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"camporee" style activity for jackknives?

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Hi folks!

(I think I've finally figured it out - what we in Girl Scouts call a "wide game", y'all often call just a plain old "camporee"!)

So, anyhoo...

I'm looking for ideas for how to work jackknives into a wide game that we are planning for April. We're expecting 150 girls, so we'll either run the game twice, for 75 in the morning, and 75 in the pm, or have rather large groups of 10-15 rotating.

I'm planning two different stations around this - one doing basic safety using the folding tagboard model knives, and real knives at the next station. So far the best thing I can come up with are fuzz sticks, perhaps done as a relay? Or fuzzsticks as the required "gift" to recieve the clue to the next station (we'll be doing firebuilding too, so logically that could work.)

(Yes, this is the same event I wrote about before with the emergency preparedness theme - ages from 6-15 expected to participate.)

Any ideas for interesting backstory/game plot? For knots, we're doing the "Rescue Barbie and/or stuffed animal from the cliff"...I need creativity!


(These are also adults who don't want girls around trees knives or fire...lord help me ;) Part of me, the eveil part, is saying, well, we'll just do a station where you use knives to make sparks to set trees on fire! No, no no no.


Help me, please!

Anne in Mpls

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I once taught a class on the "Jackknife" to a group of Girl Scouts at the Girl Scout equivalent of a Boy Scout Camporee.


I seem to recall that the requirements were in one of the Girl Scout manuals. There really want not much in the manual about it. I don't remember which manual. And it was more of a skills class than a competition or game. A jackknife is just one type of knives generally considered "pocketknives".


In Boy Scouting we consider knives as tools an teach the safe handling, use, and care of them in a program called Totn' Chip which is part of the Second Class Rank requirements. If you can get hold of a Boy Scout Handbook you will find the requirements for Totin' Chip there.


Making a fuzz stick was in the older Boy Scout Handbooks - back in the 60s.


You might want to do some type of care, use, and safety training, then perhaps have them make something, perhaps fuzz sticks.


You might want to have a good supply of bandaids available.....


You might also consider contacting some local Boy Scout units to try to get some older Boy Scouts experienced in teaching Totin' Chip to help.


Good luck.





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A better use of knives would be to make a craft then if you wish to turn it into a game of sorts you could have a judging with winners in as many categories as desired. In cub scouts for the younger boys they do whittlin chit which is knife safety but they make a soap carving. That would be a good first knife training exercise and if you have some artists in the group produce some very nice carvings as well. Soap is not as difficult to carve as wood so you can cut back the bandaid order. Make sure they are taught to always cut away from their body and by all means teach sharpening as sharp knives are safer than dull ones.

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Thanks guys for your help ;)

(I'm sure I'm not the only Girl Scout on here giggling at the thought of needing the Boy Scouts to show us how to use knives safely though! But, really, thanks - I know it was offered in a generous spirit ;)

I know sometimes print does a poor job of conveying what one is trying very hard to communicate so bear with me while I try again ;)

We're putting on a wide game, an event held outdoors in which the whole of it put together is the game - we're still in the planning stages so we are in need of an overall creative theme. From there we'll flesh out what is to happen at the various stations that groups will travel to: perhaps the folks leading that station will begin with a skit or dramatization of a scenario. Perhaps there will be skill instruction. Perhaps there will be a riddle to solve, etc. Each success leads the group on to the next station... (As a simple and probably bad example, back when I was a little bitty Brownie, a Junior troop put on a wide game for our bridging, in which each station was a character from the Wizard of Oz.) One of my older GSUSA games books has an example of a wide game called Exploring Planet X. There is a winter game suggested by the theme Serum to Nome - remember sled dogs and dyptheria?

I've taught knife safety to girls and adults, including safety circles, maintenance, how sharpening works with the bevel of the blade, etc., and how to handle them, pass them safely, what not to do and so forth :)

What I'm looking for are ideas that would move the plot of the game forward - and yes, I definitely agree that any mini-game that would encourage a rush to whittle/slice/chop or what have you would be the wrong way to go ;)

The relay idea actually came from a BSA publication ;)

The players one at a time would go to a point 10-20 feet away, perhaps do 5 curls on a fuzz stick, go back to tag the next...

So, I guess I'm looking for a couple different things: A. simple ideas of beginning knife work, unless fuzz sticks are the only way to go (soap carving is dicey itself unless you do the plastic knife thing...) B. I'm looking for that creative spark of how taking a knife to something could be worked into the larger theme...Law & Order has autopsies...no no no, that's not where I'm going! Gilligan's Island has...poisonous killer vines to be hacked? Fruit to be harvested?? People, work with me! :) Perhaps just learning the safety stuff itself could be worked into the theme - maybe a Kim's game of what's wrong with this picture...a large poster showing a camp scene with many different unsafe things happening.

Hope that makes it a little clearer :)

Anne in Mpls


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Well, there you go. Mars vs Venus. Get 'er done vs work thru a story. Larn how it works vs play thru a theme.

Anne, sounds like a fun day (fire, sharp stuff, and dirt and plants. Nothingwrong with them.) Search the forums for "Whitlin' Chip" (the Cub Scout knife safety badge) and "Totin' Chip" (the Boy Scout knife, axe and saw safety badge) and you'll see the collected experience of many people. Which brings up another point:

Why limit it to pocket knives? If the girls are old enough, (age 6 to 15? quite a range, but neat for the big sisters to help the younger ones), can you bring in safe knife use in the kitchen (big cooking knives are a bit different than a folding pocket/case/jack knife but you still need good technique for safe, efficient use), and (maybe this is not included in GSA progrm) hand axe use?

And as has been mentioned, soap carving is a fun thing and a good souvenir to take home (clean too!) Buy Ivory "personal" size or bigger. Since you would need many bars of soap, maybe KMart or another retailer will give you a price cut if you mention GSA. Never hurts to ask.

Sailors use knives, too. Marlin Spike use?

Combine knife and knots. Cut ropes to proper length and tie'em together to rescue something? Throw across "gorge"?

2x4 balance beam across the "gorge"? Indiana Jackie rescues the Lost Cookie Bowl?

Dah-dee-deedee--dah-dee-dah, (etc).



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Bob White: I'm going to guess she's referring to "Troop Program Resources" (Publication #33588)


There are several woods-tools related relay games in there, BW, including:


Page 30-31-Bow Saw Relay--run to log with partner, cut off disk as fast as you can while partner holds up log. Run back, tag next set of partners, etc.


Log Chopping Relay, page 49


And, Anne's Fuzz-Stick Relay is on page 41. On signal, each scout runs up to the stick, and cuts one sliver. Runs back, tags next scout and so on.



Anne in Mpls, here's a different idea for you that you could work into whatever theme you wind-up with:


Square Peg--Round Hole


Get yourself a board (or two), drill some round holes in it. Give the scouts squared off sticks (or soap). They have to whittle edges down until it fits in a hole.


Rather then judge it on speed, judge it on a combination of safe handling of the knife and how well rounded their peg is compared to the hole it's inserted into.



How to work it into your theme? Well maybe that board is a "sabotaged control board for (insert whatever here), that can be made to work again by replacing the pegs/levers/switches (the pegs) in it."



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Thank you for the clarification Annie,. I have never seen the BSA support operating a pocket knife in a game, and was pretty confident that what you saw was not from the BSA.


Instead how about a site that teaches and tests on the different types of pocket knives, parts of a pocket knife, or types of blades. or perhaps Knife Safety.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I don't see a problem with it, anymore than I see a problem with a game involving arrows or firearms (biathalon anyone?)


We have games with axes and we have games with fire.


With knives you might want to introduce some safety related penalties. Draw blood and you're DQed or a nick is -5 points, a cut is -10 and gash is DQ.


My problem is that I can't think of games that would involve a knife that could be scored. To me that's like trying to come up with games that involve a screwdriver. Put the screw in and then take it out. Not much fun there.


Good luck and more power to you.

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Excerpt from the Brown Sea Scout Craft File. From the pictures I'm guessing the era to be late 60's to early 70's.


Fuzz Stick Relay

Equipment: For each patrol one sharp knife and one stick of dry, soft wood about 1/2" x 1" x 9".


Action: Each patrol lines up in relay formation opposite equipment. On signal Scout No. 1 runs up and cuts one sliver on stick, lays knife down and runs back to touch off No. 2 Scout, who runs up - and so on. Slivers should be at least 3" long 20 slivers, all attached complete the fuzz stick.


Scoring: First patrol to finish scores 10 points. Best fuzz stick scores 30 points, the next best 15 points.


Variation 1 - Instead of having each player cut one sliver, players cut three or four slivers.


Variation 2 - To very scoring, take off 5 points for each sliver that is cut off the fuzz stick and see how many patrols end up in the "red".


I'm glad I scanned those pages again refreshed some ideas to plug into the PLC's collective heads




Phillip Martin

Scoutmaster Troop 700

Juneau Alaska

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Thanks everyone :) Now we're cooking with gas! No wait..that's a different station ;)


I'm thinking there's something I can pick up at home depot that will make the square peg round hole game easy to set up.


Ooh...just got an idea to fit our emeergency preparedness theme...the sticks need to be whittled to fit the gaps in the vent! Chemical attack! Could use dry ice for the "smoke" coming through the holes..


The fuzz stick relay too is looking easier to manage safely, with penalties for removed shavings (which would encourage careful cutting) and for *blood* ;)


(And, oops! I did just purchase the troop program resources too!)


Anne in Mpls

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Two knife ideas I can come up with... Neither requires speed.


Get a stick of lunch meat and ask the girls to slice ten very thin slices off of the stick. thinest wins. Each slice must be a complete circle or points off. Could use a cucumber. Call it poor mans lunch or diet lunch.


Second, Tell the girls that the key to the Castle/tresure chest/ camp store/ you get the idea.. has been lost, give them a picture of it and a bar of soap. Judge on how close they come to the key, team work and safety.



Now, for hand axes, we mix axes with fire - chunk of 2x6 with a line of holes drilled into it. stand a strike anywhere match in each hole. use the ax to split the match. Match will light when split.

Use a log and you have the complete, ax/fire/tree thing to push the others over the edge.



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As long as safety is followed & monitored closely, I would have no problem with this. However, there is a potential for a serious injury & this should be discussed with each unit prior to competing in this event.


Good point GW. We have used knives in many camporee events.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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