tower



The Skylon Weathercock



The Banana Bridge



The Crow's Nest



The Drawbridge


Pioneering Requirements

Choose and Inspect

Not just any rope will do for pioneering projects, because the strength and security of a structure depends on it. Choose your rope carefully. (See "Did You Know...?" on following pages.) Also, choose the right knot for particular tasks. A properly chosen knot holds when you want it to hold and unties quickly. The wrong knot may slip loose when someone puts tension on it. This may cause a serious accident.

Before making any pioneering project, inspect your rope for frays, cuts or rotten spots that will weaken it. Cut out any weak spots and splice good rope ends together. (See Fieldbook of Canadian Scouting)

Major pioneering projects will require wooden spars three to four metres long and 10 to 12 cm wide. It’s not always easy to obtain these, so why not tie your program into a tree-thinning project? Check with local forest rangers and property owners before starting any cutting.

An excellent pioneering book like John Sweet’s Scout Pioneering (available at Scout Shops) will make any project more fun. Also, it will answer many questions and provide lots of ideas.

Gateways to Creativity

Gates keep people out, but they also tell a story about those who live built them. Here are several gates that will not only give varying impressions to passers-by but also challenge the engineering skills of your members.

Basic Gate

Any patrol or company will be able to make this gate quickly. Use square lashing to complete it. Don’t overlook the bell (a tin can with a rock in it) for visitors.

Lift Gate

Only those with knot-tying experience and those seeking a real challenge should tackle this project. You’ll need to invest considerable thought, time and some advance planning.

Campsite Improvements

All Scouting youths like as many luxuries as possible to make camping more comfortable. It’s rarely possible to transport tables, tripods, tool racks and fire stands into the backwoods for a weekend, but you can easily make them. Try building a shower unit, a camp chair and a dinner table.

Shower Unit

With this shower, you won’t have to wait for rain to get your next camp shower.

Dining Table

A flat eating surface at camp? Impossible? With this table, all you’ll need are candles and a gourmet meal to transform a wilderness site into a classy establishment.

Climbing Wall

This play structure requires lots of patience to build, then plenty of adult supervision to use it safely.

Pioneer Loom

Scouts and Venturers can make sleeping mats using this loom.

Rope Tying Tips

Use ropes at least two metres long and 6 to 12 mm in diameter. Make sure the ends have been properly whipped to prevent fraying.

Never hammer nails into a tree, and always take your pioneer project apart when finished with it.

Before starting a major pioneering project, spend time learning the necessary knots. (Youths always learn knot-tying quickest when they can see an immediate application.) Don’t try teaching several difficult knots in one evening to inexperienced Cubs or Scouts. Teach one knot, then review it next week, before teaching another.

Knot-tying can be difficult for little Cub fingers. Plan for this. Don’t expect absolute perfection from their efforts. After Cubs have mastered a knot, show them how to use it in a simple pioneering project.

Did You Know...?

Natural fibre and nylon ropes are good for making pioneering projects because of their ease of knotting, while polypropylene rope is poor.
Nylon rope stretches while natural fibre, polyester and polypropylene don’t stretch easily.
Nylon rope has high tensile strength, while natural fibre rope has low tensile strength.



Scout Pioneering: Is It a Lost Art?

by Ian Mitchell

When was the last time your Scouts or Venturers made a bridge from wooden spars to span a stream at camp? Have your Scouts ever made a camp loom? What about a flag pole or lookout tower?

Catapults, climbing gyms, bridges, towers, shelters, gateways, woven lean-tos, fences, rafts: with a bit of ingenuity, Scouts or Venturers can build almost anything using only spars and rope. At the same time they’ll learn important leadership, planning and team-building skills. More basic projects like shoe racks and wash basin stands provide a great introduction to knots and pioneering for Cubs.

Since the days of B.P., pioneering has formed an important part of Scouting, but in many groups these have somehow fallen by the way. This traditional skill makes it easier to live comfortably in the wilds without high tech fold-away tables, chairs and plastic games. It also builds self-reliance and confidence.
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