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John-in-KC

Corner Cuts on the Totin Chip

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OK, once and former Boy Scouts... time to 'fess up...

 

Who actually got a corner cut on their Totin' Chip?

 

In my Troop (1969), the SM gave you your Totin' Chip with the first corner cut already provided... by him... He thought 4 was too many chances.

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Remember sometime in late 50's losing a couple of corners, the second one for gouging my finger while whittling. The scar is still very clear, even today. I have been known to take corners off cards in my troop, if the scout can find his card. I even literally ripped one up once, then made the scout go through the entire knife and axe safety material again, including preparing kindling and making fuzz sticks. But, I am a mean old man.

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I distinctly remember having my first card cut. I also remember having to relearn it at least a second time. My SM in the late 70's and early 80's went along with the process. He was a 30 something Eagle Scout that came from Texarkana Texas. It was also the accepted practise in the Conquistador Council in the mid 70's. It's the accepted practise in my present Council.

 

Is it really part of the program as BSA proscibes it? Who exactly cares! If it is not, it is at least one way that units have a consequence for unsafe knife handling. Periodic retraining of safety topics is always a good idea.

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I never had a Totin Chit until I was in Wood Badge and promptly lost it.

 

My take on the card is: when I see an infraction I take the boys card and tear it in half, then I lay one half on the other, turn the two 90 degrees and tear again. Now the boy has his four corners and an opportunity to take the class again. All my boys know that this is the procedure and only once did I ever do it, that was the first day when the policy went into effect and no one has ever pushed the issue again.

 

And by the way, whether or not they have a card, all the boys from new scouts to Eagles take the Totin Chit training annually. Applies to the adults as well. This way I know all my boys are trained and if they lose their card it's no big deal until they get outside the troop.

 

Stosh

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We are on the annual retraining bandwagon as well both for the Totin chit and the fireman chit. Too many of our serious reprimands involve misuse of these items so the annual training is a safety precaution and we do cut corners and revoke cards when needed.

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Yes, I had a corner or two taken off mine back in the '80s, both by the SPL. I don't remember what the infraction was, but it made the impression on me. I use it today in the troop.

 

I do like the idea of annual retraining on both the Totin Chip and Fireman Chit. May have to float that one out there to the PLC...

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I never had a corner cut, but I wore out my card over the years until it was more oval than rectangular.

 

While in college, I tore three corners off the card of one scout in the troop I was helping. I don't recall the offense, but it was something really stupid for the scout to have done RIGHT AFTER COMPLETING THE TRAINING!

 

Eventually, his family moved to another state, but he made Eagle. I was invited to his ceremony and I made the 6 hour drive to attend. The SM invited members of the audience to step up to the podium to say a few words about the new Eagle Scout if they wished.

 

I asked, "Did you ever lose corner number 4?"

 

The new Eagle smiled, produced his card with the three missing corners and said, "No, You taught me a valuable lesson..."

 

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My Troop didn't tear off a corner of the Totin Chip. Our "punishment" for transgressions was to sharpen and hone every axe the Troop owned (7 of them). Occasionally, axes were sharpened and honed a few times in a weekend without being used between sharpenings. Our Scout leaders were of the opinion that true respect of the tools is gained by caring for them, not by removing corners of a piece of paper.

 

I remember having to do this once (I'm pretty sure it was because I didn't bury or put a sheath on the blade of an axe when I stepped out of the axe yard to get a drink of water), and it made a far bigger impression on me than having a card torn ever would.

 

A few years later, my former Scoutmaster travelled to Maine to watch me compete in a collegiate woodsmen's meet where I took first place in both men's axe throwing (using a 3/4" double-bit (sometimes known as a Michigan bit) axe, and in the standing block chop (stand on a log, legs in an astride position, then cut the log in half. One would chop the log between one's feet, at about 1/2 way through, jump and twist and chop the other side - that day, I chopped through the 12" diameter log in 28 seconds). I came in second in the vertical block chop. He teased me about how many axes I would have had to sharpen if I had every tried to do any of these things in Scouts. He was very impressed by just how sharp my axes were.

 

Calico

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In my troop (1972-79)our Scoutmaster would take corners for minor infractions. He allowed the SPL to do so at some point when one boy attended a JLT course. I remember having 3 corners for almost 3 years, which in our troop was nearly pristine.

 

On day while whittling at summer camp I used one of those exacto whittling knives (the kind the camps and Scout service centers used to sell), got into a knott on a piece of wood, and when it let go cut my upper thigh about 6" across, albeit not very deep. The blood scared the hell out of me, but it turned out to be nothing more than a deep scratch. I tossed the knife, walked up to the Scoutmaster, took out my totin chip and ripped it in half and handed it to him...he laughed (after making sure I still had a leg) and made me teach the next wood tools class to the troop.

 

I do it the same way it was given to me back then. I take corners, and have torn the card in two before. A young scout did the same thing I had done in almost the same manner...

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In our troop the Scout loose a corner on his first "mistake". On his second the card is ripped in half and he has to re-earn it. It has worked well in our troop and very few times has the card ever been ripped in half.

We also review the Totin Chit and Firemanship Cards every spring. The older boys teach the younger boys. The young guys learn something new while the older Scouts have the safety rules refreshed in their minds.(This message has been edited by stevejb)

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I don't think I ever had a corner cut. But I would have cut off a corner (or ripped up) one of my staffers at camp... he was messing around with his knife and accidentally jabbed me in the elbow. since he didn;t have his Totin' Chip, I took his knife away.

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Wow, I haven't thought about tearing corners for years, I think I need to resurrect that one.

I loved it when our summer camp trading post finally started enforcing that they needed their card to buy a knife! I had Star & Life Scouts coming to me to sign their letter that they had their Totin Chit and were eligible to buy one!

So how do you all deal with visiting or incoming Webelos that have their Whittling Chit and are carrying knives? Suddenly they aren't allowed to use one?

 

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I thought Whittlin' Chip taught proper use and safety of a pocket knife. Totin' Chip taught proper use and safety of a bow saw, hatchet, and ax. In the Troop I work with, Scouts must have Whittlin' Chip to use or carry a pocket knife on outings. Troop works on Totin' Chip yearly. We don't cut corners on cards, SM has offenders spend a couple of hours on camp service clearing underbrush on trails.

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From the website:

http://www.scouting.org/boyscouts/advancementandawards/meritbadges/totin.aspx

 

Totin' Chip

 

This certification grants a Scout the right to carry and use woods tools. The Scout must show his Scout leader, or someone designated by his leader, that he understands his responsibility to do the following:

 

1. Read and understand woods tools use and safety rules from the Boy Scout Handbook.

2. Demonstrate proper handling, care, and use of the pocket knife, ax, and saw.

3. Use knife, ax, and saw as tools, not playthings.

4. Respect all safety rules to protect others.

5. Respect property. Cut living and dead trees only with permission and good reason.

6. Subscribe to the Outdoor Code.

 

The Scout's "Totin' Rights" can be taken from him if he fails in his responsibility.

 

Well, I have a new piece for the Urban Legends Thread: Have to have a Whittlin Chip and a Totin Chip

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Had to run down to Council Office today, to pick up recruiting materials for units I serve.

 

Stopped by the Scout Shop and read Requirements #33215 (2008).

 

The material on the BSA Advancement website is verbatim from Requirements.

 

So, units requiring both a Whittlin Chip and a Totin Chip are ADDING to BSA Requirements. The Totin Chip covers the learning and certification tasks.

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