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Chippewa29

Left Handed Smoke Shifter

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No, the adult leaders didnt know, they had sent us poorsuckers off with the older scouts and the routine was the older scouts were supposed to round up the laggards before retiring. The adults went to sleep, trusting the guys would get us. For some reason the older guys wanted to see how long I would hold out, well they fell asleep, I didnt. In the morning the adults laughed at both me for staying up and at the older scouts for falling asleep.

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Just a question OGE.

What do you think your reaction would have been if they didn't keep you out all night and had brought you back in?

 

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Interestng Question,

 

I would have resented that people I trusted would do something that would embarass me just so they could laugh at me. It was the misuse of trust that was the worst.

 

My point is this:

 

Whether it is only for a short period of time or not, making someone the butt of a joke, the object of entertainment through discomfort, without the consent of the "victim" is wrong.

 

I told my story so you all would see why I am so vehement on this suject. I made my peace with this event by making sure others wouldnt have the same experience.

 

Now, as soon as I can collect the group hug sctmom prescribed, all duly authorized that it will be totally Platonic and everyone signs off that they allowed the physical contact and I can get it notarized (tipping hat to Rooster) I will be done with this subject.

 

 

 

 

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Pulling pranks on new guys is a de faco initiation.

 

I guess what I am getting at is would you have had such a negative reaction if it were handled differently.

 

When I was a scout we played pranks on each other all the time. After one prank almost went horribly bad we decided on a clear cut code of who and what you could or could not do. It seemed to work.

 

It is my experience that practical jokes are a pandoras box that once opened WILL escalate exponentially and very soon someone will get hurt either physically or emotionally because they are trying to "one-up" the last prank.

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I dont know how I would have handled it had it been differently, I only have my experience to go on.

 

But you understand my point, if people know whats comming, ala Chippewa's posting, and the rules are followed its great. Its the escalation part that causes problems.

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OGE's humiliating snipe story has brought to mind one or two incidents from my own childhood that I'd just as soon erase if I could. Kids, and consenting adults, can be very mean.

 

I did have a pleasant memory of a going on a snipe hunt however. The adults induced our entire group of kids to go out on the hunt. After about an hour they called us all back and after talking about it for awhile we realized that we were duped. We had fun though, talking about the adventure of looking, and of "hearing" snipes in the bushes. Some of us even "saw" some. This was fun because WE ALL DID IT TOGETHER. And because WE ALL DID IT TOGETHER, and the wise adults didn't let it go too far, there was no humiliation.

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I've really found interesting the many comments and stories concerning this important subject. The "victim defined" statement I mentioned, was from a corporate training session during a time that my company was dealing with many cases of harrassment. It went overboard, but the point was made. You've got to be careful in what you say, and what your actions are. All of the prior comments remind me of the evolution of Scouting families over the last 30 years or so. Scout Troops have had to change, and it is still a matter of opinion, setting limits, defining parameters, using common sense, and as adult leaders, conveying these "ideals" of Scouting in a way that the youth leaders understand the importance. If the younger Scouts don't feel commfortable with the Troop and its program, they simply quit. Once that happens, you don't get them back. Call it "thin skinned" if you wish, but there are just too many other options for a young man to get involved in, and frankly, we're fighting to keep all of our Scouts. Our Pack hasn't graduated a Webolos for three years. Those issues are being worked, and it's another story, but we have a fantastic program. Onward......

 

I'm done, and wish all of you a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.

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OGE,

Sorry I took a while to respond, my computer has had a virus and it took me a while to get it "feeling better.

 

You're right, we do usually agreee on things, bit I'm afraid we don't here. I do agree that sometimes things are carried way too far, and young boys feelings and self esteem can potentially be hurt. This is where the Scout Leaders come in. I do not let any joke, skit, song, run-on, etc occur at any Pack function that isn't screened by me personally. I do it myself because other leaders have let things go that I do not feel are appropriate for Cub Scouts. And things that aren't necessarily appropriate can be re-arranged to make them OK.

 

Practical jokes are, in my opinion, fun. Our Pack has not really gotten into that kind of thing, but I anticipate them as my son moves into Boy Scouts. I feel a sense of humor is very important, and if my son can't take a joke, then I'm not doing my job. I do agree that jokes can be taken too far and that's where the trouble come in. It is the Leaders job to make sure everyone is treated equally and no one becomes the "automatic" vicitm.

 

Sorry OGE, I'm looking forward to watching my son go look for 50 feet of shoreline and seeing his reaction when he realizes it was a joke.

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My sentiments exactly. Humor is part of what makes the world go 'round, and it certainly helps Scouting go 'round. It can, however, go too far, and that's where good adult leaders come in. They know when things are about to go too far before they happen.

 

We, as adult leaders, need to allow our Scouts to have fun with each other so long as they don't turn it into something ugly or personal. Sending someone to the next campsite for a left-handed smoke bender or to the waterfront for shoreline are both classic, harmless jokes that, done in the proper spirit, will allow everyone to have a good laugh around the campfire. A Troop that has fun (keyword - fun)together will be a stronger Troop.

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This thread from a few months ago dealt with snipe and hazing and such. Seems apropos to other current threads.

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WE seem to have taken the idea that all practical jokes are evil. We have embraced a culture of everyone is a victim. My policy in the troop is some practical jokes are ok as long as the go through me. I have quite a expeirnce of Jokes so if some of the ones proposed are to mean I offer a replacement. You can think of me as a PJ cop.

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Pardon my late entry into this fray, but on the original topic of smoke-shifters, I have this addition. As a leader of another troop years ago, we turned this one around. We actually had a smoke-shifter. We built one out of some sheet metal dryer ductwork.

 

When a Scout from another troop would come to us asking for a smoke shifter (left or right) we would pull this contraption out and send him back to his troop with it. It had a swivel elbow and we explained to him that he could swivel it left or right to suit the need. It also had a small battery operated fan in the duct, with an on/off switch. We also told him to come back with it after presenting it at his camp.

 

The reaction and look on his leader's or his troop's "experienced" scouts faces when he walked into his camp with it was always precious. (We'd follow him back to his camp at a distance and be near his camp when he returned with it, so we could watch the reaction)

 

When he returned to our camp, if he had not already figured it out, we would explain how he had just turned the tables on his troop. We would also take a few minutes to explain that the whole thing was in good humor, to view it as such, and go on with life as these things would happen throughout his life. How someone handles these things, when not malicious, is a reflection on one's self. Those who can't in good humor laugh at themselves occasionally, live a much too serious life.

 

Made a lot of friends with new scouts this way and every time I would see one of them at another event, they would usually say "Hey" and ask if I remembered them. If not, they would relate the story and we'd have a good chuckle together. Also made friends with other leaders who were able to laugh at themselves when they were "outdone" by one of their scouts.

 

Over the years we also came up with sky hooks and a few other "inventions" and used them the same way.

 

I guess the bottom line for me is to keep things in their proper perspective. If it's in good humor - keep it in good humor. Malicious, as in some snipe hunts or other "wild goose chases" I've seen in other troops, or when the good humor is no longer good humor, stop it quickly and turn it into a lesson. Sometimes this lesson is simply that people are different and that good humor to one, is bad humor to another - learn to recognize the difference.

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Chippewa29, Back to your original question: Without a lot of debate, these were used in the past. Canvas coolant (for tents, watchout a smart scout will bring back water); a box of grid squares, a "TR-double E" (Tree); metric cresent wrench; 50 feet of flight line; liguid squelch; right handed pipe wrench; also seen where a scout was told to bend a light stick a second time to turn it off. I think are right up there with the snake rope. Putting a rope around your area to keep them out. Caution: When using any of these "know your audience", only good for one-time use. A whoopie cushion can bring memories of "Blazing Saddles Campfire/Bean Scene" that are all too familiar with troops.

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