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SctDad

Snipe Hunting

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I haven't seen a snipe hunt since my troop tried it on me when I was a New Scout. Problem for them was that I knew it was a ridiculous prank and didn't fall for it.

 

On the other hand, we DID send a new scout out looking for the left-handed smoke shifter at my second summer camp. I think the third or fourth troop he encountered offered to trade for the bacon stretcher across camp. He came back empty-handed after an hour and a half or thereabouts. I think he visited every troop in camp and even some staff but he took it in good humor.

 

Personally, I think it was a rite of passage that really didn't harm him (sure wasn't as bad for him as them pulling down my tent and dumping water on me in the middle of the night on MY first summer camp) but it wasn't necessary to the program.

 

What I do is periodically tell the boys there's a difference between good-humored pranks and hazing and to think about whether their "prank" will harm anything or make someone feel bad. Learning both how to take it and when/how to conduct it so no feelings are hurt is an important element of growing up.(This message has been edited by HICO_Eagle)

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This brings back memories. I was a "victim" of the shore line one. Knew what is was, but went straight to the waterfront with a bucket, and got 50 feet of shoreline. They never said how wide it had to be, just 50' of it ;)

 

As for the Royal Order of Siam, a group of guys at PDL-1 did that to the pros who were never part of Scouting for the camping portion. The national folks chewed everyone who knew that skit a new one for that joke. Most of the folks involved had a good laugh, but two or three were ticked.

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What the heck, its been a year

 

It was a long time ago, in a place far far away, well, actually Chicago area, about 1965 or so. I was a bright young scout, really Gung Ho. I thought being a scout was the bestest thing in the whole world, I was part of the World Brotherhood of Scouting, it was the 60's and love was around us.

 

On one summer campout, we drove for what seemed like hours. We got to the campsite and set up. The Troop used an Army surplus 16X16, that thing was huge, and it was heavy and we all loved it. It was so big the entire Troop slept in it. The cooler older guys on one side and us other guys on the other. After the tent was up and the gear stowed, Charlie, the SPL came over and told me he needed my help. I was in like 7th heaven. Charlie was like a god to us younger scouts, he had his license and his own car. It was a 57-58 Chevy, it was painted candy apple red and roared like a jet, that car was cool. Rumor was he shaved everyday and had a girl friend. He had muscles and was talking about joining the Army. I fairly floated as we walked over to the group of older cooler scouts. Finally I was going to be part of the in crowd.

 

Then I was informed I was to be the bag man on a snipe hunt. It was simple, all I had to do was stand on the Snipe trail and hold the bag open and the Snipe would run straight into it. Now, wait I said, I know what a Snipe hunt is, and I am not going to do it. I felt a lot let down that Charlie thought I was stupid enough to fall for a gag like that. So then Charlie says, well, you are right, but you know, Snipes are birds (As Ed is sure to point out)and we happened to have driven into where they live. So badly did I want to be a member of the "Inner Sanctum" that I bought it. I went out and held the bag, and held it, and held it and held it. Well, back at camp the older scouts sure were having a party at my expense, they had this kid who knew about Snipe Hunts out on a Snipe Hunt, it was glorious. The adults on the trip knew what was going on, and reminded them that I was supposed to be brought back to camp about 1 am if I didnt show up first.

 

Back at the Snipe Trail I stood, bag open. I knew Snipes were rare birds and figured we had driven long enough to get in their range. I waited, and waited. Along about dawn I figured I had waited long enough. Seems the older scouts got their signals crossed and everyone thought someone else would get me, but nobody did. I got back to camp as breakfast was being made, and when I was spotted, the whole camp cheered, laughed and hooted. I was not having a fun time. I remember thinking, remember this moment, remember how hot your cheeks feel, how angry you are, you are never ever going to feel this way again, I must admit had I means to physically harm Charlie, I may have availed myself of the opportunity. A few months later it was the Fall Camporee. Charlie again asked me for some help. I asked him what, I was more than a little suspicious of anything he said at this point. He told me he needed the Camps Canon Report. It has the schedule of the Camporee on it and it was floating around the camp and people would get it, copy it down and pass it on. So, after being assured it was real, I made him say "scout's honor" I went off.

 

Gol dang it if every troop I visited had just had it but passed it along minutes before I got there. I went to over 10 troops before a kindly old scoutmaster who knew my dad from work asked me if I had ever been on a Snipe Hunt. I almost fainted. The rage, anger, fear, humiliation just ran through me like an electric shock. He had done it to me again. I walked back to camp, slinked actually, imagining all who saw me were laughing behind my back, pointing me out as that absolute and complete idiot, first he falls for a Snipe Hunt and then he beleives the Snipe Hunt guy and looks for the Canon Report. When I got back to camp, I walked up to Charlie and told him I was sorry, but I didnt get it, but I would go after it first thing in the morning. I never did go after it and I never talked to Charlie again. I never did anything he said and completely blocked him and all his older buddies out. I had learned never, ever to trust what a boy leader said because they were out to get me. I resolved that they did not exist in my world. As time went on, I made sure that no other scout ever went through what I did. I would tell all the new scouts about snipe hunts and canon reports and left handed smoke shifter, 50 ft of shoreline and all that. I told them if anyone asked them to do anything that didnt sound right, to ask me first. I had a few angry older scouts, but I didnt care and I was getting big enough that nobody retaliated. I eventually was elected Senior Patrol Leader because the scouts knew I would not betray them.

 

 

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I have seen that story some where before. I think at the beginning of the thread. Anyway. Practical jokes are all a matter how far leadership lets it go. Also some one needs to make sure that everyone is safe and accounted for.

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Taking OGE's story one step further. While driving to an event last spring I glanced out into a field and made the comment, "Well, I see the farmer's got his summer cows out in the field finally." My boys, suspected a prank but didn't bite. About 15 minutes later one of the boys, (not even knowing the prank) chimed in, "Neat, more summer cows over here." Again no one said anything. I could sense the tension in the boys, all wanting to spring the prank, but not having the nerve. Finally the SPL couldn't take it anymore spoke up and asked how I knew they were summer cows. I chuckled and said, "Summer brown, summer black, summer white".

 

No one got hurt, only one boy was willing to risk embarrassment, but they all laughed together when they finally found out the joke. Did I lose credibitity? Did I lose respect? Did the boys not trust me after that? Did we all have fun? These are all questions that have to be asked to make sure the prank was not harassment.

 

Well, now that they had all been duped, they can play it on the next guy. When we got to camp and the boys were setting up the tents, the SPL commented to some of the other boys, "Well, spring sure is great, the summer squirrels are finally out and about." No one said a thing, but the ball was rolling again. Surely if the SPL had thought for one moment such a prank would detract from his credibility, reduce his respect among the others he wouldn't go out on a limb and make the same mistake the SM made. It was amazing how straight faced his patrol members held while the prank sank into the new guys. There was a common respect that no one was going to jump in and ruin the joke because the SPL had earned the opportunity to play the prank having taken the bait in the van.

 

By the way, I fell for the prank full force when I first heard it too! Did I feel dumb? Yep, 100% dumb! But it's a great prank for those who have the patience to let it play itself out.

 

OGE's problem would have been that no joke is allowed to go on for more than 15 minutes. If my SPL pulled an all night joke on the new kid, there would be hell to pay the next morning. If Charlie would have been my SPL, he'd be demoted for the weekend and the new boy would take his place. Need firewood? Check with the new SPL, I think he's got someone in mind for the job. Need water? Check with the new SPL. If Charlie wanted his SPL position back on Monday, he had better toe the line and do his penitance after a very sincere apology to the new boy.

 

Stosh

 

Stosh

 

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Well the new scouts in my old troop knew to expect some shenanigans Nothing bad was intended, and the new guys did get the chance to get back at the odler ones, heck some of the older ones who were part of the hijinks on the younger ones also got themselves as well. especially when talk went ot pranks in the past.

 

I think that whoever posted some rules had a good idea. That does help and makes sure no one gets out of line.

 

As for me, yep I was a victim of the shoreline. I also got back at the SPL by tricking him into letting me use the camp phone to call home ;)

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I think that the whole concept of practical jokes has a long history. I had some tried on me while I was in the military. They sent me to find some chemlight batteries. So I went to supply and met with a supply clerk and filled him in. We sat outside cutting apart chemlights and pulling out the little glass pellets and putting them in a little box. We made a label and packaged it all nice. I got a 4 hours break from motorpool duty and the joke was on them.

 

Practical jokes, including snipe hunting, are a method or showing acceptance. My family and I have always gone with the theory, if I did not like you I would not pick on you. Things are getting out of hand these days when we over protect our kids from EVERYTHING. I remember a day when there were tryouts for sports teams. The best players were chosen. If you were cut, then you practiced and tries again next year.

 

Practical jokes can be fun. Even if you are looking for a tent stretcher. (Yeah, I was going around the camporee area in maine looking for one of these)

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Have seen a number of versions of the bacon stretcher. The ones I like the best are the rubber band type that crank around a spindle. I have been known to take a boy's hat and put it in his left hand and fan the fire to solve the smoke shifter problem. Agree that much of the concern is way overblown. As long as no one is physically hurt or endangered, most of these things are simply fun for all, and part of being accepted into the group, as has been noted.

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I was gonna start a new thread, but couldn't get the spin off function to work from Snipe Hunt...

 

Jblake47's "summer cows" gag reminded me that what I call "join 'em jokes" can be a means to help include folks (both young and not so) in the group.

 

This one is done VOCALLY but must be understood ALPHABETICALLY, if you see what I mean. You start off with one example, and if anyone else knows the rule, they chime in. Others try out new examples and as they figure it out, presto! You have a new member of the club!:

 

>> Silly Sally wears boots but not shoes.

 

>> Silly Sally loves bannanas but hates pears. Likes apples, too.

 

>> Her brother, Happy Harry, goes swimming but doesn't dive.

 

>> Happy Harry goes jogging and running but never walks.

 

>> They both adore balloons and spoons but not toys.

 

 

Any More out there?

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I am positive there are plenty of things that celebrate being a member of the "in crowd" and those in the know. I guess its the elites job to be sure the stupid, ignorant, sub-human slime know their position in the order of life and things like this are just simple reminders of everyone's status.

 

Party on

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There's always a balance that must be kept between humor and harassment. Even in serious situations, I have found that a little humor at everyone's expense can go a long way to defuse the situation.

 

Whenever I get a boy that is homesick they get the standard answers from me such as: "Homesick? I'm homesick too! That's why I'm here, I'm sick of home, too." Or: "Sorry you can't go home, your mom rented your room out for the week." That one always gets a smile. If that doesn't work the "Your mom and dad paid good money to get rid of you for the week, I wouldn't want to disappoint them and have to give them a refund if you leave early." This opens the door for more serious discussion of their feelings. If the boys are complaining about their food they get the: "Who made the menu? If it was me, I'd make sure I did it next time." or "Maybe you should go over to the troop next door to see if they have anything better."

 

Many of the new boys pick up on these comments as intended and it opens the door for further discussion in a more relaxed venue. Does that mean I'm hazing the new kids? They don't seem to think so. What humors me is when the boy comes to me and is homesick and I drop one of these lines on them, sometimes I get the: "Yeah, yeah, that's what my patrol leader said, too!" By that time, we're both laughing pretty good.

 

Yes, I have had the occasional joke get to a sensitive boy and he's come to complain. By reinforcing the rules and assuring the boy that you too had this pulled on you when you were young and how dumb you felt, it assures them that it's a survivable situation. I also remind them that now that someone's pulled it on them, they can wait until next year and pull it on the next kid, but remind them that those new boys may feel bad about it like they did. If they do pull the stunt, they tend to be more sensitive when they do it.

 

I find it does a lot to build commradarie rather than break it down if done in a spirit of fun rather than meanness. My boys can tell the difference and assure the newbies that they are now part of a fun, but caring group.

 

On a canoe trip a few years back, I was with a new boy in the front of my canoe. I've never tipped my canoe after many years of whitewater canoeing with the boys. Well, we got into trouble and we were swept out of the canoe by a branch. (I really rolled the canoe to make sure he didn't get pinned). He came up crying and I thought he was hurt, but he was crying because he had ruined my perfect record. I assured him that it wasn't his fault and the only reason he was in the canoe was to be ballast and hold down the front of my canoe. I told him he made a great box of rocks. Well Box O'Rocks is still his name to this date. Once I called him by his real first name and he reminded me his name was Box O'Rocks. I never made that mistake again. :-)

 

Stosh

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I tried to spin this off as a seperate thread, but non-function and too many "error" messages.

 

 

Jblake's "summer Cows" put me in mind of the idea that what I call "joining jokes" are a good way to include folks in the group. Here's one that you do VOCALLY but has to be understood ALPHABETICALLY...

The leader says the 'truism' and as folks figure out or know the 'rule' used, they join in and add more...

Here goes...

 

>>Silly Sally wears boots but not shoes.

>>Silly Sally loves apples and bannanas but not pears.

>> Her brother, Happy Harry, goes swimming and running, but never dives or walks.

>> For his Nature Merit Badge, he studied Loons and Moose and Deer and Rabbits, but no Beavers or Skunks or Gophers. He sleeps deeply, but never naps.

 

Any more???

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