By Ann Shumway
Oct 13, 2015

Cub Scout Bear Claws Made Easier

Printable Pocketknife DesignsOne of the required adventures for the Bear rank is Bear Claws. This adventure is all about pocketknives and there are few things that Cub Scouts like better than pocketknives. This will definitely be of the more popular adventures.

While preparing for this adventure I ran across some great resources that I wanted to pass on.
The first was found on the Cub Scout Ideas blog. Here you can find information on three different types of pocketknives(Requirement #1). You can download a graphic that allows the boys to make play knives with paper and brads. Brilliant!

Pocketknife Safety RulesRequirement #2 asks you to go over the pocketknife safety rules and earn the Whittling Chip. I thought it was kind of funny that the knife safety rules are not included in the Bear Den Leader Guide. You can find them in the boys handbooks (If they remember to bring them or you have your own copy). To make life easier I’ve included them here.

Another great resource I found was this 3.5 minute video made by Schrade which goes over pocketknife safety rules. It was fun for the boys to see a visual demonstration of the safety rules.  Many of the rules go right along with the safety rules included in the boy’s handbooks. It does go pretty quick. We watched it once and had the boys count the safety rules we had discussed. We then watched it a second time to just reinforce what the boys had seen.

Cub Scout pocketknifeRequirement #3 asks the boys to carve two different items. We used Ivory soap. It’s also super cheap which is nice for Cub Scout budgets. Another option is balsa wood. It’s easy to carve and a little more stable compared to soap which has a tendency to crack when the boys make deep cuts.  The downside being it’s expensive when compared to soap.

We discussed in length the need to make potato chip type cuts instead of chunks and to make sure no one was in their safety circle. Finally, it was time to carve. We moved out to the lawn where the chips would fall in the grass and disappear with the next rain storm or watering whichever came first.  Some of the boys were patient enough to make peeling type cuts others just carved away. Oh well, it’s a learning experience either way. Just remember KISMIF!


Author: Ann Shumway | Camp Director, Camp Jeremiah Johnson | Learning for Life Director, Utah National Parks Council

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