Does your troop go to summer camp?
Is the Wood Carving merit badge offered there? How about Leatherwork or Basketry?
If so, there's a real good chance your scouts have used materials and tools supplied by Whittler Bob from Pennsylvania.
Bob provides BSA camps across the country with wood crafts and supplies. The woodcarving blanks are northern basswood - smooth grain and easy to cut - perfect for teaching scouts. He also distributes the leather and basketry projects found in most summer camps - you know, the round basket and the square basket, and the knife pouch that so many scouts bring home.
The amazingly cool thing about Whittler Bob is that he has carved all the slide patterns he sells. He's written a book so anyone can learn how to safely carve and it has beautiful pictures of dozens of the slides he's made. And, he's been a Scouter for over 30 years, teaching young scouts and demonstrating whittling at four national Jamborees so far!
Since practically every scout has a knife and every scout likes to cut, there's no reason why scouts should only do the woodcarving merit badge at camp and that's all. Every troop should have a woodcarving merit badge counselor ready to help the scouts create their own masterpieces of art. With Bob's book and his beginner woodcarver kit (knife, sharpener, three projects) any adult can become proficient enough to lead the scouts. For that matter, getting a kit for each new scout would be a great way to get them started on 6 or 7 years of carving fun, and maybe even a lifetime of it.
Our troop has Bob's carving book in the troop library so anyone can use it. Now, instead of passing time whittling on a stick making toothpicks, the scouts are more interested in designing their own slides and other wood projects.
You can see a link to Whittler Bob's site at the top of the page. Take a look at his kits and slides - you might see something you recognize. :-)
Posted: 16:07 11-14-2009 460
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