Bob Losee (rlosee@CCMAIL.UNL.EDU)
Wed, 17 Sep 1997 10:39:00 -0600
>> >And being held upside down is neither embarassing, demeaning, nor
>> >unnecessarily risky.
>> I disagree with you. It is embarrassing, demeaning and EXTREMELY RISKY.
>I have yet to see a cub embarassed or demeaned by the practice. Getting
>hugged by your mom in public is embarassing. As for the risks, without
>statistical data, I suppose they're in the eye of the beholder. I get
>flak (mostly from moms) for taking scouts camping in the winter (too
>cold). In the summer (too hot). In the rain (too muddy).
Our pack continues, rightly I believe, to turn boys upside down, with the
consent of their parents and themselves. I'm guessing about 10% don't want to.
Of these about half change their mind after they see others enjoy it.
I also believe the risk must be assessed not by our lame perceptions but by
objective facts. Driving a car is inherently less safe than commercial air
travel despite some peoples fears and perceptions. I too have had parents more
worried about rain, mud, and sub-zero weather ("Is it really OK to sleep in this
weather.") than in the driving conditions to the camp.
Charles Dobbs in another post stated:
>If there is even 1 chance in 1000000 to injure a boy either
>physically or emotionally for the sake of "fun" for the other 999,999 >boys,
should we take the chance?
This suggests the risk of injury or even death must be below .000001% before
attempt to have fun. So a few questions come to my mind. How many people go
through Philmont in a year and is the injury rate below .000001? I know the ONE
time I was there in 1970 I meet a crew whose leader died of a heart attack. And
hours after we left camp they closed the whole camp down because one boy died
there of what they thought at the time was bubonic plague (yes we had an
interesting reception when we got home).
What about local camps? I've personally witnessed one person get heat
exhaustion. We've also had one of our Boy Scouts injured in a fall. I've even
heard tell of other boys cutting themselves with knives and axes and having to
be taken to medical facilities.
What about transportation in general? A couple years ago our council had an
adult leader killed driving scouts to an activity because (as I may wrongly
recall) someone crossed the center line (thank goodness no scouts were seriously
All this and yet I've not heard of any cub being injured being turned upside
down for a pinning. All this admittedly anecdotal evidence would indicate we
should shut down our summer camps, stop driving, stop using knives and axes
before we go on to the lesser problem of a pinning ceremony, but to paraphrase
an old commercial, show me your risk statistics!
The bottom line seems clear to me on risk: we accept much more risk than a one
in a million for the sake of fun in scouting.
The above post also stated that:
>I recognize that camping has a purpose in the program, and that being held
>upside down doesn't.
I would beg to disagree. The purpose is to have fun and make it memorable with
an unusual ceremony. The purpose is no different than dressing up like Native
Americans for OA. To make a memorable and fun ceremony.
Ultimately the question is an age old one, "Is it worth it?" that is, it the
benefit received worth the price to be paid. And the ways to deal with this are
just as old. Try to increase the benefits and reduce the costs. In the
particular case of Bobcat pinnings, our packs solution has been to increase the
fun for boys by making it they and their parents decision. We do this before the
ceremony to give them some time to think about this. We also reduce the risk by
having two of our largest people hold up a boy in such a way either one could
let go without dropping the boy.
My $1 worth.
YiS, Bob Losee, SM Troop 25, ACM Pack 25
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City