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mattman578

Singing? For Your Stuff (Edited By Packsaddle)

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I tend to collect lost items in my trunk after a trip and then put them on the table in the room where our Troop meets. People can come up and see if they've lost anything and claim it. Shaming Scouts or Scouters for losing the stuff has never even occurred to me. Man, I can imagine me at 11 being made to sing for a lost sock. I would have been a hot mess of tears and probably wouldn't have gone back to camp with that bunch of jerks ever again.

 

I am split on the issue.

 

I had to sing for stuff. Embarrassed? Sure. Scarred for life? Hardly. Sooner or later it happened to everyone.

 

I can see giving new and younger scouts a pass on this practice.

 

There's embarrassment throughout scouting. The kid who can't swim, the kid who stutters having to conduct a COH or something for the Communicatons MB, the non-athletic kid having to do PT, etc. As adults we have to help kids deal with embarrassment and get over it; show them it's not a life ending event.

 

I've seen units where EVERYONE sings if something is lost. Maybe that's the compromise. But let's not pretend there aren't other areas in ALL of our units where similar exclusions take place.

Edited by Mozartbrau

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I do not recall my sons pack or any of the various troops he was in doing anything like this for lost items.. The closest thing I remember is the troop meeting before a backpack outing the boys would need to come in with their backpacks packed and the SM would turn them upside down and shake them to see if anything fell out.. The first time the SM did it all scouts were taken unawares.. Afterwards, new scouts would be forewarned by the older scouts.. Still if anyone didn't have a tight pack it normally was the new scouts until they learn the tricks to tighten everything up.. I would imagine it was embarrassing to have your stuff lying on the floor, but the boys did learn how to pack a tight backpack..

 

I can see both sides of the argument.. It really depends on the way the boys in the troop view it..  I can see an environment that Rick-in-CA describes. One of the troops my son was in was into bullying boys to weed out the boys they thought were not up to their standards.. If they had thought of it, I am sure they would have used it to bully.. But, I have also known troops that would have their most popular boys "loosing" their own stuff on purpose in order to get up and ham it up, and the other boys seeing it as just plain fun..  Then there are all the troops that fall in the middle of those two situations, but the outcome of this behavior will run between "a good time" to "bulling" based on the attitudes of the boys in the troop about it.. Because the makeup of boys in a troop is always shifting and changing though, I could see this policy starting off as "a good time" to over time sliding  into "bullying" due to how the most popular boys in the troop viewed it..  I think it would be harder once being used to bully to move it back into being a good time, more often if your popular scouts changed again to boys who want a good environment, they will just see this as a problem and ask that this policy be retired. Or if the adult leadership is attentive, perhaps they can themselves recognize what was fun has slid to bullying and retire it themselves.

Edited by moosetracker

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I think the loss of an important possession and the stress that comes with it is punishment enough. IMO singing for items is hazing. I learned a long time ago to correct mistakes in private and praise good behavior publicly. I've had a few bosses who didn't under that concept.

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 But let's not pretend there aren't other areas in ALL of our units where similar exclusions take place.

 

I'm not pretending anything, cher.   ;)

 

But I certainly don't feel the need to make someone do anything to reclaim a lost piece of gear.  If one does feel the need to take advantage of a "teachable moment," I agree with Sentinel (above) that this should be done in private.

 

Example: I saw that two of my Scouts had pitched their tent in the dark and had left the stuff sacs, pole/stake bag, and various other things lying around camp until well into the next day. Instead of making a show I just took both Scouts aside and explained that the tent belonged to the Troop and asked them if that was how they treated their own stuff.  No one laughed at them and they understood--through my gentle reminder--that they should take more care with the gear and not leave things out to get wet, lost, or damaged.

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Example: I saw that two of my Scouts had pitched their tent in the dark and had left the stuff sacs, pole/stake bag, and various other things lying around camp until well into the next day. Instead of making a show I just took both Scouts aside and explained that the tent belonged to the Troop and asked them if that was how they treated their own stuff. No one laughed at them and they understood--through my gentle reminder--that they should take more care with the gear and not leave things out to get wet, lost, or damaged.

So do you make the obese kid do the 1/4 mile run or pull ups in front of his new scout class? Or does he do them in private? Do you have the known non-swimmer still attempt the swim test? Or does he get a pass or a private test? Does the kid with a stuttering problem or social anxiety get to do a private speech and a pass on doing the COH or campfire or interfaith service? Or is he required to still get up in front of everyone and expose his disability?

 

My point is there's embarrassment throughout scouting. Unless you've eliminated ALL of it, decrying signing for stuff is a bit hypocritical, no? ;)

 

Laissez le bon temps roule. ;)

Edited by Mozartbrau

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So do you make the obese kid do the 1/4 mile run or pull ups in front of his new scout class? Or does he do them in private? Do you have the known non-swimmer still attempt the swim test? Or does he get a pass or a private test? Does the kid with a stuttering problem or social anxiety get to do a private speech and a pass on doing the COH or campfire or interfaith service? Or is he required to still get up in front of everyone and expose his disability?

 

My point is there's embarrassment throughout scouting. Unless you've eliminated ALL of it, decrying signing for stuff is a bit hypocritical, no? ;)

 

Laissez le bon temps roule. ;)

 

So why add to it with singing for lost stuff, mon ami:D

 

1. The PL should make the call on helping his "obese" Scout advance to Tenderfoot.  I've watched the young Patrol and they are very helpful.  

2. Our JASM is a BSA lifeguard and swim team star, so he helps our non-swimmers privately before they have to do the official swim test.

3. A Scout is courteous, kind, friendly, helpful, etc. and lends a hand when asked and certainly doesn't make fun of someone else for a disability!

 

I don't consider myself hypocritical in this case and I always work to make things work out for the best for my Scouts. :cool:  

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Replies in red below...

 

So why add to it with singing for lost stuff, mon ami:D

 

Because both issues are about embarrassing a scout. If we are going to be sensitive about not embrassing scouts we need to make sure we aren't doing it in any area of our program.

 

 

1. The PL should make the call on helping his "obese" Scout advance to Tenderfoot.  I've watched the young Patrol and they are very helpful.  

 

Right. But does the obese scout run with everyone else? Or does he do it privately. Scouts are sensitive but not always sensible. If the status quo is a group run (think large troop) then this is more of an issue.

 

2. Our JASM is a BSA lifeguard and swim team star, so he helps our non-swimmers privately before they have to do the official swim test.

 

We do the same. But what if the kid is a stone and does not want to take the test. Do you make him stand on the dock or do you allow him to do something else that does not draw attention to his situation? My experience has shown scouts don't like to be the "exception". 

 

3. A Scout is courteous, kind, friendly, helpful, etc. and lends a hand when asked and certainly doesn't make fun of someone else for a disability!

 

Yes. But using that same logic a scout would not snicker and giggle at a scout singing for stuff, would he? We are assuming in these scenarios that the scouts are NOT acting in accordance with the Law and Oath. If they were then NONE of these things would be an issue. There's theory and there's reality. 

 

I don't consider myself hypocritical in this case and I always work to make things work out for the best for my Scouts. :cool:  

 

Nor do I think you are hypocritical. My point was more academic than anything. It seemed a few folks were railing against singing for stuff as bullying or making the scout embarrassed. I simply wanted to point out that scouting is riddled with similar situations where well-meaning folks don't even see the same issue. Case in point was my OA example. Imagine being the only kid in your unit that was not tapped out and having to stay standing in front of hundreds of people (with others who were not elected). That's a 1000 times more humiliating and bully-like than having to sign for a canteen in front of 30 of your friends.

Edited by Mozartbrau

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Ahhh, those "teachable" moments.

 

I say the next time you misplace your keys, your "better" half drags you outside, gathers all of your neighbors, and makes you sing and dance while they all point and laugh at you.

 

or

 

You leave something on your desk at work. When you go back to retrieve it your boss makes you do a silly song and dance number in front of all of your co-workers.

 

Having "fun" yet?

 

What "life lessons" have you learned?

 

Other than  - 1)  to never trust anyone enough to tell them when you have lost/misplaced something  2) to lie when asked questions about lost/misplaced items  3) to sneak around and "steal" back your own things - and my personal favorite - 4) instead of being courteous, and helpful, to treat people like crap when they are in need of a bit of help.

 

My ADHD son would certainly agree that - YES - it IS bullying and/or hazing!  He ended up pretty much hating his SM, and many of the Scouts in his Troop.

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Summer Camp - 1978 - the camp tradition was to have Scouts "sing" for lost items at dinner - third week in - second day of camp - first time in the session a Scout has mislaid an item - the Staffer held up the item, the Scout identified it, and the Staffer, following tradition, told him he had to sing for it - the Scout refused - the Staffer said he wouldn't be getting it back - the Scout's ASM got up, in front of the whole camp, flashed his police badge, and announced he was arresting the Staffer for possession of stolen goods.  The next day a memo flew in from the Base Director - from then on, there would be no singing for lost items in any camp.  The only people that missed that tradition were the knuckleheads who liked to see Scout's suffer humiliation.

 

There are always going to be "adult" "leaders" in the Boy Scouts that believe that making a Scout sing for a lost item, or sending a Scout out for a left-handed smoke bender or on a snipe hunt  is nothing but good clean fun, just as there will always be Fraternity Members that believe forcing a pledge to guzzle a gallon of beer, or parade around campus in their tighty-whiteys, or endure a round of paddling is nothing but good clean fun.  It's not - it's hazing - plain and simple - don't even think about trying to claim that singing for a lost item is lesser than forcing the guzzling of alchohol - there are no degrees in hazing - it's all hazing.  "Tradition" does not make it ok.  "I had to do it when I was a Scout" does not make it ok.  "The Scout's like it" does not make it ok - and is awfully hard to prove - ask a Scout who has just been humiliated or allowed to be humiliated by their "Adult" "Leaders" if they like it and I doubt that many would say "Yes, Sir - that was fun, can we do it again".

 

My Scoutmaster tried to get me to go out hunting Snipe on my first camping trip - what he didn't know about me was that I was a birdwatcher and my father hunted upland game birds, of which Snipe is one - I informed him we couldn't have a snipe hunt because the season was closed - then I showed him a picture of a snipe in the bird book I always had with me in my pack.  That was my last camping trip with that unit because they also did the owatagoosiam bit with us and initiated us by pretending to cut our leg at ankle height with the back of a sheath knife - the idiots did it in the dark and quickly slapped a bandage over it without actually looking - they accidentally used the sharp side with me which I found out a little later when I discovered, while getting ready for bed, that my bandage was wet and red - Ooops.  My new unit had real adults as leaders - adults who didn't believe that humiliation and hazing was part of a sound learning practice and did not allow it in the unit.

 

The message from the BSA can't be clearer - IT IS HAZING AND IT MUST NOT HAPPEN.  The BSA doesn't care if you think it's harmless and fun - if you make an 11 year old sing for a lost item at camp and he tells Mom and Mom gets hacked off and calls the Council Office - the Scout Executive won't accept your "but it's just harmless fun" explanation as he voids your membership, tells your CO that you are no longer part of Scouting and can have no contact at all with the youth in their unit or in any other unit and you're left standing there wondering where you went wrong.  We can argue in here all we want about whether it's just good clean fun or not but it doesn't matter because it is firmly against BSA policy. 

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About that title edit. I was mostly seeing if I could do it. I'll put it back if Mattman wants me to.

packsaddle I have more important things to worry about thanks if you corrected any of my speeling I can not tell

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My point is there's embarrassment throughout scouting. Unless you've eliminated ALL of it, decrying signing for stuff is a bit hypocritical, no? ;)

 

 

Are you saying there is no difference between deliberately embarrasing a Scout and a Scout becoming embarrassed inadvertently?  

 

I know you've used the swimming test example - in most of the units I've ever been involved with, the Scouts know who the non-swimmers are - and if any Scout teases a non-swimmer, the rest of the Scouts get on his case pretty quickly about it.  If a Scout is a known non-swimmer, or is afraid of lake water and doesn't want to take the test, we automatically classify them as a non-swimmer - no one forces them to take the swim test - and no one singles them out for not taking it.  If there are Scouts in your unit that are teasing the non-swimmer, then your job is to put a stop to it immediately.  I'll tell you here and now, I will remove anyone from my unit who teases another Scout in my unit, or in any other unit - even the Eagle-candidate SPL working on his Project that has been "Mr. Scout" without another thought.  If the Adult Leaders enforce a zero-tolerance policy towards hazing and teasing, the Scouts pick up on that pretty quickly and will quickly adopt it as their own.  We can't eliminate all embarrassment, but we can certainly eliminate all deliberately embarrasing a Scout and can certainly minimize inadvertant embarrassment by being more sensitive to the Scout's needs and inculcating that attitude in our units.  If we're to train up these lads to become the best kind of citizen, then part of that training should include not judging another Scout or person for a choice they're making that the other's aren't - to make, for instance, the sight of the overweight Scout wearing a t-shirt at the waterfront because he's embarrassed by his belly a non-issue.  We need to remind the older Scouts that we don't encourage the younger Scouts to try harder by catcalling them but by cheering them on, just as they were (or should have been) cheered on when they tried throwing that line over a tree branch and it took them 6 tries before they could do it.

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I see a distinction between a kid embarrassed that he runs slowly and will be the last to finish the race. There's a wonderful life lesson to be had there that can be brought out through the encouragement of his peers. The running Scout learns a life lesson that finishing something matters, even if you're the last one. The other Scouts learn that you need to encourage and support your teammates, not belittle them. 

Contrast that with making a Scout go up in front of the entire troop (In my unit, that might be 80 Scouts, 5-10 uniformed adult leaders, and however many siblings and older parents at the end of meeting announcements), and making them sing some stupid song in front of 150 people or so. The embarrassment is compounded at a summer camp, where there are now 400+ people there staring at you. 

Bullying is about a power imbalance, and using that imbalance to assert control of others. Humiliation is the weapon of a bully, and true leaders know that tool does not belong in a leaders toolbox. Even in the case where people say "it's voluntary" it's really not, because the consequences for not going up and singing are getting more harassment and looking weak. 

What purpose does making a Scout sing or dance in front of everybody serve? Does it teach them a lesson? Yes. It teaches them if they screw up, their fellow Scouts and leaders are going to make a fool out of them. That's a lesson I refuse to sanction being taught to my Scouts. We all make mistakes, and nobody deserves to be bullied for any reason, let alone leaving a possession in the wrong place. 

Just because something stupid and demeaning was done in the past and people turned out o.k, doesn't make it o.k now. All kids are different, and will react to things differently.

Lets leave hazing practices in the past, where they belong. 
 

Sentinel947

Edited by Sentinel947
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Well, if you can't sing for your stuff because it is humiliating, why are some OA ceremonies asking ALL candidates to stand for tap out? After all the guys elected get tapped out the guys who didn't are left standing....IN FRONT OF HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE AT CAMPOREE!!!! Tell me THAT'S not humiliating?

 

 

 

So what are you doing about this?  Are you just throwing up your hands and saying "there is nothing I can do" and using it as an excuse to say if it's ok for the OA to do it, it's ok for us to do it?  Or will you take the next step, having identified an example of what very well might qualify as hazing under the BSA policy, and send the Lodge Advisors (both staff and volunteer) and the Scout Executive a letter or e-mail expressing your concern about this practice and asking them to end it immediately?

 

That ball is in your court.

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My troop voted to require 5 push-ups from boys who spoke when they were supposed to be listening.  At one point or another everybody does push-ups.  That  is less embarrassing than being singled out for being disrespectful of other peoples time, and it keeps the meetings moving.  We carry on while the blabbermouth is getting exercise on the floor.

 

A few boys are building some good shoulders!

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