Last year I drafted the requirements for two new Pathfinder honors: Fire Fighting, and Fire Fighting – Advanced. I submitted them for review to the forum at pathfindersonline.org because there were a handful of volunteer firefighters who frequented the forum. Their first suggestion was that the first honor was more of a Fire Safety honor, so we decided to change them to Fire Safety and Fire Fighting. They also replaced some of my nonsense with material that made more sense.

New honors are introduced to the Pathfinder organization every year, and in the North American Division, they go through a well-defined process. One of the requirements is that they be piloted by at least three clubs. One of the firefighters on the forum took the honor with him to Romania and piloted it there (where it was approved, and is now part of the curricula in one of the European Divisions).

Before he left for Europe, the guys on the forum and I were all pretty happy with with the requirements, so by early winter, I approached Paul Watson to see if he’d take it under his wing.

Paul wears many hats, the most famous being his moose hat:

Paul at Oshkosh 2009

Paul at Oshkosh 2009


He is a member of my local church, and serves the Northern New England Conference as our Associate Pathfinder Director. He is also a volunteer fire fighter, so he was the perfect person to have shepherd this honor through our conference. He first presented it at our Leadership Training back in January 2010. Then in the spring, we began working on it in our club in Concord. Paul came several times, but we did not manage to finish it before the Pathfinder year ended.

So when fall rolled around, we invited him back to work on it some more. We continued working on it as Paul was available throughout the year. But still, we did not finish it! So I scheduled a special summer session for last Sunday, and we finally knocked out the last requirement (and repeated a few of the most fun ones).

Paul wanted to be absolutely certain that all the requirements were covered thoroughly, and we hit every single option spelled out in the requirements. He made a few tweaks to the requirements, and I have fed those back to the Pathfinder forum.

Now “all” we have to do is get the kids to evaluate the honor, see that it gets piloted by one more club, pull all the information together, and have our conference Youth Director submit it to the NAD. Then they get to review it, make any adjustments they feel are necessary, and accept (or reject) it. I’m pretty confident that they will accept it though.

So finally, I leave with with a few shots from our last pilot session.

Joy and Joshua put out a fire using available materials

Joy and Joshua put out a fire using available materials


Beth uses a fire extinguisher

Beth uses a fire extinguisher

One other thing – we did not tell Beth beforehand that she should only pull the trigger on the fire extinguisher for a second or less. She just about unloaded the fire extinguisher – but the fire did go out! Paul was telling her, “Stop, stop, stop! That’s enough!” but in her excitement, she just hung onto the handle. So… now we know that this has to be stressed ahead of time!