Jim Ficklin (jficklin@NMSU.EDU)
Wed, 13 Sep 1995 10:44:36 -0600
We too have had the "tradition" of having someone sing or perform in
some other fashion in order to retrive a lost item. I suspect that it is
the spirit of the thing that makes the difference in whether this is a
positive or negative (or possibly neutral) experience for the scout. In
our case, the thing is very much done in fun... the scout being asked to
perform is cheered on by the other boys and the "performance" not only
results in the return of the lost object, but in enthusiastic applause
and congratulatory slaps on the back from those in attendance.
On a related matter... In some recent discussions with local police
(related to a TV program we are considering producing) and social services
personnel related to gang activitiy, it has come out that there seems to
be a lot of mounting evidence that one of the significant attractions to
youth to join gangs is the existance of ritual and the requirment that
gang members "prove themselves" to validate their belonging. This
"validation" is viewed by the youngsters as their ticket to the "support"
they perceive is there for them from their gang. Many of these "iniations"
are not only anti-social and dangerous, but often embarassing and highly
degrading, yet they persist in being an attractant to youth to join gangs.
I wonder if in our zeal to be sensitive and to avoid "hazing" or other
forms of abuse (all worthy and important considerations), we don't (to
some degree) run the risk of "sanitizing" all organized, legitimate youth
experience to the point that some of its appeal and strength of bonding is
lost. I am inclined to believe that some amount of ritual and periodic
challenges to youth (which, when met, serve to "validate" their bond to the
group) may be valuable in organizations for youth such as those
represented on this list.
Humans seem to be driven to take certain amounts of risk. If society bans
all legitimate risks, then many (especially youth) will take illegal or
"illegitimate" risks. Could it be that if positive youth organizations
become too "sanitized" and devoid of all risk, that they then might have
to face the possibility that youth will turn instead to gangs and other
counterproductive outlets to express this human need?
Of course, care must be used in determining what is appropriate in this
line. "First do no harm." Also the challenges should be entered into
with peer support for individual success. However with these things in
mind, it seems to me that this could, indeed, include challenges along the
lines of singing for lost objects or some kinds of initiatory types of
Just some thoughts.
Jim Ficklin, Program Manager, KRWG-TV, New Mexico St. Univ., Las Cruces, NM
List Owner: Media-L@nmsu.edu B.S.A. Troop/Team/Post 177
email@example.com Chair: Southern New Mexico Media Literacy Coalition
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City