Not the actual stitches mentioned below
Knives for Scouts or knives vs. Scouts? In the battle between knives and Scouts the infamous record for my Troop is eight.
Stitches, that is.
Minor knife cuts are reasonably rare and I can recall only three trips to the emergency room because of a knife in twenty three years ( about 1000 days and nights camping) of being a Scoutmaster.
Knife safety is comprised of training in common sense augmented by careful attention. I have heard any number of old wives’s tales about sheath knives and official policies – here is the straight dope on the subject:
From The Guide to Safe Scouting
A sharp pocketknife with a can opener on it is an invaluable back country tool. Keep it clean, sharp, and handy. Avoid large sheath knives. They are heavy and awkward to carry, and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish. Since its inception, Boy Scouting has relied heavily on an outdoor program to achieve its objectives. This program meets more of the purposes of Scouting than any other single feature. We believe we have a duty to instill in our members, youth and adult, the knowledge of how to use, handle, and store legally owned knives with the highest concern for safety and responsibility.
To my knowledge this language hasn’t changed in a good many years. Sheath knives (even large ones) are not prohibited, but we are cautioned to avoid large sheath knives. Good advice.
Scouts learn how to handle wood’s tools (knife saw and axe) by earning a Totin’ Chip card
From the reverse of the card –
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 the 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 with good reason.
6. Subscribe to the Outdoor Code.
Larry Geiger says
And that it hasn’t been returned yet?
Brandon w says
I’m am an Eagle Scout out of troop 40 Rochester hills MI and I’ve got a question a while back during summer camp my sheath knife was taken out of my tent while I was at the mess hall by a scoutmaster and taken. I had not once brought it out of the tent or even mentioned that I had it. Since the incident I have yet to get it back. Is this even lawful ?
Clarke Green says
When a minor (under the age of eighteen) is put in the care of another adult (like a Scoutmaster) with the permission of their parents that adult assumes the role of the parent. In law this is called ‘in loco parentis’, or in the place of the parent. Could you parent take something from your room at home legally? Yes, they can. Can a Scout leader search a Scout’s belongings and take things from them? Yes they can.
Adult volunteers in Scouting and other youth activities are responsible to protect children in their care and can be held legally responsible if they don’t.
Were you allowed to possess a sheath knife at your camp? Most camps do prohibit sheath knives, even though they are not specifically prohibited by the B.S.A.
Was it legal? Yes. Was it particularly smart on the part of the Scoutmaster? I can’t judge from your question. Should you get it back? Again, I can’t judge from what you have told me. Did your Scoutmaster talk to you about this? What did the both of you agree on? Did he give the knife to your parents? Every action or incident like this has a lot of variables so it’s hard to offer any help without knowing more.
Old Owl says
Why would anyone use a large, heavy, awkward knife for cleaning fish? Filleting knives are notably light and handy. The exception (“except for cleaning fish”) makes no sense.
Why does carrying a knife in a sheath make is special? Our Troop’s cooking knives are all in sheaths to protect the Scouts and the edges from damage. Is a large folding sheath knife OK? BSA still sells them, as well as an 8″ boning or sticking pattern fixed-blade knife.
All this obscurity in the BSHB and GTSS raises the question, “What does “large” mean in this context?”
Better yet, “What is the purpose of this policy?” Surely not safety. We still are to teach use of part removers (axes).
Wide variations in local rules are the rule.
And since when did things cause behavior? We are molding people, not things. Is this about being stylish.
Lone Star Scouter says
At summer camp this year one of our first year scouts cut his finger in wood carving and recieved 8 stiches. It also helped him earn his first aid merit badge.