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Kyle Smith
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I'm grateful to Mr. Green for this site, and for his attention to preventing hazing. I hope that hazing is a lot less prevalent in Scouting than it was during my time as a Scout, in the mid-70s. Hazing was a daily fact of life on campouts and at Scout summer camp, but the worst experience I (and some others) had was at Brownsea Double-Two. What the local council sold to my troop as a "week long training experience for Scout leaders" was a badly managed ordeal in which troop 'leaders' seemed more concerned with military fantasies and humiliating participants at every possible opportunity. There was no training: only constant tests of skills some of us had never been taught. Members of patrols who did satisfy the leaders were encouraged to harass anyone who was "embarrassing the patrol," as though that would teach them scoutcraft skills they hadn't developed earlier. The leaders also enjoyed harassment for its own sake, such as sending Order of the Arrow candidates into masses of thorns in the middle of the night. (No, I am not making this up.) And they did nothing to prevent harassment within the patrols. In my patrol, older members verbally harassed the younger ones, beat them with hiking sticks, sprayed foam insecticide in their faces, stole their belongings, and threatened them with knives. I know of cases where some participants broke down and told the troop leaders they wanted to leave, in lieu of any protection from the sadists in their patrols. I stuck out the week there, myself, but years later, I still wish I'd confronted the 'leaders' about their week-long exercise in feeding their power needs at the expense of anything that might be considered 'training'... then walked the 25 miles back home instead of feeling like I had to prove to myself and everyone else that I was a man, by taking it. I was always at least as interested in the character training involved in Scouting as I was in the camping skills, and what this week taught me about character was that far too many people are attracted to opportunities to wear uniforms and exercise power over other people for all the wrong reasons. I hope Scouting has grown in its ability to identify these sadists in uniform—adult and patrol 'leaders,' included—and put them on a better path.
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2010 on No Hazing at We've Moved!
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Oct 27, 2010