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Totin' Chip requirements

@MichaelMarx2 There is also a “Skills Session - Woods Tools Knife, Camp Saw, and Ax” section (page 52) in the IOLS Instructor Syllabus. I would use the Scout Handbook as your primary reference, but you might find this to be helpful.

BSA Adult Training
direct link to IOLS Instructor Syllabus


I glad you like this and it’s nice to see someone else appreciate the test portion at the end. Too many get credit for skills they have not learned.

I found this document during a Google search. Another unit had it available to the public and I don’t remember where or when I got it. I also have the same type/style document for the Fireman Chit. I will have to email it to you because I have it as a word document and am not allowed to attach it here.


If you have a relatively recent version of MSWord, you can “Save As” PDF directly from Word.

Here you go.

(Attachment Firem’n Chit Lesson Plan.docx is missing)


I do and thought about doing that however that doesn’t allow for any additions or even format modifications that someone might want to do unless of course you have Adobe. I don’t so trying to share with the least amount of headache.

Thanks for the suggestion.


Looks like I will have to convert and submit a PDFFirem’n Chit Lesson Plan.pdf (150.6 KB)

Angela, I was a Troop Guide for IOLS last month. The “hazing” part wasn’t in the IOLS syllabus. However, in our Council, we had a spreadsheet titled “SPL Schedule” that said in the past, Scouts might lose a corner, but “be careful, this could be received as hazing.” During the course, we discussed it, pretty much as written, not as a rule (thou shalt not cut a corner) but as a way to approach corrections to be learning experiences and not as punishment. If a Scout dropped a piece of trash while hiking and we made them stop and pick it up, it could either be bullying/hazing if we made fun of them (inappropriate) or simply practicing Leave No Trace.
I lost a corner back in 1984-ish time frame. It’s still gone. I wasn’t paying attention and one of my peers corrected me. Losing a corner was a simple way of tracking that it was my one and only time I had a problem with my “Totin’ Rights.” I wasn’t hazed.


David, I appreciate your thoughts. I was surprised when this was expressed at the IOLS training, but could see where they were coming from. I tend to agree with you, having a corner clipped is honestly a really effective way to let Scouts know this is serious without totally removing their rights. However, I do see why it could be perceived as a problem in our current culture. I think it’s a good discussion to have and causes us all to process through appropriate consequences. I’m actually glad it’s not “official” policy and still something being left up to the boots on the ground to figure out the best course of action for.

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Angela, unfortunately all too often policies are invented to support arguments for some people. The sad part is that those policies then get repeated as if they are real and take a life of their own. My guess is that someone didn’t like it and made the policy up (or thought such should be in place).

Now my troop doesn’t cut corners and here is why:

The goal should always be restorative and not punitive. I personally see the corner clipping as punitive. If you mess up again we will make you take the course over again. I prefer to have a discussion with the scout about what went wrong and what was learned.

We have had an incident where the SPL took all three of a scout’s knives away and gave them to me as soon as I returned to camp. And in the sum of it, he probably did the right thing as he needed to break a bad situation and this worked. He had the support of the others in camp. I turned the knives over to the scout’s guardian when we returned and spoke with the guardian about how we would restore his ability to use sharp tools.

When I was a scout our troop didn’t even give out the cards. My troop does, but all members earn it quickly and I never ask to see a card. If they lose the card then they must either pay for a replacement or catch an adult to help them with buying a knife at summer camp. (Though one would take a simple written statement from the SM.)

Click here to see Bryan’s blog on Clipping Corners
Basically, BSA is quite intentional in its wording so as to give SMs latitude to use the cards in ways that create a safe environment for their scouts.

Sending back scouts to retake the course, as @KirkWood does could be just as easily misconstrued as hazing. (Think “reprogramming camps” in totalitarian countries.) Especially if the course was a power-point presentation.:anguished:

In general, I see the corner-cutting as a tool for youth leaders. Especially when a new PL or SPL is working on communication skills. Quietly clipping a corner makes knife safety one less thing to yell about. Not much different than the SPL who collects the knifes or closes the axe yard for a couple of hours.

But, it’s not a tool for every youth.

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