I actually tried to set the standards so that a beginner could accomplish them. Boy Scout merit badges typically take a 13-16 year old Scout anywhere from 1-4 months to complete, and really should not take any longer. Some merit badges assume Scouts already have a basic skill set (such as being able to ride a bike), but I don’t feel I can assume that Scouts already know how to unicycle. Thus, the requirements to earn the badge would need to only take 4 months from when the Scout is beginning to ride.
Case in point: I have been riding a unicycle for two months now, and at my current skill level would be able to complete all requirements except for idling and hopping. My brother, who is 13 and currently a Star Scout, has been riding for a month and a half and can already idle, so all he would have left is hopping (which I’m sure he’ll be able to achieve within 2 more months). I feel that the skill set presented is achievable in 2-4 months time, but if you feel it is too difficult, which part of it would you change?
Given a second revision of the requirements, I’d be interested to speak with John Hooten to see if his scouts could pass them. I’m putting together support through a former Boy Scout district commissioner to prepare a cover letter discussing the differences between bicycling and unicycling, requesting the name change for the current badge, giving a history of unicycling, and showing community support for the cause. (Also am looking into safety statistics for unicyclists.)
My aim on the last requirement was to consider the branching factor for unicyclists: with the skating merit badge, for instance, there are three different requirement sets depending if you are earning the badge for roller skates, ice skates, or roller blades; I was trying to have the last requirement be for the different unicycling genres, but I guess I should split it differently.
Checkernuts, that sounds like a lot of work (to me at least) to have X 2-mile trips, Y 5-mile trips, and a 10-mile trip, but as I don’t know how far the rides I’ve taken actually are, I guess I can’t judge properly. What would you suggest?
Also, regarding the convention, many badges require you to visit somewhere, or if you can’t, to research it (like Coin Collecting – you can either visit a mint or a bank OR attend a coin show/club meeting OR give a talk about coin collecting to your troop or school OR make drawings of five colonial US coins). So I’d split that as a separate requirement.
… much time passes …
Ok, I have revised the reqs based on your comments, so please see the following modifications to the requirements (see changes to 1, 2, 8, 9, and 10):
- Do the following:
a. Give general unicycling safety rules and etiquette.
b. Describe the parts and functions of a unicycle.
c. Describe the required and recommended safety equipment.
d. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while unicycling.
- Using pictures, present the history of unicycling.
- Clean and adjust a unicycle. Prepare it for inspection using a unicycle safety checklist.
- Show your unicycle to your counselor for inspection. Do the following:
a. Show all parts that should be checked regularly to make sure the unicycle is safe to ride.
b. Show how to adjust seat level and height.
- Demonstrate the following:
a. Proper mounting, pedaling, stopping, and dismounting.
b. Making left and right turns by performing a figure-8.
c. Rolling off a curb or other obstacle.
d. Idling 10 times.
e. Hopping 5 times.
- Explain the differences between standard, trials, freestyle, muni, and touring unicycles.
- Describe your traffic laws for unicycles. Compare them with pedestrian and motor-vehicle laws.
- Avoiding major highways, plan and take 2 2-mile trips and 1 5-mile trip. Report the route you took and interesting things seen.
- Do one of the following:
a. Demonstrate advanced maneuvers, including backwards riding, one-footed riding, and wheel-walking.
b. Wearing proper safety gear, take 2 muni rides of at least one mile. Demonstrate mounting technique on slopes.
c. Compete in a trials event.
d. Play a sport on a unicycle, such as basketball, hockey, or jousting.
- Do one of the following:
a. Attend a unicycle convention. Tell your counselor about it.
b. Visit a unicycle club. Tell your counselor about it.
c. Give a talk and demonstration about unicycling to your troop or school class.
What do people think? Is this better? Do-able?