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Whittling Chip: Earned by Wolves, what do I do?

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  • Whittling Chip: Earned by Wolves, what do I do?

    So the Whittling Chip is a Bear Achievement, normally done then.

    According to the March Guide to Safe Scouting, pocket knives can be carried by Cubs, Bears only.

    During Summer Camp, they did the Whittling Chip with all the levels, and the report sent from the Camp to the Cubmasters/Leaders said that they all earned their Whittling Chip.

    I know that with Merit Badges, once signed off on, the Scout Master has no authority over it, what to do with this one? My read on it doesn't say ANYWHERE that only Bears/Webelos can earn their whittling chip, just that "this activity is appropriate for Bears and Webelos." I wouldn't schedule Wolves to work on their Whittling Chip, but they went to camp, did the work, and earned it, and it doesn't seem right to not award their achievement.

    Our inclination (I'm ACM/CC, CM and I discussed it) is to award the Whittling Chip to the boys that earned it with the card to sign. The Wolves won't be able to carry their knives on Campouts until June, but parents can carry it for them and they can use them supervised. In all likelihood, they'll get their first knives from Popcorn sales at the earliest anyways, so December/January timeframe, so we're talking a few months without carrying them to Scout functions.

    I think that our solution complies to G2SS and the spirit of awarding things earned.


  • #2
    Yeah, idk. Feels a lot like common sense. You may want to rethink that. . Put in a quick refresher when they move up to Bears next spring to get any new scouts or those that didn't attend camp up to speed and sign it off.


    • #3
      "earned the right to carry a pocket knife to designated Cub Scout functions" The word "designated" gives you a lot of control as to when the boys are allowed to actually have a knife.


      • #4
        I think the plan keeping the wolves very supervised is key. I would make sure it was a parent and have a very large blood circle. You know the boys and their maturity level, there are boys in my Bear den I would be very uncomfortable with carrying a knife. A planned knife activity on a campout could be a good outlet. It is hard keeping boys that age from just wanting to get it out and just play with it when they get board and constant visual supervision is nearly impossible. I did not allow my oldest to carry his knife on campouts until he earned the Toten Chip in Scouts. Partially because he had difficulty closing it and I just didn't see the need for it on the cub campouts unless he was sitting down and whittling a stick. Like dc said a refresher is a good idea. I would make the cubs read the pledge and rules before any knife activity. Repetition.


        • #5
          I would do a bit of quality control.

          Check and see if they actually learned something..... I would go a head redo it.....I have yet to meet a bear who is upset at spending the den meeting whittling.


          • #6
            I agree with Basementdweller, have the kids demonstrate what they learned. Perhaps have boys work together to present during Pack Meeting some of the things they learned during Summer Camp (you can even help guide them to do this). Whittling Chip is a big deal to cubs so include some Knife Safety tips (which can be helpful to remind a Tiger who may be watching an older scout use their knife to keep a safe distance). This may also help promote summer camp participation next year as well and kinda cement in the safety aspects of working with knives.


            • #7
              I was a Bear when I got my first personal pocket knife. It was a Cub knife. However, having grown up in an outdoors family, I had been using knives long before then. Cleaning game and filleting fish was a way of life. Whittling? I had access to my dad's knife long before I got one of my own. I've carried one ever since. How often do I use it? Just this morning I opened a box shipped to me at work. It was no big deal, my parents made no big issue about it and over the years the only one that cut is me.

              The more everyone makes an issue about it, the more the kids get curious.

              Dad made it clear to me from the beginning, it's a tool, not a weapon. He gave me the same lecture when I got the keys to the car when I turned 16.



              • dcsimmons
                dcsimmons commented
                Editing a comment
                And Dad wasn't afraid to enforce the rules if he was like mine . I got the same speech when I received my first .22 for Xmas. Must have been 12 or 13 at the time. FWIW, I'm no longer allowed to carry a knife to work. Knives are evil. But, my system administrators tool is ok.

            • #8
              Thanks everyone. Only two Wolves were in that class, I was Den Leader, and one was my son. I was actually VERY impressed with what they covered. My son is meticulous at using his knife skills at home, practicing on vegetables. The other wolf was meticulous as well. If it wasn't for the G2SS requiring Bears for carrying pocket knives, I'd have no question that they did what they were supposed to do.

              Regarding the refresher, sounds good. We will be doing a Whittling Chip Den Meeting later in the year for the Bears and the Webelos who don't have it, I might send the Wolves that earned their Whittling Chip to that one as a refresher and have my other Wolves. Next year, we'll do Whittling Chip for Bears, but I thought that recognizing it and giving them the "chip" early (even if in practice they can't do anything with it) would be a good motivator for day camp next year.

              I was just trying to deal with the conflicts, an activity that I am advised is inappropriate for wolves was done at a council approved district event, the leader of that event told me that the boys earned the award, so I'm trying to reconcile to conflicting policies. Since the boys are unlikely to carry knives this year, and we'll redo it next year, I'm not hugely concerned with the safety aspect of this. My main concern was reconcile two conflicting BSA guidelines, Always follow G2SS, and Always award earned achievements ASAP.


              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                In my troop, the toten chit was only valid for one year. That is not according to regs, not valid, but I do not care. In all the years of scouting I've never done first aid for a knife cut. And if I see any infractions the whole card goes not just a corner.


              • King Ding Dong
                King Ding Dong commented
                Editing a comment
                It is Totin' Chip and Firem'n Chit. Why do they have to make it so hard ?

              • Pack18Alex
                Pack18Alex commented
                Editing a comment
                BD, absolutely. I don't think it occurred to anyone, "G2SS changed on this minor point 3 months before Day Camp, we need an alternative Skill project for the Wolves, and therefore our volunteer Scouts/Venturers need to do double work that day."

                I really enjoyed being a volunteer at cub scout camp. I got to shore up my weaknesses (the scout spirit, some of the working with youth issues), and realized how strong I was in my strengths (organization, understanding regulations, etc). I got to have a ton of fun, get outdoors and out of the office for a week, and improve myself... hard to complain with that.

                I'm aware that the council/district made a technical mistake.

                However, awarding the Chip to the two Webelos that were there and NOT the two Wolves (one of whom is a younger brother of a Webelos) seems remarkably unfair, and discouraging a youth that has every reason to be proud of their achievement.

                I brought up the analogy to a SM and MBC, because it seemed like in some regard, that was fair, and how I'm handling some of these situations.

                I ended up awarding Fishing Belt Loops that I wouldn't have the boys didn't get 30 minutes of practice (lightning, overcrowded camp, etc.). My son and I went fishing so he could wrap up the unit (reason I love being a Scout Parent/Leader, my son has been bugging me to take him fishing forever, never got around to it, well, Scouting called, and away we went, great family moment). But the Den Leader with the Webelos awarded it, so despite my feeling that it wasn't completed, we're awarding the loop.

            • #9
              Our cub camp does the same thing (and I can understand why from a safety factor). I awarded the wolf scouts with their whittling chip. But they did not carry them to scout functions. After school den meeting (because of the location) was not permitted. Weekend scout functions (picking up trash?) needed to be in their pockets until, 'you need to use that tool'. Typically for those events the parents were around. At that age we had the scouts ask permission to use their knife. That cut down quite a bit on the interest in just hacking on something.

              I agree that a den meeting where scouts get to use their knives is of high interest. Heck, Webelos enjoyed cutting up apples at camp.


              • Pack18Alex
                Pack18Alex commented
                Editing a comment
                AKdenldr, thanks so much. Glad to see I'm not crazy with that solution.

            • #10
              Whitlin' Chip is always opular. Talked my Troop into doing a W/C booth at the Webelos Weekend. I trained four senior Scouts, they did the booth. I think they had 60 plus Webes go thru their course. Knife safety, care and feeding of the knife (maintenance), and then everybody got to borrow a pocket knife and whittle something out of a bar of soap! I was very proud when I saw one of the Scouts realize that one of his students was actually scared to handle a sharp thing like a knife, so the Scout went out in the woods, found a suitable stick, and created a wooden "knife" for this Cub to handle until he was ready to pick up a real metal blade. I saved this "practice" blade and exhibit it to my IOLS Totin' Chip class.
              The Webes got a small certificate attesting that they had been thru "Troop xyz's Whitttlin Chip course, and they should demonstrate their skills to their Cub Master, who will award the Whittlin' Chip". That way, it is not the Scout awarding the badge, it is the Cub Leader..

              I like the way others have said it. Supervise the Wolf, make sure they have the hand skill necessary.


              • #11
                Oops "popular"...

                Here's the curriculum I pass out. There are many others on the web...
                Whitlin’ Chip Curriculum Suggestions for Scouts and Scouters instructing Cubs for Whitlin’ Chip.

                ** The watch words here are:
                **Ask, Require, Watch, Practice, Correct**
                (EDGE version: Educate, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable)
                ****NEVER let a Cub within your sight handle a sharp implement incorrectly or unsafely. Gently correct them and ALLOW them the pride of good tool useage.****
                **Bear, Webelos Cub Scouts. (see Bear achievement #19)
                **Folding pocket knife use only. No ‘sheath’ knives. No axe or hatchet. No saw. But their safe use can be mentioned. As a Boy Scout, ‘Totin’ Chip’ badge will cover these other sharp implements.
                **Whitlin’ Chip and parent permission allows a Cub Scout to carry and use a folding pocket knife in a safe manner at Cub Scout events. If the Cub willfully fails to follow safe techniques, he may be asked to give up his Whitlin’ Chip rights, hand over his Whitlin’ Chip card and his pocket knife may be taken from him. The card and knife should be given to his parents and the situation explained. The Cub may later re-earn the Whitlin’ chip. Explain all this to the Cub. (“serious business!”)
                1. “Tool not a toy”. Respect the tool. Do not use it for that which it was not intended. Respect the edge. Cut wood, string, rope, paper, not metal or wire. Do not dig in the dirt. Do not cut living wood (trees, shrubs, etc.) needlessly. It’s a knife, not a screwdriver or can opener. Place knife down on safe surface, or fold up and place in pocket. Keep the knife clean, oiled, and sharp. A dull edge is more dangerous than a sharp one.
                2. Parts of the Knife: Show and discuss the parts: the handle, blade, back of blade, edge, face of blade, point, case or box, hinge, spring, hanger. Talk about the different types of steel: stainless, high carbon, alloys; how some will rust easier than others, some will take and hold a sharp edge better than others, some are harder, some are softer, some more brittle. This knowledge comes with experience, the Cub needs to know safe handling and good care, not metallurgy. .
                3. Handling: IT IS SHARP. IT CAN HURT YOU OR OTHERS.
                Demonstrate how to open and close the knife. Close with FLAT of hand, fingers away from the box opening. No ‘fists’. (“What’s wrong with this picture?”) Note that some ‘clasp’ knives have a lock (‘lock back’), and show the lock catch. Close and open carefully. No one-handed leg closing! Or ‘whip’ opening. These will hurt someone. Will it be you?

                Passing a knife: Close it, and pass it to the other person closed. When he has hold of the knife, he will say “THANK YOU”. This is not just polite, it means he has a safe hold of the tool and will not drop it. DO NOT LET GO UNTIL YOU HEAR “Thank You”’. Tell him “YOU”RE WELCOME”. This is a good rule for any passing of any implement. Steel workers use it in foundries. Mechanics use it in garages. Practice this. Why is it important the other person not drop the knife?
                If it is an open or straight knife (like your mom’s kitchen knife), hold it in your hand by the blade, edge away from your palm, handle toward the recipient. He grasps the handle carefully, says “thank you”, and you say “you’re welcome” and let go. Why this method? Practice this.
                Place the knife down on a safe surface. Surface is flat, not slippery or wet, don’t ‘stab’ the knife into something to hold it. Fold it up when not in use.
                4. Sharpening: Show different stones: Dry, Oil, Show hones, ‘steel’, ceramic, etc. Demonstrate holding edge to the light to see reflection of condition. Rotate edge to see reflection of edges, etc. One or two drops of oil on the oil stone. Hold blade flat to stone, raise up about 7-8 degrees. Rub lightly in a circular motion, move blade up to do the curved area too. Do other side the same. Listen for the change in sound as the blade gets sharp, the ‘whistle’. Show honing to a razor edge on diamond hone and ‘steel’. Clean debris off blade with rag or paper towel. Feel edge carefully with thumb, sideways.
                5. Using the knife: demonstrate and help the Cubs determine the “blood circle” (“safe circle”). Even at a table. Carve away from the body. Use thumb on BACK of blade to push. Use both hands. Make sure you have a safe area to carve. Hold work piece on table, NOT in lap. Beware the soft hinge that will bend if the blade gets stuck. Work carefully and slowly. Be patient.
                Give Cubs soap bars and let them make something. Go around. Help them.
                5. When YOU are satisfied that the Cub has learned what you can teach them (ask, require, watch, practice, correct), fillout the W/C slip and hand it to the Cub. **Remind him: >>that he must arrange with his Scout Leader to demonstrate his new skill and they will sign the Whittlin’ Chip card and make the award; >>that this is a privilege he has earned, and if he is not true to this trust, the privilege can be removed; >>that it is only good for Cub Scout events and he should never take his knife to school or other places without his parents’ permission. Indeed, a knife in a student’s possession on school grounds is nowadays generally automatic grounds for suspension.
                Shake his hand and wish him well.


                • #12
                  I was not aware that there was an award for earning the whittling chip. What is it? My son and the other boys his age earned it at camp last year, but we didn't recognize them- just marked it off in their books.


                  • King Ding Dong
                    King Ding Dong commented
                    Editing a comment
                    There is a card/certificate and a patch. The card is supposed to be carried on their person at all times they are carrying a knife and lists the saftey rules. The card can be taken away by an adult for violations. There are various opinions on how to use the card. Some people cut a corner off for each violation and then make the scout earn it again after all four corners are cut off. This is a long standing tradition but is not official BSA policy. Some use a violation to as a teachable moment and do not cut corners. There have been various discussions on the merits of both approaches here.

                    There is also a patch that looks like a pocket flap patch but does not go on the pocket flap. It is considered a temporary patch so can be worn in the right pocket in the temporary patch location. Some claim BSA did this to increase job security for the Uniform Cops.

                    Both should be available at your friendly neighborhood scout shop or can be ordered on Google whittling chip and there are images of both. But if you order in the next 10 minutes you get a free Shake Weight.