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mashmaster

What are your guidelines for Scout Appropriate skits?

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@@mashmaster I think the guidelines you have established are perfectly fine. Any skit that has to resort to one of those items to be "funny" is in desperate need of a little more imagination. There are hundreds if not thousands of skits available online, the vast majority of which are perfectly acceptable even under your stipulations. If the boys "can't find anything," its not from the lack of material as much as from the lack of trying.

 

Side note, I always find it amusing when people say "I never did/always did such-and-such, and I turned out okay!" I can't help but find myself asking, "but did you really?"  ;)

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  • inappropriate costumes (cross dressing, nudity, underwear) This is actually directly from BSA, no cross dressing.

 

 

How about using squirt guns?

 

I know, the BSA says yada yada and I had a patrol get their skit pulled in the middle of the skit because they used a pillow but then the summer camp staff used a wig for a damsel in distress. How prudish are the people at National if they won't let a kid stuff a pillow under his shirt and act like a woman in labor? I can guarantee you that any woman that has been in labor would not consider it sexual. (This skit is writing itself. How about a skit where the scouts poke fun at National for not allowing them to portray pregnant women!)

 

I'm not making fun of you Mashmaster, I realize you're trying to follow the rules. It's just that there are lots of rules that just get going too far and start taking all the fun and purpose out of scouts. There are no simple rules for what is humor and what is crude. Funny things are about pain that didn't go too far. How many scouts laugh about things that went wrong on a campout? Those are the great stories. Things need to go wrong. Adventure is about going out towards the line and hoping you don't go over. Scouts is about letting kids make mistakes and then learning from them. Why not do that in the context of skits? If a skit is offensive then there's an opportunity for someone to learn how to apologize and for someone else to learn how to accept an apology.

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  • inappropriate costumes (cross dressing, nudity, underwear) This is actually directly from BSA, no cross dressing.

 

Looks like BSA hasn't updated their skit policies to reflect their membership policies. :rolleyes:  ;)

 

How could someone, with a straight face, stop some kids from doing a cross-dressing skit after the recent membership policy change? Hypocrisy thy name is Boy Scouts.

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How about using squirt guns?

 

I know, the BSA says yada yada and I had a patrol get their skit pulled in the middle of the skit because they used a pillow but then the summer camp staff used a wig for a damsel in distress. How prudish are the people at National if they won't let a kid stuff a pillow under his shirt and act like a woman in labor? I can guarantee you that any woman that has been in labor would not consider it sexual. (This skit is writing itself. How about a skit where the scouts poke fun at National for not allowing them to portray pregnant women!)

 

I'm not making fun of you Mashmaster, I realize you're trying to follow the rules. It's just that there are lots of rules that just get going too far and start taking all the fun and purpose out of scouts. There are no simple rules for what is humor and what is crude. Funny things are about pain that didn't go too far. How many scouts laugh about things that went wrong on a campout? Those are the great stories. Things need to go wrong. Adventure is about going out towards the line and hoping you don't go over. Scouts is about letting kids make mistakes and then learning from them. Why not do that in the context of skits? If a skit is offensive then there's an opportunity for someone to learn how to apologize and for someone else to learn how to accept an apology.

Agreed the cross-dressing thing is a little odd, I have never had a boy come to me wanting to do that yet.  And who doesn't like a good squirt gun battle?

 

Yes and no to the last point in my mind.  I have had times in my life that someone has said something to me and apologized and all is well.  I have also had others where what they said could never be undone, I'm not going into the details on that.

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Looks like BSA hasn't updated their skit policies to reflect their membership policies. :rolleyes:  ;)

 

How could someone, with a straight face, stop some kids from doing a cross-dressing skit after the recent membership policy change? Hypocrisy thy name is Boy Scouts.

interesting point.  But I'm not going deeper into that.

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I object to the toilet humor restriction.

 

One of my favorite skits has a poop joke.

 

Half of a teenage boys repetoir of jokes involves toilet humor.

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That is sadly true, although I think that is a sorry excuse for allowing it. I prefer to expect better of the boys I work with. Growing up, I sometimes I felt like my brother and I were the only Scouts in our entire district who found such 'humor' both woefully distasteful and utterly unfunny. I still think so. And while I know that I can't eliminate it entirely (though I do my best) the boys under my supervision, both as a teacher and a den leader, are very much on their guard not let any of that kind of humor cross my ears. I have mastered the art of what I would describe as the "professor's withering gaze of disapproval," although the boys call it my "Look of Death," a colloquial name for it that I have rather grown to appreciate. I have even had boys caught using such language or humor turn away from my face and shout "I won't do it again just please don't give me THE LOOK!"

 

Ah, the joys of knowing my lessons are sinking in.

 

So, yeah. I am sure once my Webelos move up to the Scouting program they will be exposed to all kinds of horrors and vulgarities, but at least as Webelos they'll have none of it as long as I'm in charge. And in the Cub Scouts at least, I actually am in charge! I would fare much worse in the Boy Scout program where I wouldn't be in charge any more, lol. 

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Add me to those who can't get too upset over a little potty humor. A little bit is funny. Too much isn't.

 

Same with violence- if the joke isn't about someone being hurt, it can be a part of a skit. Obviously making someone's suffering the butt of your joke isn't funny.

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The worst scoutmaster I have ever met let his scouts do or say anything they wanted. They were the most misbehaved scouts I have ever seen as a group. He was not a boy run SM, he was just waiting for his son to earn Eagle so they could move on. They were kicked out of the camp campfire.

 

Over the years, I found the challenge of scoutmastering to be setting a tone of Oath and Law without having to speak about it. And while I understand "the look", it's really more than that. It's a slight twing in the voice and lesser of a laugh. It's a slight change of stride in the walk. It's that little something that only the scouts might see, or feel, that gives them pause to wonder about their action.

 

The tone is different for all of us, it's not something I could teach. And it took years for me to develop because it takes time to change from the correcting father to the disappointed big brother.

 

The point of all this is boys of this age are looking for guidance in their search to find themselves. Boys don't want to be crass or antisocial, but they live in an awkward time where being accepted is a pull in all directions. Nature drives boys to look for and to look up to their gender role model leader so they can find where they are supposed to fit in their chaotic world. Finding oneself is stressful and finding the kind of person you want to be relieves that stress. Good or bad, the Scoutmaster is that role model by default. It's truly a burden and noble responsibility all at the same time.

 

So, practice being that role model. Set a tone of acceptability. Boys will be boys and that is important, but there are limits. It's ok for boys to push the limits, but the tone of the scoutmaster is where the line is drawn. And while boys may moan outwardly with their peers when they cross the line, they are grateful inwardly for the direction.

 

I can't say what those limits should be because we are all different, but don't be afraid to have an opinion. Be a compass for them.

 

I want you to know, because it happens to me a lot now, adults who were once your scouts (and their parents) will walk up to shake your hand and thank you. Be the model you want them to be when they become those adults.

 

Barry

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Barry is right, there's a fine line between just letting them run loose and ignoring bad choices.  A SM is there to support the boys in their growth and development (whether they want it or not.  :) )

 

They will push the envelop and when they don't get gentle push back, they will conclude it's acceptable. 

 

After an "out of bounds" skit performed by your boys:

 

Scout: "Mr. Stosh, what did you- think of our skit?"

 

SM, "It was okay, but it left me kinda disappointed, I know you can do better than that."

 

Scout: "Really?  We thought we did pretty good."

 

SM:  "That's what I mean, it was just pretty good.  You guys have the ability to do a lot more than just 'pretty good'."

 

Scout: "Will you help us then?"

 

SM: "I guess I could do that.  Why don't you all get some Boy Scout skits off the internet and we can sit down and I can help you work through them for next time.  Okay?"

 

One hasn't dumped on the boys with a bunch of rules, One has taken their words and worked them to one's advantage and they have invited support from the SM.  Now the SM has an opportunity to go through a bunch of skits and discuss why they may or may not be appropriate for next time.

 

One is there to support their learning.  Everything needs to be a lesson that comes from within the boys as they take ownership of the process without feeling it's really a learning situation.

 

They need to know the edges of the envelop and a gentle push back will always be more effective than a lecture on rules, regulations and by-laws. 

 

Yes boys will push authority, but all one needs to to is point out the fact that there's always an end to every trail.

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And Mr. Orwell continues to smile down upon us.

 

I think it's less Mr. Orwell and more today's reality.  Today's youth have grown up watching South Park and YouTube videos over and over again.  I would assert it's less about Orwell and more about whether any boundaries exist.  I'd argue that boundaries do need to exist for BSA skit as we do not want George Carlin's seven words at the camp fire.   The real question is what are the boundaries.  I'm not sure how to draw the line, but there is acceptable and not acceptable for BSA skits.

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Morality cannot be legislated with rules.  One needs to rely on one's own True North to set direction for others.  If one is a true leader, they will follow.  Simply asking oneself the question is it right might mean one needs to review their own True North.  If one experiences a sense of uneasiness about a situation, it might mean that one's compass has been bumped.  One might not find it necessary to correct other's course as much as it may mean that the correction needed is one's own course adjustment and taking a different path than theirs.  This is why I don't often attend such activities.  Again, it goes back to the issue of leadership.  I have the choice of following the leaders of my own choosing as does everyone else.

Edited by Stosh

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The boys in our unit haven't done skits in a very long time.  It's not that we would object to it.  It's just that it feels a little bit outdated, like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland saying, "Hey, gang, let's put on a show!"

 

It might also be that the Religion teachers do a lot of that role playing stuff in their Bible Study classes, and the boys associate skits with Christmas/Easter pageants and such.

Edited by David CO

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Looks like BSA hasn't updated their skit policies to reflect their membership policies. :rolleyes:  ;)

 

How could someone, with a straight face, stop some kids from doing a cross-dressing skit after the recent membership policy change? Hypocrisy thy name is Boy Scouts.

 

Has there been a recent membership policy change that addresses cross-dressing?

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The boys in our unit haven't done skits in a very long time.  It's not that we would object to it.  It's just that it feels a little bit outdated, like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland saying, "Hey, gang, let's put on a show!"

 

It might also be that the Religion teachers do a lot of that role playing stuff in their Bible Study classes, and the boys associate skits with Christmas/Easter pageants and such.

We're not much for skits either. I think it is mainly because the school district has a championship theater program (a couple of my venturers have gone on to professional careers), and our youth have pretty much had it with play practice when they finally can make it on a camp-out.

 

That said, I can be blamed for pushing boundaries ... making white boys read "Negro" out loud for MLK day. It was not something they were at all comfortable with. But, it was their first time reading the "I Have a Dream" speech in full. And having done so, we could see light bulbs turning on for the first time. A compass is only good if you know where you're coming from.

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