The Cub Scout buddy system helps keep our kids safe. Try this fun buddy check method to make sure the Scouts are sticking with their buddy.
Keeping our boys safe is the top priority of the Boy Scouts of America. That’s why the Boy Scouts of America has developed the “Sweet Sixteen” of BSA safety procedures to help ensure that our Scouts are safe.
The Sweet Sixteen points apply to all Scouting activities–especially physical activities. They are included in the Guide to Safe Scouting.
One of the most important points of the Sweet Sixteen is the buddy system. When participating in an outdoor activity, Scouts should have a buddy. They should know where that buddy is at all times, and they should never go anywhere without their buddy.
There are several Cub Scout adventures with requirements about the buddy system. The Tiger and Bear adventures are about having a buddy when you’re in the water.
Lion Mountain Lion Requirement 1: Gather the outdoor items you need to have with you when you go on an outdoor adventure and understand how they are used. Also, understand and commit to practicing the buddy system.
While I was at Philmont this summer, I learned a very simple buddy check system that is especially effective when you’re hiking.
Before you start your hike, have the Scouts pick their buddy. Number each pair of boys, and explain how the buddy check works. When you call out, “Buddy check!,” the Scouts will make sure they are standing next to their buddy, and they’ll start counting off.
Tell them that they are only to say their number if their buddy is with them.
For example, my son Grant and his friend Ethan are buddies. Before we start on a hike, the pairs of Scouts are assigned a number. Grant and Ethan are number 1.
When a leader announces, “Buddy check!,” Grant and Ethan will start the count by yelling, “One!” But they can only say their number if they are together. If Grant has wandered off, Ethan can’t say “One.”
If there is a pause in the numbers, you’ll know that a Scout may be missing. In my opinion, this is a great addition to a visual check. From time to time during your hike, perform your buddy check to help ensure that your Scouts are safe.
I’m sure you have some great ideas of how to do a buddy check. Share them in the comments!
Yours in Scouting,
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