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Camp Hazing the good kind

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Way back when I was a scout, there were a few snipe hunts. I also remember going on a hunt for sidehill gultchers. A mythical bird with one leg longer than the other, that tends to hang out on the sides of hills. Bagging a left-sided gultcher is quite a prize because it is much rarer than a right-sided one. I never did learn how Pope and Young scores them though. Yes, I remember disappointment in not even spotting one, especially when the older boys did! In general this was simple pranks that never really caused any problems.


One prank I remember though, really did get out of hand. We were on a bicycling hike on San Juan island up in the San Juans of NW Washington state. At one campsite, the young scouts, me included were blindfolded and led on a short hike. This was in the evening after dark. I'm not sure how many of us were blindfolded, maybe four. Anyway, I was loosely tied to a stone and the others were also tied up to something like a stone or a tree. This was all surrounded by great fanfare and fun and how it would be a great experience in learning scout craft, how to find our way at night, etc. I'm sure you can imagine all the reasons used to entice us to our pending doom. Well, back to the story. We're all tied, and told to wait a minute before freeing ourselves and finding our way back to camp. It's very dark, all's quiet except for the croaking frogs. I'm getting myself untied when I hear a death curdling scream from one of my comrades in knots. I can still remember this scream, and I hope I never hear one filled with such fear again. He loosed himself and found himself staring at a tombstone. He was tied to a tree that had grown up from the grave. Me, I was tied to a tombstone and found myself sitting on the grave and looking at a broken down moss covered picket fence. What an eerie feeling that was.


I really don't remember much of what happened afterwards. No one was physically hurt. I have no idea how the adults handled the situation, if at all. They may not even have known it happened. I do know that the one boy didn't stay in scouts very long after his fright. This may have had an impact on that, I don't know. I do know that it really wasn't talked about much at all afterwards and I don't remember anything like that ever happening again. It really was very poor judgement by the older scouts.


The thing about pranks, such as snipe hunts or canon reports, is that they set the tone that doing things to humilate your troopmates is okay. This is all done in good fun. But it's not good fun. Good fun is never at the expense of others. It's bad fun, and bad fun will never reflect well on those having it. And bad fun also tends to feed on itself and escalate more and more til someone really gets hurt such as I recounted above.



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TO say nothing about the understandable damage to the tombstones that could have occured and I am sure the families of the departed would have been happy to know the final resting place of their loved one was being used by juveniles in the pursuit of good clean wholesome entertainment. Just the type of legacy we all want for the BSA

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To return ones post we did not have a fire because of firehazards. I do not know if they allowed them at our spring ordeals or not but fire was a very scary thing to us at this camp. We had no fires except in the fireplace in the lodge or at the circle. So in the fall we never had them. We also called or camp the seven hills of Rome because it was all hills and valley but this also made it a long way down to any lake to get water.

Above all the raw egg did not hurt physically but it drove me crazy mentally.


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I believe it was my post that you are returning.


Please help me to understand with no offense intended.


You were a Scout. You had no trouble with being sent on a fool's errand and indeed launched a thread looking for "good hazing," but you were terrified of lighting a fire to cook your egg?


I don't understand. Something just isn't making sense here.



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We could not light fires , we hardly ever are allowed to in the fall which is the dry season and they are very strict on fires one little burst gets outand the whole camp would be burst from all the leaf litter.

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Over my five years on camp staff, I have witnessed many instances of hazing. These have ranged from simple practical jokes, like sending a unknowing scout to look for a left-handed smoke bender (Just as a side note, I created a left-handed smoke bender this past summer. It resides at Napowan Adventure Base in Wild Rose, WI) to 'pranks' with the sole purpose of harassing others. I feel that hazing is a very gray area, and that to make a definate rule prohibiting it in any and all forms would require much modification to the OA practices, however to do nothing about it only encourages such behavior. I believe that each situation needs to be handled on an individual basis, and thatincidences of haxing should be judged on the amout of harm intended, and the amount of harm inflicted.

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bluegoose hit it right on the head! There is a definable, palpable line between 'joking around' and humiliation/abuse.


Skyhook's not looking for examples of 'hazing'---that's a 1990's word--- he's looking for examples of how some folks had fun 'joking around'. And haven't we heard some fine stories, too?


By the way, skyhook, I agree with you that in the Scouting movement today more people are focused on too many non-Scouting, non-character building issues.


Let us take a constructive approach of "Let's help teach these boys how to become men and become self-reliant" and dwell less on minutiae like whether it's hazing to eat a raw egg or not. Maybe then we'll see better behavior from our scouts and ourselves have a little more fun to boot.


--------Brother Jaime.



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Bluegoose and Brother Jaime,



BSA is pretty clear where the "just having fun v. Hazing" line is, but even if that weren't the case...


Who get's to decide if it's hazing or just fun?? The gigglin' boys or the lone Scout sitting in the forest all night??? Who's gonna decide if harm is intended or done?? The mocking GROUP or the embarassed ONE? How does humiliation and isolation teach a boy "to be a man" and to be self-reliant?


I was OA as a Scout, but I'm not involved now nor would I try to convince you I was informed about today's OA practices ... But don't OA practices fall under BSA dictates and shouldn't their practices have already felt the changes of these policies???


jd(This message has been edited by johndaigler)

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An even better approach, Jamie, is "to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."


I believe you are missing the point. Your "just joking around" is my "hazing." Hazing is in the perception of the person receiving it. We can't agree on what constitutes hazing among ourselves, adults sitting around their computers with plenty time to think. How can we expect 12 and 13 year olds to know where to the lines in the heat of the moment with the pressure of their friends egging them on? Being sent on a fool's search may be good fun for some, but can you predict how a boy will respond? Do you think the other Scouts can predict more accurately the you can?


Is the laugh taken at another Scout's expense or your "lesson in self-reliance" worth the possibility that a Scout is humiliated and decides to drop out? There are too many ways to have fun in Scouting without making it at the expense of another Scout.

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Humor has a place in scouting. "An hour a week" is a prime example. The intent of hazing has no place in scouting, agreed. Joking without harming feelings can be difficult. Some of the songs at camp are gross, ie "sausage machine". I like the song even though it is talks of grinding cats and dogs. Lets not label all jokes as hazing, good judgement calls by scouters role model and instill good judgement in scouts(This message has been edited by Double Eagle)

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Double Eagle,

I don't think anyone has suggested that there is no room for humor in the BSa only that there is no humor in teasing other people especially adults teasing children.


I do not see the parallel between your examples of joking about scouting being an hour a week or singing a silly song, with sending a boy running around looking for a smoke bender so that you can laugh at him at his expense.



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You mean


There was a jolly Dutchman,

His name was Johnny Verbeck.

He made the finest sausages

And sauerkraut and speck.

He made the finest sausages

The world has ever seen,

Till one day he invented

A sausage makin' machine.



Oh, Mr. Johnny Verbeck

How could you be so mean.

I told you you'd be sorry for

Inventing that machine.

Now all the neighbors' cats and dogs

Will never more be seen.

They'll all be ground to sausages

In Johnny Verbecks' machine.


One day a boy came walking,

He walked right in the store.

He bought a pound of sausages

And laid them on the floor.

The boy began to whistle,

He whistled up a tune.

And all the little sausages

Went dancing 'round the room.



One day the machine got broken.

The darn thing wouldn't go.

So Johnny Verbeck, he climbed inside

To see what made it so.

His wife, she had a nightmare

And walking in her sleep,

She gave the crank a heck of a yank

And Johnny Verbeck was meat


Thats one of my favorites

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OGE, that's the one. One of my favorites.

Bob, Scout on scout, scouter on scout, scouter on scouter; The interaction of youth to adult can be merged with all participating. Several previous posts suggest coming up with the mythical object. With the help of the adults, many scouts have turned the tables and surprised the jokesters.


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