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grampye

Camp Pranks

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A sadness ...we are afraid of our own shadow...so we reduce "fun" to the least possible negative outcome...or zero!

 

Last true prank in our troop...about three years ago at summercamp...Acting SPL and Acting ASPL (both life scouts on their way to eagles) were having a difficult time with two of the older souts (both 14/15 Y.O. Stars on their way to life)...something about mouthing off and refusing to "join in the program". SPL and ASPL developed a plan and duct taped them in their sleeping bags to their cots...(nicely done while they were asleep...if I do say so myself)... took the boys about ten minutes to free themselves at sunrise (taping done just before sunrise) While the assembled troop watched an laughed... ASM "in charge" took SPL and ASPL aside an told them what they did while funny was on the edge and to not repeat the exercise again...Troop went on to have a wonderful summer camp and the ASM and all adults helping reported the SPL and ASPL (acting) were outstanding in their leadership and efforts to help their scouts succeed (both went on to be elected SPL/ASPLs)...

 

The week after summer camp the CC (at the time) started sending out emails about troop hazing and the penalties he would be enacting on the two scouts...troop policies he was putting in place etc...that darn near split the troop apart...The ASM in charge responded that he had handled the matter, the parents of the two "taped" scouts reported that infact, no long term physchologial damage was evident - no trembles or bed wetting...infact both boys reported they had the best time at summer camp ever! And moreover, they felt more a part of the team than they ever had before (though one dad did say his son seemed to have a new affection for duct tape....humm)

 

In any case, since then no pranks of any kind are/have been allowed on troop activities and "mudville" it seems has no joy...

 

A month ago, after an Eagle work project my youngest son, who dropped out of scouting last year (and was there working to support his old buddy),...when asked on the drive home if he missed being with his old scouting friends ...reported that the older scouts were telling him that the adults had taken all the fun out of Summer Camp and Seabase -seems like the boys think we couldn't let "boys be boys" anymore...and oh yes, the two duck taped scouts both Life ranked (and dads both ASMs) dropped out last year cause they weren't having fun...Adult leaders were just too strict...guess it bears thinking about and watching... humm?

 

Anarchist(This message has been edited by anarchist)

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MY personal rules on pranks.

Know your target.

Watch the prank unfold, if it goes wrong end it right then.

Never pull a prank you won't fess up to, including the SM, the camp director and your pastor.

Be ready to undo what ever the prank was, even if it takes all night.

 

Which means I think up a bunch of them, and most are never even talked about let alone done.

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Sense of humour, that is being able to see a funny side to even a dangerous or unpleasant situation, is of the highest value to a man in going through life.

 

I deplore the modern tendency to place "safety first" before all else. A certain amount of risk is necessary to life, a certain amount of taking risks is necessary to the prolongation of life. Scouts have to be prepared to encounter difficulties and dangers in life. We do not, therefore, want to make their training too soft.

 

"Safety first" is too readily adopted as a fetish and as a screen by the more timid and lazily inclined.

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It's a sad state of affairs when Boy Scouts can't have fun unless they're hammering on their fellow Scouts.

 

It's even sadder when adults worry too much about boys being boys. It seems when this happens, kids leave Scouting because one of the elements of fun has been removed.

 

Another rule of pranking - If you can't take it, don't dish it.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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"Adult leaders were just too strict...guess it bears thinking about and watching... humm?"

 

Sounds like my home troop. Our new leaders, well the majority of them are too "soft."

 

Luckily, I got to experience some cool ones on the Jamboree, who even pulled a nice little prank on our patrol, haha. Our patrol was just too lazy to open up, and cook the vegetables, so one day, when we were coming in for dinner, our Leader said that he knew how hard we had been working, and said he would cook for us. Haha, I should have known it was a prank. When we got back, he had taken some of the vegetables from each patrol, and put it in our serving dish, making us eat them before he gave us our main course (which wasnt much better).

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Here's an old one and a new one in the works at this moment.

Two years ago at summer camp we had a Pittsburgh troop in Outpost in the sites behind us. On Thur. night a few of their older scouts came over to our camp around midnight and started talking with some of our scouts. Before long, the ghillie suit from my earlier posting made a reappearance. The Pa. boys loved it. They asked if Dave would come over to their site for a prank. They had been telling ghost stories a little earlier and had just bedded down the younger scouts. Dave donned his suit and before their eyes vanished into the shadows. they took him to their site. Once there he went upto a tent and proceeded to shake it. At first the scouts inside would just call out a name of one of their other scouts that they thought was shaking the tent. After about the 3rd time one of the scout unzipped the fly and looked out. Of course Dave had backed up 10 feet and dropped to the ground and was invisible. The scout zipped up the tent back up. A few minutes later the tent was shaking again. After about 5 times one of the scouts got smart and the minute the tent started shaking he through open the zipper. Dave dropped to the ground only about 4 feet from the tent as the zipper came open. The scout looked out from under the fly only to see a pair of eyes staring back at him. He turn to get his tentmates attention yelling," I see its eyes. It's right infront of the door" In the 30 seconds it took him and his buds to look back ou the door, Dave had rolled about 5 feet to the left and there was nothing there. The other boys told the one to just go to sleep and stop exaggerating.

The next morning I went over to talk with their SM about a joint COPE Progam. He askedif we had had a visitor the night before. I told him no but had heard his troop had. One of the younger scouts came running up to tell me all about the night before. The SM and I sat there smiling doing all we could to keep from laughing as the boy retold the story for the umpteenth time that morning.

After the scout left us alone, I let the SM in on the gag.I asked if he wanted Dave to bring the suit over. He politely declined stating we would let the story go back to Pa. as the LEGEND OF 7 RANGES. While we were talking the older scouts came over wanting to know where Dave was. I told them he was napping in his hammock. Before we could say BOO they were gone. About 10 minutes later they came marching back into camp yelling, " look waht we found over in the field!!" Here they came carrying the THING from the night before. All you could see was all this grassy blob between the four of them. they were holding it at knee level. All the younger scouts came running to where we were. As the younger scouts gathered around, the four older ones let the thing drop with a thud. It lay there on the ground not moving. One of the younger ones asked "Can I kick it to see if its still alive?" With that Dave rolled over and said BOO. Everyone laughed. The younger ones couldn't beleive that someone had pulled one over on them and said it was the greatest gag ever.

 

#2. A little history first. The new SM was the year before Webelos leader who crossed over with his boy last spring.

Last weekend I attended this years crossover. Afterwards I met a few minutes with the boys and asked them to come uo with a patrol name for Mon. night. theyimmediately yelled The LLAMAS. With this their den leader, soon to be an ASM with me, stated "If you boys use that name the SM is surely going to quit"

The year that the SM went to WRC as den leader, the camp staff performed the LLAMA SONG to the delight of the boys. The boys liked the song so much that they drove Mr. A so crazy that he banned the word LLAMA. Things quieted down until spring just before crossover when the LLAMA thing reerupted. It took a few weeks to calm down again.

Now you know the history and the target who is good for a gag or two.

The soon to be new ASM and myself are having the boys make their new patrol flag at the troop open house this coming Mon. They're going to put a LLAMA on the flag. When Mr. A says " Oh no LLAMAS", the boys are to reply "LLAMAS? What are you talking about? They're ALPACAS."

GAG RULES:

If you dish it out, be able to take it when it's your turn.

Make sure the target is good for gags.

That the gags are harmless fun.

 

Hope you all enjoyed the stories.

LONGFELLOW. I love the Snipe story. Can you email me more specifics. I think we'll go snipe hunting this summer.

OGE, I hear your up for another Grammy. Something to do with LLAMAS.

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I'm pinching myself but I am being persuading by the last posts by Brent and Prairie. I am not abandoning safety and property damage concerns but as a person who (for a reasonably long life, now) has gleefully tickled the tail of the dragon at nearly every opportunity, I think there is a way to do this...but carefully.

As Prairie says, know your target. Actually, I think this is the place to eliminate most of the problem. Thoughtful choice of a target will identify all the risks thus allowing a priori risk management. For me this means, make sure all the risk is mine, if I am going to pull the prank. I personally do this by employing the 'tail of the dragon' metaphor. Don't target someone who is weak, vulnerable, or easily victimized. That is simply predatory behavior and there is neither skill nor fun associated with it. Target a dragon. Someone or something that really can threaten retaliation. Know how bad it can be. Decide if the thrill is worth potentially getting burned. Then sneak on up with an asbestos shield.

 

When I was a boy scout many decades ago, I now confess that I took pleasure at summer camp in doing this. I targeted the senior staff and upper echelons of the administration. My days were mostly spent in the rifle range because I am sunburned so easily. The range was an official NRA indoor range with real target .22s with target peep sights. It was heaven (Brent, sometime I want to learn more about that high-power event you mentioned).

At night, however, I did nature stuff. The first few nights of the first time at camp, I learned that skunks have very regular, predictable habits. And I learned their patterns in camp. And at the opportune time, I would figure out how to set one of those little 'bombs' off near (better under) the target cabin. There were so many risks to me I can hardly list all of them. Next morning the staff would all be laughing and kidding the target whose dour expression was just spectacular. My SPL and ASPL suspected something because in subsequent summers, before we went to camp, I would predict which staff member and approximately which night. But I never revealed the details. Needless to say, no one in my troop ever pranked me. And I never, ever got caught. Whew, I'm glad to finally get that weight off my chest.

 

Hey, wait a minute, this place has an administration....h'mmmm. Now to select a dragon, MUHH HA HA HA HA HA !

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Targets I think about are those who act arogant or obnoxious, proablem is this group seldom can take a joke so what ever you do should be rather minor and very short term.

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pranking someone because you yourself have been pranked makes no sense to me

 

Doesn't make much sense to me, either.

 

When you pull a prank, you do it because it's clever, novel, and humorous. Yah, sure, and because it's an indirect way to teach us all not to be too serious all the time, and to build friendships and community. :)

 

If yer doin' it just for reprisal or to pay it forward, yeh missed the point. Good reason why the humor-impaired shouldn't be involved in pranks on either end, eh?

 

(moved this back here to try to get pranking off the Fear thread, which I really meant to be about somethin' different)

 

Beavah

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And how many boys ages 12-18 know the difference?

 

Not that I disagree with you, Beavah. Actually, I think you have hit it on the head. My point was not that pranks are not fun. It is just that most young men have difficulty making the distinction between fairness and fun, cruelty and light teasing, hurting and joking. I believe the maturity of boy scout age kids does not allow for the ability to make this kind of distinction.

 

Even if an adult controls the environment and makes certain that lines are not crossed and the prank doesn't go too far, kids generally do not have the ability to understand the difference between a safe, fair, and non-destructive prank, and a cruel joke. That kind of perception requires years of experience and maturity which is not within the grasp of kids that age.

 

We, adults, see it as fun and we see the lines clearly drawn. Believe me... I love a good joke as much as anyone. I am sure pranks will be played on the Wood Badge course I will be staffing. It's all in good fun, and all of us adults know the comradery and brotherhood behind the jokes. Only time and wisdom can afford that type of understanding, which is an important distinction between the adult and the child.

 

A good scout leader also needs to know the differences and limitations between adults and children. I don't believe it is a matter of living in fear behind the "Play it safe" cliche. I think it's about wisdom, experience, and knowing the potential hazards when boys play pranks.

 

Know your boys. If you think they can handle it and you are willing to take the risk and play the odds, cut them loose and let the pranks begin. Otherwise, let's not play games with other's feelings. It isn't worth it. It isn't that funny, really.

 

Eagle Pete

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With all due respect, Pete, are you teaching Scouting, or sheltering children? Do you check to make sure each patrol cookes their bacon well enough on each campout?

 

When, exactly, are your Scouts supposed to gain all this knowledge and wisdom - after they leave Scouting? Aren't we supposed to be teaching them to live by the Oath and Law? If the boys go too far with a prank, what an excellent opportunity to TEACH them! I thought we were supposed to be taking 11 year old children and turning them into young men. How do you do that, if all you ever do is treat them like children?

 

BTW, for those who didn't recognize them, the words in my previous post in this thread aren't mine - they are direct quotes from Baden-Powell. Seems he appreciated a sense of humour, and had strong disdain for "safety first" before all else.

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I believe the maturity of boy scout age kids does not allow for the ability to make this kind of distinction.

 

Yah, this is one of those baby-boomers, eh? The ones who looked at da older folks and said "don't trust anyone over 30", who now feel anybody younger than 30 is not to be trusted. ;)

 

If Boy Scouts are really mentally incapable of this kind of reasoning and empathy, then Scouting needs to close its doors, eh? We can't possibly trust youth leaders with outing plans, and cooking with flammable fuels, and all the other things Patrol Method and Youth Leadership say we're supposed to do. That would be irresponsible of us. They can't even be trusted with a joke; givin' 'em any other responsibility would be foolish.

 

Nah. I don't buy it. The kids I've known, even the Baby Boomers, have been pretty capable and caring souls. :) They learn fast, too. If you're havin' a problem with their behavior, I think yeh have to look to your example, and what and how you're teachin' 'em.

 

Not write 'em off as bein' incapable.

 

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As I am sure you are aware, BrentAlen, the Boy Scouts of America already has a means of "taking 11 year old children and turning them into young men." We call this the Aims and Methods of Scouting. No where in the Aims and Methods do I see listed pranks and "If the boys go too far with a prank,..."

 

This isn't the YMCA, Boot Camp, or some other organization which puts youth through proving grounds or tests to see what we can "teach" them. This is the BSA. We don't teach firearms without a supervising NRA-certified Range Safety Officer, we don't go rock climbing without a qualified rock climbing instructor who is at least 21 years of age, and we don't see how much a kid can take or whether he's "thick skinned" enough to handle a prank. If this seems to err too far on the side of caution then go join an organization that suits you better.

 

Also.. please read my post if you want to critique it. I clearly state the risk is yours. If you know your boys well enough to play a prank, by all means feel free to do so. Pranks CAN be fun. Pranks CAN be safe. But do yourself a favor. Ask the target boy of a prank if he appreciates how much the other boys learned from their mistakes and whether he'd like to volunteer to be the target again for the boys to learn more from. Tell me how this teaches a boy how to be a man?

 

Eagle Pete

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You can't find how to deal with a prank in the Aims? Let me help you out.

 

Character Development:

He can take care of himself, especially in emergencies.

He can be counted upon to do his best, even in difficult situations.

He respects other people regardless of their differences.

 

Mental Fitness:

Use good judgement and make sound decisions.

Train himself to be resourceful in solving problems.

Strive to be mentally alert.

 

"Scouts have to be prepared to encounter difficulties and dangers in life. We do not, therefore, want to make their training too soft." Lord Baden-Powell

 

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