Geocaching is now a merit badge! You get to play in the woods and earn a merit badge. What could be better? Learn the requirements to earn the geocaching merit badge here.
Where to Get Your Caches
The Boy Scouts of America have a new merit badge. It’s the geocaching merit badge. In order to earn this merit badge, you must follow all the necessary guidelines laid out in the Boy Scouts pamphlet. So, how do you earn a geocaching merit badge?
Well, you will have to take a few classes before you are allowed out in the wilderness. Part of the classroom training is to teach Boy Scouts what’s involved in geocaching. Geocaching is an activity where you search for a hidden treasure using a GPS unit.
You can download coordinates from websites like Geocaching.com and input them into your unit. Then, you go out and search for the cache. Geocache coordinates will only take you so close to the actual spot of the cache, generally within a few yards. So, you will have to do some searching in the bushes or area to find the actual cache.
Boy Scouts will also learn about the etiquette involved in geocaching. This includes: don’t use a map, use the appropriate gear, and take your coordinates at your car so you don’t get lost. You should also stay on the trail unless you are familiar with the area.
Another part of the etiquette is the Leave No Trace principle. This means that you leave the area the way that you found it. Whatever food or trash that you brought in with you must come back out. It also means that you shouldn’t disturb wildlife or walk on sensitive vegetation.
You should also leave the cache hidden so that the next person who comes along can find it. Do not steal any part of the cache, and do not leave it more exposed than you found it.
Besides geocaching etiquette, Boy Scouts will learn about important geocaching terminology and how the technology works. They will also learn how to find caches using Geocaching.com. Geocaching.com is one of the largest geocaching websites available, and it lists caches from around the world.
You will learn how to find caches in your area or near certain coordinates. It is important to start with a cache in an area where you have been before. This way, if you do get lost, you will know how to get back out. This is especially important for people who have never used or are just learning how to use their GPS unit.
Finding Your First Cache
To earn the geocaching merit badge, Boy Scouts must also show that they can find and log their caches. You will have to actually find a geocache to earn the merit badge, which means that you will be going out into the woods.
Finally, you will learn how to create your own geocache and hide it. You can then upload the coordinates of that cache to the Geocaching.com website, and share it with others.