Scouting Forums

Cooking requirements with rank advancements, does it need to be with scouting events?

Hello. I tried to find out this information from the website but could not locate it.

For tenderfoot, second, and the first class, each has cooking requirements. That the cooking requirement needs to be fulfilled during the scouting camp out events, or can the requirements be signed off if the scouts fulfilled them during… say family camping or other camping events?

I ask, because we are new, (just started in Feb. 2019, and now with 33 scouts) and we have many new scouts wishing to fulfill the cooking requirements for rank advancement. We have four patrols, camping this month, and the next months as well, and each patrols are cooking their own meals. They have the lead cook, and the assistant cook, but then in a sense, only eight scouts (four patrols times two cooks) can fulfill the requirements in one camping trip. For now, we are offering the priority to those who are in the second class aiming for the first class to cook, but I am trying to find the way for those wishing to reach to the tenderfoot and the second class to also have the opportunity to do so. There was a complaint from a parent of the younger scout, not being given the opportunity to cook during the camping, and thus not being able to fulfill the requirement…

Yup, it generally takes time and multiple campouts to complete these requirements. The overall goal of the requirements is for the scouts to gain experience with the various parts of campcraft: selecting sites, knots, pitching tents, cooking and cleaning…

Advancement is only one of the methods of Scouting. It also should not be a race, despite the fact that the BSA has an age limit of 18 (with some limited exceptions). I’d rather see a youth who joined at 16 (for whatever reason) enjoy his or her time in scouting than just racing through to try to get to Eagle.

The requirements are pretty clear about the campouts and cooking being at scouting events, I believe. Scouts are asked to explain the importance of preparing and eating meals as a patrol; to cook at least one of the meals on “the” campout (implicitly the minimum one campout mentioned in Tenderfoot 1b). First Class 2a explicitly references creating a menu “for one of the above campouts” (which can only refer to the campouts in 1a) , then later requires budgeting, shopping and cooking based on the menu the scout prepared.

Honestly, we generally let the scouts work out who needs to satisfy which requirements, and how to get that done within the patrols. We had one patrol split itself in half for a couple of meals to fit everybody in. They just cycled through the stove.

Executive Chef Scout 1 and Sous Chef Scout 2 each planned menus, then switched jobs for their meals. The Executive Chef role took care of Second Class cooking requirements (only need to plan and supervise one meal), and the Sous Chef role took care of the Tenderfoot cooking requirement. In just two meals, you can get two scouts complete on those requirements. You can knock out eight scouts for Tenderfoot and Second Class in a single overnight, even without splitting the patrols. If you have two nights, you can squeeze in dinner Friday night, three meals on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday, if you don’t mind starting early enough to let the stove cool down while you break camp. That fits in a breakfast opportunity that would take care of four more scouts for either Tenderfoot (assist) or Second Class (lead) with four patrols. For the scouts working toward First Class, they can get in planning and executing one extra dinner and breakfast if they split the patrols and cycle through the stoves. Since only two of the meals planned have to be cooked cooked per First Class 2a, those scouts could also plan sandwiches or other cold foods for the drive home on Sunday to knock out the rest of the requirement.

For scouts working on First Class, they have to plan, supervise and execute an entire day of meals, but splitting the patrol up let the Second-headed-for-First Class scouts get their requirements covered while letting the other guys knock off theirs at the same time.

It was an innovative approach, and once one patrol thought of it, the other scouts quickly followed suit. I probably wouldn’t have thought of their solution, but they saw a challenge and worked out a solution.

All three reference campouts with your troop/patrol - so i thas to happen with the troop

1 Like

They can have more than one assistant cook.


I believe alternatives may be used for Lone Scouts in Scouts BSA that do not have access to a troop. See Lone Scout Friend and Counselor Guidebook. However this topic is about Scouts in a troop.

Thank you all for the clarification. I appreciate it very much. I am new as ASM, and so great to know that I can come here to ask questions from veteran SM and ASM!

@MikaWatanabe - you ultimately want to work toward the scouts helping each other and you enjoying it happen.

1 Like

Forums like these are truly awesome. However, I always strongly encourage new leaders to frequent their district roundtables and pose questions like these. Often there’s someone who’s trying to sort out the same thing … for example, a troop might be planning a patrol cook-off campout. One of your patrols might be free that weekend and can accept an invite.

In terms of cross-talk from parents. Keep in perspective that younger scouts often don’t just have a cooking requirement to master. There’s a slew of requirements – including physical fitness and service projects. I set up land-navigation courses, and most scouts take several tries before they can complete them. (Hint: 50% of controls found counts as “incomplete, I’m sure you’ll do better next time.”) Being the navigator on your patrol’s five mile hike is serious business. Our boys have set out with good intentions this fall, but got distracted or were unprepared and simply could not cover the distance! Mastering any of these skills takes repeated attempts on multiple camp-outs.

We try to train our PL’s to look at the requirements their scouts have yet to do and assign them responsibilities accordingly. E.g., last week’s navigator might need to be this week’s cook. At PLC’s we train the SPL to ask, “Is there a requirement most of your scouts need to complete?”


A few other things I learned the hard way about cooking especially.

  1. As others have noted, yup this requires a lot of camp outs to complete, so attending them and ensuring your troop camps at least monthly is going to be key.
  2. Every scout should be give a Camping MB right after joining, as unlike the Cooking MB the cooking requirements earned during Trail to First Class can be used for Camping, and also it gets the scouts used to tracking what they do ScoutBook (e.g. also tracking the nights they camped).
  3. You need to have a system to log cooking that the scouts do, e.g. did they plan it? Were they the assistant? The Cooking MB workbook has all the paperwork each scout needs to document their meal plans, feedback, how they practiced LNT etc I created my own Word versions as I like them better, but YMMV.

I say this as I’ve seen some Cooking/Camping MBC’s who are pretty soft when it comes to evidence of cooking at campouts, and others require everything to be logged/documented. And, I’ve seen scouts told that their cooking at a campout won’t count towards a MB as they did not show any evidence of all the required items, e.g. budgeting, getting a scout to review their meal, etc.

IMNSHO, training and getting the scouts to properly record any cooking they are doing earlier will save a lot of heartache down the road.

I would say though that a “scouting event” may have some room to maneuver. For example if a scout is a den chief and cooks for their Cub Scout den while at an outing, that may be acceptable to some SMs/MBCs if the parameters are approved in advance, e.g. must show paperwork of meal planning, photos of the meal, Cub Scouts eating it etc. Yes, a scout is trustworthy but its easy/cheap to do the record keeping and removes beyond any doubt the scout fulfilled the requirement.

1 Like

I’m not so interested in “removing doubt” as I am in scouts being able to have productive discussions with their counselors. For example, a receipt might reveal that a scout is paying top dollar for a favorite ingredient and the counselor can suggest a place to get the same item at better quality and lower price. Or, a photo might reveal a safety hazard, and the counselor can suggest ways to mitigate it.

Journaling in general is a good habit for scouts to get into. And the handbook has lots of nifty places for a young scout to leave notes. But, not for the “checklist” reasons that we American’s seem to think we need. Rather, as a tool to look back on one’s experience and build from there. (And in case one needs draw butterfly maps for one’s next dead-drop. :wink: )

At least that’s what I say to my scouts. It’s way more positive than saying, “A scout is trustworthy, but …”

1 Like

Funny. Extra points for the Waterman-Cahill reference. :+1:

One of the biggest reasons I prefer my advisees to document what they did is because they come to me and can’t remember any of the details of what they did, even the ones that indicate whether or not they actually fulfilled the requirement.

“So this requirement specifies at least one meal be cooked on a lightweight stove.”
“Yeah, I’m sure we cooked on a lightweight stove on one of these trips.”
“OK. Do you remember what you made from the menus you planned?”
“Like Spaghetti-O’s, or boil the water…”
“Real spaghetti.”
“On the little one-burner stove?”
“Oh, no I did that on the Coleman stoves.”
“OK, so which part did you cook on the lightweight stove for this requirement?”

Their memories seem to be at least as bad as mine. It’s not a matter of “trust” in my mind, but rather one of making sure that they actually understand what the requirement is (hopefully before they go off to complete it) so that they can succeed in learning what the merit badge is aiming for.

When we talk about requirements, I usually try to ask questions like “What was different about cooking on a backpacking stove versus the big two-burner stoves we use for car camping? How did that impact what you planned to cook this time, and how might it change what you plan for next time?” Those are the sorts of questions my MBCs asked me when I was a scout, and it really set the tone for me to think about what was going on, not just check-off and plunge ahead on the next requirement. If the goal is just to tick the box, the scouts don’t really need a counselor for that.

1 Like

Thanks @Qwazse! This is a great point and I’ll ensure that I frame it that way instead. This is why I still enjoy this forum - it’s great feedback (and as we all know, feedback is a gift). :slight_smile:

1 Like

Reminds me of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. If you write something down, you don’t need to waste mental energy trying to remember it later.

Which is why I circulate a Word document I created for this purpose. They write down immediately at that campout what they used, what the food reviewer said, how they followed LNT, etc. Did they actually cook? Boiling water and dumping in pre-made soup isn’t really cooking. And memories as you say fade quickly. Can they really keep track of each meal, how they prepared it, etc. all from memory? I don’t think so. The Cooking MB Worksheet is a great place to start and at least captures the output of the requirement accurately.

This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.