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Speaking of singing in the camp dining hall...


Why must what might otherwise be a pleasant meal, be an occasion for raucous, repetitive, cliched singsong doggerel?


"This is table number one...." "We've got spirit... yes we do..."

"Fried chicken, fried chicken fried chicken..... oooh yea! Fried Chicken!"

And even table pounding sometimes...


I'm told they're "showing spirit."

But there are different kinds of spirit.


And in the spirit of discussing spirit... we might ask SPLs and PLs....

Is that spirit (described above) the one that should dominate mealtime?

And flag ceremony assemblies?


This behavior occurs "naturally" in boys of course. But taking a dump is also natural; yet there is a wide range of time/place settings where doing so is considered inappropriate.

A scout is natural? And therefore disturbs the peace with shows of "spirit" whenever the impulse (or boredom) arises?

Or a scout is courteous? And kindly refrains from disturbing the peace at mealtime?

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Not to belittle the topic, but if your greatest concern of uprising at mealtime with a group of 200-400+ 12-17 year olds is noisy and off-key singing and such, I'd suggest to call yourself lucky, choose your battles wisely, and join in the "spirit".


Otherwise - one might reconsider their role in the BSA program.



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Even for me bein as crotchy and old as I am.......Nothing is more fun than some table pounding singing.........


I enjoy watching the first years, faces as it starts and their too cool to join attitude switches to joining in by the end of the week.....


Nice to see the boys drop their guard and be themselves.....



If singing annoys ya.....maybe you should stay home next year.....

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I don't mind the singing, just wish they would wait longer til they did it.



Don't care to be halfway through my meal when the table starts jumping up and down and my drink spills and becomes part of my mashed potatoes and chicken. Nothing like watching 2 or 3 boys jump up in excitement...except when that excitement is them now wearing their drink in their lap.


Again, the singing, spirit and comradierie are awesome..just wish they'd give everybody time to finish eating.


There is always at least one scout who gets so wrapped up in the shouting, singing and table pounding that he forgets to eat!


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There's worse things. Seems like every summer there's some virus thing that causes a boy to blow cookies all over the place. It's bad enough at lunch but if it happens at breakfast there's a better chance that it's going to be contagious vomit. So in order to stay on topic, we've adopted...I guess it's more of a Gregorian Chant or something...anyway, it goes like this:

"Regurgitate! Regurgitate! Throw up all the food you ate!"

Repeat until laughter replaces the wretching sounds.


...Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts......

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It's true that there are different kinds of spirit, and different preferences for mealtime. I often enjoy reading a book quietly while eating alone. But I realize that when I am effectively a guest, their home customs and traditions apply. If your camp's dining hall custom disturbs the boys in your unit, suggest they take up patrol cooking and begin their own traditions in their campsite.


If this is something that bothers only an adult leader, I wonder how he or she copes with the raucous behavior of Scouts on the whole, which I've observed to be far more pchallenging and disruptive than a silly camp song. I would encourage that leader to lighten up, Francis, and join in the conviviality. There are far more weighty matters to concern oneself with.

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In my years as a camper, staffer, and adult leader the mealtime "entertainment" at camp has always been a high point for me. I love walking away from the dining hall and hearing the kids continue the singing as the wander through the woods back to their campsite.


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Who said and where is it written that there will be peace at meal times?

Surely summer camp offers a lot of times when there is time for peace, time for quite reflection?

I tend to enjoy the noise in the dinning hall and think it makes the Scouts think that they belong to a group that is bigger than just their own unit.

I agree that there is a time and place for just about every thing, but happen to think that the time for a lot of good natured noise is when everyone is all in one place.

I'm sorry if it upsets you, but maybe your just going to have to accept it or look for ways to avoid it?


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Mind you, this year was my first year at summer camp, but not my first time dealing with boy scoouts.


I really enjoyed the flag ceremonies. Especially the evening one when announcements were made directly afterward ( right before dinner).


The staff would always do a ( insert name here) check and pile on like a football team piling on whoever got tackled. I loved the whole ditty and song that came when somebody said "announcements"


I especuially like the verse about windbags and submarines.


Again, I have no issue with the dining hall spirit challenge, just give extra time to let use eat our food before we end up wearing our food.

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It's camp. They are scouts.


I'd worry if there wasn't table pounding, loud singing, and doggerel.


Perhaps there is a camp for young folks that encourages evening dress at dinner, white gloves, and "elevated conversation"...but I doubt it.


Maybe you can take your meals elsewhere in camp, where your refined sensibilities won't be offended.


Then again, even after I type all this, I gotta ask: are you trolling us, and getting a big belly laugh from this thread? If so, hazzah!



(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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"are you trolling us, and getting a big belly laugh from this thread?"


Well, maybe a little. It is funny to get advice that essentially says:

"Hey man, lighten up, it's not that big a deal... but you should leave scouting over it."


Also funny are expressions of delight at seeing scouts "be themselves" by doing the same silly thing everyone else is doing.


But, as incongruous as it may seem juxtaposed to the deadly seriousness of Callooh! Callay! comments on this forum, the man who animates the character is not above singing the Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts song to the tune of the 4th movement of Beathoven's 9th symphony, any other doggerel classic to the tune of Figaro's Aria from Rossini's Barber of Seville, or maybe even the My Little Pony theme song adapted to Godsmack's Straight Out of Line. Just NOT at the dinner table. Table pounding is the wrong "spirit" for dinner and the doggerel really needs improvement. The "We've got spirit" song challenge.... ugh. Lame, yet noisy.


"Perhaps there is a camp for young folks that encourages evening dress at dinner, white gloves, and "elevated conversation"."


Dude! That would rock! Well, all except for the evening dress, white gloves, and "elevated converstion" parts... we could do without those.


But imagine if, instead of the standard table pounding chant "We've got spirit,"..... imagine that same doggerel adapted to an arrangement like "The Excstacy of Gold" from Ennio Morricone's awesome soundtrack for The Good The Bad And The Ugly (in the scene immediately prior to the dnouement, the music and vocals of this piece rise up as Tuco is overcome with joy, realizing he has stumbled into the Sand Hill Cemetery; it continues soaringly as he rushes about madly searching for the grave marked "Arch Stanton"). In any camp there's bound to be a scout that could pull off adapting "We've Got Spirit" to the hauntingly beautiful soprano solo that Edda Del'Orso does in the original (it kicks in at about 46 seconds in this clip:




(extra slice of cobbler if they can hit the note Edda does at 1:46 - two extra slices if they look like Tuco in this clip:

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CC, it's been awhile since I've seen The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, but I recall a complete lack of any manners or decorum in that movie. Drinking straight out of the whiskey bottle? Very base. Lots of random yelling, insults and general underhandedness. I doubt Baden Powell would have approved. (I for one enjoy watching it!)


Let the scouts have their moments at the camp mess hall. It's part of the tradition. They can't do it at home or school. It's controlled chaos. That energy is better expended shouting doggerel and laughing over chili mac and brussell sprouts than fights in camp, or sneaking off at midnight to the local gas station to buy beer. Granted, doggerel won't prevent that midnight trip, but the odds will be less if the scout is really enjoying his camp experience and doesn't want to ruin it by breaking real/hard-fast rules. That craziness in the mess hall? He thinks he's getting away with something. And that's okay.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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D-rat. You point out some worthwhile things to consider.


Still, at o-dark-thirty, there they are... not all, but many... out to earn troop activity competition points for their participation in the mile run.... and it's strangely quiet. Absent is the atmosphere of excitement that surrounds meal time. Many boys who will, in the dining hall later that day, be shouting "this is table number one, number one" at the top of their lungs, find those same lungs to be rather delicate and lacking in capacity early in the morning.


No one is running around with a spirited group yelling "We are runners number one, number one!" or anything like that. If you run with them, you must navigate around and through gaggles of very slow runners and even walkers who block the entire track and apparently can't hear admonitions about track etiquette "Walkers and slow guys keep right please! Inside lanes for runners please! Thankyou!" They seem to have a lot of trouble hearing and processing that. Do you suppose it could be hearing damage from dining hall spirit noises?


Honestly, sometimes these scouts act just like a bunch of kids.


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This has been camp tradition at every camp I've ever worked at or attended. Among other things, it can help boost campers' (or staff's) energy levels on days when they're dragging, and it helps the kids who are not so sure about camp crack a smile and be part of the group. It also helps deal with the excess blasts of energy that almost always exist in a room full of squirrely kids. Think - if they weren't chanting, what else might they be doing to release excess energy??? Chanting is probably the least objectionable outlet.


As you are unlikely to be able to stop other units at the camp from engaging in this rather harmless behavior, the most likely outcome of any attempt on your part to stop your troop from participating will be that everybody else views you as a bit of a stick in the mud. Your boys might obey, but they'll also probably resent it.


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In our case at Cub camp, it was needed. The staff used it to keep the kids focused off of one of the Scouters that was passed out almost in front of the mess hall at lunch time. They rushed us into the mess hall and then the staff served us lunch all while the one group was keeping the kids singing. It worked. It made the time pass by quickly while the ambulance (and found out later a second ambulance was needed at the same time at a different location in camp) made its way and then went to the hospital. I agree, it is annoying, but it is useful too.

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