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Sdriddle

Hazing

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Hello All,

After completing training I have come to realize that a tradition in the troop my son recently joined is hazing. When ever a boy loses something and it is found, he has to sing a song or lay on the floor and "fry like bacon" to get it back. I would like to know if I should approach the Committee or the Scoutmaster concerning this and what does your troop do when a boy loses something?

Sheila

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According to Guide to Safe Scouting, hazing is not allowed in any form! If such things are occurring, the SM should deal with it IMMEDIATELY!! If the SM and the PLC don't act, the CC must be informed to get the committee to act immediately. The next step is to involve the COR.

 

The SM is charged with overseeing the troop program is quality and with the guidelines of the BSA Rules and Regs. The difficulty in your situtation is that you are dealing with a tradition. Get your Unit Commissioner to help you convince the SM, the PLC and the Committee to stop this behavior and comply with BSA rules and regs.

 

Such activity such as you describe was happening at Council Camp I became involved with, I went to the leadership of camp with my copy of the Guide to Safe Scouting and the behavior stopped immediately.

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Sdriddle,

 

I think we need to define hazing. According to Webster's hazing is defined as initiation process involving harassment. Now we need to define harassment. According to Websters harassment is defined as worry or annoyance. Ok now that's done lets move on.

 

According to your post, when a Scout looses something & it is found by someone other that himself, he has to sing or do something else. To me, this doesn't seem like an initiation or annoyance. To me it seems like the Scoutmaster is trying to teach the Scouts the importance of being responsible for their belongings. In my Troop, we do the same thing if a Scout or adult Scouter looses something. There have been times I have had to sing! What this does is helps the Scout remember to not leave stuff laying around!

 

This is not hazing. Hazing would be blindfolding the new Scouts & make them walk over what the thought were burning coals. Or making the new Scouts sleep outside without a sleeping bag. That's hazing. Making them sing for loosing something is NOT I repeat NOT hazing.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Although this may not fit the a classical defination of hazing, it could be seen as going against the BSA's defination of "scouting a safe place", since singing or performing an act could lead a boy to feel embarresed or picked on. As long as the boys in the troop will go agead and give back the lost item if there is a refusal to participate in the tradition there is probably no real harm done.

 

I remember several times as a boy having to get up and entertain the troop when I would forget to go back and retrieve something I had laid down. I almost had to sing "I'm a Little Tea Pot a few months ago when my hat was lost at Round Table.

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If a scout is helpful, friendly, courteous and kind why not just return lost items to the rightful owner with ?

 

Having a scout "perform" required behavior to get his gear back is wrong and I say if not hazing, is inappropriate and definitiely unscoutlike

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I can see where some kids would fail to claim their lost item. I can also see some other kids "find" things belonging to others, just to be able to watch the show.

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OGE,

How would you handle a Scout who looses everything?

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Once again, having to defer to the lowest common denominator. If the Scout feels victimized in ANYWAY, this is abuse (mental, physical, hazing, or whatever you want to call it). This is against BSA Policy.

At summer camp in the mess hall, if you accidently go "in" the OUT door, or come "out" the IN door (this is done to avoid accidents serving food from the kitchen), you had to properly navigate the doors three times, while the Scouts and Scouters in the mess hall counted for you, "ONE, TWO, THREE!!!!" It took about 10 seconds, and then you went and had a seat, no BIG deal. Unfortunately, these "traditions" are now being removed from the world of Scouting, as Scouts and parents complain about this type of abuse (hazing).

Soon, the really fun, traditional, Scouting stories, gags, and skits will be gone, because in someone's opinion, this is abuse or hazing. They will be distant memories of when Scouting values included poking good natured fun at each other (oh my gosh, is that physical abuse?????).

Again, Scouting is to provide that Safe Haven of Scouting adventure. It's just getting much more difficult to provide, without hurting SOMEBODY'S feelings about SOMETHING !!!! Give me a break. Even if you are an experienced Scouter with training, "your best" may no longer be enough.

 

Anderson

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I kind of figured this would be a hot topic which is why I wanted all of you experienced Scouteres opinion. I would like to suggest a replacement tradition but am unsure what would be appropriate... At training, one leader said they they have the whole troop sing "little tea pot" to the scout who loses something. Any other suggestions?

 

Sheila

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I try to treat my Scouts like adults - even when they don't really deserve it. I would not expect an adult to 'fry', sing or anything else so - no I cannot think of a substitute. Maybe you could point out the relative worth of the item to give emphasis.

 

Oddly enough this exact thing happened at a camp on Sunday. The scouts were required to go down on their knees and pray for the return of their property. Taken in fun it was but my initial reaction was that a boundary was crossed and I feel that OGE and FScouter are on the money. By the look on one Scouts face he would have agreed.

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I think this question must be looked at from two perspectives. First, the GTSS is clear and the "intent" of bringing attention to a lost article is to make the person feel uncomfortable and therefore unacceptable.

 

Second, however, is our task of prepareing our boys to function in the real world. We teach leadership not only for better troop function but to ready these young men for life. Society and the real world are not sensitive to wether they make one another feel bad. If, as a group, we as leaders continually shield these boys from conditions which exsist outside our infuence how are we preparing them for those conditions? I see a lot of the "Politically Correct" attitudes being introducted as an attempt to insulate BSA National from legal suits and not as being totally about the needs of the boys. Once things like this start they end up going to extremes. All of us who have been around for any lenght of time will know what I mean when I refere to a skit or joke which makes someone the "sap running around the tree" or "the suckers holding up the line" or the "nuts to hold it up". I seldom saw a person who was tramatized by any of these displays of insensativity. All such jokes are now discouraged. Songs which draw attention to ones religious beliefs are discouraged if presented at gatherings which include other units. "Rise and Shine and Give God your Glory" is no longer an acceptable form of awakening your troop because neighboring troops may be offended. At our summer camp "Green Grow the Rushes Oh!" was a standard and became a contest as to who could sing their verse loudest. Today it is on the "no no" list. As a group Scouting is falling prey to the "Zero Tolerance" approach, which is actually an "I can't control or respond to this topic, which is my responsibility, so I will try to eliminate the need to respond by envolking a blanket ban."

 

OGE and Bob White,

I don't disagree with your position. My question to you is how far do we carry this approach? Is it "unscoutlike" to publically bring attention to any unacceptable behavior? If your entire campsite is being judged, is it unacceptable to bring attention to one scouts messy tent because it will embarrass him? Should we clean his dishes so as not to draw attention to the fact that his is the only gear left unwashed? Before you say these are ridiculous questions think about the policy. We, as leaders, are supposed to protect the boys from being "singled out" or made to feel "uncomfortable" in front of their peers. If singing a song because you "lost" something is hazing how can I,as a Scoutmaster, allow the SPL to require a patrol to have a song or skit prepared for the campfire. Singing is singing, boys are being required to stand in front of their peers and perform. Where does this end? Is it hazing to have one do it but not if the whole patrol has to do it? Is hazing a matter of numbers or intent?

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Ed,

 

As the father of an ADD scout and being in a troop with 15+ ADD scouts, I can tell you lots of things get lost and having these scouts perform inane rituals to have their property returned to them serves no purpose other than to reinforce to the scout that he is somehow different than those who dont lose stuff.

 

If you have a scout who loses everything, you have challenge to help organize him, humiliation is not at all helpful.

 

LongHaul

 

I did not say anything about doing stuff for the boy. I did not say a scouts errant behavior cant be talked about with him or that he gets special treatment. I can tell you its a good rule to praise in public but counsel in private.

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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As far as what to do with a scout who is always losing things, what would I do? First of all I wouldn't loan him anything that was mine. :)

 

Secondly, if he is losing his stuff that's his problem. If he is losing patrol gear that's his patrol leaders problem, I would train the patrol leader to help the scout. If he is losing troop gear that is the QM's problem I would train the QM to control the equipment better.

 

 

Next... As far as the question, "Is it "unscoutlike" to publically bring attention to any unacceptable behavior?"

 

In my other life I do management and leadership training, a good rule of thumb as a leader in business or scouts is "Praise in public, Criticize in private". Recent Wood Badge participants should recognize that.

 

Yes, I think to criticize a scout in front of others is "unscoutlike". I think that to teach right from wrong about an action (not about a specific person) is called a Scoutmaster's Minute.

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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