We did about five or six hiking trips and we did one den meeting at the beginning to talk about safety rules and Leave No Trace principles and what you should take and what you should leave home and all that stuff.
We did a neighborhood hike where we looked for as many different birds as we could.
We did a neighborhood hike in another part of town where we looked for geocaches and picked up trash along the way.
We did a bike hike where we looked for different geocaches and talked about bike safety.
We did a geocache hike around the local reservoir.
We did a short neighborhood hike to an historic farm.
We hiked to a local elementary school, picked up trash, and looked for different kinds of trees.
We hiked some meadows on the outskirts of town and looked for animal tracks.
Summer is a hard time to get everyone together because of vacations and sports and swimming lessons and all, so we wanted to do different hikes for the kids that came a lot, but similar enough that most of them could get the belt loop.
That's enough rambling, let me get to the steps we did to make the hiking sticks.
A local hardware store went out of business a while back and I cleaned them out of four foot wooden dowels. I knew they wouldn't make "natural-looking" walking sticks, but where I live, trees are few and far between and I wasn't going to go cutting anything off live trees for this project. I got a lot of 7/8 inch in diameter dowels, a couple of 1 inch dowels and even a couple of 1 1/8 inch dowels. Then I used my drill press to drill a 3/8 inch hole through each dowel a few inches from one end. This hole was there to put a length of leather lace through later. Drilling the hole made the wood around the hole a little splintery so that's what I had the Cubs sand down first.
Most of the Scouts did not finish their designs. If I were to do this again, I would make this a two den meeting project with one meeting just for the magnifying glass work.
My husband thought that the dowels by themselves wouldn't stand up to much pounding and might split lengthwise. I found some furniture leg tips at the local home improvement store. They were fairly snug, I made sure to get sizes that matched the dowels, but if they slipped on easy, I figured they could also slip off easy. Hot glue to the rescue! Smeared some hot glue on the bottom of the stick, shoved the rubber tip on, and pounded the stick on the pavement and voila!
Now they had an awesome stick but they needed more decoration. I borrowed the pack's leather stamping set and combined with my own, there was plenty for the Scouts to choose from. I had four inch leather coasters, made of tooling leather, that the Cubs could stamp. I learned some of what I know about leather stamping from here. There are other video tips here
I let the Cubs stamp their own coaster and then gave them the option to color it with Sharpie markers. Some did, some chose not too. I kept the leather at home because I wanted to put a shiny finish on the leather. If I were doing this as a two den meeting project, I'd have the boys put the finish on themselves. All it involves is a cotton swab or sponge to smooth on the liquid finish in a thin layer, waiting for it to dry, and then buffing with a lint free cloth. You have to make sure the leather is dry before you put the finish on.
|Buffing the finish.|
|Beads and lace, a Cub Scout staple.|