Dale Karweik (karweik.1@OSU.EDU)
Fri, 26 Jun 1998 09:19:04 -0400
There have been several threads lately that seem to have some features in
common. I wondered if anyone else had noticed.
Scouting as a SAFE haven.
Inappropriate camp songs.
No touch rule.
I wish I could write a great, light response like Bob the Gray Wolf or a
strong reactive piece like Chuck Bramlet, both responses are on the mark.
There are too many parents that want only positive, successful, risk free
experiences for their Scouts. Boy Scouts can not and should not be
providing this in my opinion. I believe we have a responsibility to
provide them with a great fun game that teaches them what they need to know
to become moral, repsonsible citizens in an imperfect world. We owe it to
the boys to give them challenges, to give them a chance to take a risk, to
give them a chance to fail, to give them a chance to experience majority
rule and the responsibilities that go with it, and to give them a great
game to play. This doesn't mean that the program should be unsafe,
irresponsible, or unsupervised, but it shouldn't be SAFE either. If we
respond to every minority which questions or disapproves of a facet of our
GAME, soon there will be no game left, just a long list of arbitrary rules
We can not put our youth in a protective bubble and make sure they never
have the chance to grow from adversity. How while they ever learn to
respond to the greater, unprotected world of adulthood? We should not try
to censor everything they see and hear. How will they learn to filter and
make responsible ethical decisions as adults? We cannot prevent all
physical contacts between youth and adults. How will they ever learn to
provide the reassuring, supporting, congratulatory or commiserating touches
we all need? In my experience, Scouts are able to handle and respond
appropriately to reasonable challenges and situations.
With respect to the latest thread - I am a parody writer and singer. I
adapt familiar melodies to produce Scouting and funny (I hope at least)
campfire songs for my Troop, my district and training courses I help with.
Some are based on religious, patriotic and military melodies, some on folk
songs and very few on rock songs. I try to maintain some decorum but the
boys love underwear, dirty socks and toliet paper songs. They like songs
about the quality (and lack thereof) of camp cooking. They like songs
about rain and hard trails and unreasonable adult expectations. Whether or
not the like the song, they UNDERSTAND a parody is a parody. The
commaraderie from the camp fire has made singing acceptable to the Scouts
and now extends to a much stronger participation with Sunday morning
singing for devotional services.
Yes, I have had boys and parents question the appropriateness of some songs
and I started to eliminate some of the very offensive ones before realizing
that peer pressure was accomplishing the same thing in a better way. The
ASPL in charge of the camp fire has counselled one Patrol and two Scouts
that the skit or song they brought to the campfire was innapropriate and
both acts disappeared. Scouts have a sense of right and wrong and will
excercise it when there is a support structure that gives them the chance
to do so. This will never develop if there are blanket bans on parodies.
By the way, the ASPL has asked me not to tell a particular scary story
again (after losing a good night sleep by comforting Scouts, I had already
figured that out), but have never questioned my songs.
Does this mean that an off color song or skit will never be presented at
one of our campfires? No, it does not. But I am confident that it will be
received with the appropriate reception and will not be seen or heard
again. It is very important to me that we provide a moral and responsible
support structure - a positive example, but it is as important that we
empower them to learn to make their own judgements. Isn't that the
difference between legislated behavior and true character? I may not
always suceed, but I would rather work for the latter.
Troop 417, SM emeritus and ASM
Post 214, Associate Advisor and OA Dance Team Adviser
Buckeye District Boy Scout RT Commissioner
A Frenetic Fox -EC430 - and an Eagle (1966)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City