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a_sly_fox

Walking Stick issue - Am I overreacting?

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Yea, as draconian as it may sound, we don't permit 'sticks' either. Its been my experience that when sticks appear, a spontaneous burst of a chapter in 'Lord of the Flies' breaks out. :-)

 

I found it too hard to administer... sticks are allowed if you have xx feet clearance, point on the ground, etc... uggh. Just so much easier to say no.

 

And yes, you can say 'no'.

 

But I am the Scoutmaster. If you cannot get the other adults to agree, then you are probably out of luck.

 

 

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Yah, CA brings up another good point, eh?

 

There's good and bad ways of sayin' "No."

 

A bad way of saying "no" is to yell at a kid. Or to give a lecture. Or to make a set of arbitrary rules for them to argue with like junior lawyers ("if I always have to keep one end of my stick on the ground, then I can't walk with it, because I'd have to pick it up... and I could never put it in the car or use it to make a litter...":) )

 

Some good ways are to politely take the stick away, or give "the Scoutmaster's Look", or a real, honest explanation for why it worries you (if there is a real, easy-to-understand risk).

 

Yah, and then to follow it up with a fun game, eh!

 

Beavah

 

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On the other hand, one of our patrols has chosen to have a 6' closet rod staff as part of their "uniform". It is their walking stick, their stretcher rod, their patrol flag staff, etc. When they are walking on ice, they use it to test the ice and if they go through, the hook on the end can hook another and that gives a 12' reach for rescue. It can be used with a poncho for a shelter, pick up things they drop while wearing a heavy pack. I use it to measure the height and distance issues. Their neckerchief tied on makes a legitimate signal flag. On page 366 "Handbook for Boys", the 1976 reprint of the original, it shows 12 different uses and suggests in print another 11.

 

On page 365 it states: "Many boys, upon taking up the Scout Movement, are dubious about the value of the scout staff and many friends of the movement ask "Why does a boy scout carry a staff?"

"Experience has proven it to be one of the most helpful articles of equipment. In order to show this we are reproducing, through the courtesy of Lieut-Gen. Sir Robert S. S.Baden-Powell, illustrations from printed matter used by the English boy scouts. These illustrations how a number of different ways in which the staff will prove a handy and valuable article; in fact, essential to the Scout outfit."

 

We have "outlawed" belt axes, sheath knives, staffs, and many other useful items that were once essential to the scouting movement. Pocket knives, rifles, shotguns and archery equipment may be next.

 

Maybe we ought to teach the boys the usefulness of these items rather than merely taking them away or letting them simply play with them on their own. Surely we don't allow them to go off and play with their pocket knives, why would the staff be any different?

 

Stosh

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I, for one, don't want to outlaw walking sticks or staffs. I use one and I am about to make a more useful one. If interested, check out this link.

 

http://www.backpacking.net/makegear/hiking-staff/

 

I have been very interested and thankful for all of the comments. Scouting is very important to me and my entire family. Your help is greatly appreciated.

 

Remember, my opinion and $ will buy coffee at the trading post.

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Methinks thy staff be a bit short of an important piece. Upon the top resteth a 1 to 2 inch hook. It bespeaks of many a purpose including reaching kindling from high in the tree, hanging rather than leaning, and the rescue of objects that have fallen upon the earth wherewith retrieval with heavy load would presumed to be impossible.

 

Stosh

 

 

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Tis the truth of which thee speaks, but alas, proper training of the young knave shall squelch the embolden ideas of the lad to pursue such foolishness upon himself. The dagger within his pouch requireth much instruction to be of great use, the staff is of no difference. Else the poor lad shall become but dragon bait at the hands of his lord and master Sir Scoutmaster.

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Is it the world of Robin Hood you folks occuppy?

 

Or the world created by the immortal Mel Brooks - Robin Hood Men In Tights?

 

Remember, my opinion and $ will buy coffee at ye olde trading post

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Nay my young inquisitor. We hail from the land of RedGreen Socks where young knaves of the land gather to master the skills of woodland and mountains. The lads you aforeto mention hail from the far off mystical land of Hollywood.

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This thread has long since been left behind but like many things in life and scouting I think it will circle around again. So my2 bits worth:

I hate carrying a hiking stick in when I'm fresh footed and energized, yet so very happy for it on the way out...or at least nearing the end of the trail for the day. Decorating staffs can be a great teaching moment for Totin' Chip cards. Teaching scouts to weave a quick-deploy grip out of paracord brings home the "Be prepared" slogan. In so many ways they can be used on the trail, in the camp, and even during service projects. Banning them seems over the top and teaching the scouts the uses of a tool highly rewarding. I have collected images across the web and grouped them in a Pinterest board here: https://www.pinterest.com/charlesmcguffey/boy-scout-of-america-hiking-staves/

Now a hook in the eye, a butt to someones brake-light...well 10 times as many accidents can come from having a hiking staff around than if it wasn't there. But that is what happens with groups of kids. I remember being on a hike when i was maybe 14 with my troop. One of the boys thought it would be fun to kick a rock down hill. It was a bit bigger than a bowling ball and probably at least 20 pounds. And as it cut across several switchbacks and alarm went up for the rest of the troop below. No one was hurt but by the time the rock had made it to the trail head and parking area it had begun to jump higher and go faster building momentum, right until it slammed into the back of an ASM's truck. The ASM didn't have kids and had joined as a friend of the SM. The boy who kicked it down hill was the nephew of the SM. In the end the matter was settled out of scouts between friends and family I suppose. But the rest of that 5 mile hike and 3 day weekend campout the rest of the boys were waiting for a bear of an outburst from all the adults. Saftey was stressed, responsibility and conservation was covered, but no real consequence was shown. BUT we all had learned the lesson.

Sometimes no matter how cautious you are with kids, no matter how strict you are, or even how hard you drive yourself crazy trying to prevent bad things from happening to them, someone is going to do something foolish or ignorant before the concept of safety is drilled into their heads. As they say, everyone is born for a reason, unfortunately some are born to be examples of what not to do.

So back on topic, If you are a parent and you don't want your child hurt from a swinging staff, remove them from the activity. If you feel the activities are inappropriate take into account the setting and environment and what other supervision is taking place and reconsider your position. If its a troop meeting, inside, or close quarters then any adult should recognize the bad choice occurring. If it's outside on the trail, take the time to discuss how to use the tool correctly. if they don't know better then someone has to tell them that first time. Discuss it with the other supervision concerns so that you both have input on the situation. If it continues and you are still concerned, then run it up the line....to the council if you really feel that strongly about it.

I've known troops to use staffs in a modified burpee of sorts as discipline measures or just part of morning calisthenics. Some PL's are inspired to teach their patrol the positions and movements of the staff for display and flag teams similar to what military personnel do with rifles. There are positive and structured activities that allow the scouts to carry their staff, but supervision will always make the difference.

Parenting and scouting are hard and there isn't one true way to do it just yet. Do the dance, 2 steps in doing to much, 2 steps out not doing enough, a spin here runs a scout to the first-aide kit, a jump there gets them to a productive adulthood.

 

 

\

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Only the leader (scout) Cubs as well. Hold the "Leader Stick" and the leaders of the hike (for that portion) and he change throughout the hike..

 

But yes they all misuse the walking stick

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It's tricky because the stick/staff has a long history in Scouting. I have a picture of one of our scouts at the last camping trip with a walking stick, one leg propped up on a rock, leaning slightly forward, looking like an illustration straight out of an early handbook. We're also working on the Good Knights adventure in our Den right now, and there is that illustration in there comparing a scout to a knight, a key feature of that comparison being the staff (comparable to the knight's lance). I believe at one time the staff was a required part of a Scout's uniform. 

I've been on hikes where sticks weren't a problem and scouts used them properly, for the mostpart. I've been on hikes where sticks quickly turned into weapons. I've been on hikes where things started out peacefully and then an hour into the hike things went bad and we ended up leaving a pile of walking sticks on the side of the trail. 

I don't know how to keep things peaceful and non-violent or LNT-compliant ("Johnny, stop whacking that tree with your walking stick!"), but I do notice that there are times when scouts use sticks safely and I want to encourage that. 

One thing I noticed on our last Pack camping trip was that one Scout brought a nice walking stick that he had found at home and spent some time cleaning up and turning into a nice staff. Because of the time he put into it, he didn't treat it as a random stick to swing around and whack things with. I'm tempted to try this with my son, and maybe encourage any Scout who wants to use a walking stick to make a nice one and take good care of it. 

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a Firestone has stated the difference between a "stick" and a "stave" (or "staff).   The first is a whacker, the second is a tool.  What I try to instill in the Scouts I work with is the "respect" shown  tool.   If your stave is carved, polished, used, hiked with, used for balance, as a tentpole or  joined with another pole for a flag waver/signal flag, then that Scout will not see it first as a weapon.  Yeah, it can be a weapon, but that is not it's first or second or even third use.  

And if the Scouter uses a hiking stave, what example does he/she set?   Give the Scouts opportunities.  Good opportunities..... 

 

Edited by SSScout
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