Warren Williams (ww@NETDOOR.COM)
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 14:09:19 -0500
There have been a lot of good messages regarding hazing. It clearly
has no place in Scouting. Not only does it violate the policies of
the Boy Scouts of America, it is simply un-Scout-like.
What is hazing?
My fraternity's education manual defines it as follows: "Hazing is
any action taken or situation created intentionally to produce
physical discomfort or mental discomfort by embarrassment,
harassment, or ridicule."
It goes on to say, "Hazing is degrading, dangerous, and contrary to
what (we) stand for. It serves no useful purpose...and is extremely
poor public relations. Exhuberance and energy can better be channeled
into constructive work...worthwhile activities."
Scouting literature follows the same lines; from the "Scoutmastership
"Scouting is a special place. The rules are the ones we know well:
The Scout Oath and Law.
"We create a safe haven in Scouting, a place where everyone should
feel physically and emotionally secure. We do this in several ways:
"We set the example for ourselves and others by always behaving as
Scouts should. We live the Scout Oath and Law each moment of each
day, to the best of our abilities.
"We refuse to tolerate any kind of inappropriate put-down, name
calling, or physical aggression.
"We communicate our acceptance of each participant and each other
through expressions of concern for them, and by showing our
appreciation whenever possible.
"We create an environment based on learning and fun. We seek the best
from each participant, and we do our best to help him achieve it.
I've heard the argument that hazing activities "build character",
that they are "tradition," and "we're only having fun."
I was fortunate to have a Scoutmaster, Order of the Arrow leaders,
and others who didn't buy into this. For example, instead of sending
off "pesky" new Scouts in search of left handed smoke shifters and
shore line, we had someone teach them knots, take them on a hike to
identify leaves, or any number of other Scouting activities.
As my fraternity manual suggests: wouldn't we be a lot better off if
the time and energy put into hazing went into something more
worthwhile? Something with a point?
Warren Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>
Jackson, Mississippi USA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City