We Built a Tower for Pioneering Merit Badge

Written by Dan. Added on August 19, 2005.

When I was a new Scout, the first merit badge I earned was Pioneering. I enjoyed ropework quite a bit, and it seemed like it’d be a fun one to do.

One of the requirements of the merit badge is to build a pioneering project—use rope and spars (sticks) along with knots and lashings to build something. With some other Scouts, we built an hourglass tower at a camporee.

Using rope and spars we lashed two large tripods together, then lashed them together to make the basic tower shape. As I remember it, the tower was quite tall—about 20 or 25 feet. Several more spars and lengths of rope let us complete most of the tower. To finish the tower we needed to set it upright so we could add a ladder and build the tower floor.

We gathered the rest of our Troop to help hoist the tower upright, when we noticed a significant problem: we were on a hill. The slope wasn’t terribly steep—the tower stood on its own—but the tower wasn’t stable. While on the top of the tower lashing the floor down, I needed people to sit at the bottom to hold it in place and keep it from tipping over.

And of course, it wasn’t long before I noticed the Scouts that were sitting at the bottom running towards the field. I felt the tower lean back, slowly, tipping away, until it crashed into some tents belonging to another Troop!

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