Scouts and Penknives/Axes
Many scouting skills include the use of a penknife or an axe and scouts will receive training at meetings and camps. However, as you would expect, safety is a major consideration. There is much written about this, both the Law and the Scout Association safety policy. Here is a synopsis for parents; “Only allow smaller swiss army knives and they should wear stout boots or equivalents to use axes and saws.” Here are some important points followed by some links to further information on the Scout Association website.
- If you allow your scout a knife, it should be a folding pocket knife with a blade LESS than 3 inches. It must not be lockable or have a flick mechanism. Swiss army knives are appropriate.
- It is possible for a scout to use a sheath knife BUT it must be kept by the leaders except when the scout is actually using it. A scout may NOT carry it around at all. Whilst we would accommodate this if a purchase has already been made, we do not advise it and do not want the leaders to be responsible for more than one or two sheath knives. If one is ever brought to a meeting, the adult must hand it over to the leader themselves.
- Scouts should NOT bring penknives or lighters to any meetings unless specifically given notice to do so. This is to comply with knife law and scout association safety guidance. For camps, check the kit-list to see if they are required/allowed.
- Scouts should not carry the knife in public so adults should bring it to meetings and give it to their scout in the car-park. If the knife is being brought to a camp, it should be packed deep in the ruc-sac.
- The pen-knife should be labelled and able to clip onto the D-ring on their scout trousers. When it is carried around at a meeting, we expect it to be on the D-ring, not in their hands or in their pockets. This is not only for safety but to prevent the re occurrence of hunting for lost knives.
- It is the leader’s judgement whether a scout will be given axe training and/or allowed to use one.
- We will withdraw our permission, temporarily or permanently, to any scout to bring and/or use a penknife if they act irresponsibly.
- We will confiscate penknives brought to any meeting that it is not allowed at and will only be returned to the parent at the end. Also in this we could include lighters.
- Scout advice on the clothing to be worn when using axes and saws is clear “Wear strong leather boots, rather than trainers or soft shoes”. Not all boys can be expected to wear strong leather boots particularly as most hiking boot are now of the gortex style. We believe however that stout (leather) school shoes are robust and acceptable. If foot-wear is a problem, try linking your scout up with another and they can swap footwear so they each get their turn.
Scout Association Use of Axes and Saws
Scout Association “Can Scouts carry Knives?”
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