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Hunt wrote:While I don't want to add "A Scout is Empathetic" to the Scout Law........


I think that Kind covers this.


You all must have led a sheltered life, growing up I found 1 in 20 boys seemed to live just to make others misarible, the stupid bullys are easy to spot but there are others who are very clever about their missdeeds. The stupid ones almost never turn out as good adults, maybe half the sneeky ones do. Luckly most don't become Scouts.



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Not to stir everything up again, but after reading this thread I think that we need to acknowledge the difference between pranks and hazing/initiation. Pranks, by definition, I think are mostly harmless. From my own experience:


1) Wrapping some of the yellow "Crime Scene" plastic ribbon around an ASM's car a couple times.

2) For the older scouts who can't get out of bed on time in the morning, sending the bugler over to play reville with the horn of the trumpet directly in front of the tent door.

3) Stacking the plastic bins the troop uses to store equipment, along with other large items, into a wall around the SM's tent

4) Adding a couple pinches of salt into a friends water bottle

5) Suspending the SPL's cot from the trees

6) When I was a youth, and SPL (not too long ago) one summer camp we went to, on Friday had some games for the troops to compete in - stuff like relay races, scavenger hunts, etc. One thing they had was the "SPL Splash". They had this contraption, with a big plastic tank on top. They'd fill the tank with water, and had a way to rotate them so they'd spill all over whoever was sitting underneath the if a target was pressed. Well, as you may have guessed, the idea of the game was for each troop's SPL (or other youth leader) to sit underneath this thing, and let the troop try to soak them. Some may call this hazing (and some did call this hazing and inappropriate) but participation was voluntary, and a different youth leader could stand in for the SPL if the SPL didn't want to participate. Also, we were told in advance, so we didn't come wearing our last set of clean, dry clothes. Personally, I as the "victim" of the prank, thought it was a great idea, and kind of a reward for the scouts who I sometimes had to put in line during the week. (I also convinced my ASPL to participate too). So, though this activity was humiliating, I don't think it was a bad thing because all the victims agreed to it, and were prepared for what was coming.

7) Hanging a rubber spider from the top of the tent


Some not-so-great pranks:

1) Zip-tying tent doors shut - SEVERE safety issue

2) The snipe hunt/camp canon/shoreline/smokeshifter routine

3) One year while boating on the lake at summer camp, there was an adult leader who would go around tipping scouts out of their boats - bad idea: safety issue, and some of the scouts were wearing their clothes, and shoes and socks - just really disrespectful. The staff responded appropriately, and stood up to the guy and banned him from the waterfront.

4) Anything that results in the destruction of property, or causes injury

5) One that sticks out to me - one year at summer camp, the camp we were at had their own firetruck. One afternoon they had the truck parked next to the lake, and were shooting the hose into the lake. Some scouts who were out in canoes and kayaks would paddle under the water - it looked like fun. Until the guy manning the thing turned it on some younger scouts who were sitting nearby talking and playing cards. The scouts were completely drenched, and it was Friday so they were probably on to their last set of relatively "clean" clothes, which were now soaking wet. Again, just stupid and disrespectful - not a very good camp staffer.

6) Stealing and hiding personal property - eg, troop flags or totems


Maybe my perspective is skewed, as I was a youth in the program until just a few years ago, but I think that those who are saying that all pranks are bad need to lighten up a little. A group of good friends can aggravate each other to some extent, and I say that if a patrol or troop can pull pranks on each other, and come out with everyone laughing, that's a sign of a strong unit. Now, of course, its possible to cross the line, and actually physically or emotionally injure someone, destroy or damage property, etc. But, learning where that line is is a part of growing friendships. So, basically, I come preaching moderation ;-)

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Don't know if this really counts as a camp prank, but we had a bit of fun at summer camp this year.


Troops are always doing something during assemblies to get themselves noticed - perhaps as a way of getting to go in to meals first. Our little troop is always in full uniform for assembly, so this year I suggested that we might have a bit of fun on Saturday morning. Yes, sadly I had to suggest it - our guys are still a bit uncomfortable with the fact that I WANT them to come up with this stuff.


So, Saturday morning for assembly we all came down in our pajamas carrying our pillows or stuffed animals. I must say, the guys did a great job in selecting the pajamas to bring. When it came time for our troop report (all present or accounted for, sir), the guy in front made the statement then all the boys yelled "it's too early" and fell to the ground "asleep" on their pillows. That last bit, they came with on their own - a proud moment for me!


Many laughs all around and the guys were very pleased with themselves.

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Boy,...was it ever long reading through this whole thread! Did all you guys make nice with each other over the differences in opinions regarding pranks?


Dont know if this is a prank,.. but it has become a tradition in our troop at summer camp on Wed. morning troop assembly in our camp site after breakfast(we patrol cook, no dining hall).


After the SM has his say, I, the ASM announce " Ok guys! I've got some good news and some bad news" The older scouts know whats about to be said, so they stay quiet. One of the new or 1st year Scouts will ask "Whats the good news Mr. K?" To which I reply.."The good news is we're all gonna change under wear this morning!" Which is ALWAYS followed by "Whats the bad news then?"....I then say...Thomas will change with Alec, Matthew will change with Ryan...and so on. If we are lucky enough to have a new Scout dad along I will name him first and that he gets to change with me.


This is one the older boys ask me every year if I plan to do it yet again..when I said no one year they were insistent that it be done as a troop tradition. I was at philmont last summer and didnt make summer camp, but was informed that a substitute carried it out....it always gets a laugh especially from the first year/new scouts.

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My son is working at a remote program (1 1/2 mile from base camp) at a summer camp this year. A "commissioner" (son's description, not sure who he is) came to visit the program. While he was sitting by the campfire, my son managing to unbutton his shoulder tab, remove the silver epaulet, and rebutton the tab. My son is wearing the tab on his uniform for the rest of the summer, and the scouter has found another to wear (not sure if he even realized how he lost it).

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I congratulate you on having such good rapport with your boy. Not everyone would divulge such to a parent.

And, such skill and slieght of hand can be an asset.


Now, how is he going to return the tab to it's rightful owner?



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That will have to wait till he returns to camp after Philmont. But you would have thought the scouter would have noticed a youth staff member with one silver tab sewed onto his shoulder (program uniform is not scout shirt with tabs).

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When I worked at camp I had a bunkmate who was a real pain about staying up too late after 9 p.m. He had his own car, an old VW Rabbit, in the parking lot which due to his job at camp, he only saw on Sun and Sat. One week, a bunch of us lifted the car and slid cinder blocks under the axles-it didn't look too high, and he wasn't going anywhere. Another week we lifted it up and spun it so he had to wait for the vehicles to either side to move first. Those cars were easy to unlock with a coat hanger and sometimes the battery or headlights were removed and placed on the floor behind the drivers seat under a trash bag. Do you forgive me Pat? You laughed each time!

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Back from this summer camp and just like last year when I had to run into to town for an quick trip the boys, along with the direction of the Scoutmaster, hung all my gear up in the trees in our campsite!! This year when I had to go into town the boys, with the direction of the Scoutmaster, set up all my gear down at the lake front. My cot, tote, chair, along with my little tent rug all set up nice and neat so I would have a view of the lake. They, once again, loved it!!!

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I know that most of what I'm used to are now considered initiations or hazing and not pranks.

But, (underline) properly managed (end underline), they are things that one waits for - understanding that when one is finally pranked, or "initiated" that one has really arrived and is seen by the group as part of the group.


Yes, these things do go awry, especially when performed with a person who doesn't get the above dynamic - this is one way the prank or initiation often crosses the line into hazing.

That said, there are a couple of problems with just calling off the prank - it weakens the already fragile relationships that the boys are just building. It makes the prankee feel angry, alone and rejected(see OGE's earlier posts, especially 2/19/2007), and it makes the prankers wonder if the prankee wants to be a part of the group or isn't a fun guy that they want around anyway.


It turns out that some degree of appropriateness is needed, and in fact there are and should be some degree of safety concern for the prankee.


There are traditions that go out the door under too much concern, but these are usually due to some prankster who doesn't get that they have crossed the line.


(((Be aware that all past this point may belong in another thread but people have been commenting on appropriateness so I'm going to continue))


When I was young in the Corps and I got promoted did I look forward to having my new stripes tattooed(one punch on each arm by anyone who saw me and outranked me and knew I'd been promoted within the last 24 hours)on. Of course I did, because the folks who got promoted and no one cared enough to tattoo them knew that they weren't liked or accepted. Did I enjoy getting my Blood Stripes (same scenario for Corporal but with a knee delivered to my quadriceps), not nearly as much because boy did that hurt. Now to me, part of the issue considering where the line is drawn is - How many punches or kicks can you take with out breaking the arm or the leg? Don't laugh, it has happened. So another NCO needed to kind of watch out and see if some overzealous jerk would line you up against a wall to concentrate the force, or other techniques that went beyond initiation and crossed straight over the line into hazing. Which is now outlawed, as well as initiations of any kind. A good prank however...can still deliver a sense of belonging - but again I have to subscribe to prairies' post for ROE Rules of Engagement)for Scouting at least - start post


RE: Camp Pranks

Posted: Wednesday, 2/21/2007: 3:54:29 PM

MY personal rules on pranks.

Know your target.

Watch the prank unfold, if it goes wrong end(edit G2862, I would say fix not necessarily 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." end post


By the time I was close to retiring, if some Marine entered into the NCO ranks I could legally "only" shake his hand - and believe me most of the new Corporals knew they were missing the sense of belonging that was delivered in the old traditional methods.


On the other hand, any initiation that requires a day off to recover, or a trip to the hospital or physical therapy has clearly gone to far. So for me safety does play a part in pranking.

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