Can You Pass This 1950s Boy Scout Test?

About this Quiz

In the good old days, being a boy scout REALLY MEANT something. Scouts had to learn to swim, fully clothed; make a bow and arrow from scratch; learn the Semaphore, Morse, and Myer codes; track animals; use hatchets; rowboats; draw maps, and have a solid understanding of astronomy. They did so, all while learning chivalry and charm. Do you dare test your strength? Can you live up to the standards of a 1950s boy scout?

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1. Congrats! It's 1950 and you're a scout. How old are you?

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  1. There Is No Minimum Age
  2. At Least 1
  3. At Least 12
  4. At Least 21
In the early 1900s, to become a scout a boy had to reach at least 12 years of age. He also had to pass a test showing is knowledge of: 1. Scout Law 2.The composition and history of the national flag. 3. Knots: square or reef, sheet-bend, bowline, fisherman's, sheepshank, halter, clove hitch, timber hitch, or two half hitches. These days, requirements are a bit easier. A boy's just gotta be 10.
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2. What's on your initial badge?

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  1. "Follow The Light"
  2. What badge?
  3. The Boy Scout's motto: Be Prepared
  4. A picture of your mom and dad.
Who decided that the Boy Scout's Motto, 'Be Prepared,' should go on your badge? Glad you asked! It's the National Council, which used to hold one meeting annually, during which they copyrighted badges and other scout designs. Along with your badge, you'd have worn a slick uniform, complete with official buttons. At the turn of the century, these went for 10 cents per set for shirt and 15 cents per set for coat. What a bargain!
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3. Now say your pledge: On my honor I will do my best: 1. To do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the scout law; 2. To help other people at all times; AND:

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  1. To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight
  2. To have fun
  3. Never to make fun of my siblings
  4. To always do my homework
Yes, that's a mouthful. The last part of your pledge was: _to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight._ The short of it was that you pledged your duty: to God and country, to other people, and to yourself.
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4. Why the 3 fingers?

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  1. 3 is just better than any other number.
  2. The founder of the Boy Scouts only had 3 fingers.
  3. They're a reminder of 3 promises in your pledge.
  4. Because that's how many meals a day you are supposed to eat.
When taking your oath stand, hold up your right hand, palm to the front, thumb resting on the nail of the little finger and the other three fingers upright and together. This reminds you of your three promises. The scout salute is also three-fingered, raised to the forehead.
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5. The most important scout virtue?

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  1. Having a Green Thumb
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Greed
  4. Honor
Honor is the basis for all other scout virtues, and closely allied to that of self-respect. When a scout promises to do a thing on his honor, he is bound to do it. Remember, the honor of a scout is a sacred thing, and cannot be lightly set aside or trampled on.
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6. Your favorite skill-set is woodcraft because you get to learn:

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  1. How to track animals in the forest.
  2. How to play Nintendo.
  3. How to make a rocking horse.
  4. How to construct clocks.
Scouts who dedicated themselves to the study of woodcraft learned to follow animal tracks and other signs, and to tell both how fast the animal which made the tracks was going, and whether that animal was frightened, suspicious, or otherwise.
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7. Now that we've got the basics down, you are about to set out on an October hike. What's the first thing you should do?

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  1. Decide your goal.
  2. Prepare some sandwiches
  3. Make fun of your little brother for not being able to come.
  4. Make chocolate chip cookies for the trip.
Deciding the goal of your hike is undoubtedly a good place to start. What else should you keep in mind? Avoid overly long distances. As the 1911 handbook observed, "foot-weary, muscle-tired and temper-tried, hungry group of boys is surely not desirable. There are a lot of false notions about courage and bravery and grit that read well in print, but fail miserably in practice, and long hikes for boys is one of the most glaring of these notions."
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8. How many hours should you have slept last night to prepare?

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  1. 13 hours. It's gonna be a long day.
  2. Ideally, 9.
  3. 3 hours. Scouts should learn to sleep as little as possible.
  4. Who needs sleep?
Your scout leader probably told you that good, sound and sufficient sleep is essential to growth, strength, and endurance. 9-10 hours of sleep a day were recommended. Afterall, "a boy should wake up each morning feeling like a fighting cock."
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9. Did you pack well? At home, you have two flannel shirts, and two overcoats. Which 2, if any, should you take?

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  1. 2 overcoats.
  2. 2 flannel shirts.
  3. Do I have to wear flannel??
  4. Only T-Shirts. Boy scouts never get cold.
It was common boy scout wisdom that two flannel shirts were better than a flannel and an overcoat, or two overcoats. Don't ask us why! Remember, wash your flannels in cold soapy water, and hang them up dripping wet, otherwise they might shrink!
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10. Hope you chose 2 flannels! You're on your hike. 1 hour in, and you stop to identify some trees. What is this leaf?

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  1. An Oak Leaf
  2. An Evergreen
  3. A Coconut Palm
  4. A Fern
Yes, it's Oak! It's a White Oak to be exact. These trees range from 100 to 150 feet high, and it's leaves are between 5 and 9 inches long. Acorns ripen in one season. They can be found from Maine to Minnesota, Florida and Texas.
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11. Half way into day 1, you see this plant. How do you react?

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  1. Gather a leaf sample for your collection.
  2. Smell it.
  3. Stay clear at all costs
  4. Pick it, it would be perfect for a bouquet!
It's Poison Ivy! Stay clear. Any seasoned boy scout would know that poison ivy can cause very intense inflammation of the skin. Accidentally touch it? Baking soda made in a thick paste with water is a good pain reliever.
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12. Running away from Poison Ivy, your friend Steve sprained his ankle. What should he do?

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  1. Keep Running!
  2. Stay Put, Elevate
  3. Hop Up and Down To Warm Up Your Muscles
  4. Cry
If you're in pain, and think you've sprained your ankle, stay put and elevate it. If you can, soak clothes in hot water and wrap it around the joint. Remember, walking with a sprained ankle is not only exceedingly painful but it generally increases the hurt.
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13. Because Steve's out for the count, it's time to find a place to camp. What should you keep in mind?

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  1. Access to Water and Firewood
  2. Good Cell Phone Reception
  3. Whether Or Not Your Pet Duck Will Be Comfortable
  4. Your Campsite Should Be Below Sea Level
When picking your camping spot, be sure to keep in mind: access to water, wood, and drainage. Choose a dry, level place. The ground should slope enough to insure the water running away from your tent, in case of rain.
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14. Great. You found the perfect spot. While two of you are building the tent, what should the others be doing?

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  1. Singing Songs
  2. Sleeping
  3. Gathering Firewood and Preparing Dinner
  4. Playing Soccer
No minute should go to waste! While two or more boys are setting up tents, the others should concentrate on gathering enough firewood for the campfire, and making a meal.
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15. The all important campfire. Which wood is best?

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  1. Dry Wood That Is Hard Enough To Burn Slowly
  2. Wet Wood
  3. Gummy Wood
  4. Resinous Wood
Remember: woods that are too hard, too soft, too wet, too oily, too gummy, or too resinous will not produce fire. The wood should be soft enough to wear away, and hard enough to wear slowly. Try balsam fir, cottonwood roots, tamarack, European larch, red cedar, white cedar, Oregon cedar, basswood, cypress, and white pine.
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16. Around the fire, your scout leader tells the story of past president, _____________, the best example of American chivalry.

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  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. Bill Clinton
  3. George W. Bush
  4. Warren G. Harding
Abraham Lincoln, of course! According to one, early 20th century boy scout manual, "Lincoln was born in the backwoods of Kentucky. He fought for his education. Many long nights were spent by him before the flickering lights of the log cabin, gleaning from his borrowed treasures the knowledge he longed to possess. He passed through all the experiences of life that other scouts and pioneers have experienced. Wherever he went, he made a profound impression on the lives and minds of the people and won over his political opponents by his strength, sympathy, and breadth of mind..."
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17. The moral of the story? A chivalrous person should be:

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  1. All of the Above
  2. Generous
  3. Courageous
  4. Unselfish
During the 1950s, boy scouts were taught that they should emulate the chivalry of 'knights or pioneers of old.' This meant being unselfish, courageous, during his duty, being thrifty, being loyal, being obedient and respectful, and being courteous to women.
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18. Uhoh! A snake decided to warm itself at your fire. Is it dangerous?

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  1. That's definitely a boa constrictor.
  2. Uhoh! It's a python!
  3. Run for your life! It's a cobra!
  4. Relax, It's a garter snake!
It's just garter snake. You can stop holding your breath. Of course, you should have known that already. The only poisonous snakes to be found in the United States are: rattlesnakes, water moccasins, cottonmouths, copperheads, and coral snakes.
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19. Your day isn't over yet. At the campfire, your best friend's pants catch on fire. How should you react?

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  1. Use your cellphone to call the fire station and hope they have helicopters.
  2. Throw him to the ground and smother the fire with a coat, blanket, or rug.
  3. Scream as loud as you can.
  4. Pray to God that he doesn't die.
Don't wait for someone else to do something! Try to smother the fire with a blanket or coat. If your own clothing should catch fire, remember that running will only make things worse.
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20. Crisis averted! But now Bobbie's fallen into the stream! Luckily you have your merit badge and lifesaving, which means:

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  1. You're all set, you know how to dive, and swim at least 50 yards with your clothes on.
  2. Bobbie should have one too, good luck to him!
  3. Nothing. They give those merit badges out for free.
  4. You could even scuba dive if you needed to.
Early 20th century standards were a bit different than today's. To obtain a merit badge for Life Saving a scout had to: 1. Be able to dive into 7 to 10 feet of water and bring from bottom to surface a loose bag of sand weighing 5 pounds. 2. Be able to swim 200 yards, 100 yards on back without using the hands, and 100 yards any other stroke. 3. Swim 50 yards with clothes on. 4. Demonstrate the Schaffer method of resuscitation.
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21. Let's de-stress. It's time to practice your archery. After all, you're going for your merit badge, for which you'll need:

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  1. Learn how to properly shoot an arrow.
  2. Shoot so far and fast as to have six arrows in the air at once.
  3. Learn Judo
  4. Participate in at least one olympic archery event.
Again, yesterday's standards are not what are expected of today's troops. To get your merit badge in archery you had to (among other requirements): 1. Make a bow and arrow which will shoot a distance of one hundred feet with fair precision. 2. Shoot so far and fast as to have six arrows in the air at once.
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22. Now it's time to look at the stars. What are you looking at now?

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  1. Your Name
  2. Triangulum
  3. The Big Dipper
  4. Pisces
It's the Big Dipper! You know, of course, that you can use the big dipper to find the North Star (also the Pole-star) which is the most important star in our sky.
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23. Great. You're on your way towards achieving your merit badge for Astronomy. How many other constellations should you be able to name?

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  1. 100
  2. 1
  3. What's a constellation?
  4. 5
To obtain a merit badge for Astronomy, you should: 1. Have a general knowledge of the nature and movements of stars. 2. Point out and name six principal constellations. 3. Find the North by means of other stars than the Pole-star. 4. Tell the hour of the night by the stars and moon. 5. Have a general knowledge of the positions and movements of the earth, sun and moon, and tides.
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24. You wake up in the morning. What's you recommended breakfast food?

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  1. Lucky Charms
  2. Scouts Should Survive Without Breakfast
  3. Shredded Wheat, and Nothing But
  4. French Toast
Shredded Wheat was once a recommended boy scout staple. It was considered to be muscle-building, bone-making, especially digestible, and easily transportable. According to one early 20th century boy scouts manual, "the records show that the winners of many brilliant rowing and track events have been trained on Shredded Wheat."
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25. While getting dressed, what do you do to your clothes to remind yourself to do your one, obligatory, good deed a day?

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  1. Put a black dot on your face that you can't wash off until you've done something good.
  2. Put all your clothes on inside out.
  3. Wear your scout badge, reversed, until you've done something good.
  4. Why would anyone want to do a good deed?
Your scout leader would have reminded you to do one of the following two things: 1. Tie a knot in your necktie, and leave the necktie outside your vest until you have done a good turn. 2. Wear your badge backwards, until you've done a good thing. What good thing, you might ask? Help an old lady across the street, remove a banana skin from the pavement so that people do not fall, or give water to a thirsty horse.
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26. Your friend suggests you do some birdwatching, you say:

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  1. I'm scared of birds
  2. No, Benjamin, everyone knows we should wait until nesting season, which is June!
  3. Who is interested in birds?
  4. Bird watching? Let's shoot them!
Bird watching, while an essential boy scout skill, is best done during June, when most birds are nesting and therefore at 'home.'
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27. Since it's not the season for birdwatching, you decide to practice knot-tying before breakfast. Remind us, what is 1 of the 3 qualities of a good knot?

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  1. How Fast You Can Tie It
  2. The Color of the Rope
  3. Huhhhhh?
  4. How Complex It Is
The 3 qualities to a good knot are: 1. The rapidity with which it can be tied. 2. Its ability to hold fast when pulled tight. 3. The readiness with which it can be undone.
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28. What else did you study? Which of the following is NOT a skill you were expected to learn for this hike?

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  1. How To Put Up Tents
  2. How To Bind Logs Together To Make A Raft
  3. How To Make A Fire
  4. How To Do Karate
Boy scout camping was once a bit more rustic than it is today. Boy scouts would prepare by learning, among other things: 1. How to put up tents, build huts, throw up a lean-to for shelter, or make a dugout in the ground 2. How to build a fire 3. How to procure and cook food 4. How to bind logs together so as to construct bridges and rafts
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29. You're out tracking animals when you see your patrol leader signalling something. His hands are held high, waving rapidly from side to side. This means:

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  1. Danger! Come back!
  2. Keep going, everything's fine.
  3. Time to dance!
  4. Boy is it hot today!
If a scout leader waves his hands (or flag) above his head several times, it's never a good sign! Get back to him as soon as possible. On the other hand, if he crosses his hands over his face from side to side, or waves his flag horizontally across the face, it means: "No," "Never mind," "As you were."
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30. Don't tell us you didn't obey him! Obeying people is part of scout law. Not only do you have to obey your scout leader, you also have to obey:

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  1. The Librarian
  2. Your Parents
  3. The Older Couple Across The Street
  4. Your Little Sister
A scout was taught to be obedient to: his parents, the patrol master, and 'all other duly constituted authorities.'
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31. Better study up on signaling. To obtain your merit badge in this, you should be able to do everything BUT:

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  1. Send and receive a message in 2 of the following: Semaphore, Morse, or Myer.
  2. Make correct smoke and fire signals.
  3. Be able to give and read signals by sound.
  4. Decipher an ancient egyptian codex.
In the good old days, to obtain a merit badge for Signaling a scout had to: 1. Send and receive a message in two of the following systems of signaling: Semaphore, Morse, or Myer, not fewer than 24 letters per minute. 2. Be able to give and read signals by sound. 3. Make correct smoke and fire signals.
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32. Uhoh! You're lost. How can you help other people find you?

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  1. Shout from time to time, and wait.
  2. Walk, and walk, and keep walking, eventually you'll find something.
  3. Take out your cell phone and call your mom.
  4. Burn down a tree and hope it doesn't cause a forest fire.
The first thing you should try is to find a tree, climb it, and see if you can see the camp. But if you can't, don't worry. Stay put, and try to single them by making noises. The worst thing you can do is to get frightened. Like one early 20th century manual observes: 'fear robs the wanderer of his judgment and of his limb power; it is fear that turns the passing experience into a final tragedy.'
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33. It's 5 hours later. You need water. How do you make sure that this river water is safe to drink?

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  1. Take it To a Lab For Tests
  2. Cast A Spell On It
  3. All River Water Is Safe
  4. Boil It
Boiling water is the best way to destroy all dangerous bacterias. This was once an extremely necessary precaution, as Typhoid fever was spread by contaminated water.
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34. While you're waiting for water to boil, what can you do to quench your thirst?

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  1. There's nothing you can do.
  2. Find a beaver. Ask it for water.
  3. Put a pebble in your mouth.
  4. Pray for rain.
This is an old boy scout hack! In a pinch, putting a pebble in your mouth will start the saliva and quench thirst.
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35. The clouds are low, dark, and swiftly moving, that means:

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  1. A tornado is coming.
  2. Coolness and rain, find cover!
  3. The sun will come out soon.
  4. The apocalypse.
It's probably about to rain. Also watch out for rain in the following situations: 1. When a slack rope tightens. 2. When smoke beats downward. 3. When the sun is red in the morning. 4. When the sunset is pale yellow or greenish.
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36. While looking for shelter, you see these tracks. What are they?

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  1. A Moose
  2. Bigfoot
  3. A Bunny Rabbit
  4. A Wolf
A wolf's tracks looks a lot like a dog's. That's because a wolf is basically a wild dog, with strong jaws. They are found nationwide, and don't generally attack unless they are provoked.
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37. Stay away from those! But don't worry about these, they're just:

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  1. Rat Paw Prints
  2. Racoon Paw Prints
  3. Mountain Lion Prints
  4. Wild Boar Prints
Yes, you're looking at the paw prints of a racoon. In case you need a refresher, racoons look like small gray bears with a bushy ringed tail and a large black patch on each eye.
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38. You're hungry, and you see this mushroom. Can you eat it?

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  1. Just make sure you roast it over a fire.
  2. Yes, if you boil it.
  3. It's probably poisonous, eating it could make you very sick.
  4. Go ahead, most mushrooms are okay!
When in doubt, always stay away from mushrooms. Bright colors on the cap may or may not mean something. Of all the poisonous kinds the deadliest are the Amanitas, which actually look like ordinary table mushrooms.
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39. Oh no! You need to splint your leg! Don't worry. You know that you can use:

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  1. All of These Things
  2. A Pole
  3. A Tree Limb
  4. A Flat Board
Splints can be made of anything that is stiff and rigid, including a pole or staff, and limbs broken off a tree. In applying splints remember that they should extend beyond the next joint above and the next joint below; otherwise, movements of the joint will cause movement at the broken point. Splints may be tied on with handkerchiefs, pieces of cloth torn from the clothing, or the like. Tie firmly but not tight enough to cause severe pain.
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40. Boy is life tough right now. Do you break out crying?

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  1. It would be better to scream.
  2. No. A scout should always stay cheerful!
  3. Only when hidden behind a tree
  4. Yes, crying relieves stress.
A scout should always remain cheerful. He must never be sulky, but should always be bright, smiling, and funny. "It is the scout's duty to be a sunshine-maker in the world."
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41. Good news! The sun came out! How do you tell what time it is?

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  1. It's probably 4pm.
  2. Follow your shadow to make a makeshift sundial!
  3. Impossible without a pocket watch.
  4. Impossible without my cellphone.
You know that your body casts a different shadow as the day progresses. Our shadows are shortest around midday, and get longer towards the beginning and ends of the day.
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42. Phew! That's over. How many more times do you have to go camping to get your merit badge?

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  1. 88
  2. 100
  3. None. That's it!
  4. 49
Back in the day, to get your merit badge for camping you had to: 1. Have slept in the open or under canvas at different times 50 nights. 2. Have put up a tent alone and ditched it. 3. Have made a bed of wild material and a fire without matches. 4. Know how to construct a raft.
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43. Remind us, how many merit badges do you need to get a star scout badge?

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  1. 2
  2. 10
  3. 1,000
  4. 1
The highly coveted Star Scout Badge used to be given to First-Class Scouts who qualified for 10 merit badges.
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44. Now that you're home again, perhaps it's time for a bath. What temperature should your water be?

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  1. You shouldn't take baths.
  2. Almost boiling.
  3. 37°C
  4. As cold as you can stand it!
Boy scouts were advised to take baths at least twice a week, and always after working out. Water should be as cold as possible, and the towel should be coarse.
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45. Good thing you cleaned off. Cleanliness is one of the 12 points of Scout Law, as is:

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  1. Being Cheeky
  2. Being Monotonous
  3. Being Reverent
  4. Having a Big Vocabulary
The 12 Points of Scout Law are: 1. A scout is trustworthy. 2. A scout is loyal. 3. A scout is helpful. 4. A scout is friendly. 5. A scout is courteous. 6. A scout is kind. 7. A scout is obedient. 8. A scout is cheerful. 9. A scout is thrifty. 10. A scout is brave. 11. A scout is clean. 12. A scout is reverent.
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46. Of course, you knew all this because you're not a Tenderfoot anymore. You've graduated to the second-scout rank which is:

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  1. Second Class Scout
  2. Squid Scout
  3. Fox Scout
  4. Life Scout
From highest - lowest, the scout ranks were: 1. Eagle Scout. 2. Star Scout. 3. Life Scout. 4. First-class Scout. 5. Second-class Scout. 6. Tenderfoot.
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47. To achieve a Second-Class Scout ranking, you had to:

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  1. Sail for 30 miles.
  2. Properly use a knife or hatchet.
  3. Learn to computer code.
  4. Run a marathon.
To become a Second-Class Scout, a Tenderfoot had to (among other things): 1. Know elementary first aid and bandaging 2. Know elementary signaling 3. Track half a mile in twenty-five minutes 4. Use properly knife or hatchet 5. Prove ability to build a fire in the open, using not more than two matches
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48. But if you want to move up the ranks to become a First-Class Scout, you'll need to:

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  1. Ride a horse, bareback, for a full working day.
  2. Fly an airplane, solo.
  3. Deposit at least 2 dollars in a bank.
  4. Design and sew a ball gown.
To become a First-Class Scout, the Second-Class scout used to have to pass the following tests (among others): 1. Swim 50 yards. 2. Earn and deposit at least 2 dollars in a public bank. 3. Send and receive a message by semaphore, or American Morse, or Myer alphabet, sixteen letters per minute. 4. Make a round trip alone (or with another scout) to a point at least seven miles away, going on foot or rowing boat, and write a satisfactory account of the trip and things observed. 5. Know advanced first aid. 6. Read a map correctly, and draw, from field notes made on the spot, an intelligible rough sketch map. 8. Use an axe for felling or trimming light timber. 9. Describe fully from observation ten species of trees or plants. 10. Enlist a boy trained by himself in the requirements of a Tenderfoot.
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49. Among the more fanciful things you can achieve a merit badge for is:

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  1. Unicorn Tracking
  2. Bee Farming
  3. Ice Cream Truck Management
  4. Trapeze Artistry
To obtain a merit badge for Bee Farming a scout must: 1. Have a practical knowledge of swarming, hiving, hives and general apiculture, including a knowledge of the use of artificial combs. 2. Describe different kinds of honey and tell from what sources gathered.
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50. If you want to go for your merit badge in Bugling, then:

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  1. Be able play the customary United States Army calls.
  2. Bugle 10 hours straight, without water.
  3. Bugle while riding a bicycle.
  4. Bugle the top Rock and Roll hit of the year.
Yes, bugling was also a thing you could get a merit badge in. To do so, you had to know how to properly bugle the customary United States Army calls. The hardest part of getting the merit badge, of course, may have been convincing your parents to buy you a bugle.
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