Cub scouts no longer really cubs.

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Over the past year, or better part of, I've been in a position of contract advisor to a pack of young little guys, and thier fathers. I was brought on board originaly to just give a once in a while demo of some outdoor skills, and a talk, but over the winter it kind of grew into an expanded mission. Now, after the better part of a year, I can say its been interesting. Some conclusions I have come to;

1. 9 and 10 year old boys are way brighter and more observant than we give them credit for.

2. The culture of modern sububia has created at least two generations of outdoor deprived males, in the 30 to 40 range of age.

My only fear now is that I may have overdone it. These boys now are as trained as some boy scouts of 13 and 14.

They all have been bit by the knife bug. We origianally went with the victorinox recruit so ever boy would be equel as far as gear. The boys have learned to sharpen them very well, and all have taken to carrying a red handle cut down Eze-lap. In late fall of last year, we all took a hike and they used the just learned notch and break method to cut themselves a hiking stick. The sticks were aged over the winter, and in spring were steel wooled, stained, varnished, and cord wrap grip areas installed.

We've done several campouts this past spring and summer, and the boys are awesome. They've learned to make some basic eating utensils with thier pocket knives, and one or two of them are good spoon makers, a few others whip up a pair of chop sticks in a few minutes. But best of all are the dad's.

Most, when we started did not carry a knife. City office guys doing the daily commute into Washington D.C., they were a product of the 70's suburbia. But now, Its very surprising how many of them have dug around and come up with a father's, grandfather's, uncles, or somebodys old pocket knife from a drawer someplace. A variaty of Old Timers, Camillus, Bucks, sak's, even a Case or two, have surfaced. The dad's are now pocket knife carriers.

When we started, I had made the choice to go with a non locking slip joint knife, so proper skills would develope. There's been a few cuts along the way, but nothing a bandaid (or two) didn't take care of. Curiously, only one boy was cut. Once the others saw the blood, they were real carefull afterward, seeing what could happen. But three of the fathers cut themselves pretty good. Again, bandaids took care of it. but I noticed that they now have a bond with a slip joint pocket knife. When an oportunity came up that one of the scouts was offered a trade by a kid for his sak for a locking blade semi-tactical knife, the scout was heard to rely, "Na, it just has one blade, and I don't need a lock."

One camp out I brought along some other knives, and they were passed around the campfire along with some of the dad's family's knives.. The kids have learned the differences between a stockman, canoe, peanut, trapper, barlow, scout (of course) and some pen knives of various makes and types. The boys seem facinated by the variaty of shapes, and blade choices.

And over the winter, they learned the holy trinity of sight picture, breath control, and trigger squeeze. Air rifles down a basement in cold wet weather, a bolt action .22 out at the range in mild weather. Dad's included. To my surprise, most of the dad's had never fired a gun before. They started with an air gun like thier son's, and had to repeat the holy trinity like Mr. van had us do. By spring, three of the dad's have joined my Izzak Walton League chapter, and bought a .22 rifle of thier own to start off.

All in all, I don't really know who's having more fun, the kids or me. They've been like those little dehydrated sponges you buy, that look like a flat piece of cardboard, but when exposed to water, quickly grow into a real sponge and soak up anything it comes in contact with. It seems that no bit of outdoor trivia is unimportant to them.

But most of all, I love how they have come to think for themselves. One young fellow actually argued with a teacher at school who overheard a conversation he was having with another kid about his weekend. The teacher was a little hincky about the young man carrying a knife on the weekend, saying nobody needs to be carrying a weapon around with them these days. The young scout in question had the guts to tell the teacher that a knife was a valueble tool for the outdoors, and futhermore, once upon a time when a man put on his pants there was a knife in the pocket. I don't know where he got that last part, really. (looks away whistling:D)
 

kamagong

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Those kids and dads are a lucky bunch. Sounds like good times have been had by all.
 
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...saying nobody needs to be carrying a weapon around with them these days. [...] that a knife was a valueble tool for the outdoors, and futhermore, once upon a time when a man put on his pants there was a knife in the pocket. I don't know where he got that last part, really. (looks away whistling:D)

Too bad that people seem to forget this.

Anyway, a great story, and thanks for the followup on YOUR:D scouts. :thumbup: They are some lucky kids - and dads.

Peter


edit: did they get to see your cigar box???
 
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Grateful

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Sounds like you are being a good influence and having a real impact on the boys and their fathers. Good on you for that.:thumbup:
 

oldrifleman

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Great story and great plan, now you are teaching adults who can be the next instructors and the boys who will do the same for the generation that follows (hopefully!). Great work. Steven
 
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great work jackknife, i can only hope that someday i will have such a positive influence on a group of men and boys.

its good that the kids are learning to think for themselves...too few people question authority in my opinion.
 
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That was a wonderful story and observatin. I appreciate all who work with scouts. I have a 1 year old daughter so not sure if I'll really ever get to participate with the scouts I admire those who do.

I'm suprised you went with a slipjoint rather than lockback. I understand the need to learn safety, but i've carried a locking knife with me for.. as long as I can remember. But I suppose it's just a matter of preferance.
 
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:thumbup: A+++ on what you are teaching these boys and their (sounds like) city slicker :p fathers the world is better for all you are doing and you are to be COMMENDED Jackknife!! ;)
 
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Cub Scouts is where i got my first knife (a Vic Explorer which i still have and use - extensively - to this day!) I learned knife safety, etiquette, how to use and maintain a knife (among other tools) - and many other things. I think it's sad that modern PC-everything society thinks that anything sharp is taboo rather than a tool, and most young kids would rather play XBox than whittle. It's depressing.

And this is coming from someone who is only 20. The world has changed quite a bit!

Anyway, I really enjoyed your account. You are a lucky man, indeed.
 
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I'm suprised you went with a slipjoint rather than lockback. I understand the need to learn safety, but i've carried a locking knife with me for.. as long as I can remember. But I suppose it's just a matter of preferance.

There were many factors taken into consideration for this choice. Both safty, legal, and practical.

Safty- I don't believe in a beginer learning to trust safty devices. Knives, guns, whatever. Proper skills over trust in technology. Blade control, muzzel disapline, same thing. Awarness of how to use the tool. I admit when I came up, nobody carried a locking blade knife. Comercial watermen, construction workers, blue collar factory workers, even office workers, all carried a slip joint pocket knife. In the 1940's and 50's, there were a few lockblades around, but they just were not popular with the working crowd I grew up with. In fact, untill I was in my teens, the only folding knife I saw with a locking blade was an old Schrade switchblade, and the Italian switchblades that were popular among the punks of the day.

Years later I saw a kid loose the first part of his right index finger and suffer nerve damage to the middle finger when his trusty Buck knife let loose. He had been warned about using it like that by some of the older men in the shop, but he laughed it off saying his Buck knife was not like those old man pocket knives we had. About an hour after lunch he was leaning on it pretty good, and boom. Off he went to the ER. He really trusted that Buck folder. Now nothing against Buck, I carried a Buck stockman for over 20 years, and it gave me great service. But I don't believe in trusting locks, and I wanted these boys to learn from the start the right way to use a folding knife that may fold up on you if you do something dumb. Also I'm teaching the right tool for the right job to the kids. On our hiking and camping trips, there is a Fiskars sliding blade saw and a wood handle Frosts/mora along. If the pocket knife is not up to the job, then it's time for another tool. The kids are tought to saw firewood in short lenghts, then use the mora to batton into quarters for getting at the core dry wood to get a fire going.

Legal.- We live in very close proximity to Washington D.C. with alot of federal buildings. There are some weird knife rules in some places, apparently designed to thin out the weapon type of knife. The typical Spyderco, Benchmade, or whatever will not make it past security in most of the places some of these kids may end up seeking employment, or just sightseeing. The Smithsonian, the National Gallery Of Art, The eateries at the big Post Office pavillion, alot of national monuments. A small sak goes in under the radar because of its appearence. I wanted the kids to have as non-tactical knife as posable. Nobody objects to a sak. /and I don't believe its going to get any better. In years to come, the anti's just may turn thier attention to knives. Already, some big cities shun lockblades.

Practical.- My old scoutmaster, Mr. Van, told us we may not have a nice big sheath knife with us if an emergency comes. He tought us to maximize the use of our regular scout pocket knife to do most anything, and to use our brain to augment and govern how we used it. He tought us to take down decent size sapplings with it, build debris huts, make a stretcher, crutch, fish spear, and other stuff with just a 2 1/2 inch slip joint pocket knife. He told us there were very few places we couldn't take a pocket knife, and he was right. Up untill 9-11, I flew with a sak or other similar size pocket knife with no trouble. Many's the time I walked right on an airliner with a sak, and the security person looking at it in the plastic tray saying "I gave my nephew a sak for Christmas last year."

A slip joint pocket knife will do any of the jobs a single blade locker will, exept be used as a weapon. Plus it has the advantage of multible blades or tools that do come in handy. Generations of cowboys, sailors, frieght wagon drivers, tradesmen have found this to be true.

Later the boys can make any choice they want, but for now I want them and thier dads to learn the basics real good first.
 
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Jakknife,

I have often wondered when you might update us here about your progress regarding your boy scouting mentoring-counseling role in your location. Ever since you announced that you were getting involved with the local scout troop where you live, I have been curious to see how things were going. So, I was delighted to have read this thread today. I believe you have hit on some good points in your post on this thread. Its so cool that you have got not only got the scouting troop excited about all these worthwhile out door activities, but the Dad's as well. As kamagong and others have stated, they are an extremely lucky bunch of fellow's to have you at there disposal!!.:thumbup:

With your vast knowledge and experience as well as your passion for the outdoors, it would be a real sin to waste it. I love the Walking Stick project you described that the troop has participated in. And the fact that you are using just pocket knives as opposed to lock-backs, and give those boys the proper training (and Dad's too) and to feel the confidence that comes from learning slipjoint style that few of the real world "young male society" has in this country these days(I fear we are raising a vast majority of male Pansy's in the US today).. God bless the young man in your scout troop that gave it right back to his teacher who chastised the boy about carrying a knife during a weekend outing and referred to it as a "weapon"?!. How dare that teacher assume that any old knife must be a "weapon" rather than a needed and useful tool. This is one of the reasons I applaud(and emulate) your efforts with these kids and they're Dad's with respect to the whittling, camping and shooting outings you are involved with in your community with your council advisement with these scouts and they're families!. :thumbup:

It just occurred to me that one of our member's orca8589 would benefit from some of your expertise in this area as well. I know from some of his recent posts that he is taking over very soon as a troop cub-scout master as I recall. I'll bet he would be interested in chatting with you about scouting.

Well, please keep us posted as things progress as I love to hear any good news about how our(your:)) boy-scouts are doing by learning!

Many Blessings always,

Anthony
 
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May 16, 2006
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Good point about suburban boy's exposure to knives and the outdoors. My sisters kids are all getting to be college age. One of the three boys has shot my AR15, but none of the other boys have fired a gun. My niece has shot her boyfriend's rifles and is saving up to buy her own .22.

Good work
 
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Well, please keep us posted as things progress as I love to here any good news about how our(your:)) boy-scouts are doing by learning!

Here, here! Please do, Jackknife. And hats off you for doing something to help today's kids (don't dare underestimate the effect you're having, the seeds you're planting) instead of just grousing about "kids today." :thumbup:
 

RobbW

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Thanks for your influence, jackknife. You make us all want to be better people and pass along the knowledge that we have accumulated along the way.
 
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Great story. Reminds me of when I was a boy scout. Too bad kids aren't into scouting anymore.
 
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Jackknife as always an entertaining and informative read. It brought back memories of my time as a Scout, the Scout Masters I had that cared and shared with us kids.
 
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