I do believe that kids ought to be allowed to use knives, start fires, climb trees, run around the woods and generally be kids, experiment and learn about all these things, but of course all preferably without actually hurting themselves!
When my son was old enough I wanted him to join the scouting organisation, taking his first steps as a Beaver. I added his name to the waiting list of the nearest Beaver group and waited. Eventually though all we got was a message to say they were closing down and had passed the waiting list to another group, one a couple of miles away.
Meh, not a problem, there were at least two alternative groups closer by, we’d look into them as options. Well, that’s what I thought, until I got a phone call from the leader of the group the waiting list had been passed to. He was so enthusiastic and was setting up a presentation evening for prospective newbies, well it would be rude not to go along and what harm could it do …..
As it turns out the enthusiasm was infectious and there was such a positive feeling about the group and what they wanted to offer the kids we signed him up. Turns out it was the best decision we could have made. He loved his time as a Beaver, then a Cub, a Scout and now he is an Explorer and still loves it so much that the volunteering he started, helping out with the Beavers, for his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award, he carried on with. He has been doing this for two years and shows no signs of wanting to stop!
Of course why should the kids have all the fun? I still like playing with knives, well in as much as I like to whittle, so I saw my chance to do something useful with my whittling.
As he started to go to Scout camps I got thinking about my brother and how, when he was a Cub/Scout, he had a blanket/poncho he took on camps. It was an old, army surplus blanket my Mum had sewn his old badges on, a great way to keep his old badges and keep him warm on the cold evening spent outside. And so started another project.
Mum found me another old blanket, which would be nice and warm, but blooming itchy. I was chatting about it with my Sister in Law when she came up with another blanket, but this one was a very soft, but very thin…. put the two together and hey voila – the perfect blanket, then to make it unique…. oh, and hope the boy in question actually wanted it!
The blanket is a work in progress. Each time he’s moved up a section I’ve unpicked the badges from the uniform to add them to the blanket. We have also started picking up fabric badges whenever we go away anywhere, so it will become a real keepsake for him.