First Class Scout (Boy Scouts of America)
First Class Scout is a rank in the Boy Scouts of America, the rank above Second Class and below Star Scout. It is the highest of the lower three ranks in Scouting, and is the highest rank that earning merit badges. It is also the minimum rank that need be attained for entry into the Order of the Arrow or service as a troop's senior patrol leader.
Robert Baden-Powell wanted a First Class Scout to be the complete outdoorsman. Originally, First Class scout was the final and highest rank. Later ranks were originally recognitions of earning merit badges beyond First Class, and not properly ranks. Now these additional ranks form a second tier where Scouts can further develop leadership skills and explore potential vocations and avocations through the merit badge program.
For a brief period in Scouting's history, prior to the introduction of Eagle Scout, First Class Scout was the highest rank in the BSA; for several more years, it was the highest rank needed (until Star and Life became mandatory) for Eagle.
Although Eagle is the highest rank and one all Scouts should strive for, the number of Scouts achieving First Class within one year of joining is still one of the key measures of unit effectiveness. Studies have shown that if a Scout achieves First Class within a year of joining, he typically stays in the Scout program for at least three years. Scouts who do so are more likely to retain Scout values as an adult and achieve the BSA primary mission of "producing useful citizens".
Though Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class rank requirements can be worked on simultaneously, the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks must be earned in order. Many of the First Class rank requirements build on Tenderfoot and Second-Class requirements.
At present, the First Class requirements include:
- Camping: Participate in three overnight campouts, and seven other troop outings (5 more than Second Class; 9 more than Tenderfoot)
- Citizenship: Discuss citizenship with a selected community leader (this in addition to the requirements related to the American Flag for Tenderfoot and Second Class).
- Cooking: Plan a menu for an overnight campout and cook that menu (this in addition to the cooking requirements for Second Class)
- First aid: Demonstrate bandages for various injuries, transporting injured people, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. (This in addition to the first aid requirements for Second Class)
- Internet safety: Tell various things you should avoid doing on the Internet
- Nature: Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of native plants found in your community. (this in addition to plant and animal identification requirements for Tenderfoot and Second Class)
- Orienteering: Complete a one-mile orienteering course, and be able to find one's way without a compass (this in addition to Second Class map-reading requirement)
- Pioneering: Demonstrate square, sheer and diagonal lashing; be able to type the clove hitch, timber hitch and bowline knot (this in addition to learning the square knot for the Scout Badge, and two half-hitches and the tautline hitch for Tenderfoot).
- Human swimming/Lifesaving: Demonstrate line rescue, and complete the BSA swimmer test (This in addition to the swimming requirements for Second Class).
The final three requirements involve showing Scout spirit, participate in a Scoutmaster Conference, and complete a Board of Review. Though there are no community service, hiking, physical fitness or personal finance requirements for First Class, Scouts must participate in activities related to those for Tenderfoot and Second Class.
Generally, the First Class Scout did not require earning merit badges, but for a few years, it required earning six merit badges.
1911 rank requirements
The following were rank requirements for first class in 1911:
- Earn and deposit at least two dollars in a public bank.
- Send and receive a message by semaphore, or American Morse, or Myer alphabet, sixteen letters per minute.
- 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.
- Advanced first aid: Know the methods for panic prevention; what to do in case of fire and ice, electric and gas accidents; how to help in case of runaway horse, mad dog, or snake bite; treatment for dislocations, unconsciousness, poisoning, fainting, apoplexy, sunstroke, heat exhaustion, and freezing; know treatment for sunburn, ivy poisoning, bites and stings, nosebleed, earache, toothache, inflammation or grit in eye, cramp or stomach ache and chills; demonstrate artificial respiration.
- Prepare and cook satisfactorily, in the open, without regular kitchen utensils, two of the following articles as may be directed. Eggs, bacon, hunter's stew, fish, fowl, game, pancakes, hoe-cake, biscuit, hardtack or a "twist," baked on a stick; explain to another boy the methods followed.
- Read a map correctly, and draw, from field notes made on the spot, an intelligible rough sketch map, indicating by their proper marks important buildings, roads, trolley lines, main landmarks, principal elevations, etc. Point out a compass direction without the help of the compass.
- Use properly an axe for felling or trimming light timber; or produce an article of carpentry or cabinet-making or metal work made by himself. Explain the method followed.
- Judge distance, size, number, height and weight within 25 per cent.
- Describe fully from observation ten species of trees or plants, including poison ivy, by their bark, leaves, flowers, fruit, or scent; or six species of wild birds by their plumage, notes, tracks, or habits; or six species of native wild animals by their form, color, call, tracks, or habits; find the North Star, and name and describe at least three constellations of stars.
- Furnish satisfactory evidence that he has put into practice in his daily life the principles of the Scout oath and law.
- Enlist a boy trained by himself in the requirements of a tenderfoot.