Ask the Expert: Is cutting corners off the Totin’ Chip allowed?

I think this is a great idea and one that was practiced in my troop growing up. Rising through the ranks, the scouts were much more responsible with blades after on would have a corner cut so that they did not have to deal with the embarrassment of not having a perfect blade record.

Bryan on Scouting

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?Play around with a knife, lose a corner on your Totin’ Chip. In my troop growing up, it was that simple.

If a Scout lost all four corners of his Totin’ Chip (essentially a Scout’s license to carry pocketknives, axes and saws), his blade-carrying privileges were revoked until he re-earned the card.

It’s all part of Boy Scouting’s well-reasoned approach to teaching boys to see pocketknives, axes and saws as tools, not toys.

But it’s the corner-cutting business that was on the mind of a Scouter who asked to remain anonymous. He sent me this email: 

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Sea Base


Hello scouts! Are you wondering whether to go to one of the high adventure bases made available to scouts throughout the country? Well if so then listen up! My freshman year of high school I went to the Florida Sea Base camp in the Florida keys and loved it. It gave me many stories that will be told here on this site eventually, and that I bring up in casual conversation on a regular basis. A high adventure camp can be a great last hoorah before you buckle down and begin your eagle scout. If anybody would like to learn more about Sea Base then shoot me an email at i highly recommend that every scout make it out to a high adventure camp atleast once in their scouting career!

Scouter’s Shenanigans: the angry canoer


Greetings! Will here, and for this first installment of “scouter’s shenanigans” I’ll be telling you about the time me and my fellow scout learned how to canoe together at summer camp.

After getting into the canoe and heading out onto the water, me and my fellow scout, lets call him sandman, as that was his nickname, had difficulty getting “in sync” with each other’s rowing styles. Sandman would tend to want to switch which side he was rowing on and head for different targets than we were supposed to be heading for. This made things very difficult on me as I was in the back of the canoe and was supposed to be steering us toward our objectives. Long story short, sandman and I ended up going around and around in circles until we capsized the canoe! What a sight that must have been seeing two freshman in high school bickering over how to best get back into the canoe. Eventually we gave up and swam back with the canoe to shallower water where we could pick the canoe up and flip it back over. That is until i tried to climb into the boat and capsized me and the sandman again. the sandman and I finally figured out how to get back into the canoe by working together, and were able to enjoy a nice canoe out onto the lake.

The next day, the sandman and I set out with a plan. We were going to (with counselor approval) play a version of sharks and minnows, where you you work in groups of two and try to capsize other scouts’ canoes! The last group left in their canoe would win. Sandman was in charge of our canoe for the game, while I would jump out of the canoe and capsize our opponents. using our experience from the previous day, we quickly won the game and left all the other groups soaking wet before helping them back into their canoes. to this day me and the sandman still try to get our friends to go canoeing to try and capsize them again, to no avail.

Survival Stan


So you’ve gone off and lost yourself in the woods again eh? No worries! Survival Stan is here to help! 

The Lean-to


The first thing you want to do upon realizing you’re lost is to establish a base camp. this area should be an elevated location, for water to drain away in case of rain. The area should also have a relatively flat landscape free of rocks and roots that could be a hazard or make sleeping difficult. Upon choosing your location, you need to decide on the type of shelter you are going to construct. One of the most simple shelters to build is the lean-to. To begin building your lean-to, you must first find a tree or other sturdy object on which to base your shelter on. The next step is to find a large limb or small fallen tree to use as the “lean” on your lean to. Use this limb and lay one end in a fork in your tree, wand the other end pressed firmly against the ground. The limb should form roughly a 45 degree angle with the ground. Next, you will need to find sticks of all sizes to form your walls. These sticks you will lean against your limb, and press into the ground to assure that they do not get blown away in a storm. You will want a lot of sticks to take up as much room as possible on the walls, and to leave the fewest amount of gaps as possible. Once your “walls” are up, it is time to install the “roof”. Your roof should be branches from trees that have lots of leaves to them. Preferably big leaves to cover more space with less branches. These branches you will lay out on top of your sticks that make up your walls to keep out the rain and hold in heat when you sleep that night. If possible, try to use vines as rope to tie your walls and roof down to your lean to provide more support.

Now that your shelter is built, it is time to add the comforts of home! clear out sticks and stones from under the tent and pile up dead leaves to create a makeshift bed for the night. Collect firewood and get a small fire going by the mouth of your shelter to keep away insects and animals throughout the night. be sure to keep your fire a good 4 feet away from the entrance however to avoid your shelter catching on fire. you can use a shirt on 4 sticks with a stone in the middle and can underneath to collect rainwater to drink too!

now that you know how to make your own lean to shelter, you can make it alone in the woods for the night, leaving more time for help to come and rescue you! check back again for more Survival Stan! 



Hello and welcome my fellow scouts! You have found your way to my new blog about scouting. My name is Will Johnson, and I am a recent Eagle Scout of troop 76 in good old Owensboro Kentucky! On this blog I plan to post funny stories (a recurring series I have in mind is “Scout Shenanigans” which will chronicle the antics of one of my fellow scouts when we were in scouting), personal memories of my time scouting, profiles of the different merit badges, current scouting news, and fun feature articles about varying topics. Thankyou for stopping by and i hope you enjoy the site, check back often for updates and feature stories!