matto

Age limit at blacksmith group meetings

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For all of you that are in a blacksmithing group what is the starting age that you allow at a meeting or a hammer inn.  5,10,16.... Assuming that the younger are with a parent or guardian.  a group near me is having a problem with this and I am looking for what other groups allow.  

MattO

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A person under the age of 18 can NOT be held legally responsible so nothing they sign is binding. A notarized parent's signature would be a legal minimum. I get really jumpy if someone is under 16 and don't have a parent on site.

That's me and my court TV understanding of the law. If you want good legal advice talk to a lawyer.

Frosty The Lucky.

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At home, I have anyone under 18 accompanied by adult family member.  Our local group has a member that also brings his children, the youngest is 6, and the little guy forges well as any beginner. in period some apprenticeships started at 7 yr.

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I like what all are saying.  A little info on why the question, a guild in town that works out of a museum shop had a great and very disciplined 10 year old that was always with his dad and been going to meetings and open forges for 5 months get kicked out because he was under the 16 year age limit that was set after he had already been going for three or four months.  I am tring to get others input to help the director of the museum find out what other group do. 

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In our group, anyone under 18 y.o. must have an accompanying adult (over 18) attend with him/her.  No minimum age limit to my knowledge.  If they can hold a hammer, let 'em at it!!!

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That is more of what is thought.  I think the biggest thing is the fact that there is a responsible adult there to help keep track of the younger kid.  We are not baby sitters and you can get hurt or die.  

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I say, if the kid is disciplined and knows what they are doing, don't make the parents stay there for the entire time. If you can trust them just like you can trust anyone else, age shouldn't mean a thing. A good idea might to be to have a separate membership form for minors that the parents sign a waiver stating that the group is not responsible for anything that happens to their child. I don't know much about blacksmith groups, but maybe this will help.

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Carver, it's not a matter of trust.  It's a matter of safety, responsibility and liability.  If the minor is somehow involved in an accident, the responsible adult needs to be present.  We don't allow unattended minors under any circumstances.  If the adult leaves the meeting, they need to take the youngster with them or have him/her stay away from any blacksmithing activities with another responsible adult present to represent the parent/guardian.

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if the young INDIVIDUAL is acting responsibility and wants to learn, normally he is encouraged. The parent or guardian MUST be responsible and within arms reach in case anything should happen, or the young individual has a lapse in interest (for instance must put the fire out before you leave the forge) to get a drink, and or wants to wonder off. The young individual needs a drink, then take them with the adult, or appoint an adult to watch them. NEVER leave the young individual unattended at any time.

I have personally seen young lads at the age of 6 (six) years old that could be trusted working at a forge. By age 9 (nine) they were teaching adults about blacksmithing. We have had early teens on IForgeIron that worked at a forge and by adults were working their own blacksmithing business.

FC, I disagree. The young individual IS NOT a responsible party. They do not have the life experiences and can not see pinch points, weight hazards, hot dangers, fire dangers, other dangers, etc that could harm them. Yes they can grow up and become trusted but that would depend on the young individual. The parent or guardian MUST be present for the protection of the group or organization.

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I took my then 11 year old to the CBA annual conference last spring and got permission beforehand.  I figured the trip was for him, not me, so we did what he wanted and I stayed with him the whole time.  While there we saw a family with 3 kids, the oldest about his age who had set up a forge where they tended to stay and work.  I think its incredibly valuable for him to have some special skill that he has and that he can be proud of.  Half the boys in his class can reach level 18 in the video game of the year but he's the only one who can work hot metal.

At home, I've had parents drop off their kids and come back for them.  I'm careful to only invite kids who are mature and will listen.

I don't know what the legal issues would be in terms of supervision and so on.  I do my best to select who I'll allow, I limit it to 2 kids at a time, I never step away, I make sure they're always wearing the safety gear.  At some point, you just do the best you can and then live with the risk.

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FC I am with Glenn. A youth is not legally responsible and someone has to be responsible for them. I am a board member for a blacksmith association and we have went around in circles for months on this issue. On an individual basis as long as someone is responsible it can be a good thing. Thing is someone some way is responsible. Note I am also the blacksmith co-ordinator (in other words head blacksmith) at an outdoor survival school, where we do teach youth blacksmithing. I believe in teaching them these skills. In an organization whether where I teach or where I am a board member there is supervision and responsibility for them. The responsibility is not just lightly passed off to whoever happens to be in the building and of age.

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The VERY BEST way for a individual to learn is for that individual to be interested and be given the opportunity to learn. The VERY BEST pupil to teacher ratio is ONE TO ONE. The VERY BEST learning situation is to put the individual with those that know what they are doing, have actually done it, and want to pass the information on to the next generation.

Put two kids together and there is NO information to share, both are uninformed or misinformed. Put the same kid in a group of adults and the kid must behave and act as an adult, and they will do just that. The adults will figure out real fast if the kid wants to learn and will assist him by letting the kid guide the activity with his interest in the craft. If the kid smarts off once, it is game over and the adults walk away. No extra life button, no second chance, as it is a REAL LIFE situation.

Farm kids do amazing things are very early ages. They EARN the trust and respect of the adults and are given privileges only AFTER THEY EARN the privileges. They can drive a quarter million dollar combine well before they can get a drivers license. They can take care of the farm when the adults are away to town or for even days at a time.

Today we have a different generation of children. They want all the perks with no investment on their part. They expect a do-over button that has unlimited do-overs and unlimited new lives in case they make mistakes.

To get back to the OP, it is NOT the kid that is the problem. They want to learn. It is the club, group, or organization, that needs protection from the parent or guardian when they do not want to take any responsibility for the kids they look after.  Little Johnny grabs the hot end of the iron and the parents want to bring suit because they see easy money. It is the club, group, or organization that pays, whether they win or not. The original concept is how to minimize that danger to the club, group, or organization while still encouraging the kid.

 

 

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Thanks to all that have had a voice in this.  The kids are the future of our craft!! If we can't interest and teach them the craft will die. 

Do any groups have an age limit in their by-laws?

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The museum Director in this case was most likely looking at his liability Ins. and may have had input from the company and they are the Chicken Little's of the world today.  Question also is does the Director know anything about young people, any direct contact?

Age is an arbitrary idea, some 10 yr olds act and function like they were 16 and some 18 yr olds act like they are a poor 10.  In a similar but different setting I was a Hunter  Safety/ Firearms safety instructor for the F & G depart. of our state for 25 yrs and we had a 10 yr limit to start but we were notified by the AG's office that state law did not set a  min. age for a license but we did not have to pass them if they didn't satisfy our testing and the state would stand behind us.  We had a number of 9 yr old pass but no one younger.  Our decisions were made on the level of "Would we take them hunting with us as they are?"  Problem being today most parents have no idea about hunting or Blacksmithing. 

One has to be careful that parents don't use you as a baby setting service, a one on one for the youngest would be safer than two kids together.  I would think for the benefit of every one the parent stay and be responsible for the kid until every one is comfortable with the outcome then a one on one decision is made to the future. 

As stated above the young people are the future of this hobby as well as the one I taught.  We can't afford to exclude them or I phones and I pods will rule their lived and the only thing exercised is their fingers.  Have to consider when does Soccer start kids, baseball, basketball?

5,6,7 yr. olds?  Some are certainly doing well with supervision and why not? and let the parents be informed as to the liability is their, a heart to heart talk would be more useful than just sliding a release form under their nose as their defense could be I Didn't understand.  Cover all the  bases then go for it.

 

 

 

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Let's see if this rely gets disappeared.

The museum director may not have had a choice, the museum charter may have stipulations about age and involvement in certain activities.

I've only accepted two youngsters at once on one occasion but required the legal guardian be present and she was the director of the program to advance "autistic" children into possible paying professions. I lit a fire and did a couple demo pieces, they didn't get to do any forging seeing as neither wore natural fibers like they were told.

It worked out fine, neither decided to become swordsmiths. One came back for a hands on session though with his mother and older brother in attendance.

I didn't have trouble talking to either young man, the only learning disability I noticed was being teenagers I set simple basic rules and expected them to follow them or stand outside and watch through the door. Both were careful to follow them closely, especially when I enforced the NO synthetics rule out of the gate.

Our club has been discussing insurance seeing as we're undergoing a growth spurt sufficient to up or meeting schedule from quarterly to bimonthly. Lots of new guys just breaking into the craft means lots of young men and some women with little if any shop skills.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Don't limit by age! Make everyone sign a disclaimer/waiver for them and their child. I have had the good fortune to have my youngest son attend Blacksmiths guild Meets, Plymouth Plantation and Mystic seaport classes and even NRA pistol courses from the time he was roughly 6 .I had to sign waivers BUT he had high interest in these activities and in each case the instructors made it quite clear IF he in any way disrupted the event we would both be TOLD not asked to leave! We constantly say "We need young blood to survive" Well that means letting young blood TRY! I've had bigger problems with 14 and older than with young kids ! It has to depend totally on each individual young person and the adult with them.

 

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I accepted 11 and 12 year old at the historical society blacksmith class. If a parent isn't taking the class a parent is on site.

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At the railway museum where I volunteer, kids can volunteer with a parents permission, and they take the safety course to work in the yard. There is a minimum age that they can operate a locomotive. If they get a parents permission to also work in the blacksmith shop, they can, but either I, or the other volunteer in the shop has the final word. As long as they listen, show some interest, and responsibility, all is well. If they don't show us all of the above, out they go

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I have had 9 year olds out perform the teenagers. I've also had even younger kids explain correctly to their peers what I was doing when they were going by, from small time exposures. What really makes me proud is some of my on going 10 year olds. Some of the time student tools get abused. I've had during demo's 10 year olds anticipate my need for a tool. Go through the can with the correct tool in it, select a better one, put goggles on and regrind the working and struck ends as needed, then bring me the tool. This is without my asking. That makes me PROUD to have taught them. Thinking about it brings a smile to my face right now and a tear to my eye. There are even some of the same students with a learning "Issue" or so who are ahead of older and actively help and advise the less experienced in spite of age, size, or other differences. On their own without my prompting.

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Again thanks for all the replys.  Our museum director is not the one with the age problem it is one of the groups that do a lot of the demos.  They are ok with some kids for something with the museum just not at club meetings.  

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As someone that has worked as a paid (and unpaid) Boy Scout summer camp counselor on and off since 1973, I will tell you that there is nothing that is impossible with willing youth and trained staff. Blacksmithing, high ropes, climbing & rapelling, whitewater, archery, rifles, shotguns, blackpowder rifles, tomahawks, you name it, I have done it.

The key is trained and responsible adults. You think you have liability problems, just think about what it takes to put a loaded gun in the hands of a teenager that you met 15 minutes ago. That is why we have a BSA National Camp School to identify, train and certify key individuals.

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Matto, you may want to call The Crucible in Oakland Ca.  They do a lot of hands on hot work and also have kids participating.  They could probably give you some information about how they handle liability and insurance issues.  They've been operating for about 20 years now.

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I'd also suggest that any formal organization--if the parent/guardian will NOT be present at all times--ensure that adults taking responsibility for youth be given appropriate training and have documented CORI (criminal background) checks to protect both the youth and the organization.  It is an unfortunate need in this litigious age of seemingly endless predator stories.

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