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it's nice to know the time honored tradition of humiliation and terror is alive and well in the BSA


So, would it have been better if the crying scout had founf out that the shot story was a scam and he had "called you out" , would you have messed with him again?


I guess its true, nothings funnier than tormenting someone just because you can, its the most scoutlike thing I can imagine

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The shot thing has gone on for a long time in our troop. You see, for a long time, alot of the incoming scouts were our little brothers, so hey, after some of the stuff they put us through, it was nice to get em back.


Hindsight, had I known that this kid would have taken it seriously, I would have never said anything. Ever since the kid started crying, I told the older scouts to leave him alone, so for the past few years, I've pretty much ignored him.


The thing about our troop though, is that we are pretty tight knit. In our age group for example, we all went to the same pre-school, went to church together, cub scouts, basketball teams etc, which is why we can pull pranks on eachother and laugh about it later on. But to say that our troop condones terrorizing scouts, believe me, the kind of protection the younger scouts receive is the kind that a QuarterBack can only dream about. The shot thing is one of the few times that our leaders let go.

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Here's three for you.


Dick, a SM in our district, holds the unofficial COWPIE Fall Camporee on his farm, usually drawing 150 scout. One year, one activity was the old Snipe Hunt. The troop leaders' were privy to the weekend activities.

A coworker of mine, Kevin, is an ASM for one of the troops. Kevin and the SM gather the boys, gave them the needed equipment for catching Snipes, and headed out into the woods and fields with them. Now Dicks farm is about a 1/4 - 1/2 a mile deep and about 2-3 miles long. Kevin and the SM managed to lose the scouts and double back to their site. An hour or so later the first scouts started returning to camp empty-handed. the first thing out of their mouths was, " There are no such things as Snipes, is there." With that, Kevin and the SM turned around stating, "Why sure there are. Where is yours? We've already caught, cleaned and cooked ours." as they sat there eating a Cornish Hens they were cooking over the campfire.


2) Again at the COWPIE.

Another year one of the day activities was First Aid skills. That night during the campfire, someone came running up to Dick yelling someone was lost. Well Dick proceeded to pull out 6 or 8 sectional maps of the farm (over 300 acres), divide the boys up into the equivalent number of search parties and send them on their way.

During the day some of the adults had been at the house making homemade moulage out of everything from catsup and sugar to cased sausage from the local butcher. One ASM, who won the best makeup, had a cow bone sticking out of his pant leg, chicken bones out of his gloves and the sausage out from under his coat. The first scout that found him said, " Man, I know I can't help you, but I sure can help those scouts coming up the trail" and with that threw a blanket over him.

Back at the makeshift command post, runners would come to Dick yelling, " we found the person and they are hurt." (Dick had 6 people scattered throughout the farm not just one.) Dick would respond, " Where are they and do they need an ambulance?" A couple of the scouts in their excitement had forgot the location or the condition, and before Dick could tell them it was alright, they would turn running back into the woods yelling to Dick, " Hold on a minute. We'll find out" All he could do was sit back and have a good laugh.


Our summercamp staff hold two one night campouts for the Camping and Wilderness Survival MB every week. They haul the scouts over to Outpost on the far side of the lake. This is where our troop camps. One Tues. night a couple of staffers showed up at our camp at 11 PM looking for my eldest. They had known him from the last couple of years and knew he was a camouflage expert and could literally move around without being detected. This boy had a ghillie suit so unbelievable that you would step on him during the middle of the day.

It just so happened that the staffers were having a problem quieting some of the lads down and requested Dave's services.

Dave donned his suit and followed the staffers to their site. He let them go up the hill and settle in. He then crawled up the hill between the overnighters, making mental notes on who the noisy ones where. On his way back down the hill, he would reach out and grab a hold of an ankle or a sleeping bag and pull the unsuspecting scout 5-10 feet down the hill yelling "Somethings got me." He even crawled up to three of our own boys who were sleeping, tapping them on the shoulder. They would look up and accuse one of the others of doing it, never seeing him. The staffers thought it was the greatest thing they had ever seen.


Hope you enjoy.



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Har har har that's a real kneeslapper! It'd be even funnier if a group of kids beat the crawling beast with a 2x4.


Here's a good one for the kids to pull on their good-natured fun loving adult leaders. Get a gun, or at least some big firecrackers. Wait until about midnight to fire them off, then come running back to the adults screaming BILLY GOT SHOT!! Then call 911. Ha ha ha. Be sure to call Billys mom too. Make sure you have a tight knit group so you can all laugh about it later.

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Well, in the name of good clean fun, let me dust off a scouting memory of mine, I have posted it before, but perhaps not all have read it.



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. 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.


Maybe I am humor impaired, but I think I can write a funny skit, somebody start a Skit thread and I guarantee two skits you will want to do, but right now, there is no humor in taking advantage of the Navet of a young scout

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...mental image of OGE as SPL addressing his Troop, personified as Francis "Psycho" Soyer in the movie Stripes...


"Any of you Scouts pull a Snipe hunt, I'll kill you.

Any of you Scouts call for a Canon Report, I'll kill you."


Quoting Sgt. Hulka, "Lighten up, Francis."


At first, I was going to ask why you couldn't come up with your own prank to pull on your idol, Charlie. But then I thought of the old saying, "Don't dish it out if you can't take it." It's pretty obvious you couldn't take it.


My fraternity at Georgia Tech was full of Eagle Scouts. So much so, that as a Pledge, when you were asked to give 3 interesting facts about a Brother, we had a saying, "when in doubt, Eagle Scout!" You had around a 90% chance of being correct. These guys were some of the greatest pranksters I have ever known. Hiding a motorcycle in the shower; hoisting a canoe WAY up in an oak tree; mailing a dead opossum to another Brother, disquised as a care package from mom; sheetrocking, mudding and painting a wall over a Brother's room door over Christmas break; hanging all the furniture in a Brother's room from the ceiling upside down, making it look like the entire room was upside down. Maybe the cruelest, psychologically, involved a Brother who was a very talented architect student. He designed our Homecoming display that year, and put a lot of work into it. While using our beat-up circular saw, with a bent blade guard that didn't always fall back in place, he cut a 2x4 and then set the saw down on his thigh, just above the knee. Luckily, he had his finger off the trigger, so the cut was only 1" deep (requiring 60 stitches in 3 layers). After returning from the hospital late that night, and struggling to crawl up in his rack, he found that same circular saw, hidden in the sheets.


We saved the truly bad stuff for our neighbors, the SAE's. Some day, I'll share the one about the Krispy Kreme donuts their Little Sisters supposedly left on their front porch for them one morning, only to get a picture the following day about where those donuts had really been.


Some of us are born with a thick skin, others develop it.

Some of us are born with a sense of humor, others develop it.

Some aren't, and never do, and suffer because of it. They often have an imaginary neon bullseye painted on their back.

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BrentAllen: "At first, I was going to ask why you couldn't come up with your own prank to pull on your idol, Charlie. But then I thought of the old saying, "Don't dish it out if you can't take it." It's pretty obvious you couldn't take it."


"Some of us are born with a thick skin, others develop it.

Some of us are born with a sense of humor, others develop it.

Some aren't, and never do, and suffer because of it. They often have an imaginary neon bullseye painted on their back."


Without verbal inflections, it is sometimes hard to tell how a person intends their written comments to sound. OGE certainly took these comments far better than I would have if they were pointed at me. I found them very unscoutlike.


I was one of those shy introverted kids growing up who endured the occasional bullying and pranks. It wasn't pleasant and it leaves a very definite mark in your memory thru the rest of your life. I've got a great sense of humor, but I have the intelligence to discern those boys who can take a good ribbing and those who can't. I'm the adult in the situation and I won't stand by or tolerate the jokesters making some poor kid the butt of hteir joke. If they want to pull stuff on one another, fine, but don't pick the weakest target you can find.


Brent, it sounds like your solution to being pranked or picked on is to one up the prankster. If he pulls a knife on you, pull a gun on him. Is that really a lesson we want to teach boys and is it in keeping with the Oath and Law? If I misinterpreted your words to OGE, I apologize......but they didn't sound very helpful, friendly, courteous or kind.


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There was not a single negative word about OGE in my post. I used a scene from Stripes - a comedy - to illustrate a difference of opinion. He felt very strongly about preventing another Scout from experiencing what he had gone through; I thought his reaction was over the top.

I love a good battle of wits. That is what pranks should be - a good, clean battle of wits. Pulling a knife is not a prank, in any way, shape or form, so your analogy is bad. Some people enjoy the exchange of pranks, but some don't. OGE didn't, recognized it, and did the best thing. There is nothing worse than someone who can't take it, but dishes it out. They end up over-reacting to a simple prank by slashing someone's sleeping bag or burning their boots.

I obviously wasn't there with OGE, so I can only make guesses about the situation. If those were the only two pranks that Charlie pulled on OGE during their Scouting years, I would find it hard to consider them bullying. If there was constant pranking and teasing of OGE, that would be bullying, which I do not tolerate.

A level-headed Scout does not want to end up before The Man (SPL, SM, CD, ...) because of a prank, so he usually selects his target carefully. Picking on the weakest, most homesick Scout would not be a wise decision. Sometimes, it is actually a sign of respect when a target of a prank is chosen.

The last part of my post was a simple observation in life. Outside of Scouting, in the real world, the bullies will seek out those with a thin skin and no sense of humor. A bully is looking to get a rise out of someone - they are the best targets.


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I had thoughts of a hard biting scathing come back but realized the best course of action is to break the cycle, it was thenand is now


People will have to determine how they view pranks, hazing, bullying for themselves.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Put me down on the OGE side. Pranks can be abused. While I was not in scouts as a youth, I did receive more than my share of razing and hazing. The kids involved probably eventually turned into fine people, but frankly I have no desire to ever see them again. Was I thin skinned? Probably. Not everyone is outgoing and gregarious. I don't think that their actions and words could in any way be attributed as being beneficial to my development. Did it help me develop a sense of humor? Looking back, I still cant find humor in things they did and said. Did it help me develop a thick skin? I suppose you could argue that it did in the same manner that picking fights with a weaker individual would help them build muscle strength.


I think that pulling pranks amidst and amongst a bunch of close friends is much different than pulling pranks on a scout that isn't in that inner circle of friends. I also think that pranks pulled on college age young adults who are expecting to be the butt of pranks as initiation into a fraternity is different than pranks pulled on an 11 year old scout by an older scout. I suspect that in a fraternity there may be more collegiality about it. Similar pranks pulled by older scouts on a younger one that looks up to them is a betrayal of trust. Especially the second one, after the older scout swore on scouts honor that he was on the up and up.


Pranks have their place with the right set of people, attitude, and target, but the prepetrator(s) risks stepping out of what could be considered within the guidelines of trustworthy, loyal, helpful... etc. if not careful. As leaders, we need to advise our charges on how to tell the difference, hopefully before, but definately after, someone feels victimized.



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Put me down on the OGE side. Pranks can be abused.


Yah, anything can be abused, eh? ;) Did yeh read about the fool who drank water until dying a couple of weeks ago? But I'm still partial to a glass myself :).


I think it's important to remember that new boys in a troop here in the States are often a pretty sheltered, fragile lot. It's scary for them their first week at camp. Rarely do we think that a laughing reference to "getting shots at the health lodge" will reduce an 11-year-old to tears, but it happens. Best to err on the side of kindness. Most pranks aren't funny until you're among friends.


At the same time, I think that for the older boys doing the pranking it's usually not an act of malice or even thoughtlessness. It's often a way of including others - they think they are among friends. Those pranksters could be ignoring the younger boys and treating them as not real scouts, not full troop members, or not worthy of their attention. Instead, they're followin' the Golden Rule - treatin' others as they themselves wish to be treated. Bein' pranked by friends. Bein' included in the fun. Pranks and tales of pranks are the stuff that makes for stories and friendships for years.


Both sides need to come to the middle. The young ones should be coached to grow up a bit, develop thicker skins, quicker wits, and a sense that they won't (and shouldn't) melt in the rain. The older ones should put Kindness ahead of the Golden Rule for a bit, and assess individual self-confidence and comfort level before introducing elementary school children to adolescent humor. I think includin' the young guys in doing a prank first is a good way to go, as it is even more inclusive and also demonstrates how to be fun, non-destructive, and how to take a prank in good cheer.


Of course, there are that small percentage of "pranks" which are deliberately mean/bullying. Those merit Wrath from On High. :(


The toughest are older boys and adults who can't take a joke, even delivered well and with the best of intentions. Can't figure what to do with them. Try to coach the boys, fer sure. Mostly steer clear of the adults in more ways than one. Ends up just bein' a good lesson to kids about different personalities.(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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And Another Thing


I'd only point out that kids (and even some adults) rarely have the insight, perception, experience, wisdom, and self-control to properly pull off a well thought out prank AND be able to keep people from getting hurt, property from being destroyed, tempers from flairing, and to be able to know when it is time to quit.


This is not to say a well-meaning prank cannot be performed without casualties. But I do tend to play the odds and the chances are pretty high that even in the best laid plans of mice and men, something will go awry when you are talking about Boy Scouts.


Maybe I am dull, boring, and no fun, but I have found in my years of working with the youth that it is wise to steer clear of pranks and practicle jokes.


Sorry to add to the pile of nay sayers.


Eagle Pete

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Ive been reading this thread and not posting because I am really divided on the topic of pranks. I was a scout in the 60s in Chicago same as OGE. Our troop did Snipe Hunts at our summer camp each year. Unlike OGEs troop everyone got involved from the JASM on down. The older guys had people dressed in all black with high test line with snipes tied to them hidden in the trees or bushes. As you walked quietly along snipes would shoot across the trail. One guy would have a pillow case in his hand and be shaking it violently so it looked like something was in it. What was in it was a snipe secured by mono filament and a soon as you tried to look in the bag it would jump out and disappear down the trial. We had fun with it and I miss those days. We had smoke benders made of galvanized chimney pipe to give to scouts that came looking for one and followed them back to their camp to see the look on the prankers face when the prankee delivered as asked. Today its not so easy. As Beavah says todays kids are a sheltered lot. What I found to be funny as an 11 year old isnt funny to these kids. I lived right across the street from a prairie half a mile square. We played with snakes and lizards and creepy crawlies all summer long. Chased the girls with them on every occasion, they always ran even though most of them had caught the same things themselves at some time. Today kids are really terrified of simple daddy long leg spiders. Ghost stories are not even told anymore in my troop because kids have nightmares. Sometimes I think they are missing a lot of fun but most times I think that the old pranks are no longer funny because the kids being pranked are not the same. I guess the real question is should we try to teach the sheltered to be more thick skinned? Should we accept them as they are and not seek to make them like us? Should they try to make us more like them? This used to be a lot more fun when I wasnt the guy in charge.



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