BSA Updated Easier Requirements for 2016!!!

The number of requirements you need has changed, all the activities on this blog are still good, they just changed how many you need to do and some slight wording changes. but please check the new Requirements above to be sure you don't do unneeded work.

Bear Reqs. Webelos 1 Reqs. Webelos & Arrow Of Light Electives Arrow Of Light Reqs. Miscellaneous

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Picking a Pocket Knife for your Cub Scout

    Picking a pocket knife for you cub scout.


    So I’m going to lay down a series of opinion on how you should pick a pocket knife for you boy.

***Obligatory disclaimer ***

These opinions are for entertainment purposes only, if someone gets hurt that's totally on you...


    First the TLDR Version –

  •          Get a Single bladed,single edged, folding knife that is legal in your area and unit, 
  •      With a locking non serrated blade, Stainless is good, but not required.
    • which you are 100% sure he can open and close with ease.
  •          I prefer a liner lock, but make sure he can open and unlock and close it easily.\
  •          Make sure it has a pocket clip or a lanyard hole or both.
  •          A thumb hole is best for opening.
  •          Do not get a spring assisted or Flipper knife.
  •          I recommend a bigger knife, 3-4.5”Blade…
  •          Pick a bright color your son likes that is seldom found on the ground in nature.
  • ·         Don't spend much on it, because it will get lost several times. Don't buy too cheap... 
    • Around $20 usually does it.

    Okay lets break it down.

    Legal in your area. – This is pretty obvious but often nearby areas are overlooking, a knife legal in my home town , may not be local in Austin, and a knife perfectly legal in Austin can Be illegal in San Antonio, because any locking knife is illegal there.

   Single Bladed- Multi tools and Swiss Army knives are cool, but cub scouts are young and need the thinner profile of a single blade knife to make it easier to grip.

   Single Edged- blades that are sharp on both sides are designed for stabbing, not whittling, and are both more dangerous and difficult to use, and are Illegal in many areas...

    Folding- A folding Knife is safer in your pocket, and most scout camps don't allow sheath knives. Plus IMHO boys just cant' seem to resist throwing sheath knives trying to get them to stick.
    A Locking Knife – I prefer a liner lock, as I think it takes the least finger strength to close if you pick one with a long thin liner. A lock back is my second choice. The truth is, as long as your son can easily unlock and close it, that will do...A locking blade is just safer for your scouts fingers especially when he’s learning to use it. Whatever kind you get, have him open and close it several times, so you know he can do it easily before you buy it. If you are getting it online, look at photot and reviews.. The most important thing your son is going to do with the knife is close it safely. Make sure he can do it easily, and that it stays closed.

A liner Lock
Notice how both here have a thick liner, and thus the lock is from thicker metal, This will take more effort to unlock. The liner is the metal between the handle material (wood or composite) and the blade.
Below is one thin enough to be gamble on with without playing with it first.
 A thin liner means a thin liner lock, which means less strength is required to unlock it. You really want the strongest one he can unlock easily, but when not sure, err on the side of thinner.

If you want to learn about other kinds of locks, here are 5 common ones explained, and here are more but with diagrams of how they work.

    A Non-Serrated Single Edge Blade – Many people will disagree with me on this, but IMHO a serrated blade is great for cutting rope and similar things, or food…But not terribly useful for much else. They are harder to sharpen without special tool, (Though they remain sharper longer) Add to this that the serrations are usually right where the boy is going to need to use the knife to whittle. So a non-serrated or “plain” blade is best. For him to use and easier for him to learn to sharpen.

Partially Serrated on top, Plain on the bottom.  Both have thumb holes sticking out of the top. Serrations suck for whittling. Great for cutting rope...  but not whittling.

   Pocket clip or lanyard hole. (Or both) - If its attached to his clothes he's less likely to lose  it outdoors. It's that simple. I prefer a simple lanyard, slightly longer than his arm(pit to middle finger tip), tied to the knife, with a loop big enough to fit the knife through easily on the other. Tuck the loop behind a belt loop, fish the knife through the small loop, pull it snug, stick the knife and the excess rope in his pocket. When needed, Pull everything out of your pocket, and you can do most tasks with removing the lanyard..

   Easy to open with young fingers. Easiest to open, is the blade with a thumb hole, plenty for the buy to grip, next the thumb stud, last the little groove for your finger nails. The easier it is to open and close safely, the more often it will be opened and closed safely. Plus when he's older he can open the hole and thumb stud with one hand, which is super helpful.

   Do not get a Spring assisted knife, Spring assisted knifes are too easy to open at this level, and can pop open in their pocket, so pass on them. Flippers, have a little lever to assist opening, but usually are not held closed with much friction to make this easier. But the flipper lever works as an extra guard to keep fingers off the blade.. so make your own call on flippers...(Flippers are very popular right now)

   A bigger knife over a smaller knife. - I used to be a small knife for small hands believer, until I paid close attention to my lads learning to whittle, the handles that were longer, taller, yet still thin in depth just gave them a better ability to shift grips around and position the knife for each cut. And they had more control when making the cuts. So I changed my tune. I found that the 3- 4.5” blade was about the sweet spot. But the boys did get it done with smaller or bigger knives, they just got a lot more frustrated hanging on to the tiny ones... Be aware that some scout camps want knives with 3.5" or shorter blades... Check your local camps, or go 3"-3.5" to be safe.

  Pick a Bright Color – so if it winds up on the ground in leaves or debris, it’s easy to see. Preferably ones not found in nature on the ground. The truth is this is the least important Criteria, Black is better than Tan and Tan is better than camo, but if your boy really likes that Camo Knife, explain the downside of it being camp (hard to find in leaves) and let him get it.

  Don’t Spend Too much… or Too little. There are a lot of Cheap knives with injection molded plastic handles like Frost Cutlery made with garbage steel… They don’t stay sharp and break, Try to get one with metal in most of the handle.If you know nothing about blades, 440c stainless is a good place to start. I tend to aim $20 , but you know your boy and your budget. Don't obsess about edge retention as long as it's half decent... That way lies big buck knives.

Additional Notes:

Don't stress out, that's a lot of criteria, A perfect knife will be hard to find, and what's perfect for your son may not be perfect for mine. Read the explanations , so you understand the compromises and pick the best knife you can that your son will like, hitting as many of the goals below as you can. In the long term, if he's super pumped about it and can take it to camp... That's the best knife

Try not to get a super heavy knife... Composite handles like Micarta and g 10 are fine and light, but the goal of a pocket knife is to forget it's there till you need it. A heavy knife is annoying in your pocket.

If you know nothing about knives, stick to brand names, especially if they are familiar to you. Gerber, Scharade, kershaw, Spyderco, Victorinox/ Wenger(Swiss Army, get a Locking one, most don’t), Case, Buck, Ontario (makes Us issue survival knives) etc. They will cost more, but hopefully keep you from getting a real stinker, especially combined with looking up reviews online.

If you buy it on Amazon, just look at liner lock knives with a 4+stars Rating, and Ignore the ones with single digit review counts, look at the liner lock and go for a longer and or thinner one. This will have less resistance, and be easier to close (but weaker in use)

What if my son is a Leftie, Several of the models below have dual thumbstuds so it can be opened with either hand, a few also have 4 position pocket clips, so you can rig it to go in the left hand pocket,and change which end is up (I like that even as a righty)

Since young lads love knives, but also lose them, here is what I do. Every Christmas I get them a cheap (<$15) liner lock off Amazon in their favorite color to go in their stockings.

Here is my technique.

Search for ‘liner lock knife –assisted –spring” the – means only ones without the next word.

Then filter by 4+ star ratings only, then order by cheapest to most expensive. Start at the top, and work your way down till you find one that fits. If he has a plain blade already, serrations are not that bad in a 2nd knife…Well a 4th knife...

Buying online, you have more risks about how hard the knife is to unlock, as a lot of pics don't show the liners

If this is all too much... Go get one from the scout shop, they will probably not be lock blades, but will be solid middle of the road knives.

Why don't a show you the perfect knife on amazon, well, all the knifes in the price range that I have personally handled are out of stock, and finding one that fit every criteria was taking along 

Suggestions from a face book group, asking for knives that fit the criteria above.
(FYI I don't get any money from the links)
I have not owned these knives and can't say, but the guys on the budget EDC group like them.
Make sure these Locking blades are allowed by you local laws and pack before getting anything... YMMV, at your own risk, on your own recognizance, No warranted implied or given, yadda yadda...

Dozier orange
Dozier green
Case Bsa Lockblade
Ontario Rat 2 (black) (Ambidextrous thumbstud, and 4 position pocket clip )
Ontario Rat 1(black) (Ambidextrous thumbstud, and 4 position pocket clip)
Newer Ontario Rat 1i (Black)(Ambidextrous thumbstud, and 4 position pocket clip)
Kershaw Injection(black)
Buck Bantam (orange camo)

Gerber Bear Grylls Scout (Dual thumbstud)

If you prefer a more classic look, Rough Rider Linerlock Trapper(44a stainless, so it will need to be sharpened more often, but only $10 at time of posting)

If for some reason you can't use a locking blade, here is one option 
Marbles Gi Utility Knife

Monday, July 10, 2017

The 6 scout knots

Here is the best handout I've found for the 6 scout knots, note that it has a couple extra things on the back that are not required.

Friday, June 2, 2017

AOL - Required - Scouting Adventure

Scouting Adventure

Note: Most of this is pretty self explanatory, so several Reqs will have no links on this one, if you have ideas for more resources drop me a line, Thanks Eric-

Complete the following requirements.
     1. Prepare yourself to become a Boy Scout by completing at least A–C below:
          A. Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.
          In your own words, explain their meanings to your den leader, parent, or guardian.
          B. Explain what Scout spirit is. Describe for your den leader, parent, or guardian 
          some ways you have shown Scout spirit by conducting yourself according to the 
          Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.
          C. Give the Boy Scout sign, salute, and handshake. Explain when to use each.
          D. Describe the First Class Scout badge, and tell what each part stands for. Explain
          the significance of the First Class Scout badge.
          E. Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain
          its meaning.
                 Handout for #1 covers alot of ths stuff for this badge

     2. Visit a Boy Scout troop meeting with your parent or guardian and, if possible, with
     your den members and leaders. After the meeting, do the following:
          A. Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership.
                  Great video from another scouter, Many Thanks to Scouter Rob!
          B. Describe the four steps of Boy Scout advancement.
                   Another Video
          C. Describe ranks in Boy Scouting and how they are earned.
                   Video 2c
          D. Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned.
                   Video 2d
     3. Practice the patrol method in your den for one month by doing the following:
          A.  Explain the patrol method. Describe the types of patrols that might be part of a
          Boy Scout troop.
                      Video 3A
          B.  Hold an election to choose the patrol leader.
                      Video 3B
          C.  Develop a patrol name and emblem (if your den does not already have one), as           
          well as a patrol flag and yell. Explain how a patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell   
          create patrol spirit.         
          D.  As a patrol, make plans to participate in a Boy Scout troop’s campout or other    
          outdoor activity.

     4. With your Webelos den leader, parent, or guardian, participate in a Boy Scout
     troop’s campout or other outdoor activity. Use the patrol method while on the outing.
                      Video 4a
                      Video 4b
     5. Do the following:
          A. Show how to tie a square knot, two half hitches, and a taut-line hitch. Explain how
          each knot is used.
                        The 6 scouting knots
          B. Show the proper care of a rope by learning how to whip and fuse the ends of 
          different kinds of rope.

     6. Demonstrate your knowledge of the pocketknife safety rules and the pocketknife
     pledge. If you have not already done so, earn your Whittling Chip card.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

AOL - Required - Outdoorsman (Camper in handbook)

Outdoorsman (Camper in handbook)

Complete Option A or Option B.
Option A:
     1. With the help of your den leader or family, plan and participate in a campout.

     2. On arrival at the campout, with your den and den leader or family, determine where
to set up your tent. Demonstrate knowledge of what makes a good tent site and what
makes a bad one. Set up your tent without help from an adult.

     3. Once your tents are set up, discuss with your den or family what actions you should
take in the case of the following extreme weather events which could require you
to evacuate:
     A. Severe rainstorm causing flooding
     B. Severe thunderstorm with lightning or tornadoes
     C. Fire, earthquake, or other disaster that will require evacuation. Discuss what you
 have done to minimize as much danger as possible.
          Disaster survival when camping

     4. Show how to tie a bowline. Explain when this knot should be used and why. Teach it to
another Scout who is not a Webelos Scout.
                   The 6 Scout Knots

     5. Recite the Outdoor Code and the Leave No Trace Principles for Kids(at bottom) from memory.
Talk about how you can demonstrate them while you are working on your Arrow of
Light. After one outing, list the things you did to follow the Outdoor Code and Leave
No Trace.

Option B:
     1. With the help of your den leader or family, plan and participate in an outdoor activity.

     2. Discuss with your den or family what actions you should take in the case of the
following extreme weather events:
     A. Severe rainstorm causing flooding
     B. Severe thunderstorm with lightning or tornadoes
     C. Fire, earthquake, or other disaster that will require evacuation. Discuss what you
have done to minimize as much danger as possible.

     3.  Show how to tie a bowline. Explain when this knot should be used and why. Teach it to
another Scout who is not a Webelos Scout.

     4.  Recite the Outdoor Code and the Leave No Trace Principles for Kids from memory.
Talk about how you can demonstrate them while you are working on your Arrow of
Light. After one outing, list the things you did to follow the Outdoor Code and Leave
No Trace.

AOL - Required - Duty to God in Action

Duty to God in Action

Complete requirements 1 and 2 and at least two others.
     1. Discuss with your parent, guardian, den leader, or other caring adult what it means to
do your duty to God. Tell how you do your duty to God in your daily life.

     2. Under the direction of your parent, guardian, or religious or spiritual leader, do an
act of service for someone in your family, neighborhood, or community. Talk about
your service with your family. Tell your family how it related to doing your duty to God.

     3. Earn the religious emblem of your faith that is appropriate for your age, if you have
not done so already.

     4. With your parent, guardian, or religious or spiritual leader, discuss and make a plan
to do two things you think will help you better do your duty to God. Do these things for
a month.

     5. Discuss with your family how the Scout Oath and Scout Law relate to your beliefs
about duty to God.

     6. For at least a month, pray or reverently meditate each day as taught by your family or
faith community.

I'm going to be honest here, there isn't a lot of room in this pin to be clever or interesting, you pretty much have to do what is says, all the discuss and talk stuff we did in a den meeting, first mentioning that the scout oath and law are good staring places if they get stuck, then going around the table each person discussing each point briefly making one comment at least., we then did # 5, discussing each part of the scout oath and law,  referencing it back to the previous discussions. we went round robin till all the points had been covered.

They then picked 1 or 3,5,6 to do as homework.

AOL - Required - Building a Better World

Arrow of Light Required Adventures

Building a Better World

Complete the following requirements.
  1. Explain the history of the United States flag. Show how to properly display the flag in public, and help lead a flag ceremony.
    1. Flag History
    2. Flag display folding, etc
    3. Display Info graphic
    4. See my handout
  2. Learn about and describe your rights and duties as a citizen, and explain what it means to be loyal to your country.
    1. See my handout
  3. Discuss in your Webelos den the term “rule of law,” and talk about how it applies to you in your everyday life.
    1. See my handout 
  4. Meet with a government or community leader, and learn about his or her role in your community. Discuss with the leader an important issue facing your community.  
    1. I'm going to email city politicians and see if anyone will come to a meeting for 15 min
  5. Show that you are an active leader by planning an activity for your den without your den leader’s help. Ask your den leader for approval first.
    1. Here I'm going to divide my boys up into 2 groups, and have them each plan a game to play toghether.
    2. As we have 2 "game" sessions during and after each meeting this will work out.
  6. Do at least one of these:

           A. Learn about Scouting in another part of the world. With the help of your parent, 
                 guardian, or den leader, pick one country where Scouting exists, and research 
                 its Scouting program.
            (we are doing this one)

  •              Here is the separate Handout I made(not the one above), with 9 different countries, so you can have each scout read one and then tell the "cool parts". If somebody wants to put together one page blurbs on other countries scouting I'll add them. They are all Excepts from #1 below, just reformatted to be easily handed out.
               More Resources:
1.      This is probably enough, cut it up in pages and give each boy one country to read abotu and share a few "cool things" 
   2.      Quick video showing scouts from around the world and their symbol and uniform
   3.      Long video about scouts in syria (pretty sad) and moving to scout Australia
   6.      World scout gathering video (made by scouts at international gathering)

          B. Set up an exhibit at a pack meeting to share information about the World 
               Friendship Fund.
          C. Under the supervision of your parent, guardian, or den leader, connect with a Scout 
               in another country during an event such as Jamboree-on-the-Air or 
               Jamboree-on-the-Internet or by other means
          D. Learn about energy use in your community and in other parts of the world.
          E. Identify one energy problem in your community, and find out what has caused it

Arrow Of Light Scout Reqs Page

Rank advancement is awarded when each Scout has done the following:
  1.  Be active in your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade or for at least six months since becoming 10 years old.
  2.  Complete each of the four required adventures. (Specific requirements for theseadventures can be found in this addendum.)
    1. Building a Better World
    2. Duty to God in Action
    3. Outdoorsman (formerly Camper)—Option A (including a campout) OR Option B (including an outdoor activity)
    4. Scouting Adventure
  3. In addition to the four required adventures listed above, complete at least one elective adventure of your den’s or family’s choosing (for a total of at least five adventures).
  4.  With your parent, guardian, or other caring adult, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide.
  5. Earn the Cyber Chip award for your age. (The Cyber Chip portion of this requirement may be waived by your parent or guardian if you do not have access to the internet.)