Re: Help with Adult Leader Training
Blaine S Nay (b.nay@JUNO.COM)
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 10:03:20 EDT
I've done the fire-building demo a few times. Here's how I do it:
1 - Set up several fire lays in accordance with the Scout Handbook
(cris-cross, teepee, etc).
2 - Set up display of various natural and man-made tinders (birch bark
and birch bark scrapings (see birch bark note below), spanish moss,
cotton, charred cotton, wax-impregnated sawdust, steel wool, commercial
fire starters, etc.
3 - Set up a display of various fire-starting tools (matches, cigarette
lighter [shudder], flint and steel, fire-bow, magnifying glass, battery
and steel wool, magnesium fire stick, etc).
4 - Put a 3x5 card by each item above with name / description to help
students identify each fire lay, tool, etc.
5 - Have on hand a fire pan (an old metal garbage can lid works) and
explain it's ecological (and, sometimes, legally required) purpose.
5 - Now, the toughie - demonstrate building a fire without matches using
two methods (I use battery and steel wool and either fire-bow or flint
and steel). Do this on your fire pan. Prepare with practice and use
very reliable tinder (I like birch bark scrapings).
6 - The trick is to get all this done in the time allocated (15 minutes,
I think), but I always get positive comments from the students.
7 - Later on, your course should have some round-robin patrol games. I
have each patrol build a fire using flint and steel with steel wool
tinder. They are required to burn a string 15-18 inches above the
ground. The fastest patrol gets a trinket for their flag. You'll be
surprised at how many patrols succeed.
Note on birch bark: The best birch bark is fresh (off a live tree), so
find a tree that has been recently harvested. It'll have more flammable
resins - the stuff the makes it burn easily. Never take bark off a live
tree unless required for a real survival situation. I like to pull a
strip of bark out of a cup of water and hold a match to it. That shows
the students how good it really is for wilderness fire-starting. As for
the scrapings mentioned above, use your knife to scrape powder off the
bark. Once again, live bark is best, so find a recently logged birch
(unless your life is in danger) you can scrape. This stuff will take a
spark very nicely -- it almost burns as easily as kerosene!
Blaine S Nay, NL7EL, Silverdale, Washington, USA
Scouting for some 30 years...and a good ol' buffalo too (SE-350-83)!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City