Canoeing and Kayaking are on-the-water activities participated in by Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts and Venturers, who are members of the Boy Scouts of America. For most Boy Scouts, their first experience with watercraft is with canoes or rowboats at their local Council camp. A typical Scout camp's “waterfront” will include one or more of the following: swimming, lifesaving, snorkeling, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, sailing and, less frequently, water skiing.
In working toward the Eagle Scout rank, Boy Scouts are required to qualify for 21 merit badges. Two of the “required” merit badges may include swimming and lifesaving. As such, they are very popular with Scouts, and the vast majority qualify for them at summer camp. Although the Canoeing merit badge is not a required merit badge, it remains very popular, and summer camp is by far the most common place to earn it.
The Boy Scouts also operate a number high adventure bases, some of which focus on canoe trekking. The Northern Tier High Adventure bases are a string of bases in the northern United States and southern Canada whose focus is on canoeing and kayaking. These week-long experiences are generally intended for older Boy Scout and Venturer participants. A high adventure trip to, for example, Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base, will require months' of preparation and training.
Although canoeing and kayaking are not as widely thought of as Sea Scouting activities, many Sea Scout units (called “Ships”) are located inland and as such may lack immediate access to deep or navigable water. For these Sea Scouts, canoeing is their place to go boating. There are several canoeing- and kayaking-related advancement requirements, but the only requirement that is specifically related is for Able Sea Scout.
Alex Cascione, BC-VQS - Flotilla 11-09, 7th District