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Totin Chip / Firemn Chit

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  • Totin Chip / Firemn Chit

    Considering doing away with these two cards and allowing Scouts to use matches, knives etc. only when they reach Second Class.

    Incentive to earn Second Class.
    Allowing boys to have a little more time in the troop and gain more maturity.
    One less thing to keep track of.

    Anyone else do this?
    Reasons for or against?
    (This message has been edited by Eagle732)

  • #2
    Do the Second Class requirements really cover all that is neccesary for the Firem'n and Totin' Chips?

    There's some significant overlap there, but Not 100%.

    What I would suggest: Teach the Firem'n and Totin' Chips, and use them to cover the requirements for 3C, 3D, 3E(Part) and 3F... And it would also hit a few other skills that the 2nd class requirements don't call for.

    If you do that, you could assume that anyone who is 2nd class or higher has those skills, including the chits, and is not required to carry the card... But I'd go ahead and give it out to those below 2nd class, to reward them and give them immediate recognition.


    • #3
      I think we cover all the bases for the Firem'n Chit and Totin' Chip.when we teach 2nd class.


      • #4
        What do they boys think is the most fun?
        Ask your PLs to think back on when they were working on their knife and ax requirements. How much of a big deal were they to get those?

        What if you have a boy who just wont swim, but keeps your axe yard spotless and has the campfire in perfect order? How do you recognize his skills without doling out cards?


        • #5
          I don't think the boys really care about a patch or card but they do want the right to use an ax, knife or matches.
          None of the boys ever carry the cards, most have probably lost them. A few wear the patches on their uniform, on the pocket flap (where it doesn't belong, until they get into OA).
          We cover everything in Second Class for both cards but some boys want to earn these right out of the gate, even before Tenderfoot. I think that's too soon and would rather them have a little time in the troop first.
          I think it would be easier for the leadership to know who is Second Class and has the right to have/use as opposed to trying to remember who has the right between Scout, Tenderfoot, or Second Class boys.
          Maybe we'll just start including the patches and cards as part of the Second Class Award.
          (This message has been edited by Eagle732)


          • #6
            The way the BSA suggests using them is to grant a "license" to the bearer to use axes, knives and saws (Totin Chip) and to build and tend fires (Firem'n Chit)- a license that can be "revoked" if the Scout fails to follow the rules. You can't revoke Second Class rank once it's been awarded.

            I know of some Troops that require these to be earned on an annual basis - no matter what the rank - 17 year old Eagle Scout? Yeah, you have to earn it again. It's a great tool to remind Scouts (and adults) how serious the responsibilities involved are.

            I guess if you use it as a "one and done, get it out of the way and never bother with it again" program aid, I can see questioning its worth.

            But there's nothing that requires a unit to use these two parts of the program so if you feel its just a waste of time, don't do it. No need to come up with any justifications for not doing it.

            As for needing an incentive to earn Second Class? Hopefully your program will do that without needing additional incentives.(This message has been edited by calicopenn)


            • #7
              We cover everything in Second Class for both cards but some boys want to earn these right out of the gate, even before Tenderfoot.

              I think you answered your question. The young boys want to earn them. It's fine to earn a second class requirement before getting Tenderfoot. (Sometimes it's a good idea. E.g., the non-swimmers!)

              It's also fine to show the new boys your program calendar and when there will be instruction so they won't nag you at inappropriate times. So if a boy wants to proceed in order of interest (rather than order of requirements), let him as long as your program can support it!

              We have a tradition that if you are being unsafe, the SPL/PL may request your card an tear a corner from it. Once all four corners are gone they may cut/burn a hole in the middle at which point you have to re-earn the card to qualify to use knife/axe/fire.

              Since we stopped teaching boys to play mumbly peg, I haven't seen any cards lost -- maybe a few corners torn.

              Along these lines, has anyone thought of going to an E-chit? I.e., list the "certified" boys names (First name. last initial.) on a troop web page?


              • #8
                We use the Totin' Chip and Firem'n Chit as probably one or the first recognitions in our troop. Nothing more. We're going to get it covered on the 1st camp out or one of the first troop meetings. Our attitude as for "license" is that you're a Boy Scout and that's your license.

                After that, it's continual observing and teaching both by scouts and unit leaders. Our goal is to get these fundamentals taught immediately and to fix problems immediately. The tearing of corners just seems so petty.

                My question is if you tear off a corner do you immediately re-teach the correct behavior / methods, using the EDGE method or another method?

                What further will you teach after all the corners are torn off that you wouldn't teach when corners one, two and three are torn off?

                Do you ask to see the cards or do the leaders just know who has lost all their corners?


                I must admit I always thought the cards are "unofficial", but I've been seeing more BSA materials that refer to them as similar to a license. It's a confusing part of the program.


                The rank requirements refer to the skills but never mention earning the chit/chip.(This message has been edited by fred8033)


                • #9
                  Way to make the easy hard, Fred.

                  First of all adults don't tear off corners. At least I've never bothered. I just point out to a boy that he's behaving hazardously and let him know that, by rights, his PL should have a look at his chit. I'll leave it up to the PL to decide if immediate action needs to be taken. The practice is a teaching method in itself. Older scouts re-enforce their knowledge by recognizing hazards. The perpetrators get immediate guidance on the importance of discipline.

                  It's usually just one kid who loses all of his corners. (I think it's a corollary to "There's always one in every bunch.") This kind of kid should get assigned to a JASM or ASM. As soon as you can, have him read the card, try to go over what went wrong, determine how much was ignorance vs. how much was conduct, and based on that set a time where the boy can re-earn the card.

                  IMHO, you want a boy to earn/re-earn his chits ASAP because fires and knives aren't going away while he's in the dog house!

                  Admittedly, there's always the possibility of some anal SPL lording it over other boys and wantonly "ripping corners" at the slightest hint of violation. That's a leadership training issue -- not a problem with the method itself.


                  • #10
                    I know the totin chit covers more than the cub scout whittling chip, but the first post mentioned knives, when knives are covered by the whittling chip.

                    It seems pretty silly to me to wait until second class on knives when boys have already been using them since being a Wolf cub. Then again we have our webelos build and tend fires too so maybe I'm just a renegade...


                    • #11
                      In our former troop that we moved away from, we actually had a kid reach Eagle who never formally earned his Totin Chip. It was a new troop and everyone was learning together, plus this young man really did not enjoy camping so he went on the minimum trips he needed to. Otherwise, he was really good.


                      • #12
                        we teach both - we only award totin chip card because there are some merit badges at summer camp that require the scout to show their totin chip card. if boy has lost his card then he needs to buy a replacement at the trading post (not expensive) and we will sign it. If a boy has not earned it before his first summer camp (most have) it is taught by our older scouts on first day of summer camp.


                        • #13
                          qwazse - Chill. I was just explaining what our troop does. So your troop, as you said, uses the card a reminder. "and let him know that, by rights, his PL should have a look at his chit." We try not to do that. That's our troop and yours is different. Fine.

                          Also, I never said adults. I was speaking generically when I said "if you". Of course, I prefer the scouts mentor/lead/teach/correct other scouts.

                          The main reason that we treat it more like a recognition and then move on is not because of the scouts. My experience is that the scouts handle it fine. It's the adults that make it into a power trip. Also it causes the adults to get into the face of the scouts a bit too much. We'd rather focus on making these teaching situations then making them punative situations.

                          That's our troop. Your troop can do it as you want. BSA is pretty vague on what's expected with the chit & chip.


                          • #14
                            "It seems pretty silly to me to wait until second class on knives when boys have already been using them since being a Wolf cub."

                            Brew, I think the difference is that as a Wolf boys are supervised when using knives. As a scout they are not. Sending a boy off with his patrol on a hike (no adults) with a pocket knife is different than having a Wolf using a knife at the Cub Scout Day Camp whittling station.

                            Also it's not a long wait in our troop to make Second Class. Usually boys get there by summer camp, so maybe 4 or 5 months since joining.

                            Kathy makes a good point about the cards being required for some merit badges.(This message has been edited by Eagle732)


                            • #15
                              I think the cards are fine. My older son just lost his for a month! My son's seem to scramble to make sure it is on them on a campout. They got them laminated.

                              Most boys get it around the first Scout Rank; I think it is a good early incentive then.