In Pathfinders, we work on “honors” which are most easily described as being very similar to Boy Scout merit badges. The organization has a couple of official publications relating to honors. The most obvious one is the Honors Manual which sets forth the requirements for earning each one. There are also four “Answer Books” that serve as the teacher’s manual. These four volumes cover four of the nine different categories under which the honors fall.

Back in 2005, I was getting ready to teach an honor, and I didn’t realize that the Answer Books were incomplete. So I started a project on Wikibooks to start to fill that gap.

My friends on the Pathfinder forum encouraged me to go ahead and address all nine categories rather than just the missing ones. The official Answer Books hadn’t been updated since 1998, so this would be a good way to provide answers for the honors introduced since then, and also to refresh some of the thinking.

When I started the project, I had hoped Pathfinders from all over the world would contribute material, and that all I was doing was organizing the work and supplying some of the answers. There were probably a half dozen people who did that on a regular basis at first, and countless others who made the occasion correction or addition. But truth be told, I ended up doing the bulk of the work.

And I learned a lot. I started with the honors with which I was most familiar. Then I started working on the ones in which I was interested. Then I worked on some in which I had less interest. Forward wind to today, and there are 255 honors which have answers to every requirement (out of 380 honors).

When our club went to Oshkosh for the North American Division (NAD) camporee, I could not help but notice that a lot of the honors being taught were making extensive use of the Wikibooks answers. I noticed the same thing at the Atlantic Union camporee last May.

But tonight, something even bigger happened. I spent 40 minutes on the phone with a member of the NAD Pathfinder leadership team. They are looking to set up a Wiki to address the Pathfinder curricula, and they want me to help them with that. Furthermore, they would like to host the Honors Answer Book that I started, making it decidedly less “unofficial”. 🙂

There. I just spent six paragraphs giving background information for news that only took one paragraph to recount. Suffice it to say that I am pretty excited about this!