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dfolson

a prank, or hazing?

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If that were the way Snipe hunts went, I'd be all for them. Unfortunately, the hunts I'm familiar with involve some poor sucker standing alone in the woods holding a bag across the Snipe trail while making various silly Snipe call noises. Sooner or later reality creeps in and they come back to camp, to the laughs and jeers of their friends who were in on it. Short on bonding, long on humiliation. And for the pop-psychologists out there, I wasn't the victim as a kid.

 

Any one see the episode of Cheers! when Norm, Cliff and the boys took Frasier Snipe hunting? Frasier turned the game around and got the last laugh.

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Pranks can and do go too far sometimes. Hate when it happens, but the idea of lumping all pranks as hazing is just stupid.

 

There are tons of pranks that require one or more people to be the victem. Does not make it hazing.

 

I guess I must be the only one who remembers as a kid , that we used to pick on each other, have contests where we out "Yo mama" each other and we'd just generally pick on each other.

 

And even as the victem, I'd have a great laugh and have just as much funb as those who were pranking me.

 

Thing is, you knew that they accepted you as one of the group.

 

If they really didn't like you, they'd usually ignore you or just avoid you.

 

Now, snipe hunting. Never been snipe hunting myself. But I have known many victems who didn't feel any malaice or that they were vitems any more or less that when they learned Santa was not real, that the boogyman didn't exist or that the tooth fairy was made up.

 

I have been picked on and been made fun of, in jest by my friends and in all seriousness by jerks and bullies who got off on that sort of thing..

 

Trust me, I could always tell the difference.

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I guess I'd call it a prank, not hazing, but I don't see how this prank amounts to any kind of fun.

 

"So, let me get this right, you want to try to scare the new Scouts? What do you hope to accomplish with this? [pause and wait for answer] Give me a prediction - what do you think the reaction of the new Scouts is going to be?"

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I tried to hold off, but the spirit is willing but the flesh weak

 

It was a long time ago, in a place far far away, well, actually Chicago area, about 1965 or so. I was a bright young scout, really Gung Ho. I thought being a scout was the bestest thing in the whole world. On one summer campout. we drove for what seemed like hours. We got to the campsite and set up.. The Troop used an Army surplus 16X16, that thing was huge, and it was heavy and we all loved it. After the tent was up and the gear stowed, Charlie, the SPL came over and told me he needed my help. I was in like 7th heaven. Charlie was like a god to us younger scouts, he had his license and his own car. It was a 57-58 Chevy, it was painted candy apple red and roared like a jet, that car was cool. Rumor was he shaved everyday and had a girl friend. I fairly floated as we walked over to the group of older cooler scouts. Finally I was going to be part of the in crowd. I was to be the bag man on a snipe hunt. It was simple, all I had to do was stand on the Snipe trail and hold the bag open and the Snipe would run straight into it. Now, wait I said, I know what a Snipe hunt is, and I am not going to do it. I felt a lot let down that Charlie thought I was stupid enough to fall for a gag like that. So then Charlie says, well, you are right, but you know, Snipes are birds and we happened to have driven into where they live. So, I bought it. I went out and held the bag, and held it, and held it and held it. Well, back at camp the older scouts sure were having a party at my expense, they had this kid who knew about Snipe Hunts out on a Snipe Hunt, it was glorious. The adults on the trip knew what was going on, and reminded them that I was supposed to be brought back to camp about 1 am if I didnt show up first. Back at the Snipe Trail I stood, bag open. I knew Snipes were rare birds and figured we had driven long enough to get in their range. I waited, and waited. Along about dawn I figured I had waited long enough. Seems the older scouts got their signals crossed and everyone thought someone else would get me, but nobody did. I got back to camp as breakfast was being made, and when I was spotted, the whole camp cheered, laughed and hooted. I was not having a fun time. I remember thinking, remember this moment, remember how hot your cheeks feel, how angry you are, you are never ever going to feel this way again. A few months later it was the Fall Camporee. Charlie again asked me for some help. I asked him what, I was more than a little suspicious of anything he said at this point. He told me he needed the Camps Canon Report. It has the schedule of the Camporee on it and it was floating around the camp and people would get it, copy it down and pass it on. So, after being assured it was real, I went off. Gol dang it if every troop I visited had just had it but passed it along minutes before I got there. I went to over 10 troops before a kindly old scoutmaster who knew my dad from work asked me if I had ever been on a Snipe Hunt,. I almost fainted. The rage, anger, fear, humiliation just ran through me like an electric shock. He had done it to me again. I walked back to camp, slinked actually, imagining all who saw me were laughing behind my back, pointing me out as that absolute and complete idiot. When I got back to camp, I walked up to Charlie and told him I was sorry, but I didnt get it, but I would go after it first thing in the morning. I never did go after it and I never talked to Charlie again. I never did anything he said and completely blocked him and all his older buddies out. I learned never, ever to trust what a boy leader said because they were out to get me. As time went on, I made sure that no other scout ever went through what I did. I would tell all the new scouts about snipe hunts and canon reports and all that. I told them if anyone asked them to do anything that didnt sound right, to ask me first. I had a few angry older scouts, but I didnt care and I was getting big enough that nobody retaliated. I eventually was elected Senior Patrol Leader because the scouts knew I would not betray them

 

WHat memories do you wish to have in your scouts?

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Kids are only emotionally fragile if all the adults in their life treat 'em like they're made of glass.

 

There are lots of ways to do pranks right, to make 'em fun experiences and learn all about the Oath and Law and each other.

 

There are a few ways to do 'em wrong, too. But as jblake points out, that's true of everything, eh? I've seen kids in tears from swim checks, medical check-in, low ropes courses, bein' made to take their hat off at dinner, you name it. For some lads, having their PL prepare a meal that's any different from their favorite meal at home seems to be enough to get 'em to re-think the whole scouting thing. That doesn't mean it's 'hazing' or at all inappropriate.

 

Beavah

 

 

 

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Oh, come on, Beav. You know there's a difference between learning to swim and standing on your head in the dark being made a fool of. Do we really need to debate intent and value?

 

We do an annual training with our boys on hazing and bullying. Stripped down to it's basics, the issue is this: is your fun coming at someone else's expense? To make yourself feel good, are you making someone else feel bad. Is your laugh coming at someone's humiliation?

 

The other half of the equation is the standing between the joker and the jokee. Two 17-y.o. Eagles can razz each other in good fun, but when one of them pulls the same stuff on an 11-y.o. newbie, it's a different deal. OGE makes that point well. Guys pick on each other, razz their friends and pull jokes. That's just what guys do, regardless of age. But when someone takes advantage of a the difference in status between two, the jokes can quickly quit being fun.

 

If you'll go through the few examples in this thread alone, it's not hard to understand the difference between the jokes and pranks which are fun -- fun for everyone -- and those zero-sum games where everyone gets a laugh except for the one fellow the joke is on.

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"Kids are only emotionally fragile if all the adults in their life treat 'em like they're made of glass."

 

That is correct, so, emotionally shake them up, set up situations where their trust is betrayed, let them build up layers of scar tissue, scar tissue that will serve them well in later life. Teach them to mistrust those in authority, Teach them not to tak eanything at face value, that there is always something hidden in even the best situation that will turn ugly just so other people can laugh at you

 

All of these things are such scouting virtures, I can't beleive its not more prevalent

 

 

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Yep, that's me and most scouters, eh? Regularly emotionally abusing children so as to turn things ugly and laugh at 'em. I'm sure that's how everybody who wears the uniform gets their jollies on the weekend.

 

Gimme a break. Is it really OK to accuse other scouters of such things just because they happen to disagree with yeh?

 

OGE, I get that yeh had a bad experience when you were 11. Carryin' that type of anger and emotion for decades is not normal or healthy. I strongly recommend yeh seek out a qualified professional counselor. Your life and your scoutin' experience will likely benefit considerably.

 

Sometimes decent kids and leaders just misjudge stuff, eh? I know the family of one former scout who felt the same way you did over his canoe flippin' on a river trip when he and his partner paddled it into a tree. Betrayed. It was supposed to be fun but it wasn't. Scared. Thought he was goin' to drown (objectively there was no risk, but young fellows don't yet have any objective sense). People laughing (it was funny). His attitude reinforced by mom. Quit scouting as a result, still hates boats.

 

That doesn't mean that canoein' should be banned. It might mean that the troop in question misjudged one boy's emotional preparedness despite their best intentions.

 

I know of boys who quit scoutin' over camp swim checks. They said this was goin' to be fun. It's cold and scary. Feel pressured by circumstances and peers. Freak out. Think people are laughing. Consigned to second-class citizen status at the waterfront wading pool. Lack of success leads to homesickness. etc. etc.

 

We can say more objectively that canoein' and swim checks are OK or even a good thing for most boys. We can say that in a few cases, yeh have to be more alert to unintended consequences and that sometimes well-intentioned folks will judge that wrong. We can say that done poorly, swimming or canoeing can indeed be dangerous.

 

We can say the same things about camp pranks.

 

What we shouldn't say is that our fellow scouters intentions in any of those cases aren't honorable.

 

Beavah

 

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I post my story to present an experience. If people think they can manage a Snipe Hunt for good effect, they will.

 

I was not emotionally fragile, as an ASM son I was battered around pretty well in scouts, my father being the ex-Staff Sargeant Marine and all. Hold that thought on being an ex-Marine, they get dischaged, they are never Ex-Marines.

 

I present my story to give a thought to people who think its harmless fun and anyone who reacts badly is just not mature enought to get the joke.

 

Readers may want to check the quote on my profile(This message has been edited by oldgreyeagle)

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OGE,

 

Your experience is the #1 reason for my rules posted earlier. I was small for my age in early scouts and had the endure the traditional hazing of a half-century ago when such conversations along these lines always ended with "man up!"

 

If a scout is about to play a prank on another, he must have first have had it played on him. This assures the prankster that they realize the emotional impact that such a prank will have on the victim. This is why the SPL approaches the snipe hunt far different than with the idea of victimizing the newbie.

 

As you indicated in your post, most of the newbies idolize the older boys at first. What better than to take them out into the woods on a snipe hunt, led by a boy who knows first hand how they once felt when they went on their first snipe hunt. It really changes the emphasis especially if your SPL is there because he earned it and isn't just a bully who has intimidated everyone to voting for him in the first place. If that be the case, the SM has more problems than just hazing.

 

Stosh

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I was not emotionally fragile

 

The evidence of carryin' this and a few other things around for so long and with such intensity suggests otherwise. Can't see that your father's military service has anything to do with it.

 

I like jblake's troop's Snipe Hunt. I've seen all kinds of fun ways to share pranks. If yeh don't have the sort of camaraderie and natural watchin' out for the younger fellows to be able to pull it off in your troop, then yeh shouldn't do it. But like jblake suggests, if that's the case yeh should also fix the Scout Law dynamic in your troop, because that lack of camaraderie and natural watchin' out for the younger fellows is still goin' to be there hurting other aspects of your program even if yeh ban pranks.

 

Beavah

 

 

 

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HWMBO is asleep in bed.

I'm thinking that maybe I might put some ice down her neck.

 

No!

I'm not really.

But just for a minute let's pretend that I was.

What would I be guilty of?

Nothing.

Why? Because nothing happened.

 

Before we start brandishing words like Hazing, lets bear in mind that something has to happen for someone to be hazed.

A prank has to happen for someone to be pranked.

The title of this thread doesn't deal with the question that was asked.

The question was: I am wondering if I should ask the older Scouts about it...

Suggestions?

If I were in your shoes I would have a quite word with the older Lads and make them aware that I was born at night, but not last night!

As acting SM I'm relying on them to help me out as much as possible but to that end there will be no shenanigans.

Ea.

 

 

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Thanks for posting that OGE.

 

I've got no room in my troop for any of this. No pranks, no hazing. Boys will find good fun and play if you direct them in the right direction.

 

The Golden Rule. The Scout Law.

 

I wonder what those 30 scouts that were "run off" have to say about the BSA now? Are their sons and daughters in the program?

 

 

 

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Yah, glad the Canadians have more of a sense of humor than we do, eh?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl_B_Qdx55o

 

Mrs. Beavah, bein' a chemist, got me with this one once:

 

 

By contrast, I reckon yeh all would have banned Alan Funt in the name of the Scout Law. :(

 

B

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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