Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: Pheasants
John A Robertson
Wed, 7 Apr 1999 09:07:15 -0400
In response to Nick's request:
>...."I have considered legaly securing six (6) hen pheasants.
>These would be brought on a campout where we would
>allow the Scouts to butcher, gut, pluck and cook.
>"The question which has come up when discussing this with
>other adults is whether or not this might be perceived as some
>sort of cult or other "bad" thing?
Something that has always stuck with me from my days in scouts is...
Allowing the boys to do this will prepare them for:
1) being lost and subsequent survival,
2) the reality of life that we eat meat and meat comes from a living
3) when death happens and how to deal with it,
4) facing life through the confidence gained of "being prepared."
Being prepared applies to the leaders as well. This could include:
1) Informing the parents. Why?
a) It is their right to know on issues like this.
b) To find out possible objections.
c) To gain insight as to how the boy will react.
2) Informing the boys. Why?
a) To gauge their reaction to the "idea," not the "fact" of doing
b) For first-timers (killing a pheasant or chicken) this gives
them time to digest the idea, talk to buddies, imagine the
long-term benefits, imagine being in the place of the pioneers
of our country, etc.
3) Purchasing a few already killed and dressed for those who just
cannot bring themselves to do it (or be prepared to do it for them).
4) Thinking out ahead of time how you respond to the different
reactions of the boys and how to protect the views and social
status of those who choose not to participate. This is the hardest,
most important, yet seldom done part of the process. This part
of the process is no different than for anything else you do in the
Pack or Troop.
Personally, I have gone through this type of experience and feel
that I'm better off for doing it. When I was a boy, I used to
empathize with the animal, whether it was a chicken, fish, or
insect. I believe it is a good thing that the boys experience this
and would be more concerned if they showed no concern
(although not unusual).
Here is where the deep stuff comes in. This empathy is what
helps us to respect life and not waste it or abuse it. It's easy
to say "just don't do it," but that does not help us in the long
run. An integral part of life is death and how we deal with it.
Most of us do not know how to deal with it and just do not. When
these real life situations pop up, we are blissfully unprepared.
My suggestion is to pursue this further, but definitely