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Beavah

What is hazing?

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I popped a bully in the mouth once. I also gave him no warning and he had no clue.

 

The he unloaded on me. I fought back knowijng I was fighting a losing battle, but I didn't back down.

 

I never had another bit of trouble from him either. We didn't walk off into the sunset with new respect for each other or singing Kumbaya or anything like thatr. We still didn't like each other, and we still didn't talk......but he never messed with me again.

 

Maybe he respected me, or maybe he realized that I didn't have a victem attitude.

 

 

I didn't really care what he thougt. I just knew it stopped.

 

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Yah, I recall there's lots of good psychology about da "victim attitude" thing, eh? Size, weight, and all da rest seem not to be the primary factors so much as a willingness to see oneself as the victim, or to overreact in a negative sort of way that inspires more bullying. Lots of martial arts programs for kids around here work as much on that attitude as they actually do on skills.

 

He plays mind games with people that belittle and disrespect the other person to make his point. Guess what, it's abusive behavior.

 

No, it's not. No matter how many times yeh repeat it, yeh can't justify elevating boorish behavior to "abuse". What you are describin' is just boorish behavior. The fellow is a cad. OK, fine. But he is not "abusing" anyone. There is a difference.

 

Yes, "singing as punishment" is not a huge issue. It's small. I would never suggest revoking unit charters or banning people from scouting because of it.

 

But that's exactly what you're suggesting, eh? Because we don't tolerate any emotional abuse in Scouting, nor should we. When you say to others that an adult "emotionally abused" a Scout, that's a YP issue. It requires an investigation. It requires notifying the child protection authorities. It requires suspension or dismissal from Scouting.

 

So if that's not what you really mean, don't use those words.

 

 

What should be evident from all da traffic here is that some adults are able to pull off this singing thing just fine in their units, and some cannot. If yeh cannot pull it off, yeh shouldn't do it. No different than if yeh don't have the skills to lead a rock climbing trip, eh?

 

Just because yeh don't have the skills to make it work in your unit, though, it's best not to assume that all da other scouters in the world don't have the skills to take their boys rock climbing. Or singing. And if they do take 'em out to the cliffs while you do not, it's unfair to assume that they must be abusing or recklessly endangering their charges.

 

They're probably just be learning and having fun.

 

So I think before yeh level da full broadside at a fellow scouter or a scout based on one side of da story, it's best to sit down and write up the "incident" pretending to be that scout or scouter, and writing from their perspective. See them as fellow human beings too, not as "abusers".

 

We owe all people that, but most especially we owe each other that.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Comparing capture the flag to a snipe hunt is asinine. In capture the flag, you have teams, and everyone knows the rules. In a snipe hunt, there is no team, there is the singling out of an individual who doesn't know the rules.

 

Comparing humiliating an individual or a patrol by making them sing for a lost item and a uniform inspection or a swim test is asinine. Uniform inspections and swim tests are done by everyone - and all have equal participation. Frankly, there is no pass/fail. Handled correctly by adult leaders, they can be used to help a Scout improve. Singing for lost items is more likely to make a Scout resentful than help him improve.

 

With uniform inspections, there is absolutely no need to humiliate a Scout. Praise publicly, critique privately (note I said critique, NOT criticize). Every single Scout can be praised for something during a uniform inspection. And every single one should be praised if you are praising any. A Scout not in full uniform can be praised for patch placement. A Scout not in uniform can be praised for his polished shoes, or belt buckle, or neatness of grooming. If a Scout feels humiliated, then you aren't doing it right, and you should let someone else do it.

 

With swim tests, there is no failure. A Scout may become a non-swimmer - that means you get to work with them to become a swimmer. A good leader gets his Scouts through this - no criticism, everything is good. And that message has to be delivered by everyone in the Troop. If Johnny Scout doesn't make swimmer, no one - NO ONE - should be allowed to make fun of him. If anything, his Patrol mates, his Troop mates, should be the first ones to go to him and say "let's meet at the waterfront tomorrow during open swim and teach you how to swim in a lake". I've been on camp staff - I've helped man the waterfront during swim tests. One of the greatest things I've seen a Scoutmaster do was after a swim test, when one of the Scouts in his Troop was ranked a non-swimmer and one of the older Scouts in his Troop starting razzing the kid about it, the Scoutmaster took that older Scouts buddy tag, and using his knife, cut it in half and gave it to the Waterfront Director and told him this Scout was not allowed to use the waterfront. Only when the Scout apologized, and took the swim test again, was he allowed to use the waterfront. Guess who was one of the Scouts helping the younger Scout learn to swim that week. All because a Scoutmaster refused to allow any of his Scouts be mocked, teased or humiliated.

 

As for singing for lost items, what if the Scout refuses to do so - then what are you going to do? Keep the item? One of our adult leaders was a police officer. He suggested that if you have the item, and keep it, knowing who the rightful owner is, and you have the chance to give the item back to the owner and refuse because they didn't sing your little teapot song, that you could be considered in possession of stolen property at that point. Now our legal eagles might not agree but they'd have to sort it out after the police officer arrests you for it.

 

 

I emphathize with OGE. I went through something similar (though not a snipe hunt). It was some stupid "initiation" the leaders and 16 year old SPL thought up. We were a brand new troop - we all transfered from the troop we joined out of webelos to a newly created troop connected with our old pack. It was our first campout and they did the "owa tago siam" bit (but with a different saying) then "pretended" to cut a leg as if it was part of some indian initiation. I was the last to understand what the saying was and was already humiliated by that. Then when they "cut" my leg, they accidently used the blade and not the back of the blade. No one knew because it was dark and they had clamped bandages on all of us right away and told us not to remove it until the morning. I have a high threshold for pain - and often don't react until I can see my injuries. I discovered that I was bleeding about half an hour later - after we had all gone to bed. My tent mate was fine - we looked under his bandage and he wasn't cut at all. I took my bandage off and saw the cut and started hollering and crying. I was taken to the hospital - fortunately I didn't need stitches - but I didn't talk to my Scoutmaster on the way back to the campsite, and I didn't talk to anyone the next day. I didn't trust any of them. I was in a new troop in a month, after refusing to go any meetings of this troop. I think about the times that were when OGE experienced this, when I experienced what I went through, and I think about the present times. I wonder what I might have done if I were being raised up now - would I have been tempted to grab a big stick and start beating someone with it - all because of a little joke?

 

I'll say it again - Follow the Scout Law and the Scout Oath, and everything else will fall into place. If you follow the Law and Oath, you won't likely be in a situation where you're being accused of hazing or whatever.

 

 

 

 

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"He plays mind games with people that belittle and disrespect the other person to make his point. Guess what, it's abusive behavior.

 

No, it's not. No matter how many times yeh repeat it, yeh can't justify elevating boorish behavior to "abuse". What you are describin' is just boorish behavior. The fellow is a cad. OK, fine. But he is not "abusing" anyone. There is a difference."

 

I have to agree AND disagree with you here. And I have to do so because we were given two different sets of people.

 

When it comes to the girlfriends, I think you're right - he's being boorish and a cad. It's not abuse because there is no power relationship in play.

 

BUT...

 

We're also told he does this with people he supervises. I read that to mean people that work FOR him, not just with him. If they were just people he works with, boorish and a cad is spot on. However, in this instance, we do have a power relationship in play. These aren't just people he works with - these are people that work for him, which usually means he has some level of control over them, be it financial, work assignments, etc. In this case, the behavior would be considered abusive by just about every HR department and company out there. If the company doesn't consider it abuse, I'm not sure I'd want to work for that company, or would want a spouse or child working for that company.

 

It's a fine line between boorish and abuse - and the tipping point is usually the nature of the relationship.

 

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"See them as fellow human beings too, not as "abusers". We owe all people that, but most especially we owe each other that."

 

Listen to yourself man for crying out loud. You defend the practice of humiliting young Scouts - they ought to take it like a man. But let someone condemn the adults that perpetrate, condone, and perpetuate those practices and you jump to their defense.

 

Try treating those boy targets as "fellow human beings" too.

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Yah, hmmm...

 

I just have to say I've seen far more lads "traumatized", upset, and tearful over swim checks than I have ever seen from singing a teacup song. Doesn't matter that the staff or scouters were doing their best. Sometimes they miss the signals.

 

I can see where a scouter who doesn't have the sort of troop culture or personal relationship with lads or the right silly personality can't make da singing thing work. That sort of scouter shouldn't do it. Just like swim checks, though, I think it's a step too far to go from "seen it fail" to "it must fail for everyone". As Calico describes, many good staff and scouters who are alert and have the time can set the right mood and troop culture and personal relationship to make swim checks work for even scared, non-swimmer boys.

 

the Scoutmaster took that older Scouts buddy tag, and using his knife, cut it in half and gave it to the Waterfront Director and told him this Scout was not allowed to use the waterfront.

 

This is a good example? :mad: I wouldn't handle this that way. I think the Scoutmaster humiliated the older boy and was a lousy example of how to handle a conflict by resorting to raw authority. Calico likes it and thinks it's appropriate, and it seems to have worked out. So should I storm and fume about "abuse" and all the rest? Or should I accept that the SM is a good fellow and even though I disagree with his approach, he might be able to pull of somethin' that I can't or wouldn't?

 

I went through something similar (though not a snipe hunt). It was some stupid "initiation" the leaders and 16 year old SPL thought up.

 

Yah, hmmm... now your homework is to sit down and write the same story from da perspective of the leaders and the SPL. Yeh have to assume, in writin' it, that they're ordinary, decent, but fallible folks.

 

After you've done that... after you've considered all their good intentions, an ordinary lack of attention or proper caution that we've each committed at some point or another, how bad they felt afterward, how much they wished they could have gotten through to yeh when yeh clammed up ... then and only then can yeh judge.

 

Yep, adults will make mistakes. Dad will encourage yeh to climb a tree, and then yeh fall and break your leg. Hurt, angry, humiliated, he said I could do it and I couldn't, never trust dad again, yada yada. Does that make dad an abuser? Does that make tree-climbing verboten for all boys everywhere? Or does that just mean that dad was doin' his best, and it didn't work out the way he expected or hoped this time?

 

Beavah

 

 

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In this case, the behavior would be considered abusive by just about every HR department and company out there.

 

Nonsense. Da fellow could easily be Steve Jobs. :) The behavior description is typical of a disgruntled employee griping about a demanding or less-than-perfect manager.

 

Beavah

 

 

 

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A couple of days ago I posed this request with regard to the experience that OGE described receiving during a so-called 'snipe hunt': "You can call the behavior whatever you like but the hurt and humiliation that he felt and which I have seen others in his situation feel...was not necessary. If it was a positive addition to their scouting experience I'd like someone to explain how."

And I still haven't seen it answered. So I'll pose it directly as a question.

 

Exactly how does the hurt and humiliation of a scout, whether intended or not, make a positive addition to his scouting experience?

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packsaddle, while I wouldn't say this was a positive experience for that scout in any shape or way. and also realizing every person is different...I do see how a bad thing can be used as a positive thing:

 

This can be a great learning experience in 2 ways:

 

1) The troop can learn that while things might look oaky from one viewpoint ( the ones running the snipe hunt) they also need to consider the rammifications and viewpoint of the victim scout. Maybe they need to stop ands review certain practices. procedures and whatnot and consider all viewpoints.

 

2)The victem could also learn that - while the event wasn't pleasant, and in fact it was a horrible experrience, that sometimes things don't always come out the way we intended. Sometimes we just screw things up and the outcome is not what we were planning for. I mean, it's two different things wether the boys meant to cause anguish or if they thought the vitim would laugh and feel part of the group.

 

WE as humans sometimes cannot see outside or or take into consideration - anything beyond or different than our own viewpoint.

 

The fact that it can be a big learning experience and create change in teh way the troop inducts or welcomes new scouts...as well as an awareness beyond ourselves...well, that is something positive.

 

From the ashes of destruction......great cities are built.

 

Am I saying the snipe hunt or singing were a good idea? Nope! Not at all. But it doesn't mesan something positive can't come from it.

 

In this case, it is awareness and an education into what the reastion of the victim is.

 

 

 

 

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OGE's hurt from the snipe hunt was not just about the deception. There was abandonment as well. And the next time the same kid pulled a simpler stunt, that abandonment comes into the equation. He couldn't get past that to see his an opportunity to meet boys from all the other units at camp.

 

How does the "humiliation" of singing help a boy become a better scout? Well, he gets an opportunity to share in the humiliation the leaders feel when they have a site with stuff littered around. He might for the first time in his life begin to understand how bad it may make mom feel to have to clean up after everyone with no thanks from anyone.

 

And he is spared the humility of me dumping my stuff on his front yard and him having to pick it up.

 

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And what hasn't been said..althoug I think Beavah was trying to...is that alot depends on the victem too.

 

Me persoannly, I would not have an issue with signing in front of everybody, nor would I have an issue with the snipe hunt. And I do realize that's just me. I do not expect it to be the same for everybody else.

 

What works for one does not always work for the other.

 

But I also know that the intentions behind the hunt or song are what I use to judge it.

 

I learned a long time ago that words will only offend me if I choose to let them do so. Same for actions.

 

But the person is different. What his intentions were is how I judge that person. IOf he screwed up while tryting to make something he thought I nwould get a laugh out of...I then go that way: I know he meant good but scrwed up.

 

If his intentions were malicious, I push the event aside and realize that this guy is not my friend, but at that time, revoke his power to upset me or get under my skin.

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Got a boy with asbergers...you wouldn't know it if you didn't know him well. If he is new to a troop...

 

Stage-shy is an understatement. If he were forced to sing it would be devastating to him. You people who think this is no big deal need to get your head out of the sand or whatever dark place you have it in.

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>>Stage-shy is an understatement. If he were forced to sing it would be devastating to him. You people who think this is no big deal need to get your head out of the sand or whatever dark place you have it in.

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You simply have to supervise, and be "aware" of things. And never FORCE a scout to do something unless it is for his own safety in an emergency. If someone is reluctant, you take him aside and briefly discuss; but if he still simply does not want to do it, then he doesn't.

 

Again, simply do your job as a leader, and get to know your kids. Try to assure it does not get out of hand, and make sure that those involved running it do not get over zealous or step over the line somehow. If they do, you need to bring it to an end at once, and separately discuss why, possibly as a group, and maybe independently with the junior leaders.

 

JMO

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I have a boy with asbergers too (my son's best friend). And your right, my son would not make him sing for his stuff -- alone. But my son watches him like a hawk at camp and makes sure he tidies up.

 

The boy has wanted to quit several times, and every time he as emphasized that it wasn't the other boys. It was primarily the bugs. He admitted he didn't like work. We told him that we weren't going to compensate for that. And sometimes he was very bitter about actions of other boys, yet he would find it in his heart to forgive them. But those bugs really annoyed him. He left summer camp mid-week, but unlike most homesick boys he was proud he made it that far and can't wait for the scouting year to start again. He's looking forward to those winter campouts!

 

So I don't think it's "no big deal." But I'm not going to minimize the importance of picking up after yourself just because this one boy will require his buddies to step up and sing with him.

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