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Tap Out Ceremonies

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What has happened to them? My son just signed up and when I asked if they had OA Tap Out Ceremonies at camp I got a dumb look and was asked to explain. In PC Bethesda, MD they said it was tantamount to hazing.

 

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We have them here in Longhorn Council in the Fort Worth, Texas area. They have done it at both the district spring camporee and summer camp (for those who missed the camporee) for the couple of years I have been an adult in scouts.

 

Brad

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When I was a boy scout in Missouri we called it "tapping out" and it was done at summer camp. Our lodge ran ordeals at summer camp, and then later once a year in the fall after summer camp was over.

 

In the two councils in which I have been a scouter in California as an adult, things are done differently. First of all, it is now a "calling out," not a "tapping out," for a variety of reasons. No physical contact between candidates and those doing the calling out is either permitted, expected, or necessary. Both lodges with which I have been affiliated as an adult do their calling out ceremonies at the chapter (district) level at camporees in the spring. The ordeal cycle begins in early summer preparing the camps for the season, and more than one opportunity for an ordeal is afforded to candidates. I think that this is the way most OA lodges operate today.

 

Hazing is prohibited within scouting, and that also applies to OA. It is very easy for youth OA members to lapse into something that may be construed as hazing without proper adult supervision. In today's environment physical contact of any kind may be suspect, and thus is generally avoided.

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I'm living in Bowie...If NCAC believes this to be hazing...Well, lets just say I'm disgusted by the PC group. Hang in there.

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I feel I need to clarify...

 

This is the tap out ceremony where an OA member taps the shoulder of an OA candidate, right?

 

If so, I'm at a loss as to how this could be construed as hazing. I believe in protecting our kids from cruel ceremonies, but I don't see it. Maybe I haven't been exposed to it enough, but from what I've witnessed, it's harmless.

 

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We have them here in Longhorn Council in the Fort Worth, Texas areaWell thats great to hear! The condescending look I received trying to explain the thrill of the ceremony was equal to that of some kind of child beater. I thought they were stopped due to some inane political correctness. My sons scoutmaster grew up in this area and never heard of it, I guess it must be a regional practice. Im looking forward to the next meeting to verify that its still practiced and Im not some kind of weirdo for mentioning it.

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When I was a boy scout in Missouri we called it "tapping out"Same here, I was in 302 out of St. Louis. We went to Famous Eagle.

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One of the reasons that OA, as a matter of national policy, no longer "taps out" is to reserve tapping for other occasions.

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Ours went like this. At camp on Thursday night, we would line up along the lakeshore standing shoulder to shoulder, backs to the woods and our troop leaders standing behind. Camp councilors in full Indian dress and war paint, carrying a torch would run up and down the shore stopping when signaled. The signal was a hand over the head of the inductee. The Indian would stop, usually in front of the scout, breathing hard and staring into your eyes. The tap out consisted of a cupped hand, for maximum sound effect, hitting above the breast and over the shoulder. Although the hit didnt hurt, thus constituting a tap, the sound could be heard echoing off the lake up and down the line. The sound was awesome. After the tap, you were pulled from behind, instructed to be silent and to go back to camp and get your sleeping bag The sound is a big part of what made it special, surreal and a memory one carries his whole life. IMHO

 

 

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We still have the ceremony here ni Massachusetts, at least in our Council. Like others, it's not called a "tap out" ceremony anymore, it's called a "call out" ceremony.

 

When I was inducted into the OA, the ceremony was still a "tap out". But at that time, things were getting just a little out of hand. The "Indians" doing the actual "tap out" would strike the candidate with open palm, in the center of the chest, usually with enough force to cause the candidate to fall backwards some. Thus, the "catcher" was always behind the candidate, stepping in just after the "Indian" recognized the open hand signal given by another over the head. The catcher would then lead the candidate away.

 

I remember the force of the "hit" being one of significant force that, while not intentionally hurtful, could, and did, become one of showing a boys "manliness" by how much force one could put out, and how much the other could accept. Kids will be kids, and this clearly was getting out of hand. The "tap" on the shoulder was never part of our ceremony. When the rules governing child abuse became widely known and accepted, the practice was dropped. Today, the "Indian" stops before the candidate, turns to face him, and "snaps" an OA sash before him holding both ends to make a loud snapping sound. No physical contact is allowed.

 

It's sad but true. Kids will be kids, and many adult leaders forget that kids will push the limits until they're told otherwise. There have been injuries. Unless we, as adult leaders, make it our business to remember that KIDS WILL BE KIDS, and they'll push the limits when we're not watching, things will go wrong. That's why we counsel and guide. If we fail to perform that function, we're doing the kids and ourselves no favors. And when we don't counsel and guide, and things get out of hand, the "good things" that we remember are subject to being called into question when someone gets hurt.

 

I also remember the ceremony beginning with a flaming arrow being shot into the air, out over the lake, landing in the water with a sound, and then the "tribe" coming forth across the lake in canoes to conduct the ceremony. They returned afterwards in the same fashion. It was all very spectacular, and the kids did a marvelous job.

 

All of this became something of the past when the PC crowd, who didn't know squat about Scouting began to question some of the practices. I find myself standing right beside Rooster in my opinion of the PC crowd these days. BUT....we can be our own worst enemy, if we give that group ammunition, all by ourselves. As the President said of the state of our nation, we must be vigilant. And in Scouting, we can't sit on the sidelines and "hope" the kids do things the right way. We must be vigilant also, and show them the way.

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jmcquillan,

 

Thanks for your response. It makes several good points. My initial response to this thread was a little bit of a knee jerk (which is often the case for me). I had just debated some folks at another site about whether or not the Cub Scout's Bobcat ceremony constituted hazing. This is the ceremony in which two adults turn the boys upside-down while his parents pin the badge on his shirt. I have a strong opinion about that one as well, but that's another discussion. Nevertheless, after I spoke to my wife, she was able to point something out to me that I had not thought of before. In some OA tap out ceremonies, the boys are subjected to a rather embarrassing and potentially hurtful moment. I have seen similar ceremonies performed at summer camps and large campouts. All of the potential candidates stand up while the OA Indian runs around, "tapping out" the new candidates. Eventually, all of the candidates are standing up front, while those not chosen are left standing in the audience. This humiliation is enhanced when the "chosen" greatly out number the "un-chosen". When the ceremony is performed this way, it is not in the spirit of Scouting. I must agree that it is not appropriate. However, there are ways to perform the tap out ceremony in which it is not hurtful (physically or emotionally) and creates a positive lasting impression.

 

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What an incredibly inappropriate and unscoutlike username for someone who is supposed to be an example to kids.

 

A scout is courteous. I don't think cheap insults qualify.

 

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Although the Clintons are near the top of my list of politicians that need to go away, I do not appreciate reading the username that initiated this thread.

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I concur with those who object to the user name of the originator of this thread. They are much quicker that I was. I too agree with the sentiment expressed by the name, but this is not the place for that sort of thing. Please re-register with another more appropriate user name. I think you have much to offer the forum.

 

Coming back to the subject at hand, the descriptions of tap out ceremonies provided by other posters are similar to the tap outs I experienced, as a tappee and overseer, as a scout. I think that a sharp blow to the chest is extremely inappropriate as the potential for real harm exists. What if the candidate is an adult or scout with a weaker heart? Anybody want to risk creating a situation where CPR becomes necessary?

 

I think a ceremony where the names are read out is sufficient.

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