Knives at a formal campfire

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NSDad126
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Knives at a formal campfire

Postby NSDad126 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:55 am

I was recently at a formal campfire where there was a scouter holding out a metal bowl and requesting that everyone remove their knife before entering the circle. I've seen this before at a scout's own but never at a formal campfire.

Does Scouts Canada has a specific policy against knives at formal campfire circle?

If not, then I want to bring this up at our next group meeting. I don't think we should be sneaking this practice in as a new tradition unless it is thoroughly discussed and voted on.

Thanks all!

NSDad126

Shari_McC
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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby Shari_McC » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:35 pm

I'm a Beaver leader out west in Calgary (though I came up through guiding and lead Pathfinders for a year,) and at the last camp the Beavers had, the scouts using the same site lead the formal campfire. There, everyone was expected to stick their knife into the top of a log or stump sitting just outside the circle and it was dubbed the friendship log. I believe it may have been started as a safety measure but I'm not sure. Personally I like it because sometimes people can get a little rambunctious at a campfire and no one wants to see anyone hurt either on purpose or by accident. I can't see any reason that anyone should need to have their knife on them at campfire anyhow.

- Bramble


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NSDad126
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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby NSDad126 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 am

I can not think of anything that says Scouts more than someone living by the scout law while at scout camp. A pocket knife is a tool for a scout, not a weapon. A pocket knife is a tool that helps a scout be prepared. being prepared is part of the scout law.

Hawkeye3
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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby Hawkeye3 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:48 pm

Hi NSDad,
I have seen that tradition but don't know the origins. I have seen fires with and without knives. Agreed, a knife is a tool.

However, if someone is hosting the campfire, it's best to discuss with them if possible. If not, you have to decide how badly you want to attend the fire vs. the value of carrying the knife there.

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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby NSDad126 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:41 pm

Thanks Hawkeye, atleast I know that its been done before. In my case, I've been with the same group for 6 years, and it was my own group that dropped this one on me.

For some groups, it may be a tradition. In my group, it hasn't been practiced before so i would hardly call it a tradition.

I confess, I want to bring this up at our next group meeting and shoot this practice down if I can. If i let it be, then it becomes a tradition. And, sadly, traditions tend to be met with more support than opposition, even when no one knows who or why they are supporting it.

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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby NSDad126 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:04 pm

Shari_McC wrote:I'm a Beaver Scouter out west in Calgary (though I came up through guiding and lead Pathfinders for a year,) and at the last camp the beavers had, the scouts using the same site lead the formal campfire. There, everyone was expected to stick their knife into the top of a log or stump sitting just outside the circle and it was dubbed the friendship log. I believe it may have been started as a safety measure but I'm not sure. Personally I like it because sometimes people can get a little rambunctious at a campfire and no one wants to see anyone hurt either on purpose or by accident. I can't see any reason that anyone should need to have their knife on them at campfire anyhow.

- Bramble

Thank you for your response. I need to respectfully disagree with you, but please allow me to say that i think we both value safety and learning by doing. I hope nothing i say gets too personal or rude.

I disagree with a "friendship log". To me implies that the knife is a weapon, and we have gone through alot of trouble in our knife permits training to teach the youth that a knife is a tool and not a weapon. We specifically tell them: it you call it a weapon, you lose your permit and knife. If you pretend it is a weapon, you lose your permit and knife, if you joke about using it like a weapon, you lose your permit and knife. Often someone will challenge us on the idea that we dont have the right to keep the knife, so we point out that we have never had a parent come to us to ask us to return the knife to a youth that has lost their permit. They are taught that this is serious, and we wont be giving anyone a second chance. So as you can see, i really dont want to explain or justify the implied weapon undertones of a "friendship log". In that sense, a box or a bowl is better.

Also, our beavers arent allowed knives at camp. Our cubs are allowed knives but only if they have a permit. And the cub has to surrender the knife to our Akela. They are allowed to use them only when there is an activity the requires them. Our scouts are allowed knives at camp. But only with a permit, and it will be permit will be taken away at the first sign of abuse. A cut finger is a forgivable accident. Idly playing with the knife - opened or closed - will get there permits pulled.

We train our scouts and continually remind them to check their blood circle. If anyone is inside their blood circle, the knife doesnt come out. Scouts have lost their permits because they wacked another scout on the hand with a folded knife while saying "you are in my blood circle". We dont mess around or give second chances.

If a scout takes a knife out of his pocket at a campfire, he loses his permit and his knife. And, remember, scouting is an educational system where we learn by doing. In this case, everyone learns how serious we are about knives and it will happen long before anyone gets too rambunctious.

Then there's the campfire itself. We dont like matches. I've lost count how many times we have asked a scout to light the campfire, and they will use the back edge of a knife on a ferro rod. How am i to explain this? "If you are lighting a fire with your knife, it is not a weapon, but if it is sitting safely in your pocket, it is a weapon. The same permit that entitles you to to take a weapon out of your pocket and render it a tool, does not entitle you the trust to keep the weapon in your pocket. Furthermore, anywhere but the campfire circle, you are not to call that weapon in your pocket a weapon because if you do call it a weapon, you will lose you permit and knife" Any youth is smart enough to know that there are conflicting views, how do we enstill a culture of safe and responsible knife use when they dont know which of our teachings to believe?

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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby Shari_McC » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:31 pm

I acknowledge what you are saying and continue to disagree, but I believe we are each entitled to our own opinion.

Certainly Beavers are not allowed knives, period. From there, I generally agree with regard to permits and getting things taken away for unsafe behavior. Where we differ is on two points. Nobody I can think of would consider any other type of tool sensible to be sitting with at a campfire, so I don't believe a knife is necessary either. We also differ on the topic of matches. I used to teach that there are other ways to light fires besides matches and the fewer matches used on one fire the better, but I never made the other starting methods preferred over matches. Again, to each their own. Also, if one Pathfinder DOD use her knife on a ferro rod or similar then whether it went back into the pouch on their belt or stuck into a log in full view made no safety difference. I want to be clear that I didn't start the log idea in our Group but I support it, as a gesture of friendship that says all dangerous objects, whether it be tools such as an axe or knife, or even toasting forks, are out of the circle until absolutely necessary. It also symbolizes the idea of feeling safe enough around the others in attendance. Isn't that similar to the reason we shake with our left hand?

Anyhow, I don't want to offend either. As long as the idea of "when in Rome…" is followed when attending an unfamiliar campfire and either everyone coughs up their knife or nobody does, then I really couldn't be bothered either way.

As an aside, I and a couple other Scouters joked after the fire about the idea of a friendship bowl for flashlights to keep kids from turning them on during the fire, but it was only a joke as we all knew the logistics of tracking which Beaver owned which flashlight to make sure they got the correct one back would be a nightmare and more importantly a loss of a serious learning opportunity.


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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby Shari_McC » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:43 pm

[Deleted due to duplication :roll:]
Last edited by Shari_McC on Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Shari_McC
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NSDad126
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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby NSDad126 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:22 pm

Thank you for the kind words. If i was able to visit you in person, it would be an honor to shake with left hands. Out of respect for you or any other campfire host, i would respect your buddy log. And, this would not be a difficult decision because my knife is only a tool.

It is not a weapon, in my eyes, i wouldnt be giving up a weapon. So im afraid i dont see how this gesture should promote trust.

I understand that you consider a knife in a formal campfire circle is a potential safety hazard. I dont see how a formal campfire and an informal campfire differ much in risk. And i cant see myself creating a blanket knife restriction around the campfires at all times.

Additionally, if this is a safety issue, i have a pretty predictable opinion on what is safer a)everyone has a knife in their pocket and someone breaks the rules by taking it out, or b)everyone is required to take their knife out of their pocket, place it on a log, then recover it from the log after they have bèen rambunctious, and get it safely to their pocket while walking away from a campfire.

Imo, the correct attitude for safety would be ' put it in your pocket, and dont play with it, dont take it out until you need it.' The pocket is safe and responsible storage, even at a formal campfire,imo.

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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby NSDad126 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:20 pm

Shari_McC wrote:I'm a Beaver leader out west in Calgary (though I came up through guiding and lead Pathfinders for a year,) and at the last camp the Beavers had, the scouts using the same site lead the formal campfire. There, everyone was expected to stick their knife into the top of a log or stump sitting just outside the circle and it was dubbed the friendship log. I believe it may have been started as a safety measure but I'm not sure. Personally I like it because sometimes people can get a little rambunctious at a campfire and no one wants to see anyone hurt either on purpose or by accident. I can't see any reason that anyone should need to have their knife on them at campfire anyhow.

- Bramble


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Hi Bramble
, i was showing this post to my fellow scouter that gives knife training courses.

He mentions that sticking your knife into a log is a practice that is considered to be unsafe. Just like cutting towards you is considered unsafe due to the risk of the knife slipping, the sudden stopping action of a knife into a log has the risk of the hand slipping.

Also, he points out that the purpose of the knife permit is to allow a scout to wear a knife with them at camp - all of the time.

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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby Shari_McC » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:18 pm

Good to know, I'll pass that on.
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Angus Bickerton
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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby Angus Bickerton » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:53 pm

I agree with the idea of a knife being a tool and that it simply stay in its sheath or in your pocket at either a campfire or a Scout's Own. I NEVER give up my knife, as it is safer in my pocket than it is rattling around in a bowl or shoved in a log. You simply show courtesy by making sure the knife is out of sight (as some people get super touchy over this issue), and never take it out at a Scout's Own or campfire. Plus, as mentioned above, a knife does not belong shoved in a log. That is a bad practice that is unsafe, and bad for your knife blade.

Also, keeping your knives prevents disputes. If knives are kept in pockets, and sheath knives quietly hidden under a coat or in a cargo pocket, there will never be an argument or dispute over whose knife is whose. This is being wise in the use of resources, as no one has the time to adjudicate that kind of silliness.

Further, the idea of giving up your knife comes from the ancient faith-based practice of disarming before going into a church or other place of worship. This perpetuates the idea that a knife is a weapon, when clearly it is not. We are not medieval knights entering a holy shrine with two-handed swords strapped to our backs. We are scouts, and all the ground we walk on must be treated as sacred. We must behave accordingly, all the time.

Finally, I have quality knives which are well looked after. They are good ones. There is no way that I am putting a Grohmann or an Alaskan Wolverine down for anyone to come along and pick up at the end of a Scouts Own or campfire. While I respect a Group's right to make their own traditions, I insist on my own right to look after my stuff properly. I won't go out of my way to make a show of my knife at a Scouts Own, and only one person has gone out of their way to ask me to give up my knife. I politely told them "No. My knife is a tool, not a weapon." Was never an issue after that.
Angus Bickerton
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Brockville Troop
1st Brockville Group Committee
1st Gilwell 2011 (Colony) 2013 (Pack)

There is no armour made that can withstand the truth - Karsa Orlong

NSDad126
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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby NSDad126 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:29 am

Thank you for your point of view. It has influenced how I will react in the future.

Initially, I was going to respect the request to surrender my knife simply because my beliefs are NOT based on any modified version of the "from my cold dead hands" sentiment. I don't see my knife as a weapon,therefore there is an entire rabbit hole of weapon related issues I find unnecessary to discuss.

Certainly, I think you have summed up this issue quite eloquently.
- The knife is not a weapon.
- It is safer in the pocket than on a log or in a bowl.

I think I will do and say the same in the future.

regards
NSDad

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Re: Knives at a formal campfire

Postby Schuessler » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:15 am

As long as the person bringing the knives acts responsible then I don't see the problem.


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