Scouting History

Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - September 2016

by Andy Dubill, Council Historian

The “Four M” - an Early Honor Camping Award

The requirements for the “Four M” Award, an early honor camping award, were listed for all to see and prepare for in the 1915 Mid-West Boy Scout. Scouts who fulfilled all requirements in each of the four categories would receive a blue arm band; those fulfilling five in each of the four would receive a red arm band and those fulfilling three in each category would receive a yellow arm band. The categories and requirements were:


  • Pass merit badge in pathfinding.
  • Swim 100 yards.
  • Pass lifesaving merit badge.
  • Pass first-class first aid.
  • Take full 14-mile hike.
  • Play 2 full games on district baseball team or be on Scout team winning first or second place on Scout contest day.


  • Pass compass backwards and forwards.
  • 200-word report and map of 14-mile hike.
  • Pass first-class astronomy.
  • Pass first-class signaling.
  • Identify 10 trees two ways, by bark and foliage.
  • Pass first-class judging.


  • Attend the three camp Sunday services.
  • Know your Sunday school lesson WELL.
  • Have clean court record showing you have never been arraigned in camp court.
  • Produce letter from tent mates showing you have lived by the Scout Law while in camp.
  • Your tent must be awarded one inspection flag while you are in camp.
  • Produce daily good turn record.


  • Write home six times.
  • Render volunteer service for one day in medical, commissary, sanitary or headquarters department.
  • Have good record while on camp duty.
  • Have participated satisfactorily in a campfire hour.
  • Must advance one rank at camp or earn four merit badges.
  • Have money in the camp bank.

To keep the older Scouts interested in continuing to attend camp after they had earned one or two “Four M” Awards, and to make sure they were kept busy while there, the Scout council announced a special award for Scouts who passed the requirements for a yellow, red or blue “Four M” band.  If they passed two of the three following requirements, they would be able to wear a small white star on their regular “Four M” badge:

  • Acquire six or more merit badges.
  • ​Qualify as assistant instructor or examiner in second or first-class subjects or merit badge subjects and render eight hours of service in that capacity.
  • Submit within ten days after camp one of the best three collections in any of the following: Camp Photographs, Leaves and Bark, Wild Flowers, Indian Arrowheads.

The “Four M” Award was both a very difficult and important award to earn while at camp. It was one of the first honor camping awards that preceded the Order of the Arrow or Tribe of Mic-O-Say.

If you have questions about Scouting history that would be good topics for future columns email Andy Dubill at