SCOUTS: Tristan Morton completes orienteering course

Tristan Morton, of Augusta, shooting a reverse azimuth.

by Chuck Mahaleris

Tristan Morton, of Augusta Troop #603, moves across terrain and trails as part of his Orienteering Requirement for the First Class Rank at Augusta’s Viles Arboretum. Working over a mile, he navigates to landmarks and cross-country, Tristan shoots a back azimuth to verify his position after boxing around Viles Pond. After verifying his position, he is ready to navigate to his next objective.

Scouts need skills like map reading, terrain identification, and compass work to be at home in Maine’s woods. Since ancient times, rough maps of the Earth and simple compasses have guided explorers, warriors, and pioneers like Lewis and Clark, Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, and Amelia Earhart. The skill of learning to understand a map and compass are vital to anyone who spends time outdoors and is an integral part of Scouting itself.

The World Crest is a Scout emblem that has been worn by an estimated 250 million Scouts worldwide since the Scouting movement was founded in 1907 by Lord Robert Baden-Powell. He later explained the significance of the World Crest, “Our badge we took from the ‘North Point’ used on maps for orienteering.” His wife, Lady Baden-Powell, added, “It shows the true way to go.” The emblem’s symbolism helps to remind Scouts to be as true and reliable as a compass in keeping to their Scouting ideals and showing others the way. It is hard to show others the way if you are not familiar with map and compass skills, and so all Scouting programs teach Scouts orienteering.


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