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tap - "To select, as for membership in an organization; designate."


I get the impression from reading on these forums that many people think the term "tap-out" refers to the physical act of getting hit in the call-out ceremony, and even knocked down as it was once done in the old days in some lodges. However, I recently saw a reference to a college club that had "tapped" new members.


I searched the internet and found that many clubs use this term. I also saw reference to a high school club's "tap-in" ceremony. I then searched and found the above dictionary definition for the word "tap".


So, it seems that "tapped" basically means "chosen" in this context, and a "tap out" ceremony would simply be a ceremony where people are selected for membership.

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I agree. However, I have been corrected more than once by present day OA members (mostly the adult Boy Scout type - same ones that will nit pick you about badge placement on uniforms / etc...) that "tap-out" is no longer an accepted term b/c of the negative connotations associates with any hazing or rough play that might have been tolerated (dare I say encouraged) in the "old" OA.


Somewhere between the mid 80's and today - its been PC'd up and now must be called being "Called out".


Just one of the many over-corrections I see in BSA from the time I was involved as a youth and now am involved as an adult...


I agree a tap-out does not nessisarily mean a physical "roughing up". But much like the PGA that renames events with a sponsor change and pretends that the old event never existed, the BSA has chosen to change the name of the initiation ceremony, so as to mark a departure from the old ways and pretend that such physical "tap-outs" were never part of the BSA honor society.


I called it a "tap-out" to a council OA rep last year at a scout fair and you'd of thought I told him I had brought pot to the event. In hushed tones he pulled me aside and sternly told me, "Its not refered to that anymore - we now do a 'call-out'. Tapping out is not allowed by BSA anymore."


Tap out / call out - whatever... just like most things in BSA - its been watered down and almost ruined by an over-reaction to a few isolated incidents and a generation of helicopter parenting.

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Ignorance on their part does not consitute a mistake on your part.


Now when you get that complaint you can ask, "what do you think the word tap means?" You might also ask the person to show you the official BSA web site or publication that says not to use that term anymore.

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Its one of those things that do to PC attitudes is no longer 'acceptable'. You see this were terms like "pledge", "rush", etc, in college fraternities can't be used, due to issues of hazing and such. 'tap' and 'tap out' has also been affected.



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Concur with DeanRx...political correctness strikes again. Chastising well meaning folks for using a perfectly appropriate phrase? Tiresome.


Disclaimer: I'm not advocating the old rough house tactics during tap out. Some were hurt badly over the years and I think it was proper to stop the practice altogether. Plus, the muggings didn't add a bit to the OA's goals...it was more like a rite of passage, or entertainment for onlookers. Unnecessary stuff.


However, to chide someone for using the words "tap out" a quarter century after the rough housing ended...good grief, that's the revenge of the policy wonks...as noted, they are usually self-dual-hatted as uniform police as well.




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Although the OA has banned actual tapping, the term does not simply become neutral. In fact, I know of a lodge that does still use tapping, and refers to it's call-outs as tap-outs. Granted, the taps are much lighter that I imagine they would have been "back in the day." Still, Scouter, you cannot strip the word of the physical tapping meaning just because the dictionary does not reference it. Words have powerful meanings and implications. Those meanings can change drastically over time. I wouldn't tell people that I was searching for a faggot if I were looking for a bundle of sticks. In time, it has gained the meaning of a gay person (another word that has gained meaning). If we were to declare tomorrow that homosexuals weren't allowed in America, gay would not instantly only refer to a happy state of mind again.


Although I would probably not scold someone for using the term tap-out, I recognize that the OA preforms call-outs instead. It has become the standard. Tap-out is not even in the vocabulary of the majority of youth members where I come from, and, I would assume, the rest of the country. The "Old Guard," that seems to complain about the degradation of Scouting at every possible chance, uses the term, just to keep it alive, but most people simply don't care. Scouter, the website may not specifically say "Don't use the term tap-out!!!" However, I challenge you to find a place where it uses that term. Call-out has become the standard. In one sense, it is a PC issue. If the news hears that the OA is holding a "tap-out" this Friday, they are probably more likely to believe it is a dangerous event than a "call-out. We don't need any more negative press. I think that you will all agree with that.


Finally, DeanRx, I want to address something you said. You said that most things in the BSA are being watered down and near ruined. There are a lot of people on this site who agree with that and voice the same complain over, and over, and over again, including some moderators. I agree that Scouting has had many changes since it was started by Lord Baden-Powell. Heck, it has had many changes since I joined the movement. However, it is not an abnormal ebb and flow that is occurring. No organization on the face of the planet has held completely static for almost 100 years. Needs have changed. The outdoors have changed. Society has changed. I don't necessarily like the fact that many troops I see don't run the patrol method effectively, but, unlike Kudu, I accept that, maybe that's the way things go. He can run an effective patrol-method troop. Good for him. He should keep running them. However, several troops that I know could not function in a completely traditional patrol function. Scouting truly needs those who stick to the basics and fight for their opinion. Otherwise, there is a chance that we could slide further down this slippery slope. However, you all need to realize that there will be some change in order to fit society. We are doing this for the boys of today, not the dads who want to relive the "good ole days."

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I mean that all in the most respectful way possible. There is a reason that I signed up for this forum. I value all of your opinions, and admire those of you who have such passion for this great organization. However, I still fell that this needs to be said and mulled over.

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No offense taken and I appreciate your comments. I understand what you mean by doing the program for the kids of today, not the dads who want to relive their youth. Might I suggest, howver, that there are dads out there that want their sons to have similar expiriences in their youth to what we had? That's my point.


The bottom line is - due to no fault of my own, I now fill out more paperwork / forms, submit to background checks (presumably now multiple times as BSA see fit), and have more requirements for adult/boy ratios for a weekend pack campout than MY father's generation dealt with when taking a group of scouts into the backcountry for a WEEK !! That's not nessisarily a bad thing - but also, it does nothing constructive to add value to the program provided to the youth. In fact it serves to alienate and burn-out the very adult volunteers the organization needs to survive and thrive!


I see an organization that in many cases values bling and badges over actual competency in the skills said badges atest to. This mixed with MB universities and a wood badge program that looks more like MBA training than outdoor leadership / youth adventures training.


I often see an organization that claims to be inclusive and tolerant hold nationally sanctioned policies that are frankly thinly disguised biogtry and prejudice against certain subsets of the culture the "boys of today" live with, play with and interact with. Additionally, this same organization spends how many fundraising dollars per year (no one knows b/c BSA will not disclose its legal expenses) to continue to defend said national policies in court. Money that could be used to better serve youth by upgrading infastructure, camp facilities, etc... Now - I don't condone or approve of these lifestyles. But at the same time, I do not condone BSA's stance against these groups either. And I especially don't like a portion of my donation dollars going to support the legal defense of what I view as flawed policy.


However, I do love BSA and what scouting does provide for the youth far outwieghs any negatives and thorns in my side I might see as an adult leader. This does not mean I will stop working internally to persuade those in power within the organization to change for the better.


You can argue both sides of the gay / atheist issue forever.


What few can disagree with is this:


1) Kids are overscheduled as it is

2) Kids benefit from being outdoors and from unstructured play / unstructured learning and discovery

3) Kids spend all day in a classroom, how does doing that on a weekend make them a more well rounded person? Much of scout advancement has moved to a classroom type environment.

4) Scouting should be a game with a purpose, not a purpose disguised as a game. Or worse yet, a class with a MB trophy at the end of the day


Thats all I'm suggesting. Boy led vs adult led - whatever works for you. But, how do you KNOW the boys can't lead it if they've never been given the chance, nor been told you believe they are capable of succeeding at it? How can the youth have the confidence needed to succeed at a boy-led-troop, if the adults surrounding them do not believe in them enough to let them try at it and fail?


To me BSA should be about ADVENTURE, LEARNING, SEFRVICE TO OTHERS and LEADERSHIP all through an avenue of outdoorsmanship. In a lot of ways, BSA does a great job at this... in many others they are about 180 degrees away from the stated objective. Gotta work to change that.


To me - changing the name from "tap-out" to "call-out" is a prime example of the PC, helicopter parenting, over-protecting, attitude that has the potential to degrade the program from what it used to be and what it should be.


One final example: I went to BALOO training last year. Over 50% of the songs and skits I remember as a scout - the REALLY good and funny ones - are now 'banned' from use because they are either offensive, non-PC, or are disrespectful to authority (well duhhhh) or disrespectful to our sense of patriotism. What the heck happened in the past 20 years that made those songs go from being silly and slightly off-color, to too toxic to be sung? Somewhere along the way things changed, but the kids haven't.


I guess if I were to sing, "Mine eyes have seen the glory fo the coming of the lord, he is screaming down the alley in a green and yellow Ford...." I must not be a true American (regardless of my service history)and probably going to hell for stating that my savior would drive a U.S. made vehicle. Why else would this song be on the 'banned' list?


I was "tapped out" into the OA, and thats what I shall call it.

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I'm one of those guys who believes the methods outlined in any handbook written by Greenbar Bill are the right way to go. Adult run, Troop Scouting, is just not as effective as boy run, Patrol Method Scouting. There is just not a valid argument in favor of the former. Our troop has used the Patrol Method since day one with six boys. In the beginning the adults had to take more of a leadership role because the boys didn't know anything. Two years later with 17 boys, we have two solid Patrols and will elect our first SPL. Adults now more often take a back seat.


And the boys are prospering and taking ownership of the troop! We camp and use knives, axes, and saws, oh my! We don't ever play soccer! We say the Pledge of Allegiance at every meeting and say Grace at meals.


I recently received a Handbook from the 1930's as a gift (35 years before I was in Scouting). It has tales of knights, pioneers, cowboys, and all sorts of adventure. Compare that to our curent handbook and it's no wonder kids think Scouts is "gay" or for "losers".


I want the boys in my troop to experience the same things I did as a Scout. Not so I can relive my youth. But so they can experience the fun and adventure of Scouting as it was meant to be.


Yes, society has changed drastically in the past 40 years. But there are many of us who believe a lot of those changes were not improvements. There are many of us who refuse to compromise our beliefs just because much of society has chosen to compromise theirs. This is by no means "living in the past". As an example, I believe cell phones, Ipods, Game Boys, etc. can have a place in the enjoyment of the outdoors. But everything in it's time and place.


If you want to say "Tap-Out", who cares. Your actions will define the words in the end.

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I think there was never any change from one terminology to the other. I have a reprint version of the 1950 OA Handbook and it does not use the term tap-out either but uses the term "calling out". Of course, it is a reprint and I suppose it's possible that somebody edited it kinda like when you read Mark Twain's books these days they have been edited to be more PC. Maybe somebody with the original edition can confirm.

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SOrry if this is a hijack, but I have to point out that the BSA has not said in any way I know that Scouts are not to demonstrate or have the skills that the badges they wear indicate. If a scout does not have the skill his ranl would presume he should have, it is not the BSA's fault. The blame lies in the unit that either did not teach the skill in the first place, or taught it and then never challenged the scout to use that skill again. Lets not blame the BSA for individual failings

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I get your point now. Some of the older gentlemen in my district like to complain about everything new and never offer any suggestions or quality feedback. That may be why I jumped on this one... I understand dads wanting similar experiences for their kids as they had in their youth. However, some must recognize that similar experiences are not always possible, or safe. They need to recognize that there is a reason for Safe Swim Defense and travel permits. Although I agree with you, there is certainly too much paperwork (especially for an organization that claims to teach environmentally friendly practices). I agree that the background checks, ratios, etc., do not necessarily add anything constructive to the program for the boys, but they are, unfortunately, necessary in the present society. No, it wasn't your fault that a few leaders were sick creeps. It isn't your fault that lawyers are able to convince people that lawsuits are the proper action. No, it isn't your fault that some people are just plain stupid. However, we must all, unfortunately, deal with that, and I feel that complaining about it is not the proper way to deal. Wow...this series reminds me of "Atlas Shrugged"... It can definitely burn-out volunteers, and I hate to see good men leave because it is so much work, but I would also hate to see a lawsuit brought up against the BSA that forces it to limit the program even more. So, if the pain-in-the-butt protocol allows us to continue the program, I am wiling to deal with it.


I agree with your comment about the badges v. competency. I hate when I hear that someone has earned every single merit badge, or is an Eagle at the age of 13. Something just goes on in my mind. The summer camp that I worked at actually employed an Eagle Scout who couldn't tie a single knot as the Scoutcraft director. That scared the heck out of me. I think that there should be a push for the basics, but it should be handled effectively. The First Class in the First Year initiative that some people push is not the proper way to go about the program. Quality advancement should be stressed, not advancement for advancements sake. I actually use the outdoor skills that I learned through Scouting in my current college job. I run backpacking, hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor trips. I am amazed at peoples' lack of outdoor knowledge.


I am not going to delve too deep into the gay/atheist issue here. I think that I have derailed this topic enough. Overall, I agree with you, but do have a few minor qualms. One of my best friends in Scouting, a great Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor member, and veteran staff member just came out of the closet. However, I understand the BSA reluctance to let gays participate in the program. I could also argue both sides for quite a while.


I love your 4 points. Scouting should be a game with a purpose. I try to run all of the trainings I do that way. If more leaders followed and understood those principles, I think that our organization would not have as many image issues as it does. However, those are completely compatible with the safety aspects. Well, mostly compatible.


I did not attempt to advocate for an adult led program. It may seem that way, but it was not the intent. I really prefer if troops be youth-led, they way it should be. More adults need to realize that Boy Scouts is not Cub Scouts (let's not get into that topic here too...). However, those that go around bashing a troop program and saying that youth patrols are the only way to go are also flawed. There needs to be a happy medium. I was/am one of those youth with ability. When I was SPL, my Scoutmaster stayed out of the picture attempting to make sure the other ASMs were out of the picture. It wasn't a perfectly youth run troop (the committee needed some better training to realize their role), but the spot light was definitely on the youth. Sometimes, an adult hand is necessary. I have been going to meetings of another troop while I am at college. The SPL is a kid who, I think, has the ability somewhere deep inside, but has difficulty handling the program. The SM does not have a good enough handle on the program either (He just assigned me the position of JASM. I'm 18...). He is doing what I would want my SM to do, stay out of the way. But, this youth really needs someone to mentor him to success, not just stand there and watch meritocracy. So, there needs to be a balance. The BSA is a youth led organization, not entirely youth run. Although we should be given the reins, we need the support of adults in order to succeed.


Your statement about adventure, learning, service to others, and leadership hits the goal right on the mark. We should work on changing the BSA stance on somethings, however I sometimes question the methodology the fighters use.


I understand that, to you, changing the name from a tap-out to a call-out is part of this attitude of degradation. I would probably feel the same way of they changed a call-out to a "public recognition event", or something of the like. The people who admonish you for calling it a tap-out are ridiculous, in my opinion. However, I hope you see that there is a reason that the term is no longer in public use.


As for the PC skits and songs, that irritates me as well. Some of the funniest stuff is the banned stuff, just because it could get us in trouble. Once our society is no longer sue-happy, which I hope happens soon (but, I;m not counting on it), I will just right up there and sing those songs and preform those skits.


Now that have read a little more of your beliefs and calmed down a little, I think that we are probably more in agreement than it originally seemed to me. I will readily acknowledge that you were tappped out. Just the same, I will continue calling the current ceremony a call-out. I guess the age old adage really applies here. To each, his own.



As I said before in this post, I do not believe in adult-run troop Scouting. The adults should never act as the leaders. They are guides, or advisers/advisors. They should be the back-up, not the front line. I agree that there is no valid argument for an adult led troop. That is not the purpose of even the modern day B-P style scouting movement. One of the goals is to provide leadership training and experience to the next leaders of the world. When I first joined Scouting, I was the first member of a new troop. We had just a handful of youth, and functioned much like you described, except we elected an SPL right off the bat. I definitely advocate that troops use knives, start fires, and go backpacking. Although, I also advocate troops that play soccer and other sports (although I don't really advocate basing an entire sector of Scouting on soccer...). The 1930's handbook, although probably more appealing to kids than a book full of diagrams and first aid, would probably not help our public relations issue much... However, I do agree that something needs to be done with the handbook; I'm just not sure what yet.


As for the societal changes, I never even implied that the changes are all benefits. I hate that we have to worry about child molestation and include a mini-booklet in the handbook all about it. I hate that a new requirement involves internet safety. I hate that patrols can't easily take camping trips on their own. I am not advocating an massive shift in your belief system, but I am advocating that you recognize the overall shift and at least try to work with it a little bit. I am not recommending that you allow Scouts to sit in their tent with iPods, GameBoys, and cell phones during camping trips (actually, I really like troops that don't allow personal electronics). What I am recommending is that those advocating for a traditional Scouting movement be more understanding that this generation has much, much different view of, well, everything, than previous generations. As for claiming that actions define the words, they do until media like this (http://cityonahillpress.com/article.php?id=1138) get a hold and twist things that we do. That one isn't even that bad compared to some of the slander I have head and read about Scouting and the OA. Words do matter.


And finally, Scouter-

I am interested to hear if the original version uses tap-out or call-out. If it does use call-out, how did it evolve into the tap-out? On the other hand, if it was changed, I wonder what happened, other than the elimination of the hard taps, that convinced National to change it's designation, especially if the tap-out originally followed the dictionary meaning.

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You have a good point, OldGreyEagle. However, there is an element of "do your best" and should not be a lot of pressure for perfection.


Also, I am sure that the adults had many of the same problems in the old days which would not be remembered by those looking back on their boyhood as they would have been sheltered from it by the adults.


You can see that the BSA has resisted change more than other scouting organizations around the world. Sometimes the resistance to change might make the program less attractive to the boys. I don't know very many boys past cub scout age who get excited about the uniforms, even the newest design which isn't much of a change really. Socks are green instead of green and red, but now they look like "old man socks" as I heard them described by one person. (In other words, they look like dress socks instead of something made for activity.)


On the other hand, I have to agree that the current scout handbook and field guide, even with all their nice color pictures, are inferior to previous editions. They show a lack of childish wonder and imagination that B-P and Seton would find appalling.


How do I bring this back around to the tap-out terminology discussion? I hear people seeming to be concerned that the terminology might be mis-interpreted by outsiders. However, I think if this was the worst thing we had to worry about the newspapers reporting I would be pretty happy with that.


As a dad of three boys who are all excited about upcoming football and two of whom have been through a couple years of karate lessons, I think that a little shove, push or hard tap at an initiation ceremony would just add to their pride in being called out. They are boys. They hit each other all the time whether we want them to or not. Of course, it can go overboard and we should care about safety, but I can understand people who get upset that the BSA is perhaps getting a little too obsessed with safety and political correctness.

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" It can definitely burn-out volunteers, and I hate to see good men leave because it is so much work, but I would also hate to see a lawsuit brought up against the BSA that forces it to limit the program even more. So, if the pain-in-the-butt protocol allows us to continue the program, I am wiling to deal with it."


Without trying to be offensive, do you honestly KNOW how scary that type of mindset is? What you just stated is that the risk of a potential lawsuit is of greater importance to the organization than the risk of burning out the volunteers who run the program. People ARE the program. No wonder we have trouble getting parents to be involved. My beef is precisely the fact that BSA national holds this same mind-set. The conecpt is not lost on any adult volunteer that sticks around for more than one training.


If the protocols change the organization to the point that it is no longer serving the goals of its stated mission, haven't the outside forces that wish to see the program fail succeeded in their goal? There's no need for the lawsuit, they've already won.


I guess thats the real rub. We all agree BSA has changed. Some see it as being degraded, a shaddow of its former self. Others still think the changes have not undermined the principles upon which BSA was founded. Guess only time will tell. I myself see both aspects at different times within the program.

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